Lancaster County, South Carolina
ESI conducted a preliminary reconnaissance of an approximately 1,980-acre property in Lancaster County, South Carolina, for LGI Development, Inc. This reconnaissance noted the existence of a single headstone and footstone that appeared displaced from their original location. As development plans call for ground-disturbing activities in this area, the client requested that ESI conduct a cemetery investigation due to the potential of unmarked graves
In order to address the concern for the potential for unmarked graves in the vicinity of the markers, ESI conducted investigations in the 0.5-acre area surrounding the grave markers (project area) during December 2007 and January 2008. The goal of this investigation was to evaluate the potential of the area to contain marked and unmarked grave sites and to conduct background research in order to determine the identity of any individuals interred on the property.
In summary, the property was historically owned by the Gibson family, a series of wealthy, white, absentee landlords, but occupied by the Witherspoons, Stratfords, and other African-American tenant farmers. Although only two named interments were indicated by the formally carved grave markers, fieldstones and depressions in the vicinity indicate that as many as 10 to 18 additional graves could be present. Census records and other historic documents provided likely names for unmarked graves.
Gravestone located during the investigation
Locations of unmarked graves in the cemetery