Eric from “A Day’s Drive from Greenville” recently wrote about a trip he took to the “Children’s Graveyard” near Furman University. His descriptions and photos made me want to take a visit for myself, so today I set off in search of this supposedly haunted location.
I had only heard about this graveyard recently while reading about ghost stories of the Upstate. It’s odd that throughout all my years of association with Furman and the Furman area I was never aware of this cemetery. However, it is easy to overlook the entrance, and the area has been left undeveloped.
Thanks to Eric’s lat/long coordinates, I was able to find the spot with no trouble. The entrance road, Thackston Road on Google Maps, has huge holes in the pavement and doesn’t look like something that’s really accessible. If you didn’t know what you were looking for, you would drive right by.
The road goes back about a hundred yards and ends a a huge patch of kudzu. The cemetery is off to the right, and one lone headstone sits right next to the road, with more further back.
The cemetery is actually the old church graveyard of Duncan Chapel Methodist Church. As Eric had noted, there are lots of children’s graves, but there are also many adult graves. It’s possible that the site got its moniker because many of the headstones are smaller. Some of the adult headstones are smaller than, or the same size as the children’s stones.
The cemetery is in very bad repair. Many of the headstones have been damaged, either through natural decay or vandalism. At least two graves appear to have been looted, and the area is strewn with trash. It was disheartening to see this cemetery in such a state, and that these people might have been forgotten.
Also forgotten seems to be the church itself. I can’t seem to find any record of Duncan Chapel Methodist Church online. However, the entire area bears record of its existence – Duncan Chapel Road, Duncan Chapel Elementary School, etc., etc. One would think that a church that lent its name to so many locations would have more information. I may try checking the Greenville library to see if I can find anything else.
On the other side of Thackston Road is an intriguing set of ruins. There are some unusual concrete and brick foundation works and the remnants of shingles. I don’t know if this was a house, or if it is the ruins of the old church. The floorplan looks unusual, with steps leading to several levels.
The back end of the ruins have given way to the kudzu, which covers the area between the end of Thackston to The Vinings apartment complex. The kudzu itself was in bloom with beautiful pink-purple flowers.
The sense of ruin and neglect started to get to me, so it was time to go. I had to wonder about the future of this site. With Holmes Bible College moving next door, I would hope that some effort would be made for preservation. This is one area that I actually think development might help. At least it would raise awareness of the site. I would hope that any potential developers would be sensitive to the location, and would work preservation into their plans. Then again, the cost and concerns associated with such preservation might be one reason while the site has gone undeveloped for so long.