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Four people buried at the Airport


May 16, 2021

When a Georgia airport expanded a runway during World War II, it paved over a family burial site. The family’s descendants allowed all but four of the 100 graves to be moved. Two graves remain at the edge of runway 10 and 28, while two more are off to the side.

The international airport was built on former farmland. When the Savannah airport needed to expand during World War II, the land included a burial site belonging to the Dotson family. It was estimated to have had about 100 graves, including those of slaves.

The removal of the graves was met with resistance from descendants of the Dotson family. Believing that their ancestors wouldn’t have wanted to abandon the land they worked to cultivate, the Dotson family insisted on keeping the matriarch and patriarch in their original burial spot.

The graves of Richard and Catherine Dotson, the farmers who originally owned the land and died in 1884 and 1877, sit on the edges of runways 10 and 28. The marker on Richard’s grave says “At rest,” while Catherine’s says “Gone home to rest.”

Two more graves of Dotson relatives – those of Daniel Hueston and John Dotson – can be found nearby in the brush near the airport’s most active runway. Family members are allowed to visit with an airport escort, though they are not permitted to leave flowers. It is, after all, an active runway.

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