History and Genealogy

Podcast Episode 2 – Feedback Wanted



taphophile (plural taphophiles)

  1. A person who is interested in cemeteries, funerals and gravestones

People often wander through old cemeteries, and they do so for different reasons. Some are interested in genealogy and finding ancestors. Some are interested in the history represented by the lives lived within the cemetery. Some like the artwork of the headstones, and some like the literary discovery of epitaphs. A few are either drawn to, or repulsed by the creepy factor of old graveyards.

Stone carving was an expensive proposition, and prominent families often sought the best masons. The most successful stone carvers were located in Charleston, but their work can be found throughout the state. The next RandomConnections podcast looks at the history of funerary art in South Carolina and some of the practitioners of headstone masonry.

If you are one of those that likes to visit historic cemeteries, please take a minute to respond to one or more of of the following questions:

What are some of the reasons that you like to explore old cemeteries?


What is the most unusual thing that you’ve found in a cemetery?


If you could design any kind of tombstone (for yourself or anyone else), what would it be?

The app below will allow a 20 second recording, and I will receive the response as an MP3 file.

Your responses will be used throughout the upcoming podcast episode. I appreciate your participation.

DISCLAIMER: Names will not be used in the podcast. You will be anonymous, except for the sound of your voice. I can even alter that upon request. I reserve the right to edit and omit as I see fit. I’ll do my best to to make you sound good, and I promise not to rearrange your words to make you say something you didn’t. If you leave your e-mail address, I’ll send you a note to let you know when your voice is going to be included in the next episode.

Days of Future Past



Here it is! Here’s the first episode of the Random Connections podcast!

The first episode is based on one of the earliest posts on the blog. I had made a list of science fiction predictions that would have come to pass by 2004 in a post entitled “Yesterday’s Tomorrows.” Ten years later I updated the list in “Yesterday’s Tomorrows, Revisited.”

This year, 2015, is a landmark for retro-futurists. It’s the year of Back to the Future, Part 2. Quite a bit has already been written in popular culture about the things that had been predicted that we don’t have – flying cars, hoverboards, and Jaws 13.

This podcast episode is in three parts, first, I asked several scientists what they thought about these predictions. Which predictions were the biggest disappointments? What inventions would they LIKE to see? In part two I look at some predictions that have come true, including a personal observation about a 1963 short story. Finally, Dwight Moffitt and I run down an updated list from the Yesterday’s Tomorrows post.

So, enjoy! I’m already working on the next episode, which should come out next month.

Update: After listening to the episode, I wasn’t happy with it. Therefore, I’ve done some brutal editing. I have left the original available. If you would like the full, director’s cut, you can download it here:

Random Connections – Days of Future Past, Director’s Cut

Also, the podcast is now available in iTunes. Be sure to subscribe!

Darby Road Discoveries

Double Springs School

Double Springs School, Greer, SC

I got a message from one of my compatriots on the Abandoned, Old, and Interesting in South Carolina group on Facebook. She was telling me about a couple of old schools in the area that I might have missed. One of the schools in question was Double Springs School, just around the corner from Double Springs Baptist Church on Highway 290 north of Greer. My FB friend said that her father had attended school there, so I figured the claim was legit. I checked out one of the locations in Streetview, and, sure enough, there was a school I had completely overlooked.

Since was it was fairly close, last Tuesday afternoon I decided to check it out. I had to run up to Furman, so I was cutting across country, across the back side of Paris Mountain, to get to the location. Along the way, I made a few other discoveries. (more…)

Laurens Cemetery Ramble

Little Earle Martin

Little Earle Martin

A few weeks ago Facebook user Tim Bray posted an intriguing photo on the Abandoned, Old, and Interesting Places in South Carolina group.  The photo was of a statue on the grave of “Little Earle” Martin, located in the Laurens City Cemetery. As I read Tim’s descriptions of his visit, I realized that even though I’d grown up in Laurens County, I had never visited that cemetery. It was high time to check it out, and that opportunity finally came on Friday of this week.

