Richland County, SC

Cemeteries That Need Good Locations

By Michael Trinkley

We must be able to locate cemeteries precisely (within 20-30 feet) and know the location is accurate – otherwise, we identify the cemetery as unlocated. Why? We can’t have the county stating that a cemetery is on a particular parcel only to find out that it is actually on the adjacent parcel. Thus, directions such as “at the corner of” can’t be used since it doesn’t specify which corner or how far from the corner. Directions such as “behind the house” aren’t useful since they don’t tell us specifically how far behind the house. In one case the directions specify a brick house, yet Google Street View shows no brick houses on the specified street.

In addition, since the goal of this project is to help prevent the destruction of cemeteries through development, we must be able to state very specifically where a cemetery is located in order to determine whether it may be destroyed by development.

Since there are no funds in this phase of the project to go into the field and visit every cemetery, we must rely on the accuracy of previous researchers – or we must be able to identify the cemetery based on aerial photography or Google Street Views.

What We Have Done So Far

We have combined a variety of on-line lists, such as those at Genealogy Trails, SCGenWeb, Family Search, Find A Grave, SC Cem GPS Project, Sciway; we have searched message boards such as those at the genforum and; we have added publications such as those by David Rakes, Emily Vaughn, and the Columbia Chapter of the SCGS; and we have added the various lists, including the one held by the Richland County Coroner, put together by Vernon Kirkpatrick.

We have examined historic topographic maps, historic Richland County maps, aerial photos, adding information. We searched the Richland County plat books through about 1950 pulling plats that showed burial grounds. We have searched the SCIAA archaeological site files, pulling all references to cemeteries recorded as archaeological sites.

With all of the information combined we had around 600 cemeteries. We then began the process of weeding out duplicates – and there were a great many. Today we’re down to around 450 cemeteries. We’re delighted to report that about 74% of these cemeteries have been located. That, however, leaves over a quarter that cannot be located.

The available directions for each of these was then compared to the Richland County tax maps in order to obtain a tax map parcel. In addition, each cemetery was located on a topographic map. And herein lies the problem. A great many of the cemeteries – as you can see from the attached list – simply do not have directions adequate to locate the cemetery.

Our Request To You

So, back to my original request – please look over the attached list and see if you can provide additional information about the location of any cemetery. Individuals out there have visited these cemeteries and made transcriptions – we are relying on those who actually had “eyes on” to provide us with locations.

We must have this information within the next 30 days in order to meet our requirements with Richland County. I realize this is the holiday season, but we hope that it will give you time to review the list – send it to others – and bring together any information you have to help locate these burials grounds.

We are happy to set up an appointment to visit you; to have you visit our office; to have you send information by email or snail mail; or even to call us up (we can pull up a map and trace the route with you as you talk). However it is convenient, we’ll work with you to get this information.

Finally, I know that this email is going out to only a small fraction of those able to help – if each of you would forward this email to an additional 10 people active in cemetery preservation, we might be able to identify the majority of these lost graveyards!

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Michael Trinkley, Ph.D.


Chicora Foundation, Inc.

PO Box 8664

Columbia, SC 29202-8664


Cemetery List

 Please let me know of errors,

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