The Family Bible of Thomas Elisha & Susan Starr Basinger, Or, In Which I Find a Baby

I’ve been trying to write this post for days.

I can’t seem to get it straight in my mind how to start, or not to start, or do I write two posts, but two posts might muddy the discovery, and one post might muddy the discovery, and what about a spoiler alert?

So I’ll stop trying to write this in a logical, chronological fashion, and I’ll just start in the middle.

Almost three years ago I photographed the Starr family plot in Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia. It will perhaps be helpful to you if you click on the link, and scroll down and view the photo of a child’s – a BABY’S – grave. This tiny little grave is outlined behind the memorial for Elisabeth Basinger. At the time, Sugar and I didn’t know who Elisabeth Basinger was, either, and then he re-read his great-grandfather’s “Reminiscences”, and learned that Elizabeth Basinger, the child, was the second child born to his great-grandparents William Starr Basinger and Margaret Roane Garnett Basinger. I wondered if the little outlined grave belonged to Elizabeth Basinger, the child.

Fast forward to two weeks ago when I photographed the Thomas Elisha & Jane Susan Starr Basinger Family Bible. The photos were not clear when enlarged, so last week I rephotographed everything. There’s a section which listed the servants’s births and deaths, and I was very interested to see if I could find who the servants were. Perhaps I could find them on a census, even though they didn’t have last names.

So I started at the beginning, Sound of Music style. I photographed every single little section of handwritten notations of marriages, births, and deaths, and also the newspaper articles regarding the death and burial of William Starr Basinger. I loaded the photos onto the computer, and edited and watermarked them, and started posting some of them to

I came to one little section that said “__________ Infant Son of Thomas & Jane S. born in Savannah May 13th, 1832”.


Then another section: “__________ Infant Son of Thomas & Jane S. died in Savannah May 16th, 1832 – aged 4 days”.


I thought to myself that I wish I knew where this child was buried so that I could create a memorial on, when it hit me. Of course I know where this child is buried, exactly where.

Without a marker in a tiny little grave in the Starr family plot in Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia.

Sleep well, baby angel without a name.

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5 Responses to “The Family Bible of Thomas Elisha & Susan Starr Basinger, Or, In Which I Find a Baby”

  1. Sharon Says:

    Another history mystery solved, Ruth the sleuth! I am on a rhyming roll. lol Still, very interesting putting the pieces together.


  2. J'aime Rubio Says:

    Yes, rest in peace little one. You are never forgotten…Thanks to Ruth, for finding you!


  3. Cameron Says:

    Hey Ruth. I am trying to find some info on Mr. and Mrs. Lawton that managed Cedar Grove plantation on Ashley River during the years 1863 to 1865. I noticed some info you have posted on Lawtons and was wonderingg if you have anything on this Lawton couple. Thanks, Cameron.


    • ruthrawls Says:

      Hi Cameron, I have seen your comments and replied to them on the blog. Perhaps you did not see them. I found some info online about the Cedar Grove plantation and its historical value, but no references to the Lawtons. Where did you find your information?


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