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Allman Brothers Band members’ graves share cemetery tour with ax murder victims

Allman Brothers graves are just a short walk from ax murder victims

Gregg Allman's grave will be featured in the "Something Old and Something New" Rose Hill Ramble Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, which is the 46th anniversary of Duane Allman's death and 127 years since Tom Woolfolk was hanged for the ax murders of nine fam
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Gregg Allman's grave will be featured in the "Something Old and Something New" Rose Hill Ramble Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, which is the 46th anniversary of Duane Allman's death and 127 years since Tom Woolfolk was hanged for the ax murders of nine fam

The Allman Brothers’ graves have long prompted pilgrimages to Rose Hill Cemetery from fans across the world.

But the Macon burial ground along the Ocmulgee River also is the final resting place for another famous family, the Woolfolks.

Sunday, stories of the superstars of Southern rock will share the Rose Hill Ramble with the gruesome tale of the Woolfolk massacre of 1887.

The bi-annual tour of the cemetery occurs on the 127th anniversary of the hanging of Tom Woolfolk, who was sentenced to death in the ax murder of nine family members.

On Oct. 29, 1890, 10,000 people traveled to Perry to see Woolfolk put to death for the massacre on the family plantation off what is now Thomaston Road in Bibb County.

The victims are in a modest grave plot, but questions about the killing and Woolfolk’s guilt have not been laid to rest.

“This is a very solemn space in the cemetery,” historian Phil Comer said Thursday, reflecting on the supposed innocence of Tom Woolfolk in Georgia’s largest mass murder.

A former worker on the farm later confessed.

“He, too, was executed in South Carolina, but not for these murders, but for later murders,” he said. “Apparently it was really unfortunate Tom was executed in a kind of rush to justice.”

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Phil Comer, center, will lead Sunday’s Rose Hill Ramble that will visit graves of the Allman Brothers and the slain Woolfolk family from 1887. JASON VORHEES jvorhees@macon.com

Comer will share the story as he leads Sunday’s Rose Hill Ramble that will include stops at the grave of Gregg Allman, who was buried in June next to brother Duane and band member Berry Oakley.

“Their graves have been the most visited spot in Rose Hill, but now with Gregg there’s just been a constant stream of people to pay homage, and the graves are just covered with little mementos people leave,” Comer said.

The tour coincides with the 46th anniversary of Duane Allman’s death after a fatal motorcycle accident.

Oakley met the same fate a year later.

Although the brothers are separated by a walkway, plans are being considered to create a larger monument that could allow the band members to rest together.

The “Something Old and Something New” trek from 2-4 p.m. Sunday also features some of the oldest graves in the Bibb County public cemetery and a look at the old Hebrew burial ground.

The Ramble costs $5 but is free for members of Friends of Rose Hill Cemetery.

Participants must be able to stand for about 90 minutes and walk the hilly terrain.

The event is hosted by Historic Macon and Friends of Rose Hill.

Nearly 1,500 people fill Rose Hill Cemetery on Saturday to pay final respects to Macon's beloved Gregg Allman.

Liz Fabian: 478-744-4303, @liz_lines

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