Thursday, April 30, 2015

My Visit to Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia for Horace Rivers and Family

Earlier this month we went to Savannah to support another Parrot Head Club's fundraiser for prostate cancer in the form of a pub crawl. It was a lot of fun but I did manage to get some genealogy done as well. This is the first of the two families I was looking for at Bonaventure Cemetery.

I went to Bonaventure Cemetery looking for the 2nd great paternal uncle of my son's via their paternal grandmother, Ursula Floride Plowden. I was disappointed to find that there were no headstones for Horace or his wife, Adele Lewis Rivers. There were only two tombstones. One was for his son, Marion Pinckney (1884-1931) and the other belonged to his sister in law, Edith Irene Lewis (1870-1891). 

This is a view of the entire plot for the Rivers family. The elaborate tombstone in the back is for Edith Irene Lewis who died at age 21. The other stone is for Marion Pinckney Rivers who died in 1934. It was very wet and drizzling during this visit.

Horace Rivers was born March 4th,1858 in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina to Constant Henry Rivers and Mary Elizabeth Minott. He married Adele "Addie" Lewis about 1882 (I have not found a specific place as of yet). Horace and "Addie" had three sons, Marion Pickney Rivers born in 1884 and died in 1931. Herbert T. Rivers born in 1885 (no death or marriage records as of today) and Horace Rivers, born in 1890 and died in 1932. They also had two daughters, Mary Rivers born in 1888 (no death or marriage records as of today) and Edith Lewis Rivers born in 1900 and died in 1969. Edith married George Hawkins Unchurch in 1922 and they had two daughters. 

Horace Rivers was born on June 10th, 1890 in Savannah, Georgia. He married Marguerite Virginia Walker (no marriage record as of today) and they had one son. Marguerite died on June 13th, 1930 from complications after her appendectomy in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. Horace died from angina on September 1st, 1932 in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. Both are buried at Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston, South Carolina. This left their son Lewis, an orphan by age 5. I found Lewis in the 1940 US Federal Census living in the home of Harry I. and Marie W. Shingler listed as their adopted son. 

The picture above is the tombstone for Edith Irene Lewis. I only know that she was born on January 9th, 1870 in Charleston County, South Carolina and that she died on September 12th, 1891. I don't know if she died in Savannah or not but I am hoping that on my next trip to Savannah, the cemetery may have more information. The telephone number listed for the cemetery connects you with the city of Savannah as they own Bonaventure Cemetery.

Marion Pinckney Rivers was February 24th 1884 in Savannah, Georgia. On June 16th, 1908 in Savannah he married Henrietta Ruby Williams. They had one child, Marion Pinckney Rivers, Jr who was born in Savannah in 1912 and died in 1966. According to his death certificate, Marion died of a coronary occlusion. I have been unable to locate a death certificate for his wife Ruby but I believe she may have remarried or perhaps moved to another state which will make finding her more difficult.

As you can see in the above picture it is clear there are other family members buried in this plot. There are no tombstones just small area which makes me wonder if some of Horace & Adele's children died in early adulthood. There are two children, Herbert T and Mary Rivers that were born in 1885 and 1888, respectively. They are both accounted for in the 1900 and the 1910 federal census records however, after that I lose track of them. I have scoured marriage and death records to no avail for them both. 

It is a rather large plot and there is evidence that others were there as well. The only people I know for certain who is not buried there is Horace Rivers, Jr. and his wife, Marguerite Walker Rivers. I will be making another trip to Savannah to do more research at the cemetery in June. Hopefully I will find some more answers.


Kiosk, Bonaventure Cemetery, 330 Bonaventure Road, Savannah, Georgia 31404
Phone: 912-651-6843

Death Certificates, Vital Records, Public Health, RG 26-5-95, Georgia Archives, ( : 27 April 2015)
Digital Collection: Georgia Death Certificates, Horace Rivers 10 September 1922

"Tennessee, Death Records, 1914-1955," database & image, FamilySearch ( : accessed 27 April 2015), entry for Adel Lewis Rivers, Died 18 October 1931;citing FHL microfilm 1,876,782.

Georgia, Deaths, 1928-1939, database & image, Family Search ( : 27 April 2015) entry for Marion P. Rivers, Died 25 June 1931 citing Atlanta, Fulton, Georgia, United States, CN-31-15076, Georgia Archives, Morrow.

South Carolina Deaths, 1915-1943, database & image, Family Search ( : 27 April 2015) entry for Horace Rivers, 1 September 1932, citing Charleston, South Carolina, fn-13209, Dept. of Archives and History, State Records Center, Columbia; FHL microfilm 1, 943,783.

South Carolina Deaths, 1915-1943, database & image, Family Search ( : 27 April 2015), entry for Marguerite Walker Rivers, 13 June 1930, citing Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina, fn-9513, Dept. of Archives and History, South Carolina, State Records Center, Columbia; FHL microfilm 1,913,723.

United States Census, 1940, database & image, Family Search ( : 28 April 2015), entry for Lewis W. Rivers in the household of Harry I. Shingler, James Island Township, Charleston, South Carolina, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 10-73, sheets 1A, family 5, NARA digital publication T627 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012), roll 3795.

Copyright © Dawning Genealogy/Dawn M Kogutkiewicz 2014-2015, All rights reserved.  


  1. Very cool... Marion Pinckney Rivers is my biological great-grandfather. Thanks for the post and pictures!

  2. Does your research reveal a relation between Marion Pinckney Rivers and Charles Pinckney, the famous Gov. of S.C.?


    1. Michael,

      I have come across the Pinckney's in my research but so far I have not come across any of the men who are named Charles and only one Thomas and his dates don't match those of the former Governor. Perhaps they could be cousins?

  3. I'm thinking that it is very likely that they are related since both the Rivers and Pinckneys were prominent in Charleston. Let me know if you come across anything, I'd love to know.

    All the best!