Rene’s playground (i.e. The Colonial Park cemetery….)
Grey clouds all day have hovered over the town of Savannah. Through the light mist falling and between the moss covered bone trees I see the cemetery before me. Started in the year 1750 and the final resting place for many of Savannah’s earliest citizens, I step lightly onto the hallowed, haunted grounds of Colonial Park.
The cemetery holds hundreds of victims of the 1820 Yellow Fever epidemic. Many men that fell to Savannah’s tragic dueling deaths between 1740 and 1877 lay here. Men that had a skewed sense of “too much honor”. The presence of spirits encases me as I walk. Stories of Federal soldiers desecrating the graves during the Savannah occupation of the Civil War, an old maid from a nearby hotel following a young man to the cemetery before he just disappeared into the mist….
And of course there is Rene Asche Rondolier, a disfigured orphan that lived in Colonial Park in the early 1800's. Accused of murdering two girls whose bodies were found in the cemetery, Rene was dragged by the townspeople to the nearby swamps, lynched and left for dead. More dead bodies turned up in the cemetery in the days that followed. The townspeople were convinced it was Rene’s ghost, and thus the nickname for Colonial Park was born…. Rene’s Playground.
Originally published at www.mywalkabout.net on July 8, 2015.