Friday, March 11, 2016

Old Purity Cemetery, Chester South Carolina

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It’s amazing what an observant traveler can find in South Carolina just by avoiding multi-lane, high-speed, interstate highways. Here’s an example. “Old Purity” Cemetery just outside the town of Chester, South Carolina.

160121 Old Purity Cemetery Chester SC-3-Edit “Old Purity.” Unusual name, even for a cemetery. I clicked around a bit on the Internet and discovered the name makes perfect sense. Purity Presbyterian Church now is located over on Wylie Street in Chester. That’s “New” Purity. Services began there in 1854, after moving from its earlier location at the junction of Routes 97 and 44, now the site of the “Old Purity” cemetery.

160121 Old Purity Cemetery Chester SC-5-EditBull Run Presbyterian Church was the name chosen by the original congregation around 1770, later changed to Purity Presbyterian Church. So there’s the explanation!

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Graves at Old Purity date from 1787. That’s a long time for American cemeteries. Not the oldest, by any means, but getting right up there.

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Cemeteries give us the opportunity to study micro-history. With a focus on families and how macro events have affected their lives. They’re interesting places. The stone above commemorates those who fought in the Revolutionary War. Click for a larger view. The names should be legible.

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They also provide clues to a region’s earlier culture, and even economy.

Many older cemeteries are disappointing. Toppled grave markers; overgrown with weeds; littered with trash. Not so Old Purity. This historic cemetery is still used today. The property is maintained by the Old Purity Cemetery Society. Click the link to access their excellent website. Lots of additional information, including history and upcoming events.

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So there you have it. Chester South Carolina’s Old Purity Cemetery. Be sure to add this impressive and informative site to your itinerary when you visit this part of the country.

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1 comment:

  1. Very interesting Bob. I have frequented many old cemeteries in northern Vermont --in fact my mother's grave in Greensboro VT is right next to a woman who died in 1848. What amazes me is how short most peoples' lives were 100-200 years ago. I frequently visit the "Yankee" cemetery here in Staunton--Union troops who died in the Valley in the Civil War. So many gravestones say "Unknown." Their families never knew what happened to them...