There are more than 60 known cemeteries on Fort Benning, most of which were private family plots or church cemeteries acquired through land expansion, as the federal government purchased land to grow Fort Benning during the early part of the 21st Century. That number does not include the many Native American burial grounds that have been paved over or unearthed in the last 100 years.*
Cemetery Number 2, near the Commissary Mall on Santa Fe Road, is the Parkman Family Cemetery. There are only 20 distinguishable graves, but likely more buried here. Fort Benning inherited this cemetery a land acquisition in 1918. The Parkman family had had owned the land since 1830. Their
There are some who believe it is the disgruntled spirit of David Richard Parkman who haunts the buildings along Santa Fe Road. He appears to be fairly run-of-the-mill, as far as hauntings go; he throws things, clears shelves and shows himself mostly to the custodians and employees who show up early or stay late. In fact, Parkman’s spirit, if that’s who it is, is one of the least notable ghosts on post. He’s far out-maneuvered by the ghost of Col. John Tate – you read about him last week – and a spectacular specter who resides on Baltzell Avenue on Main Post. She’s an out-of-work nanny or nursemaid looking for a job, apparently, as she likes to take charge of the children in the house and usually appears wearing a long dark dress, a full floor-length apron and a white cap. One resident said she often found her baby playing with “someone who wasn’t there.” He wasn’t old enough to stand or pull himself upright the first time his mom found him sitting in the middle of his room, after she had tucked him into his crib for a nap. When there are no children to mind, she looks for other entertainment, turning electronics on and off and occasionally playing the harmonica, usually after everyone has turned in for the night.
* As recently as 2011, bones and artifacts were unearthed during a utility project on Main Post. Representatives from various tribes determined the graves were likely more than 2,000 years old. Among the artifacts was a gorget, a tribal neckpiece that indicates one person was a chief or individual of elite status. “The gorget is a very significant piece,” said Robert Thrower, cultural director and tribal historic preservation officer with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. “It let us know this was not your typical burial. He was a very important person. … The odds of finding something like that was astronomical. It was in perfect condition.”
**John Stith Pemberton was the chemist who invented Coca Cola. In May 1862, Pemberton enlisted as a first lieutenant in the Confederate Army, and he organized Pemberton’s Calvary to guard the town of Columbus. In Pemberton’s last battle, the Battle of Columbus, he was shot and cut with a saber across the chest. He used morphine for his pain, and eventually became a morphine addict. Pemberton hit upon the recipe for Coca-Cola while experimenting coca and coca wines in an effort to ease his pain and cure his addiction. He is also buried in Linwood Cemetery in Columbus. You should check out Linwood Cemetery.
Bridgett Siter Directorate of Family & Morale, Welfare and Recreation, Fort Benning, Georgia