Monday, March 26, 2012

Memorable May 5, 1860 part V

for Taphophile Tragics
Boykin Mill Pond Tragedy Part V
May 5, 1860

.... this is the last Memorable May 5th post about the  Boykin Mill Pond Tragedy at least for now....due to a couple of reasons:
  • firstly, you are now up to date (after reading this) with what Ive uncovered,
  • secondly,  I'm running out of steam and its SPRING.... time to dig in the garden, hike, and get out of digging in the archieves every weekend for a while
  • thirdly, because I'm at a wide spot in the road with my findings!! The leads I have now are many but they are vague and it will take me a while to connect all these dots.....

One victims name was listed as R J Huggins.  NOW this was a real stroke of most of you may know I am a volunteer photographer for Find A Grave.  I get requests to go photograph headstones up to a 20 mile radius of where i live. About 3 weeks ago I got a request for a grave in a cemetery near Bishopsville, SC.(a few miles away)  So off I went to get that photo. The deceased one I hunted was William James Barrett.  When I got there and found the grave it was a double headstone he and his wife... check out the wife's maiden name.

OF course the minute I saw this stone I saw that name HUGGINS the same last name of one of the Boykin Pond victims...when I uploaded the photo to Find A Grave for Mr. Barrett  the wife's headstone had not been requested, but as I normally do with a double stone,  I uploaded it to her memorial page also...and when I got to her memorial page I noticed there was a link to her Mother's  (who was a Huggins) memorial page....and that link took me to Mt Elon Baptist Chruch and I saw lots of Huggins listed in that cemetery! I had read that my Mr. R J Huggins was from Sumter county and MT Elon was in Darlington I figured it was no use looking but I did....I clicked "show me all Huggins in Mt Elon cemetery" and there was a half page long list, I scrolled down only checking the death dates and ILL BE DAMNED IF I DIDNT SEE


To the Memory of
Who died on the 5th of May, 1860  in the 20th year of his age,
one of the unfortunate number
drowned near Camden!!!

I couldnt believe my eyes!!

...with  more reasearch I learned this part of Darlington County, where he was buried, used to be part of what was called the OLD SUMTER DISTRICT but years later was divided  into different counties ...SO thats why my Sumter County search was in the old records had him listed in Sumter Co. but he was actually now in Darlington County!!

 SO thats number 13 found!! And in this case 13 is a lucky number as it takes me over the halfway mark!!

After many trips to the Archieves one fellow asked me "have you checked  a book called
 The History of Camden,  (Kirkland and Kennedy c-1905)?"
NO I hadnt!!! I did and in Volume II Chapter 23, I found a COMPLETE LIST OF THE NAMES with a short passage about the tragedy and all the lives too soon taken from this Earth.
As you know I have already found 12 of long forgotten...and  without the aide of this remarkable list of names which it appears came from an official inquiry and the testimony of two of the Rail Road who was a hero and saved several people....
SO here are the ones I have YET TO FIND:
  1. Selena Crobsy, of Camden (born in England)
  2. Mary E. Hinson, of Camden
  3. Benjamin F. Hocott, of Arkansas (student at McCandless School)
  4. Sarah Ann Howell, of Camden
  5. Jane Kelley, of Boykins (she may be in Rembert the others from Boykins were)
  6. Louise McKeown, of Camden
  7. Margaret McKeown, of Camden
  8. John Oaks, of Camden
  9. T. S. S. Richbourg, of Sumter (maybe he is in Darlington Co also?)
  10. DORCAS PAGE, a free negro
  11. PENDER CIPLES, a negro slave

AND I know you nearly died as I did when I saw the names of the 2 negroes! Finally a name to put to their watery fate.  I was told that Dorcas is probably a female name. There was a plantation here at that time owned by the Ciples family...called White Oak Plantation and many slaves took the  last names of their owners.  Hot lead to follow here is to find out if there  is a Ciples family cemetery, and if so were slaves  buried there? Most times when slaves were buried  the graves were marked only with a small field stone that could be carried and placed by hand...with no inscription since most slaves were illiterate--Ive been warned by other researchers not to have ANY hopes of finding the negroes burials or even a written mention in documents of any kind...:o( 

SO as I continue to follow the many leads-- too many to list here and bore you with, I close with this part V, but I promise to update with each one that I find...until then I leave you with this passage from the old Sumter Watchman article...

