Finding information about the South Saluda Church online was difficult at best. The cemetery isn’t listed in Find-a-Grave, but it does show up on a GPS survey of cemeteries in the county. Sadly, this doesn’t provide any other information than location.
Mark made a trip to the library and was able to find William Blythe and William and Mattie Keith in a 1910 census for the county. They were identified as African American sharecroppers. This identified the church as an African American congregation, and Mark was able to find a deed for the church confirming this. Book SS, pages 834 and 835 states, in part, as follows:
I, Lizzie Hagood, in the State and County of aforesaid for and in consideration for the sum of five dollars and my regard for the religious benefit of the colored people of the Community have granted, bargained, sold, and released and by these presents do grand, bargain, sell and release unto the Deacons of South Saluda Ridge Colored Baptist Church … and their successors for the use of said church…
…Witness my hand and seal, this 13th day of August in the year of our Lord one thousand hundred and eighty-six. Johnson Hagood and Lizzie Hagood.
The church was established in this location in 1886. Most of the headstones in the cemetery are from the early 20th Century. This explains why I couldn’t find much with my usual resources. A small country African American church of that time would not have received much covered in the mainstream newspapers. The only time Blacks received recognition was if they did something bad or unusual. I found several such cases.
First up was a 1927 article from The Greenville News about “Uncle” Mack Boyd, one of the first names I identified on the headstones. This was an obituary that carried Boyd’s own account of how he was sold into slavery as a child in Anderson for $1000. The story is told in dialect that is cringe-worthy to modern ears. The manner of Boyd’s death in an automobile accident is told in graphic detail, more to evoke spectacle rather than sympathy. It states that he was buried at “South Saluda Baptist Church.”
On the other end was the obituary of Louise Hagood. With that last name I wondered if she were related to the original Hagoods on the deed. Louise died in 1967 and it says that she had been clerk at South Saluda.
One of the more interesting people was Mack Carr. I didn’t see his grave, but there were several of his offspring buried at South Saluda. The article I found stated that he was a successful sharecropper. Again the language from the time period is cringe-worthy.
In 1934 he was tried “on the charge of bastardy”, having a child out of wedlock. At least, I’m assuming this is the same Mack Carr and not someone with the same name, like a Junior.
Just a year later, Mack Carr died at the age of 63, assuming it was the same Mack Carr. It’s interesting that he is now referred to as a “respected Negro”, which makes me wonder if this was the same person. Regardless, he was rather prolific with two sons and seven daughters.
Some have said that an interest in cemeteries is morbid. I disagree. I find that these lives are fascinating. Especially in these marginalized communities I think it’s important that these people are remembered, not for any oddities, but as individuals who tried to get by as best they could. To me, this makes the preservation of the Tall Pines WMA all the more poignant. I’m glad that SCDNR was able to preserve it. I just hope that they are able to clean up the cemetery and give it the respect it deserves.
17 thoughts on “Buried in the Tall Pines”
This is the most interesting article I have read in a very long time. Certainly makes a person do some hard thinking about the place we will reside in the afterlife will look like after so many years. I truly the read. Thank you for taking your time and effort to print an article such as this.
Great article! I love finding old cemeteries and sharing the pictures and info for others to find. Awesome job!
Excellent post, Tom! I was not aware of any of this. The “lighthouse” in the middle of the lake makes me want to take a ride out there. Thank you for the great info on this area and the interesting characters who once lived here.
Thank you for the information here. I have walked part of the property, and can’t wait to get back and do more exploring on foot, or by kayak. Very interesting history of this place, and I am glad that DNR now has this property, and it will be protected for future generations to enjoy. My only concern is that the public will take care of this land and water as if it were their own. It is up to us, the hikers, fishermen, hunters and nature lovers to protect this place, and it’s history, as well. Thanks.
Amazing finds!! Just wanted to say that the white glass is a milk glass vase. I own one, so I recognized the pattern. ♡
I’m curious… Are you posting these graves and memories on findagrave.com?
I have not, yet, mainly because I wasn’t sure that I had enough information and the number of graves was rather sparse. I’d like to see what SCDNR does with clean up so that the site can be documented properly.
Tom I lived across Moody Bridge when the WIlkinsons still owned it and their daughter lived in the old farm house. We had a meager 75 acres and decided to get out of Dodge when the Wilkinson kids sold the place to the developers. That was just about the time things went south in the market and I’m pretty sure that’s what saved Tall Pines from being another cheesy golfing development. I truly wonder if the WIlinsons even knew about the cemetery! Great article!
This was very interesting. My ancestors cam from Glassy Mountain, and I love finding more about the area. Thanks for what you do.
Thank you for sending this article to me. It’s a very interesting blog post. As a society we have certainly quit thinking that the dead are sacred. Cemeteries across the state are falling to ruin. But I’m so glad this wild land is protected.
Very interesting article! I love old history and old cemetery’s! Interested in hearing more of your research on Tall Pines, South Saluda Baptist Church, the lakes, the cemetery, and the property!
What an amazing and interesting story! The details made it come alive. My ancestors settled in northern Greenville and Pickens counties in the late 1700s and I love reading stories about that area. Thanks!
Great article and welcome to the “I love old stuff” club…could be graves, houses, roads, books, and of course cemeteries/graves and now old people…good job!
Hi Tom, great post, and thanks for coming along! I finally completed my own post yesterday:
Amazing story and photos. Thank you so much for perking my interest in learning more. My great great grandparents also settled around Greenville and Pickens Counties. Really has me curious now to see if family members are buried there in the cemetery. But, regardless, great research and photos. My hat off to you and Mark.
My family is from Pickens and Cleveland where I grew up and my Dad worked for Ga Pacific Lumber Mill in Cleveland and My Grandfather worked as a Blacksmith .
The Graves of William and Mattie Keith’s daughter Vienna were Black folk . don’t know if the South Saluda Church was a Black Congregation but back in those days I know for a fact Black and White folk attended the same church.These were poor farmers and farm laborers. Poshields @ yahoo .com
We have a friend who is 80 and remembers going to this church as a child. Mary Carr, the headstone picture you took is his great great grandmother. He has been looking for this cemetery for several years. We would love to take him up there. Can you please give me some detailed directions how to get to the cemetery. Thank you for posting this. We told him about your post and showed him the pictures, He is very excited!!