Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Ten Favorite Charleston Gravesites

As I await the delivery of my new book, I thought I would create a blog post sharing 10 of my favorite graves that are part of "Stories from the Underground: The Churchyards of Charleston." Hundreds of graves are shown and written about in the 228-page large format, full-color hardback book (with a dust jacket too!). 

This will not be an easy list to compile! I include the graves in my book because I feel there is something interesting, special, and/or unique about each and every one of them. The 10 featured here are in no particular order. So, without further ado....

1. Catharine Simons Sarcophagus- Cathedral Church of St. Luke and St. Paul, 126 Coming St. 

This petite and elegant sarcophagus is next to the brick border wall to the left as one enters the churchyard. 

There are many things I like about this gravesite. The sarcophagus design is rare and expensive. I think this is the smallest one I've ever seen, befitting Catharine Simons who was just (as inscribed in the stone) "21 years, 3 months, 2 days" old when she died in 1852. I was unable to determine her cause of death. 

Other than "Catharine" and her age at death, the only other words are "Wife of William Simons." 

A large cross is on the top of the structure that is less than five feet in length and 27.5 inches wide (yes, I measured it). There are also inverted (or upside down) torches on the four corners. The torches are lighted. This symbolizes that while Catharine's life has been extinguished there is hope for eternal life in Heaven. 

This site was particularly difficult to research because there is very little to be found about the short time Catharine had on earth. Malcolm Hale at the Charleston County Public Library's South Carolina Room was a huge help in what little we did find. In an old genealogy book, Malcolm was able to find a Catharine Simons Hume born in 1830. She was the daughter of Dr. William Hume and Catherine Simons Lucas. There are many Humes and Lucases buried in this graveyard, and her father's grave is very close to Catharine's. 

Earlier in my research of this grave I went down a rabbit hole that this Catharine Simons may have been a freed slave, this after finding that name in another source. I thought if this is true, what a story we have here. But I am confident that what I later found out, with Malcolm Hale's assistance, is the true story of the young woman. 

2. Rev. Thomas John Young's Curious Symbol- St. Michael's Church, 71 Broad St. 

Years ago, before I started to research this book, I filed away this image at St. Michael's. A Jewish symbol on the grave marker of an Episcopal minister? What's the story there? 

Well, the story is that what is today called the Star of David has a history going back to ancient Egypt. The six-point star has been used since then by different religions, cultures and organizations, including the Masons. Nazi leader Adolf Hitler appropriated the star for his hate-filled purge of Jews in Europe. 

Rev. Young (1803-1852) may have been a Mason and may have had a hand in his tomb's design. The star has been called the Masonic hexagram and also the Star of Creation with its six points symbolizing the six days God took to create the universe. The six points of the star can also represent the six attributes of God: power, wisdom, majesty, love, mercy and justice. 

Another interpretation is that the star represents the Old Testament and the long cross on the tomb symbolizes the New Testament. 

When he died in 1852, Rev. Young was an assistant minister at St. Michael's Church. Educated at Yale and ordained in the Episcopal Church in 1827, he served for 20 years at other area churches before coming to this church. 

Monday, September 5, 2022

Labor Day Sunday- The Beach (Where Else!)


Between playing tennis in the rain for a short time Saturday and today (Labor Day) getting soaked by rain while mowing the lawn, Sunday at Sullivan’s Island had perfect (dry!) weather. 

Parking was more difficult than usual but it was worth it to spend three or so hours soaking in the sun, swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, and enjoying the idyllic scenery. 

And of course, I took a bunch of photographs. Here’s what was going on at Sullivan’s Island in the Station 17 area. 

Saturday, August 27, 2022

New Folly Beach Pier Update


Our first visit to Folly Beach in about a year found the big fishing pier replacement project looking that much closer to the image in this rendering. 

When we saw the construction last Sunday it looked like around 50 percent of the old wooden pier had been replaced. You see in this photograph the new gray concrete base extending out to sea. Shipworm infestation became a problem with the old wood pilings that date back to 1995, necessitating a redux.

The new $14 million pier is expected to be finished in Spring 2023, according to Charleston Parks and Recreation officials. 

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Colorado Critters- Birds, Butterflies and Land Animals Large and Small


Our early August visit to Colorado to see family and celebrate birthdays was full of festivities and fun. 

We were in the Estes Park area for several days and were fortunate to partake in the abundant beauty of this mountainous region. As a bird and nature photographer, I was excited by this landscape that is so different from our beloved South Carolina Lowcountry. 

Check out my video shot with my new Go Pro Hero 8 camera! 

Thanks and gratitude to my sister Ann and her husband Paul for hosting us for a special family get-together and for showing us so many of your Western home’s treasures. 

This post will focus on the animals I was able to photograph, starting with…


I read that Colorado has more Elk than any state in the U.S. with some 290,000.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Early Book Publicity


I am starting to try to generate some PR and publicity for my new book. This week I received disappointing news from Palmetto Publishing that delivery of the first batch will be three weeks or so later than I was told in mid-June when the manuscript was ready to be printed. Looking at early September for the first 100 copies, instead of mid-August. 

Thursday, July 28, 2022

One of the Bird Kingdom’s Delights: Little Blue Heron


A mix of blue and white at our backyard pond caught my eye a few days ago. 

I knew right away what I was seeing because I have seen this a few times before. This is a Little Blue Heron that is also a little white because it is in the molting phase of becoming a much darker blue. 

Check out my blog post from 2011 that has many more photos of this interesting bird, especially images of a very young one with all white feathers. 

This Heron is also distinctive with a bill that is so dark at the tip. 

I walked around the small pond to take different pictures. It flew from one side to the other a few times. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Sharks! Fishermen Land Two on Sullivan’s Island


We encountered rain and ominous dark clouds on the way to the beach on Sullivan’s Island Sunday. 

I thought we may have to turn around and return home. Sure glad we didn’t because not only did the clouds clear, but before we even set up our chairs in the sand we noticed a fisherman was having quite a battle reeling in whatever was on the end of his line. 

And what a catch he had! 

This guy seemed to be the leading the two fishers (fishermen). Maybe he runs an outdoor adventure outfit. 

He told me this shark is a Blacktip. Notice the black coloring below and around the dorsal fin and the black along the tail fin. 

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Fireworks and Patriotism on Hilton Head!


We had a really nice time spending the 4th of July on Hilton Head Island. We took in the fireworks show at Shelter Cove, a "mixed use" community on the island. 

This was just outside the restaurant where we had a fine dinner.  More on the restaurant to come. 

We finished our meal an hour or so before the fireworks commenced. It was neat seeing the festive crowd slowly gather at Shelter Cove. We sat on a bench where we spoke for a while to a young family from the Atlanta area.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Hilton Head Sunrises = Spectacular!


Spending 4th of July on Hilton Head Island was a blast- as were the fireworks we saw at Shelter Cove (see my post that follows this one).  

We were able to swing an oceanfront room at the Marriott Resort and Spa at Palmetto Dunes. 

Early 🦅 that I am, both mornings of our stay I was locked and loaded (camera I mean) and on the beach just after 6 a.m. 

The water temperature was perfect for a sunrise dip in the ocean!  And during the day too when we were on the beach.

Monday, July 11, 2022

Patio, Porch and Driveway Projects? Check!

Three long-planned home improvement projects have been completed. These were under the category of “when I physically feel better.” Last year’s successful hip surgeries opened the door to me feeling I could finally tackle such labor-intensive work. 

Here are before and after photos of the front porch and back patio painting projects. Preparations before painting involved cleaning and pressure washing the surfaces. Primer paint was also used on the patio.