City, Lifestyle

20 famous graves + memorials in Columbia, SC

Photo via @hiddencolumbia

We all know the Monster Mashit was a graveyard smash. 🎶 But have you ever wondered which legends lie in our local cemeteries? Well, look no further. We’ve gathered a list of famous graves in + around Columbia.

Whether you’re looking for a devilish daytime trip, or you’re just a headstone history buff, this list of 20 noteworthy graves is for you. 

Elmwood Cemetery | Photo via @mematthews

☠️  Benjamin Franklin Randolph | 1820-1868 | Elmwood Memorial Gardens 

During the Civil War, Benjamin Franklin Randolph joined as a chaplain. Afterwards he founded the Charleston Journal Newspaper, he became involved in politics and ultimately played a huge role in the South Carolina State Constitutional Convention where black men and non-property owning white males were yielded the right to vote. 

☠️  Ernest A. Finney Jr. | 1932-2017 | Elmwood Memorial Gardens 

In 1994, Ernest A. Finney Jr. became the first African American to be appointed as Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court. He served for five years and was inducted into the South Carolina Hall of Fame in 2012. 

☠️ James Francis Byrnes | 1879-1972 | Trinity Episcopal Cathedral Cemetery    

James Francis Byrnes was appointed to Secretary of State in President Harry Truman’s Cabinet, where he served until 1947. After his term, he was elected governor of South Carolina, serving 1951-1955.

☠️ John Taylor | 1710-1832 | Taylor Evangelical Methodist Church Cemetery

John Taylor was the son of Columbia’s founder. He served as a US senator and as South Carolina’s governor and remained active in South Carolina’s government until he died in 1832. 

☠️ Lillian “The Fabulous Moolah” Ellison | 1923-2007 | Greenlawn Memorial Park 

Lillian was best known for being the longest reigning women’s champion in sports entertainment history. She began wrestling in the 1940s and was the first female inducted into the World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Fame.

☠️ Manuel Simeon Corley | 1823-1902 | Saint Stephen’s Lutheran Church Cemetery 

Manuel Simeon Corley was a businessman born in Lexington and a US Congressman. He was also the editor of the South Carolina Temperance Standard newspaper in 1855 before his political career. 

☠️ Marvin Crosby Bass | 1919-2010 | Greenlawn Memorial Park 

Nicknamed “The Moose”, Marvin Crosby Bass spent 60 years of his life coaching football on a college and professional level. Some of his most memorable years were spent as head coach and athletic director at the University of South Carolina. 

☠️ Matthew J. Perry, Jr.  | 1921-2011 | Greenlawn Memorial Gardens 

Also a member of South Carolina Hall of Fame, the Honorable Matthew Perry, Jr. helped release over 7,000 individuals who were arrested after participating in Civil Rights demonstrations. He later served on the US Court of Military Appeals and became a district judge for South Carolina. 

☠️ Maxcy Gregg | 1814-1862 | Elmwood Memorial Gardens  

Maxcy Gregg, a lawyer + politician, was a Columbia native and attended South Carolina College. He was a soldier in the Army during the Mexican-American War and a Confederate brigadier general in the Civil War. 

☠️ Sophia Nance | 1824-1853 | Washington Street United Methodist Church

This one is a real mystery. Sofia Nance died at 28 years old and is buried under the Washington Street United Methodist Church in a full metal tomb with a glass window to show her face. Rumor has it that her family decided on this due to her beauty and youth. 

☠️ Wade Hampton III | 1818-1902 | Trinity Episcopal Cathedral Cemetery

South Carolina politician Wade Hampton III was one of three lieutenant generals during the Civil War with no prior military experience. After the war, he was elected as a democratic senator and served from 1879-1891. 

☠️  Walter “Kirby” Higbe | 1915-1985 | Elmwood Memorial Gardens 

A two-time All-Star, “Kirby” was a professional baseball player who started for the Chicago Cubs, Phillies, Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants. The right-handed pitcher had his best season in 1941 when he won a total of 22 games. 

If you’re in a super spooky mood + looking to make your eerie excursion a day trip or even a weekend getaway, here are some famous graves around the state you can visit.

Photo via @hiddencolumbia

☠️ Arthur Middleton | 1742-1787 | 4300 Ashley River Rd., Charleston 

Arthur Middleton was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. He was an influential figure from Charleston + was a member of the Continental Congress, the South Carolina legislature and served on the board of trustees for the College of Charleston.

☠️ Clare Boothe Luce | 1903-1987 | Luce Family Cemetery, Moncks Corner

Clare Booth Luce was the first woman to be appointed to a major diplomatic position outside of the US. In addition to an author, politician, ambassador and female conservative figure, she is most known for her broadway hit, The Women, which had an all-female cast. 

☠️ Francis “Swamp Fox” Marion | 1732-1795 | Belle Isle Plantation Cemetery, Pineville

Better known as the Swamp Fox, Francis Marion served in the Revolutionary War as a military officer. The 2000 movie, The Patriot, depicts how Marion led sneak attacks against the British. 

☠️ James Brown | 1933 – 2006 | Thomas Family Home Crypt, Beech Island 

The singer, songwriter, dancer + musician, James Brown, was an influential entertainer and SC native, best known for funk songs like “Get Up Offa That Thing”. His many achievements earned him the nickname “the hardest working man in show business.” 

☠️ John Laurens | 1754-1782 | Mepkin Abbey, Moncks Corner  

This historical figure served as an assistant to George Washington during the Revolutionary War. John Laurens was a statesman + soldier from South Carolina and is widely known for his adversity towards slavery.

☠️  Joseph Jefferson “Shoeless Joe” Jackson | 1887-1951 | 1 Pine Knoll Dr., Greenville

One of the greatest baseball players of his time, “Shoeless Joe” was a natural who played as an outfielder in the early 1900s. Ironically, Jackson loved expensive shoes but received his nickname after he hit a triple while playing without shoes. 

☠️  Ronald Erwin McNair | 1950-1986 | Dr. Ronald E. McNair Memorial Park, Lake City 

SC native Robert McNair was one of the first African American astronauts. He was one of the crew members on The Challenger and during this mission, he became the first person to walk in space without being tethered to the spacecraft. 

☠️ Septima Poinsette Clark | 1898-1987 | Old Bethel United Methodist Church Cemetery, Charleston  

Septima Poinsette Clark was an educator and Civil Rights activist. As a teacher in the 1940s, she worked with the NAACP to gain equal pay for both Black and white teachers. 

If you need some music for the drive, check out our 6AM City Oct-tune-ber playlist, filled with terrifying tracks. Happy haunting, Columbia. 👻 

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