Story of 4 Graves on a Runway at the International Airport in Georgia

Jené Liebenberg
May 23, 2021
08:40 P.M.

An airport in Georgia has a runway that is home to four graves. These graves are the only burial sites found within a working runway that stretches further than 9000 feet.


Runway 10 at Savannah/ Hilton Head International Airport in Georgia holds a unique history. Richard and Catherine Dotson's graves lie beneath the runway's tarmac.

Daniel Hueston and John Dotson lie next to their relatives and have found their final resting place next to the busy runway, which services commercial and general airplanes.

Airplane on a runway. | Pexels/ Jerry Wang

Airplane on a runway. | Pexels/ Jerry Wang


The four graves found their way under airplane wheels when a runway expansion project during the second World War led to the acquisition of the Dotson private family cemetery.

The Dotsons agreed to have more than 100 of the graves at the site moved but negotiated that Richard and Catherine Dotson and two of their relatives, Daniel Hueston and John Dotson, not be moved. The airport website explains the agreement:


"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 Georgia airport was originally built on land used for farming. They didn't require the use of the ground used for the cemetery but expansion plans made to accommodate the army saw a change in plans.


The Dotsons' family members are allowed to visit the graves when escorted by airport officials.

The airport website reveals that the Dotson's land was acquired to be used as the command base and training station for one of the sections of the Army Air Corps during World War II.


While the remains of more than 100 buried persons were moved to Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, the Dotson family patriarch and matriarch remained at the original burial site.


Stan Deaton, a senior historian in Georgia, shared his opinion about preserving the graves amidst all the changes around them. He said:

"Somehow the fact that they are still there resting in peace says something about the people who have been caretakers of this city for a long time."


Richard and Catherine Dotson's wish to remain loyal to their land has been upheld, and now they lie in one not only with their farmland but also with the continuous traffic of airplanes.


The burial site has also provoked stories of supernatural occurrences at runway 10. A regional airline captain, Lisa Ruedy, shared the stories that have spread across the Savannah/ Hilton Head International Airport.

Ruedy revealed that if a pilot comes into the airport to land just before sundown, two figures can be seen on the north side of the runway, and they are believed to be Richard and Catherine.

The Dotsons' family members are allowed to visit the graves when escorted by airport officials, but they are not allowed to leave flowers on the runway as it may result in complications with the airplanes.

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