This historic plaque, a bit hard to read indicates this is the site where the historic Zion Chapel of Ease, St. Lukes Parish stood. All that remains is the historic cemetery. Founded in 1767, consecrated in 1833, and destroyed in 1868. Many of the names appearing on these stones tell many stories of Hilton Head Island. In the Pre-Revolutionary War period, the Island was divided into Parishes. This historic cemetery is located on Mathews Drive, named for Phillip Mathews, the first Rector of the Chapel. Specifically it is located on Mathews near Folly Field Road, and William Hilton Parkway--Route 278. I spoke about one of these familes, The Baynard's with regard to The Baynard Ruins.
I have visited and documented many cemeteries, so my reaction to this cemetery came as a surprise. It was dark, damp, and frankly spooky. I've never felt that before when I visited cemeteries. The thick canopy of the tree's keep out the light of day, and the moss hangs low from the trees, somewhat too close to my face for comfort. Grass doesn't seem to grow in this dank atomosphere. Many Revolutionary War Hero's are buried here; and while some of the stones have been replaced and a flag or two were visible; it seemed that many years had passed with little care, and perhaps vandalism. I felt a bit uneasy here, hubby was waiting in the car; so I wasn't alone--but. I didn't know until I returned home and did some research why I had such a uncomfortable feeling.
Mr. Baynard lost his wife from yellow fever, on their wedding day. He was very distraught. His wife died in 1830, his home raided during The Civil War, used as a headquarters for The Union Army and then left in ruins. The Chapel, his chapel abandoned when the plantation owners fled the Union forces to the mainland, destroyed in 1868 by those remaining on the Island in need of the wood--he haunts this land. Yes, this is reported as a haunted location.
Many of the stones are totally covered with moss and lichen and hard to read. Some didn't appear to be readable at all. However, sometimes different light can make a difference in ones' ability to read the stones.
You can see how the tree's canopy adds to the spooky feeling of this little cemetery. It appeared it had been forgotten for quite some time, and then some caring person or group has brought it back.
This crooked stone is half eaten by the tree, a site I've seen far too often. It saddens me. Sometimes nothing of the stone can be read when this happens. And sometimes it's a graveyard so forgotten, no one has records to know whom the person or the family that the marker represents was.
Overview of the Island Here
Beach post of the Island here