Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Looking for the Colonel

Colonel David Glenn was my wife's 5th great grandfather. Glenn is her mother's maiden name and David her brother's, but they didn't have this family member in mind when they named him. The first David was born in Ireland in June 1754 and arrived in South Carolina around 1773. He settled on the Enoree River in Newberry County South Carolina and built a Mill on the river. The area was named Glenn's Mill originally and is now in the area of Brazleman's Bridge. He was a Colonel in the South Carolina Militia during the Revolutionary War and was elected to the first South Carolina Legislature immediately after the war ended.   

The Annals of Newberry was published in 1858 as a history of Newberry County. The book was written by Judge John Belton O'Neall who interviewed many family members and locals and then wrote in the flowery language of the day many stories about those who settled the area. He has several accounts of David Glenn's life, which without his book would have been lost. In many of the cases his stories were about Glenn's misfortunes.

The war in South Carolina didn't really start until 1780 when the British attacked Charleston. Those who had volunteered for militia service lived at home unless they were called up for some temporary duty. The following excerpt account tells of local British loyalists who came to Colonel Glenn's house to arrest his friend and because they were assaulting the man, Glenn voiced objections. 

"The men who had hold of him (Colonel Glenn) ordered him "hold your tongue; your turn will be next." In an instant after, feeling that the grasp of his keepers had relaxed, he, undressed as he was, by a violent effort, jerked loose, and sprang through the crowd, and out at the door, and notwithstanding it was a clear moonlight night, he made his escape through his peach orchard. Several guns were fired, none took effect. In his race, he passed one of the party, who had retired for a few moments, and was in the corner of the fence, near to which the colonel passed; hearing the cry of shoot him, he snatched up his gun, which was lying by his side, and aimed it at the colonel; fortunately, it snapped; and before he could again prepare to shoot, Colonel Glenn had jumped the fence, and was sheltered by the trees of the wood!"
This story on page 239 tells of another time when they came to arrest Glenn after he had returned home from military service and because a friend rode out to warn him he was able to hide in the river

In the next section it tells the story of him in a sword fight with a Loyalist and after he thought it over, the man sliced him across the face.

At the bottom of page 240 O'Neall tells of Glenn's death in June 1784.

He reports Glenn travelled to St. Augustine, Florida to try and retrieve a slave who had been taken by the British. Failing to arrive in time he left to go home by a small boat but became ill from exposure and died in Savannah, Georgia.

In a DAR application from the early 1900s a family member stated he was buried in Savannah. Most of his family, wife Rosanna and children are buried in the Kings Creek Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Newberry County.

I decided to try and find out where David Glenn was buried. I contacted several folks in the Savannah area to see which cemeteries were in use during this time. The best guess is Colonial Park Cemetery which was created in 1750 and was closed to new burials in 1853. It is the 2nd oldest in the City but was being actively used at the time.

General Nathanial Greene, the Revolutionary War hero, who one of my dna matching cousins says I am related, was originally buried there in 1786.

Rosanna Glenn grave 1825
The City only took over maintenance of the Colonial Park in 1896 so the old burial records are not available. There are many markers that are not legible and many more have been destroyed or removed.

The original boundaries of the cemetery were taken over for construction of nearby buildings without moving the bodies, just the markers. There are only 600 legible markers but over 10,000 known burials. Locals also blame General Sherman and his Union troops for damaging grave markers after their March to the Sea ended in Savannah.

The City has attached broken and unidentified grave markers to a brick wall on one side of the cemetery.

The Savannah tourism folks claim Colonial Park is haunted and businesses offer tours but on the City web page they say it is "inappropriate to sensationalize these sacred sites."

A web page called Grave Addiction visited and wrote this about it:

Colonial Park salvaged grave markers attached to wall

"Many people believe that Colonial Park Cemetery is haunted. Perhaps it's because many of the graves were destroyed and built over? Or maybe it's the mass graves at the back of the cemetery where victims of the Yellow Fever outbreak are buried? The most common haunting people experience is that of a ghostly couple. Both of these ghosts are decapitated, and missing their arms from the elbow down."

In the paranormal fan world Colonial Park is famous for a 2008 tourist captured video that is supposed to show the ghost of a young boy running across the cemetery, leaping into a tree and then disappearing as a woman walks by. You can see the video at this link.

I don't think we will ever find his grave but it might be interesting to walk around the place one night with a full moon overhead.


NAncy Ezell-Suggs said...

I am a descendent too. As a matter of fact, my aunt has The original copy of Rosanna's diary. Here is a recent website we've found that seems to have David Glenn's Savannah grave

Mark Green said...

Good to hear from you. I would love to see that diary.