Home Airports The Two People Buried On A Runway At A Major U.S. Airport

The Two People Buried On A Runway At A Major U.S. Airport

by SharonKurheg

Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV) isn’t a particularly unusual airport. It’s got 15 gates and is served by Delta, JetBlue, United, American, American Eagle, Air Canada, Allegiant and Sun Country airlines. It serves as the world headquarters for Gulfstream Aerospace, and the Georgia Air National Guard’s 165th Airlift Wing is based at SAV. The airport handled a respectable 2.8 million commercial airline passengers in 2018 and is the second largest airport in the state of Georgia, only behind ATL because, let’s face it, it would take one HECK of an airport to be bigger than ATL.

However, SAV does have one little factoid that no other airport in the country has. Its 9,350-foot Runway 10 is thought to be the only active airport runway in the United States, and possibly the world, with marked gravestones in it.


Catherine and Richard Dotson have been buried on that land since 1877 and 1884, respectively. They were married for 50 years and the area where they’re buried was originally a family cemetery that had about 100 graves comprised of family members and slaves. However the land eventually became a part of SAV and the Dotsons remain buried there, underneath runway 10, along with two other family members, who are buried between runway 10 and 28.


PC: Pinterest



So how did this happen?

Well, it depends on what source you read. We do know that federal law usually prohibits anyone from moving a grave without permission of the next of kin. From there, the facts get a little foggy.

Wikipedia says:

…two graves of the Dotson Family, the earliest grave dating backed to 1857, were encountered during the construction of the runway. Since the next of kin could not be located, the graves were left undisturbed.

SAV’s website says:

…The Dotson’s great grandchildren negotiated with the federal government and all but four of their ancestors were relocated to Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah.

…The families wished for the graves to remain in place when westward extension of this East to West runway was required during World War II. The graves of Richard and Catherine Dotson along with two beloved relatives, Daniel Hueston and John Dotson, remain undisturbed in and next to the airport’s most active runway.

Frankly, I tend to side on SAV’s info. YMMV.



Her grave market says “Gone home to rest,” while his says, “At rest.”

I don’t know how much rest they’re getting on a major airport runway, but there ya go.

*** Huge thank-you to Michael G., for giving us a heads up on this topic!

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

1 comment

Carol October 31, 2019 - 9:13 pm

Fantastic little tid bit you dug up…very interesting!


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