All week the sky was a hazy shade of winter. Friday was the first clear day to lighten our moods in quite awhile. Makes sense that we’d go on a cemetery ramble. That wasn’t our first intent, though. Sister Glynda had just returned from Florida visiting grandkids. She had stayed at our house the night before, and I drove her home that morning. The heat had been off while she was gone, so we decided to go for a drive while the house warmed up. Laurens is only ten miles from Gray Court, so it looked like this would be the perfect time to visit. In addition to the Laurens Cemetery, we explored some family history, and even found another old school. (more…)

Grave Matters at the Savannah River

Savannah River from Stokes Bluff with LCU Nov 7, 2014, 4-18 PM Nov 8, 2014, 9-039

Headstone in the Rip Rap at Stokes Bluff

Yesterday when we were kayaking on the Savannah River we found something rather disturbing. About a half mile south of Stokes Bluff Landing on the South Carolina side of the river several headstones were embedded in the rip rap along the bank.

DCIM107GOPRO (more…)

The Mystery of the Cross(es)


North Carolina Cross

As you drive through several communities in Western North Carolina, you will see wooden crosses dotting the countryside. These crosses are free-standing, about ten feet high, and bear a message, usually something like “Jesus Saves from Sin” or “Jesus Died for Sinners.” These are found in front of Baptist churches in the area, and occasionally in front of private homes.

North Carolina Cross
North Carolina Cross
North Carolina Cross (more…)

Pottersville Follow-up


Pottersville Excavation-027

October 20, 2014

When I visited the Pottersville archeology dig last week, they were just getting started. I wanted to see how they were progressing, so I headed back down there. Plus, I wanted to get back to some of the school locations I’d missed.

I headed down early, but not as early as I had last time. I wanted to make sure they were underway when I arrived. I drove straight down without distraction, and made it there by about 10:00. Once again, only Nicole and Carrie were at the site. (more…)

Topiary, Camden, and More Schools


Kershaw House

Thursday, October 16, 2014

It had been a busy week. I had been to Georgia, Laura had been to Florida and returned just in time for her birthday, and now it was time for another ramble through South Carolina. Several weeks ago, before all the craziness began, Dwight and I had agreed to try a phototrek down his way. Dwight said he had never been to Camden, so we decided to head that way. We would also throw in a trip out to Pearl Fryar’s Topiary Garden.

I picked up Dwight in Columbia, and we headed east out of town in I-20. We passed the exits for Lugoff and Camden, then took an exit we thought might be the correct one. Turns out we still had a few miles to go. No matter, we took two lane roads on into the town of Bishopville. Along the way we spotted a couple of interesting sites, such as an antique hearse and a Hogwarts wannabe. We even crossed the Scape Ore Swamp, home of the legendary Lizard Man.

Antique Hearse
Little Wizards

We entered Bishopville and turned south onto Highway 15. At Broad Acres Road we saw the sign for Pearl Fryar’s Topiary Garden, so we turned that way. (more…)

A Tour through Mid-Georgia – Part One

Philomath Church

Philomath Presbyterian Church

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Houston had stayed overnight after our Ghost Tour of Woodburn Plantation the night before. He had Monday off, and since Laura was out of town, Glynda and I decided to head down to Athens with him for a road trip. Of course, this would be one of our typical rambling road trips, full of history and interesting sights.

…and, of course, we couldn’t really take interstates. We headed down Augusta Road, then cut through Belton, Antreville, and the town of Iva. Just out from Iva we spotted a sign for one of my ghost towns.

Moffetsville (more…)

A Tour through Mid-Georgia – Part Two

Central School

Central School

Monday, October 12, 2014

On Sunday we toured several historic Georgia communities, including one with family ties. After spending some family time with Glynda and Houston at his house in Athens, we decided to head out for more exploring.

After a big breakfast we headed south on Highway 441. Just southwest of Watkinsville we came to the area’s Heritage Park. The first building you see was the old Central School, which used to be on Colham Ferry Road.

Central School (more…)

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