Two Historic Cemeteries and a Mill
A winter holiday, and I was itching to get out and do some exploring. I had a new camera to try out, and wanted to put it through its paces. Unfortunately, I couldn’t roam too far. Fellow explorer Alan came over, and we found a nice compromise. We headed over to the Pelham area to explore the old mill and Ebenezer Methodist Church.
Pelham Mill Park is one of my favorite photography destinations. There are lots of textures, water, and interesting structures for subject matter. I’ve visited in the past by myself and with fellow photographer Karen B. This was Alan’s first time visiting the park, as I was glad to have another newbie who might see something I had missed.
This site on the Enoree River was the location of one of the first cotton mills in the area. It reached its peak production in the years following the Civil War, and by the turn of the century employed 250 people and ran 10,000 spindles. The mill was destroyed by fire in 1940, leaving only the dam across the river, some foundations, and part of the old brick power station. The old mill office was across Highway 14 from the main part of the mill, and also survived.
The site was eventually added to the National Register of Historic Places, and in 1988 was taken over by the Greenville Recreation and Parks department for development as a historical park. The mill office was moved from its original location when Highway 14 was widened.
When Alan and I arrived the skies were overcast. We weren’t sure what lighting we would have, but we were just happy to be out and exploring. One of the first things we noticed was a new chain-link fence around the old office. Despite the fence, it looked like the area was still plagued by graffiti.
With the recent rains, water was roaring through the spillways in the dam. Alan and I toyed with how one might kayak through the dam, but quickly abandoned those ideas because of all the tricky maneuvering required through the rocks below.
For cameras I had my Nikon D7000, but what I really wanted to test was the little GoPro Hero 3. I used it to snap several shots, wanting to take advantage of the extreme wide-angle lens. I was pleased with the results.
The clouds were variable, and the skies alternated from gray to blue. If we had the time, I would have loved to have set up a time-lapse here with the GoPro.
Leaving Pelham Mills, Alan and I had lunch, then headed over to Ebenezer Methodist Church, just around the corner on Batesville Road.
Rev. Thomas Hutchings founded Ebenezer in the early 1800’s. Coincidentally, he was also the owner and founder of Pelham Mills, first known as Hutchings Mills. The current structure was built in 1848, and the white frame structure with stained glass windows is quite picturesque.
Of interest to us was the historic cemetery. I hadn’t visited since I’ve started looking for signature headstones, so I was curious to see if there were any in this graveyard. Most notable, though, was a problem with traffic. Batesville Road is very busy, but it can’t be widened because of the proximity of the church and the cemetery. To make matters worse, there is a curve right at the cemetery. It looked like several stones had been damaged over the years by wayward vehicles.
As far as signature stones are concerned, I found only one potential. Instead of a name, all I could make out was the word “Greenville”.
We documented several unusual names and one oddly placed “No Dumping” sign.
It was still fairly early in the afternoon. Since we were looking for signature stones, we decided to head downtown and check out the Christ Church Episcopal cemetery. Neither of us had really explored it, so we decided that would be our next stop.
Christ Church Episcopal
We entered the cemetery from the Washington Street entrance. Right off we noticed two things. First, there were a lot of names normally associated with Charleston, such as Legare and Pinckney. Secondly, these folks really liked tall, imposing headstones.
The Clevelands were especially elaborate, with “wooden” stone crosses and elaborate initials and stonework.
Speaking of the Clevelands, the cemetery was a Who’s Who of Greenville History – McBee, Beattie, Cleveland, Earle, on and on.
There was lots of interesting statuary. Of course, I can never look at a cemetery angel the same way since watching “Blink“. The other type of grave that seemed unusual was the “bath tub” style. This seemed to be more common for children, but I did see it for adult graves.
But, my main goal was to find signature stones. I did find some, but they were not the names I recognized. The names included B E Isadon from North Carolina, J Baird form Philadelphia, Hillhouse, and R. D. White, which seemed to be the only name associated with the famous stonemason dynasty from Charleston.
It was a great outing that didn’t venture too far from the house. The little camera performed very well, and I think both of us learned something about our area that we didn’t know before.
Here’s a slide show of all of my photos from the trip…