A Mystery at Laurel Grove Cemetery: Michael and Ann Densler

We took our usual Christmas tour of Laurel Grove Cemetery when we placed poinsettias this year.

We stopped at the Densler plot, and something seemed a bit off. There was a stone that we didn’t recall seeing in the past. It was newly repaired, and Leslie conjectured that the old stone had sunk far down into the dirt and was recently lifted and repaired.

Something still seemed off to me. So after we got back home, I hunkered down with the laptop and the iPhone, and I looked back at old posts about when we would have taken a poinsettia there to the Densler mausoleum to see if I could find a photo for reference. I also made findagrave memorials for Michael and Ann since they didn’t have one in Laurel Grove. The stone had some cracks along the death date so I pulled up ancestry and familysearch for reference.

I found a photo all right. The stone didn’t exist in 2015.

In 2019…

In 2015…

I went to the city of Savannah cemetery database, and there is no listing for either Michael or Ann Densler. If you scroll to the end of the list, there is “unidentifiable remains” in lot 481 interred in September 2019. But Michael and Ann died in the early 1800s.

Guess which lot we are at?

The next logical step was to do a findagrave search for other Densler people.

They are listed in Gravel Hill cemetery in Bloomingdale, Chatham County, Georgia. There are photos of the exact same stone, pre-repaired. The breaks are at the exact same spot.

It appears to me that the unidentified remains re-interred in Lot 481 are indeed Michael and Ann Densler. Why were they moved? And who accomplished this?

5 Responses to “A Mystery at Laurel Grove Cemetery: Michael and Ann Densler”

  1. Teri Lowery Says:

    Last year on January 21st, a friend of mine, Breya Warnstaff, asked if I could help her with a genealogy project in locating the Densler family. I don’t have the notes I took at the time, but she told me they were buried either at Laurel Grove or at the Gravel Hill cemetery in Bloomingdale. Since it was a holiday, I didn’t expect a response when I called Laurel Grove, but my call was returned on the next business day. I also called the Gravel Hill cemetery phone number according to Google. I reached a residence at that number and the woman told me her husband lived in Bloomingdale at least thirty years and she’d ask him. He’d never heard of the Densler family, but since they died in the 1700s and 1800s, I didn’t expect he would. The upshot of it is that their headstones were moved to a family plot off White Bluff Road and the owners of the property wanted to sell it for commercial use, but couldn’t use it if the Denslers were buried there. According to the Savannah Morning News on June 8, 2019, the remains were being returned to the Gravel Hill Cemetery upon permission from a distant descendant in Atlanta. (They were slaves for the Densler family.) The problem was solved as far as being able to continue building on the White Bluff property.

    I don’t now how they ended up in Laurel Hill, but you may be able to pull up the archives in the newspaper or you may be able to call John Brennan at Laurel Grove Cemetery. I have two phone numbers for him, (912) 651-6843 or (912) 657-3209. Hope I’ve helped.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ruth Rawls Says:

    And the follow-up story: https://www.savannahnow.com/news/20190607/savannah-council-approves-white-bluff-gravesite-relocation

    Like

  3. terilowery Says:

    They must have changed their mind about returning them to Gravel Hill. It makes more sense to return their remains and headstones to their family plot.

    Liked by 1 person

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