The Holy City’s Famous Graveyards

The Holy City is home to more than a dozen historical churches, and many of those are also home to a graveyard. Some of these graves are hundreds of years old, and it's no wonder that they've inspired countless spooky stories.

Circular Congretational Church (Pic by Spencer Means)

Circular Congregational Church

The Church was founded by ‘dissenters’ in 1681. That is to say, it was not a part of the Church of England, and in colonial American law couldn’t call itself a church, so it was called the ‘White Meeting House’.

Its graveyard contains some of the oldest grave monuments in the south, some dating from the late 1690’s. With that long history of burials, it’s no wonder there’s also a long history of ghost sightings.

The church says it's likely the oldest English burial ground still in existence in Charleston.

Graves at the Unitarian Church in Charleston

The Unitarian Church Graveyard

The ‘dissenters’ began to run out of space in 1772 and started construction on what is now the Unitarian Church in Charleston.

The graveyard there contains graves for many members of prominent Lowcountry families, including the Ravenels. Legend says that one of these gravestones is the inspiration for Edgar Allen Poe’s famous poem ‘Annabel Lee’.

It was many and many a year ago, In a kingdom by the sea, That a maiden there lived whom you may know By the name of Annabel Lee;

St. Philip's Church

At 142 Church Street.

Another one of Charleston’s most beautiful old churches. Its graveyard contains the remains of Vice President John C. Calhoun.

There’s also a very sad story about the ghost of a grieving mother who haunts the grave of her infant child and was caught in a photo 99 years after her death.

Grave of John Rutledge at St. Michael's. (pic by Billy Hathorn)

St. Michael's Church Graveyard

St. Michael’s is the oldest surviving religious building in the Holy City. The church is situated on the ‘Four Corners of Law’ at Meeting and Broad Streets.

Two men who signed the US Constitution are buried there.
Vanderhorst Mauseleum at Magnolia Cemetery (Picture by Spencer Means)

Magnolia Cemetery

The final resting place of several SC governors, 3 Confederate generals, and a handful of the soldiers and statesmen.

The property is large, and a bit north of downtown, so it can be a bit a trip to visit. But the wide-open beauty of the place and the spectacular monuments provide an interesting look into the state’s history.

Opened in 1850, people are still being buried there today.

The difference between a graveyard and a cemetery? A graveyard is attached to a church and sometimes referred to as a churchyard.