Burgess Cemetery, also referred to as Lavonia City Cemetery, was named for Mr. Abner Burgess. Mr. Burgess, one of the founders of Lavonia, donated a little over an acre of land to create Lavonia’s cemetery. Today the cemetery contains over 29 acres and continues to be maintained by the City of Lavonia.
In summer 2009 the first Burgess Cemetery Tour was conducted by the Lavonia Historic Preservation Commission. Later in 2009, the HPC was awarded a Cemetery Grant for the purpose of producing a Burgess Cemetery Brochure. The brochures are available at the Lavonia Welcome Center. Maps, with identified grave sites, may be seen at the Lavonia Welcome Center located at the Depot or at the Lavonia City Hall.
In June 2010, the Burgess Cemetery Committee received a Grant from the Watson-Brown Foundation, TRR Cobb House in Athens, Georgia for the repair and restoration of monuments in the historical section of the cemetery. This project was completed in October of 2010.
We encourage you to visit the cemetery during your visit to Lavonia, it is a wealth of Victorian art and design.
Unusual Happenings from Lavonia Gem of the Piedmont, compiled by the late Marie Haley Williams in 1977, reports this incident:
A Gypsy died in a gypsy camp near Knox Bridge on August 17, 1908, and was buried in Burgess Cemetery. She was born in England almost a hundred years ago. . .and had been in USA almost 50 years. For many years thereafter when a number of her clan died, the remains were brought to Lavonia for burial to be near their Gypsy Queen. Many times the clan would take a week in arriving for the burial of one of their members. The last group to gather was in town for almost a week, arriving in limousines with leopard skin upholstery and diamonds galore. Apparently, the last of the Queen’s Clan was laid to rest as there have been no more pilgrimages since the 1930’s.
Information on future Cemetery Tours may be obtained from Vivian Young at 706-356-1932. Those interested in purchasing cemetery lots at Burgess Cemetery may contact Angie Greer at 706-356-8781.