JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - Charleston County Parks and Recreation has known about the cemetery at the McLeod Plantation on James Island since they took ownership of the site several years ago.
When McLeod Plantation became part of Charleston County Parks, they weren’t sure how to properly honor those resting there. Several years later, they have more information and are determining the scope of this project.
Toby Smith, with Charleston County Parks, and Recreation says this space was used from 1777 to 1965. Many who pass by don’t realize the cemetery exists.
“We’re at the point of finding the obituaries from some of the folks who live here determining the scope and parameters of this space,” Smith says.
CCPR initially believed there were remains of about 100 people in the space. Their contractor, New South Associates, however, was able to determine there are roughly 300 buried there.
Smith says they are now looking to connect the descendants of those buried at this site
“It is remarkable to think about the life and times of the people who are resting. Some of those folks go all the way back to the period of enslavement, others come all the way forward,” Smith says.
The cemetery on McLeod Plantation isn’t a traditional cemetery where every plot has a headstone; only a few people had that luxury. Through processes like ground-penetrating radar and detection dogs, contractors were able to pinpoint all the places they believe remains are located and marked them with flags.
Each flag has a number, and they will be uploaded to a computer system which will allow CCPR to map where everyone was laid to rest.
CCPR is asking for input from anyone in the community who has any additional information about the site or its descendants.
”We’d like to gather all of the names with the beginning of their life and the end of their life so we can begin to tell the stories of who they are in the middle,” Smith says.
Adam Ronan, project manager, says there’s potential to formalize this cemetery but that won’t be determined until they have more input from families and descendants. Ronan says their wishes will be a big factor in their decision-making.
If you are a descendant or have information about the McLeod cemetery, please contact Matthew Rosebrock of the Charleston County Parks Foundation via email at firstname.lastname@example.org; or Toby Smith, the Cultural History Interpretation Coordinator, at 843-762-9508 or by email at email@example.com.
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