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Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Old Magnolia Cemetery – a most unusual cemetery

Gates at the entrance to Magnolia Cemetery
As the genealogist amongst you will know, genealogy is a strangely addictive hobby.  Genealogist will go to great lengths to find information about their research interest.  I have spent many an hour doing odd things in the name of genealogy and holidays are not immune to this addiction. Last year I made my husband drive out of his way so I could take pictures of Mount Meeker in the Colorado Rockies (Meaker being my maiden name). This year’s holiday venture takes the prize for the most unusual place I have visited in the name of genealogy. Our holiday was a trip down the east coast of USA and this  included a visit to Charleston, South Carolina. Just before we set off I remembered there was something about family history and Charleston.

We arrived in Charleston on a very hot August afternoon (95oF) with beautiful sunshine and blue skies.  We began our visit to this beautiful old city with a visit to Old Magnolia Cemetery - perhaps not the normal tourist attraction. The cemetery was opened in 1850 on the outskirts of Charleston on the site of an old rice plantation.  We were greeted by beautiful gates and a cemetery full of all kind of trees and vegetation from oak trees, magnolia trees, palm trees to amazing cycads plants.  From the trees hung Spanish Moss tumbling towards the ground making it a strange, exotic place.  Inside the gates in front of us lay two beautiful lakes with beautiful water birds feeding, roosting and flying.  Perhaps the only negative thing was the sign that said “it’s illegal to feed the alligators”. I am happy to report we didn’t meet these residents, although my husband was disappointed that they remained hidden.  The cemetery was such a contrast to a typical English cemetery (you certainly don't get alligators in an English Cemetery!).  The gravestones and monuments were flamboyant, and sometimes bizarre such as a pyramid, obelisk or baby’s pram.  There were small areas fenced off with ornate metal fences, indicating where people had purchased family burial plots. There are many famous leaders, politicians and soldiers  buried here in Magnolia  Cemetery. A section of the cemetery was set aside for Confederate soldiers killed in the Civil War, with confederate flags flying on many graves. Another part of cemetery was set aside for men of the submarine H L Huntley, this was a submarine  which played a part in the American Civil War 1863.  She lost 21 crewmen in three sinkings of the Hunley during her short career. This cemetery was a unique, beautiful, exotic place and we spent 2 ½ hours wandering around in the sweltering heat in the peaceful, serene surroundings.
You must all be wondering what this has to do with our family history?  The answer lay in a small fenced off area not far from the cemetery office. A small triangular area 16 foot by 12 foot at it widest, enclosed by a fence; within the fenced off area  are 6 burials  with four different surnames but all related . The small grave of interest was a stone inscribed with the name Joseph W Titheradge who died in 1858 and sharing a headstone with William T Smith.
So who was Joseph? How did a Titheradge end up in Charleston USA? Where did Joseph fit into our family tree? How were these six individuals related?

The answers to these questions will be in the next blog. In the meantime take a look at the pictures of this beautiful cemetery in Charleston South Carolina.
Our thanks to John and Beverley in Charleston for helping locate the grave, without their help we would never have found the grave.

A picture tour of the beautiful Magnolia Cemetery in Charleston, South Carolina USA

One of the lakes in Magnolia Cemetery

One of the lakes in Magnolia Cemetery

A friendly warning notice in Magnolia Cemetery -
you won't see a notice like this in and English Cemetery!

Graves at the lakeside

Old tree covered in ferns

Magnolia tree

Palm tree


Great White Heron and Anhinga in Magnolia Cemetery

Pyramid shaped grave surrounded by Palm trees

Pyramid shaped grave
viewed through trees covered with Spanish Moss

Receiving tomb
Pram shaped grave for young child

Miscellaneous Graves at Magnolia Cemetery

Miscellaneous Graves at Magnolia Cemetery

Miscellaneous grave surrounded by decorative fence

Miscellaneous Graves at Magnolia Cemetery

Ornate grave surrounded by Spanish moss on the trees

Decorative cross on grave

Miscellaneous Graves at Magnolia Cemetery with decorative iron work fencing

Section of cemetery for confederate soldier's from Civil War

Grave of a confederate soldier

Graves of the crew of the confederate submarine H L Hunley

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