Who Was Mrs. Mary M. Densler, Or: Off to the Graveyard

Mrs. Mary M. Densler is the only non-Starr/Basinger listed in Thomas Elisha and Jane Susan Starr Basinger’s Family Bible.

So who is she?

I found a memorial listed for her on findagrave.com. She was married to Frederick Densler. That didn’t help at all, except that we learned that she was in Laurel Grove Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia.

Sugar found the true answer in his great-grandfather’s memoirs, “Personal Reminiscences” written by William Starr Basinger. He talks about his mother’s mother’s sister, Mary Marston Pearson Densler. They called her Aunt Polly. Frederick and Mary “Polly” had three children that I can find documented: Mary, Rebecca, and Edwin.

So off we go to Laurel Grove in spite of impending rain. I was able to figure out where the crypt was, in Lot 480, by using this website maintained by the city of Savannah. The original Starr/Basinger lot was at the opposite end of the lane, in Lot 451, before those people were moved to Bonaventure Cemetery. The McLaws have that plot now.





Here are some close-ups.


This is Thomas W. Bealle who married Rebecca A. Densler.


Thomas and Rebecca had one daughter named Tallulah who died at age 12.




Here’s son Edwin B. Densler, and his parents Frederick and Mary “Polly” Marston Pearson Densler.

According to the website for the city of Savannah, there are also the following Densler people in Laurel Grove North or in an unknown location:

Densler infants buried in this crypt at Lot 480.

Charles Pearson Densler who died at age 14 months in 1811 and buried in an unknown location.

Barbara Densler whose death/age/burial is unknown.

Edmond B. Densler, 11/26/1843, age 23 years.

Frederick Densler, 01/11/1849, age 72 years, buried in an unknown spot, although clearly he is buried here according to the marker.

Fredrick Densler, buried in Laurel Grove in Lot 480 on March 24, 1853.

John Densler who died in 1828 at age 16 years and is buried in an unknown spot.

Mary Densler, age 22, buried February 29, 1836.

Mary Densler, died on January 28, 1865, and buried January 30, 1865, age 44.

Sophia Densler, died and buried in Lot 296 on August 25, 1857, age 87.

Virginia Densler, buried September 9, 1816, in an unknown location, age 5 years, 10 months.

William Densler, buried in an unknown location on June 8, 1815.


I walked around to the back of the vault to get photos at all angles, like usual for me, and was startled when I saw rings mounted in the ground like where you might tie a horse. Except maybe not.



Sugar thinks these rings are to pull on, like to open a door, like a door into the vault. I wish I had a photo of my face when I realized what he was talking about.




He pointed to another vault across the lane as confirmation of his conjecture, and yup, it’s a door to the grave.


Is that a crack in the door?






I’m sorry, Smets people. I couldn’t resist.


We strolled along the lane, and I took some random shots of other mausoleums.












Here’s Lot 451 which was the Starr/Basinger plot. All these folks were moved to the Starr Family Plot in Bonaventure. I notice on the city of Savannah website that Edwin Pearson Starr’s location is still noted in Laurel Grove Cemetery, even though I know he’s in Bonaventure. I’ve photographed his headstone several times, and he’s next to his aunt (Sugar’s great-great-grandmother) Jane Susan Starr Basinger.







Across the way we saw the back of a grand memorial, and we thought that, if memory serves, that it was the Gilmer memorial, so we strolled over, and reacquainted ourselves. I’ve written about General Jeremy Francis Gilmer (his obituary is somewhere on this blog), and married Louisa Fredericka Alexander, who just happened to be the sister to Sarah “Sallie” Alexander Lawton, the mother of Corinne Elliott Lawton, who has stirred much ado on this blog.

Let’s just say that we also stepped across the lane to another plot with the beautiful angel, and made some remarkable discoveries.

And that, Dear Reader, is the subject for another blog. After all, I took 100 photos of the day, and we discovered more family connections.



Thank you for the tour, Aunt Polly. And thank you to whoever it was that wrote of her death in the Family Bible of Thomas Elisha and Jane Susan Starr Basinger in 1857! We wouldn’t have started searching for Aunt Polly without you.

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2 Responses to “Who Was Mrs. Mary M. Densler, Or: Off to the Graveyard”

  1. Off to the Graveyard, Part 2 | Ruthrawls's Blog Says:

    […] In Which There Are Cats & Yarns. Oh, and dead people. « Who Was Mrs. Mary M. Densler, Or: Off to the Graveyard […]


  2. One Hundred and Thirty-Five Years Later… | Ruthrawls's Blog Says:

    […] few lanes over, we see the Densler brick mausoleum under the trees.  We visited there in February when we discovered a Densler/Starr/Basinger […]


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