As Lowcountry residents, we’re all here for a reason, and most of us have done our best to make this our home. In fact it’s been that way for hundreds of years.
I know this because of a project I started a year or so ago.
What began as kind of a curious hobby has now turned into a near obsession — that’s what my wife and kids tell me, anyway.
Not far from where I live off Dorchester Road in Summerville, there is a cemetery with a historical marker out front.
The metal sign in front of the Old White Meeting House and Cemetery is one of more than 200 similar markers in Dorchester and Berkeley counties.
You’ve seen them, I’m sure, as you travel along the roads and highways around the area.
There is one on North Main Street near the Earth Fare Supermarket in Summerville that records an abbreviated history of Berkeley County. There’s another one in Moncks Corner right in the median across from the Huddle House at Live Oak Drive and Highway 52. Another one sits on the corner in front of Advance Auto Parts on St. James Avenue and talks about the subdivision of plantations after the Civil War.
Others are scattered in much more obscure places throughout the region.
If you’re up for an afternoon drive, you’ll find a collection of them in north Berkeley County a few miles west of Pineville in the lowcountry between lakes Moultrie and Marion, the last of which, incidententally, is named for Gen. Francis Marion, also known as the Swamp Fox.
Marion is buried in the family cemetery at the former Belle Isle Plantation, owned by Gabrial Marion, brother to Francis. You may recall the film “The Patriot,” in which Mel Gibson portrays a character loosely based on Francis Marion.
At the end of the film there is a scene showing the reconstruction of Marion’s home. Known as Pond Bluff, Marion’s small plantation is now at the bottom of Lake Marion.
It is connections like these that begin to unfold on these little glimpses into the past.
Like you, I never paid much attention to these markers, in fact it was three years after moving here that I first stopped to read the marker at the cemetery near my home. I must have passed it hundreds of times.
When I did finally stop, I snapped a picture with my camera phone. And so began my obsession. I now have a pictorial collection of most of the historical markers in our area.
After a little while, I started posting the pictures, along with some details. You can find my Google map at http://bit.ly/2X85uKK.
My search for historical perspective taught me about Huguenots and Congregationalists. I learned about Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, and Chickasaws, and a group of fellows known as the Goose Creek Men.
A lot has changed since the first residents moved out of the swamps, but like the people that came before us, we now call this place our home.