So I figured I would continue this series about places in South Carolina on my blog. My boyfriend and I spent New Years Eve exploring a mill town called Graniteville. There are several mill towns near North Augusta thanks to Horse Creek. There is Belvedere, Clearwater, Langley, Midland Valley, Graniteville, Warrenville, and Vaucluse. William Gregg, who I must add is a very much distant cousin of mine, founded the town of Graniteville in 1845. However, Vaucluse was founded as a textile mill in 1833 before Graniteville, and was part of a partnership with George McDuffie, who would be Governor of South Carolina in the following year, and John Bauskett. However, Vaucluse seemed too small to be of any economic profit, and William Gregg turned his attention to Graniteville. More information can be found on this site:
Graniteville obtains its name from the Blue Granite that was quarried in the area. When we visited the town, we noticed that almost all the homes had granite shingles. The area is definitely a mill town by looks. This video shows the shingles and town life.
This video shows life in the Graniteville mills.
We also saw the memorial to the Graniteville Train Wreck that killed 9 people due to the Chlorine spill. In 1933, Erskine Caldwell who immortalized the nearby city of Augusta, Georgia in Tobacco Road, wrote a book entitled God’s Little Acre. The story references Horse Creek Valley, and even mentions the Aiken-Augusta Highway, that connects Aiken, Graniteville, North Augusta, and Georgia. This novel also termed people who lived in the mills as lintheads, because as they would leave for the day, their hair would be covered in lint. Linthead has been a term locally here since the 1800’s, but thanks to the novel, readers looked down on the mill workers and labeled them as “white trash”. For excerpts in the novel click here.
However, the main point of the trip was to go to the Cemetery. I am a sucker for ghosts, but I guess I have also had this curiosity of Graveyards. The Graniteville Cemetery was founded around 1850. The oldest graves in the cemetery are marked with wooden stakes
that originally had names on them. It is surprising that any remain.
Supposedly two ghosts haunt the Cemetery, a witch and a ghost of a little boy. It is a bit confusing as to why they refer to the woman who haunts the cemetery as a witch, since most of her actions are benevolent. She is known for walking the cemetery at night placing flowers on the graves of children. However, the grave and ghost we wanted to know more about was the grave of the Little Boy.
As you can see here, there are many flowers and toys on the grave. Legend has it that in October of 1855, the train stopped at Graniteville, and on board was a little stowaway boy who was extremely ill. The people of the town put him in the Graniteville Hotel, and tried to find out his age and where he was from, but he remained unconscious. Later, he died leaving a mystery behind him. He was buried in the cemetery with a lone marker with The Little Boy, October 1855. Once he was buried, the town must have felt some sorrow for this little boy who had no known parents and died alone in a strange town. At once they came and placed toys and flowers on his grave to accompany the boy in the afterlife. Now for almost 160 years, towns people and visitors have lovingly placed toys for the little boy. Some have claimed to have seen the apparition of the child playing with his new toys. My boyfriend and I were not expecting to leave anything, and felt a bit embarrassed. However, I found a Seashell I collected from Hilton Head, and he found a bubble blowing set that we had bought last year on a whim, but never used. We hope the little boy will enjoy our gifts. For more on the Little Boy :http://www.aikenstandard.com/FeatureColumns/0715-marti-healy