Their claim to the land pre-dates the American Revolution, and yet their parents and grandparents gave up their plots – some willingly, some not-so-willingly – for the sake of the nation when then-Camp Stewart was established in 1940, just in time to help prepare the Army for World War II.
On Wednesday, family members descended from the Martins, Downs, Slaters, Clantons, Driggers, Shumans, Lovettes, Bells, Mays and Speirs – to name a few – who now are living in communities surrounding Fort Stewart, took part in a semi-annual historic site and cemetery tour sponsored by Fort Stewart’s Historic Communities Council, Public Affairs Office and the Cultural Resources Management, Prevention and Compliance Branch of the Directorate of Public Works’ Environmental Division.
“How many of y’all are taking this tour for the first time?” asked Pat Young, community relations officer and retired Fort Stewart soldier from Mississippi. “There are more than 5,000 historic sites on Fort Stewart and 60 of them are cemeteries."
Tour attendees shared anecdotal information during lunch at the new 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team dining facility and at the next cemetery on the tour, Little Creek Baptist Church Cemetery.
As she displayed a black and white photo of the old church while tour guests gathered around her, Richmond Hill resident Judy Harrison found Pembroke resident Earline Geiger giving tidbits of personal history about the church and family members interred in the cemetery. The ladies soon realized they were related.
“We share the same great-great grandfather,” Harrison later explained. “I sort of knew of Earline through information I’d read on the Internet, but I’d never met her. We’re probably third cousins, I guess.”
Read more in the Nov. 9 edition of the News.