top of page

Silent Cities Tour at Brookgreen Gardens

Updated: Mar 8

Okay, so this is the third time I've tried to post this. The universe is telling me something, I suspect.

In a Trekker bus, I rattled over dirt roads on the Silent Cities Tour of gravesites in Brookgreen Gardens, which was once home to about four rice plantations. I swear my teeth and spine were shorter after this tour, but it was worth it. Berms marked the edges of the plantations. We of modern heritage could blink and miss one. The photo shows landowners' graves, Joseph Alston, former governor of South Carolina, is buried there. Shock! Families picnicked on graves with raised tabletops. Family, dead and alive, shared a meal there! And be careful the small stones are end markers for graves, footstones.  Don't trip on them. Arched graves were British. One day I'll research that. The grave site we saw belonged to the Alstons. Some Alstons had one L. Others had two L's. That's another one for research.

Theodosia Burr Alston was the wealthy wife of Joseph Alston (probably an arranged marriage) and daughter of Aaron Burr (vice president at one time, and the man who survived an illegal duel with Alexander Hamilton). Although her marriage to Joseph was happy, her fate was not. She is not buried there or anywhere. That makes me wonder if her spirit wanders the grounds in search of reuniting with her loved ones. Poor Theodosia was on her way to meet her beloved father Aaron Burr when she disappeared. Her supposedly fast ship went down in Georgetown, South Carolina, about a day's carriage ride from her home. Only recently, was the shipwreck discovered and dishes connected to her. There were many conspiracy theories about what happened to her before that. Pirates plagued that area including Black Beard.

In the pictured graveyard, there is such a sense of sadness when I studied the dates on the markers. Young children, young wives, young men. Theodosia's only son died of malaria at age ten. I love the stones that are 1800's and earlier because there's history on them. Our guide said the tour doesn't continue into spring and summer because of the slithery ones hanging from the trees.

Then there were the slaves' resting places. Very few were marked considering the rice plantations once had 1,130 slaves. Graves were supposed face east, but we saw several facing west that were never corrected. If I were that spirit, I'd be haunting somebody. The guide had nothing to say about spirits, but I know there's a haunted tour in Atalaya around Halloween. Atalaya is across Route 17 form Brookgreen. Some slaves had formal gravestones (maybe put there by the family who owned them?). Others had just a seashell. We were told slave families did not visit their relatives' graves, but I question that. I came away with fodder for a lot of ghost stories.

14 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page