Recordings of Tombstone Inscriptions
Carey Hill Cemeteries
Edgefield, South Carolina
Sameera V. Thurmond
At the time of this compilation (1985), the Shady Grove Cemetery grounds had been purchased by a Mr. J. Waters of Aiken County, South Carolina. It had not been learned what he intended to do with it, which raised the concern whether the site would be uprooted. That is why it was deemed necessary to record the inscripted tombstones. Beyond this, recordings are a useful tool for amateur and professional genealogists, particularly when vital statistics regarding African-Americans during the latter Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries were not abundant, sometimes non- existent.
Bear in mind that some or perhaps many burial sites had no tombstones; therefore, those remains will be relegated to anonymity. Corrie Brunson-Griffin stated that her grandmother, Amanda Thurmond and Amanda’s son, Tom Thurmond, were buried at Shady Grove but there are no tombstones for them. Far more people who were born in Edgefield and moved to the North, died and were buried there than were buried at their birthplace. Hattie Belle Bryant (nee Holmes) stated that her father, Henry Holmes and her mother, Rebecca Holmes-Sharpton, were buried at Poplar Springs without benefit of a tombstone. Mr. Holmes and the Reverend F. Wesley Thurmond founded Shady Grove when Rev. Thurmond became dissatisfied with his tenure at Poplar Springs. Rev. Thurmond pastored Shady Grove until his death in 1909.
Based on the year of deaths, Poplar Springs’ first burial would have been in April 1891 with the death of Harriet Sloughter; Shady Grove must have been founded in the year 1888 or before; and Carey Hill’s first recorded burial was in 1922.
Members of the same families variegated the spelling of their last names. The ‘Meriwether’ or ‘Merriwether’ or ‘Merriweather’ family name is a good example of their last names; yet the name was from two probable sources: the family of white Merriwethers or the Township of Merriwether, which in all likelihood was named for the white Merriwether Family. Aside from this explanation, variation in spelling was, no doubt, due to the fact that earlier Black families couldn’t spell that well....if at all....and may have had only a vague idea as to how the proper noun was spelled. Even given names were subject to unconventional spellings. One subject’s name was spelled “Birtha” rather than Bertha; another’s name was spelled “Edd”.
These records are exactly as the tombstones read.
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3 Nov 2000 | 24 Feb 2007
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