Lord, I Was Born A Ramblin’ Man (The Allman Brothers Connection to Rose Hill Cemetery)

“When it’s time for leaving, I hope you’ll understand, that I was born a Ramblin’ man”

It’s no secret what impact the Allman Brothers Band had on music.  Some even argue that their influence still lingers in both rock and even country today.  It’s not hard to find a YouTube video, or link explaining how their style, as unique as it was, made such a permanent impression on music. 

Locally, however, they have always been the “hometown boys” of Macon.  Residing in The Big House and having what some would call an obsession with Rose Hill Cemetery, they definitely rambled (pun intended.)  Both of those locations are known to be “haunted” hot spots, but what does history tell us about The Big House?

2321 Vineville Avenue, Macon, Georgia, actually has a simple beginning from a quite impressive person.  It found its birth in 1900,  from a man named Nathaniel Harris. Historically, Mr. Harris is significant in the fact that he was the last Governor of Georgia who fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War.  Nathaniel was also instrumental in the becoming of Georgia Tech.  According to “Haunted Central Georgia”, by Jim Miles, Nathaniel Harris was very close to having Georgia Tech located in Macon instead of Atlanta (Could you imagine?)  The home boasts 6000 square feet, a ballroom and many unique stained glass windows.  What happened in this home, as far as death or dismay, remains a bit of mystery with nothing more than hearsay to work off of (yes, we may be wrong about that, we’d love to hear if we are.)

Photo Courtesy of nytimes.com

What is known, however, is that The Big House wouldn’t be rented by the Oakleys (from ABB)  until the late 1960s and become the origin of many songs written by them.  During this time, Duane Allman and Berry Oakley met an untimely death in tragic accidents.  One can only wonder exactly what went down in the home with a group of rock stars living there.  What songs were written there that we still listen to today?

Currently, and thankfully, the residence was turned into a museum for the Allman Brothers Band, which immortalized it foreverThe “haunted happenings” that happen there range from innocent “spirits” to “entities” causing accidents, all the way to what seems to be a kleptomaniac ghost, who loves to steal items.  You’ll have to visit the Big House yourself to learn more.

So, what about Rose Hill and the Allman Brothers Band?  Well, it feels like it may have been just a cool spot to hang out for them.  Maybe it was an odd obsession, who knows? We, at Middle Georgia Haunted History, would like to think that they were so intrigued by the mystery and history of the grounds that it brought them peace.  One thing is for sure, they definitely made an impact on certain graves.

Besides the four Band members who are resting now, there are at least three graves that are famous because of them.  The first, Elizabeth Napier Reed.  Her grave is located in the back of the cemetery, in its own private little spot.  Perhaps, that’s what inspired the song named after her?  It turns out, no.  The song was actually written by the guitarist, Dickey Betts, who used her name to hide who he was really writing the song about, a woman in which he had an affair with.  He did, however, write it in that spot and it was often frequented by him and the band members.

Elizabeth Napier Reed’s Grave, Photo Courtesy of MGHH

Next, we have the ever-so-famous “Little Martha” grave that holds a beautiful, yet sad, tribute to the little girl buried there.  Her name was Martha EllisDid they write “Little Martha” about her?  No.  According to a member of “The Marshall Tucker Band” that instrumental was written, yet again, for another girl who dated Greg and has nothing to do with this grave.

Little Martha. Photo Courtesy of 65mb on flickr.com

Lastly, the Mausoleum of Joseph Bond made its way to one of their album covers.  We’ve covered this grave and the man behind it extensively during other cases, including the hay house case, and the vampire of Rose Hill Cemetery.  We will note, this grave has been highly vandalized throughout the years, and one has to wonder if the band’s picture plays a role in that.

Site of the Famous Album Cover. Photo Courtesy of MGHH

Nonetheless, we are thankful for the Band and their amazing accomplishments.  We are also equally thankful for the owners of The Big House for providing the collection of memorabilia that resides there and letting us all see it!

Hey!  We hope you enjoyed this post!  As always, Rose Hill is a beautiful place and should never be desecrated, vandalized or trespassed upon. That includes lighting candles for them to melt on graves. Never do it. The four band members buried there are all grouped together in a beautiful tribute to their lives.  Do your part to make it a better place!  Also, check out https://thebighousemuseum.com/ to learn more about The Big House.



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