Long Canes Massacre, Badwell Cemetery and Guillebeau Cemetery, McCormick South Carolina

I apologize for not having any new posts lately.  I’ve been student teaching this year, and now I actually have time to pursue my other interests.  A few weeks ago, I visited the Long Canes Massacre site in McCormick County.  Today, I just got back from visiting McCormick and Abbeville County finding ruined sites.  I know what you must think….I’m very boring.  I’ve always been interested in finding lost sites, and I had heard about the Long Canes site for a couple of years now.  Sadly, the reason I end up finding these sites is by my interest in the paranormal.  I love visiting “haunted sites”, and that’s how I ended up finding Long Canes and Badwell Cemetery.

Long Canes Massacre, Mass Burial Site.

I first heard about Long Canes years ago, on a website showing a paranormal investigation.  Supposedly, screams could be heard in the forest.  I originally wanted to visit during the night, but when I heard more about the history, I wanted to visit during the daytime.

This link tells much more about the story, but during the Cherokee War in 1760, Settlers in the back country were evacuating to Augusta to escape the violence.  A large group was intercepted by about 100 Cherokee, and 23 men, women, and children were killed.  The group scattered escaping the attack, but reports claim that days later, children with hatchet marks in their skulls were found wandering the wilderness days later.  Ann Calhoun was taken hostage by the Indians at age 5, and returned to her family at age 12.  One other child was taken and never recovered, but not included in the death list.  Twenty something Cherokee were also killed.

The most famous death is of course John C. Calhoun’s grandmother Catherine Montgomery Calhoun.  She is buried separate from the rest of the settlers, who are buried in a mass grave.

Catherine Calhoun’s grave site.

I’ve tried to find out if the Cherokee who were died were buried in the mass grave with the Settlers, but I’m not sure they would be.  I wasn’t sure where the mass grave was located either on site, but here is another picture of the other headstone.

List of some of the settlers buried at the site.

One thing that I was curious about was the fact that on the headstones, people had placed rocks.  I searched the internet to see what the tradition was about, but I had no clue.  I imagine it has something to do with ghost hunting at the site after night.

Today, I visited McCormick County again, and this time inspired by paranormal events, discovered a new site.  Badwell Cemetery, which I saw supposedly has a “Troll” that lumbers around the stone walls of the cemetery.  But I was there to find this little piece of lost history.  Badwell Plantation was owned by the Petigru family, and the land was inhabited by Huguenots.  This is the same Petigru family of James Petigru, the man against South Carolina’s Secession.  He also came up with the famous quote of  “South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum.”  He is not buried in the Cemetery.

Badwell Cemetery

The story of how we found the place is creepier than the place itself.  We put the coordinates in the GPS, but could not find Badwell.  Then we put in a different site that we were interested in seeing, and the GPS led us down a dirt road that was part of a private property.  We immediately turned around, but then the GPS led us down Badwell Cemetery Road.  This would sound like a cool coincidence, but the site is a dead end in the middle of the forest, and there is no reason the GPS would take us down a dead end road.

However, we found our site, and here are a few pictures of the area.  Sadly, I did not get any pictures of the Poteet Funeral Home markings of graves in the surrounding woods.  Evidently, when the lake was being filled with water, the bodies of a nearby cemetery were moved to Badwell.  However, pictures of this, the old grim reaper gate (it was painted over when we visited), is on this site.

Entrance to the Cemetery. The Cast Iron Grim Reaper on the gate was stolen long ago, but the imprint used to remain. However, the gate had been painted over, so the imprint was gone.


William Pettigrew, a Revolutionary War soldier buried in the Cemetery.

Capt Joseph Blyth Allston “Born in Georgetown, S.C.. A true poet and gallant soldoer in the war for Southern Independance. Honored by all who knew him.”


Beautiful Tombstone Calligraphy.

This is a headstone for a burial outside the cemetery of a slave named Daddy Tom. He must have been very well loved by the family to receive his own marker. It reads “A faithful servant and honest, departed this life the 9th day of February 1857. Born on this place before 1776. A kindly temper, a cheerful Obedience and willingness to work Conciliated the regard of those Who treated him in his Life time, as a Friend, And caused him when he died To be buried like a Christian.”  This stone is a replica of the one that stood before.

Stone wall collapse due to erosion on the outside of the cemetery.


We also visited Guillebeau Cemetery, which part of the New Bordeaux settlement before McCormick County existed.  New Bordeaux was a Huguenot settlement, almost lost to history.  We tried finding the marker for the Huguenot Church, but could not find it.  We did find the Guillebeau Cemetery.

Historical Marker for New Bordeaux.


We also found Mt. Carmel, SC and found these few treasures.

Fort Charlotte Historical Marker. We tried to find it, but we found out from a park ranger that the ruins of the fort were claimed by Lake Strom Thurmond/ClarksHill. Another sad instance of history being claimed by the lake.

Creepy Railroad station in Mt. Carmel…shut down for many years.


Another view of of the rail station.

Old Church of Mt. Carmel.

Richard B. Russell Dam …..very massive.


In all, visiting McCormick and Abbeville Counties in South Carolina was a truly awesome experience.  I hope to visit again soon.  If you have anything to add, please feel free to ask below.  With my Graniteville post, many people had questions and comments, but keep in mind I may not know the answers to everything.  Hope you enjoyed!