Welcome to the International African American Museum! Advanced timed tickets are required for all visitors. Popular dates and times may be sold out.
14 Wharfside StreetCharleston, SC 29401
Museum open 10am to 5pm (last entry 4:00 PM) Tuesday-Sunday. Closed Monday.
IAAM will challenge, illuminate, inspire and, ultimately, will move people to action.
14 Wharfside Street — Charleston, SC 29401
Feb 07, 2019
Have you ever thought about how an old African American cemetery got started? It is usually hard to tell, but newspapers, libraries, and funeral homes are places you can start to find the history of a cemetery. I came across one such cemetery in Greenwood County, SC. It was called Save All Cemetery. I am always curious about when these cemeteries were used. Jim Ravencraft, photographed all the headstones, and I took a look at the birth and death dates that I could make out.
I noticed Gracie Coleman was born around 1834, therefore I
knew she and several other people buried in Save All Cemetery were formerly
enslaved. It would be great to know how old the cemetery was. The Lawrence
Genealogy and Local History Room in the Greenwood County Library System was
were I was volunteering at the time, so “Greenwood
County Sketches,” by Margaret Watson was were I looked up Save All
I was looking up an African American cemetery in a book that
did not give ancestry or history about African Americans. I had come to realize
that clues are included in these books even though librarians may say, “You
will not find anything in there.” “Greenwood
County Sketches” told me how Save All Cemetery got started.
“A small Universalist Church was built in four weeks’ time
in 1844, according to tradition, by sons of John Partlow to provide a place for
the preaching of their father’s funeral sermon at the time the Universalist
minister had promised to come. A funeral sermon often was preached weeks or
months after the actual burial, depending when a favorite minister would come.
It was further said that Mount Moriah Baptist Church had refused use of its
building for the Universalist service and that was why the Partlow sons rushed
the reconstruction. The church we at the intersection of the Barksdale Ferry
road and the road from New Market. In the summer of 1845, the South Carolina
convention of Universalists was held at the little church. Because
Universalists believed that all souls are saved, the name ‘Save-All’ was given
to the church by a nearby resident, Thomas Coleman Lipscomb. That name was
applied to the Negro cemetery later on the site. Lipscomb bought the land after
there was no longer a Universalist congregation, and he sold it for the
cemetery,” “Greenwood County Sketches,” pg.
This area would have been Abbeville County, SC before 1897,
and afterwards it was called Greenwood County, SC. I could not believe I had
stumbled upon the owners and the name, Save-All, and sometime after African
Americans purchased the cemetery.
Next, I considered the year 1844. Could there also be a will for John Partlow, and would there be names of enslaved people? I searched the South Carolina Department of Archives and History:
Could any of the formerly enslaved or their children have been buried in Save All Cemetery? How about the owner, Thomas Coleman Lipscomb. Did he own enslaved people? Were they buried in Save All Cemetery? Have you ever searched a possible enslaved cemetery? How did you go about finding the original owner? Let us know out on the Facebook Group.
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