One of the oldest graveyards in Columbia is that of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral. Located on the corner of Sumter and Gervais Streets, the graveyard is the final resting place for many prominent South Carolinians, both past and present.Also, as Halloween approaches, the Trinity graveyard, along with some others, has a "particularly creepy" feel about it.
The churchyard started in 1812, the same year Trinity was founded. With many magnolias and live oaks, it can provide a shady respite on a hot summer afternoon. It can also add to the spookiness! Many of the markers appear to be above ground burials, but that is not the case. Early on, Columbia had a sizable agricultural component with farm animals wandering loose. The above-ground design prevented the animals from digging up the graves. Stones of this design add to the creepiness. At one time, the tops of the stones could be moved providing the homeless with sleeping spaces. They have since been sealed shut.
Among the notables buried in Trinity’s churchyard are six governors, including Wade Hampton III who also served as a general in the Civil War. Several presidents of the University of South Carolina (or South Carolina College, its earlier name) including Thomas Cooper who was a friend of Thomas Jefferson and for whom the main Library at the University of South Carolina is named. Revolutionary War soldiers including Col. Peter Horry, the namesake of Horry County where Myrtle Beach is located and several Civil War veterans including Gen. States Rights Gist.James F. Byrnes who served as Congressman, US Senator, Supreme Court Justice, “Assistant President” under Franklin Roosevelt and Secretary of State under Harry Truman and Governor of South Carolina in the 1950s, is also buried in the churchyard.
The churchyard is open during daylight hours and there is no admission charge.
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