Thursday, June 25, 2009


I love to go graveyarding! It's not unusual for me to grab a son or two, my camera (extra batteries, of course), a few supplies, and take off as early in the day as possible. I can spend quite some time planning such a trip. Many resources are available online to help me find GPS coordinates for just where I want to go.

This list is particularly helpful: Barnwell County Cemetery Locations. It doesn't have them all, but it has some that are very important to us.

Many Barnwell, Bamberg, and Allendale cemetery lists are available here. Many thanks to volunteers who made these lists possible.

And, an all-time favorite is Here's a link to memorials I've added there. Not too many Reeds yet, but I'm working on it!

Great Reed info on FindAGrave is here (Hugh Reed's Family) and here (my own GG-Grandfather, GGG-Grandmother et al). This wonderful contributor who lives in New York is a descendant of Samuel Reed. She made a trip down to Barnwell this past spring looking for her multi-great-grandfather Hugh Reed's family cemetery. Along the way, she went to a cemetery I've seen several times. Here are pictures I got from it.

We saw about eight stones through the bushes but were quite intimidated by the thickness of the briars. Not so this girl! She hadn't come that far to let a few thorns get in her way. She found graves I've longed to find since I started this genealogy journey. Thanks to her I have some extremely important birth and death dates that had heretofore eluded me! I'm forever grateful.

Now, 85 year-old my dad wants to go clean it up. Me, too, but we'll have to wait 'til this fall when it's cooler and the snakes might be more timid.

How NOT to Go Graveyarding

On Thursday, April 10, 2008, my son Ian and I took our first major graveyarding trip down to Barnwell County. It was very successful on most counts. More about that part of the trip another time. The rest of the story is to demonstrate how NOT to go graveyarding. When we were ready to head home from Barnwell County, it was only 2:30. So we decided to go back up through Blackville to Hwy. 3 to catch a section of Rd. 389 that was supposed to have the Jeremiah Jones family cemetery (my mother’s side of my family).

The only info I had was that it was on Rd. 389 near Sawyerdale, and I had looked it up on Mapquest. We rode through looking and had seen nothing by the time we got to Neeses. I stopped at town hall (offices close at 1PM on Thurs & Fri) and talked with the magistrate who recommended I go talk to the manager at the Piggly Wiggly. He sent us back to 389 to a church we’d seen where a funeral was being held to ask folks there. Nobody knew, including a lady who had grown up on that road. I couldn’t hang around any longer though, because my low fuel light started beeping!

We were ready to go find some ice cream and gasoline and go on home. BUT, at the gas station, I talked with a fellow that gave me directions to two possibilities. Take Begonia Road, go up a two rut road in between . . . cinder block house . . .

On one two rut road we drove into a sort of enclave with a couple of nice houses, barns, garages, farm equipment, and an Esso station. Yep, it was truly picturesque. Had TONS of very old service station collectibles all over the place. I would like to have stopped & taken a picture, but I felt like someone somewhere was pointing a gun at me. We didn’t see or hear a soul. (Maybe they were all at the funeral up the road.)

On another two rut road we saw a sort of turn-in where Ian thought he saw tombstones. I turned in on what was just a path (no ruts) in the woods. No stones. I kept going (optimist that I am) and came out in a large grassy clearing with a very large mobile home. I pulled up to it and a teenage girl came out smiling. As I was starting to tell her I was very lost, her mama comes around the back corner of the house, arms folded over chest, accompanied by two big black dogs, saying very sternly, "You better have a good reason for being back up in here."

"Yes, ma’am. I’m very lost. I’m looking for the Jeremiah Jones family cemetery." Smiling big. My 19 years in a school office where the parents got bolder, meaner, ruder, and more irate with each passing year was really paying off.

"I ain’t never heard of it," she barked.

"Ohhhh, well [disappointedly] if you’ll just tell me the best way to get back to Begonia Road, I’ll be out of here," thinking that surely they didn’t get to & fro this lovely trailer through those woods.

"Just go back up ‘ere through ‘em woods where you come in, where you had no bidness being, and take that two rut road right back to Begonia Road."

"Yes, ma’am. Thank you soooooo much. And God less y’all."

Ian & I hightailed it outta there! I really didn’t get too nervous ‘til we were back to Begonia Rd., whereupon I had to pay close attention to my driving not to have a full fledged panic attack! We made a pledge right then and there: no more two rut roads unless I know exactly where I’m going AND the folks around there know I’m coming!


  1. Hi Reeds!

    Thanks Marilyn for the great blog. I attempted to organize the Reed family connections on I'm still looking for my ggg grandparents, George Reed and Margaret Evans Reed but there are lots of other Reed headstones.

    If you have any photos or info on burials, please add it to findagrave! Here is a link to Hugh Reed's headstone.


  2. Wow that was exciting.

    When I was a kid we stopped out in the middle of nowhere under some trees (desert tamarisk) and had gotten everything out and were just starting to eat, when a very angry guy with dog, rifle wife and son roared up in a pick up and asked us what the spades we were doing out there on his property -on a two rut road, just like your lovely family, but in the middle of a desert. What did he think we were doing out there with a picnic? Digging a silo under the tamarisks?