Saturday, November 28, 2009

Visit to the John Bates Family Cemetery

Last week Alisa and I had the opportunity to go to South Carolina to visit our new grandson, Dylan. While we were there, we followed Nancy's directions and went to look for John Bates' old homestead and the family cemetery. We were very blessed, because as we pulled up to the gate, one of the family members was leaving. She called her husband, who graciously showed us the cemetery.

The cemetery is located on a lonely hilltop in a small grove of trees. There are quite a few graves there, but only one Bates, Nancy Jane, the daughter of David Kennedy Bates. However, there are many headstones and markers buried in the briars and under years of debris. I have no way of knowing, but I could guess that John, Rebekah and Miss Kennedy, and other family members, like Thomas A., Robert, Elizabeth, and Isis, could be buried there as well. My guess is that John is not far from the old oak on the north side.

Words cannot describe the solemn feeling that enveloped me as we discussed John, his family, the homestead, and the history of other families in the area. We were on sacred ground.

I am so grateful to the current owner of the property for the care he has taken in preserving the resting places of our family. He spends hours each year removing shrubs and briars. He has reset headstones that have fallen over. Our family is in good hands.

The original homestead that John bought in 1783 was 300 acres. That has been broken up into smaller parcels, but is still largely undeveloped except for several homes and a workshop. It is beautiful rolling county, with deep decidious forests interspersed by open pastures that were painstakingly cleared over the years.
I have now idea how to do it, but I was left with a deep feeling that we, as a family, need to help preserve the cemetery. We need to help clear and clean it, and restore the broken monuments. Perhaps there are things to be discovered there. I hope and pray that we can all think about this and come up with some ideas on how we can do this. Add a comment or send me an email if you have any ideas at


  1. Wish I could have been there. I hope there is some way to retrieve info for the cemetary. I read once that the local churches or courthouses may have some info on them. Let me know what I can do.

  2. I would love to help someway. I will think on the matter. Maybe we can come up with some kind of plan. I wish I could have been there with you too. What a wonderful experience you had. Family is so important. There is a reason you felt so impressed by your visit.