We found several mostly intact headstones with legible inscriptions. There were several from the Keith, Carr, and Boyd families.
The names that seemed most prominent were Mack Boyd, Mack Carr, and William Keith. Mostly we found offspring of these three, but I made a note of the names for further research. As we wandered around the site we came upon more headstones, including one fieldstone with Carr hand-scratched upon it.
One name in particular got us excited. We came across one William Blythe and wondered if he might be related to the family for whom Blythe Shoals was named.
We looked for any sign of the church apart from the cemetery. Several limbs had fallen in such a way and rotted so that it looked kind of like a foundation or part of a building, but that was probably just a bit of matrixing on our part. However, we did find something. There was a bit of glazed glass that looked like it might have been part of an old light fixture. There was also a brick and a terra cotta pot.
We continued to search the area. We found a couple more stones, but the fallen trees made it just too difficult. There were also several metal grave markers, but these were hard to decipher.
I hope DNR can get out here and reclaim the cemetery. Once again I found myself wishing I had a metal detector, not to dig up anything, but to look for evidence of what had been.
We hadn’t been brave enough to bushwhack up to the church, but going straight downhill back to the road wasn’t a problem. We cut a bit of a corner off of our trip.
We walked back to the parking lot then crossed the road to the field below the dam. The structure we had seen earlier looked like it might have been a mill. Beyond that the space opened up into a field that reached over to the South Saluda River.
Mark wanted to find one more building he had spotted on a map. Above the parking area a muddy road led along the lake shore. We reached a place where there had been a building recently, but it was now thatched with new grass. An amazing stand of bamboo bordered this open area.
We walked back down to the cars. I was going to leave early to prepare for the evening’s rehearsal and Mark was going to explore the area a bit more. As we said our goodbyes, we watch a guy launch a canoe and paddle out to the mysterious tower on the island. We’ll have to do that next time.
But we weren’t through with Tall Pines by a long shot. There was much research to do. I wanted to know more about the South Saluda Church and the lives forgotten upon that hill. Turn the page to find out more…