"Camden is shrouded in gloom, and many of its citizens overwhelmed by the most severe affliction and bereavement"



  1. Sondra, you've got the wrong link on Taphophile Tragics.

    1. Thank you Ann, I will fix that now.

  2. Amazing detective work Sondra.

    You deserve a break now, and to enjoy the spring weather :-)

    1. Thank you Keith...I LOVE being a "history dectective" and Ive actually tracked down a few living people too!!

  3. I am a Huggins decendant.....I wonder? You are amazing! I've been away and have missed a few of your posts, but I'll go back and catch up. Have fun digging in the dirt!!

    1. WELL I'll be!! ITS such a small world right!!

  4. Love the top shot. So simple and beautiful.

  5. Your detective skills do you credit Sondra, excellent work!! It really must be fascinating doing all this research. I did some into my family tree for a while and I found it quite an odd experience, it was almost like bringing all these people back to life for a while, really quite strange but very interesting.

    Sorry to read in your last post that life is still rather turbulent for you at the moment, I hope things improve before too long. I loved the photo of the little Tufted Titmouse.

  6. Whoa Sondra! This is so interesting. I have always loved history.
    I must go read the previous posts.
    Do your gardening and hurry back.:)

  7. Thoroughly fascinating read, Sondra! Did you put the flowers on the Barrett grave before taking the photo?

    1. no Someone had left flowers for them..

  8. isnt that sad. slaves?
    but very interesting! i think i missed your first posts and need to go back..

  9. You definitely deserve a break after all this sleuthing. And a bit of sunshine and gardening sounds perfect!

  10. Thank you for keeping us current -- this story has been (and will remain) fascinating. But it is time to go out and dig in the dirt; enjoy your break and keep us posted. (Your series seems more like reading a good book than reading a favorite blog. I always have more than one book going and so when you post an update, I for one won't have any trouble getting back into this tragedy and your heroic efforts to memorialize these people.)

    1. Thank you Sallie, I sure hope to find more, Im sure when the mercury hits 100F in the shade the cool Archieves building will be the perfect place to kill a Hot

  11. Ah, now I read this days ago, and forgot to comment. I love how you have serialised this research and story. Great stuff.

    Pender Ciples ... what a memorable name! so strange to my eyes and ears.

    Reading about your research and visits to the archives, reminds me of my own finding of a digitised volume of all the people who died in a quarantine station here in Sydney from 1848 to 1949. Written out in longhand, with data and with notes. Just itching to be fleshed out ...

    1. Julie that sounds like a great story to share on Taphophile...I will def continue to contribute I have other stories that are resolved to SO ILL be around!!

  12. Psst ... If we don't see you again for a wee while, have a lovely summer.

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  14. The Misses McCowns mentioned in the Boykin Mill Pond tragedy, Margaret and Louisa, were daughters of John and Mary Maltsy McCown who were my great-great grandparents. The spelling of McCown is correct although an "a" was added and it is now spelled McCowan. I do not know when or by whom it was changed. The McCowns were from Kershaw or Camden, South Carolina and later moved to Liberty Hill and then to Gills Creek in Lancaster County. My father was born in Lancaster, SC.
    I hope to be able to follow your posts. My sister and I have been working on our family tree for almost a year and know that it is really hard work. We visted Boykin last week and didn't even know about the pond tragedy until we were telling my husband about the broom factory there. He mentioned the pond incident and I checked it out online. What a surprise when I found a list of the names of the fatalities and their parent's ancestors.

    1. WOW, how amazing is that...BY any chance do you know where Lousia and Margaret are buried? I found so many different spellings of the McKeown name, and in the census it was McKeown, in the Mortality schedule they were listed as McCown...and I also found it spelled its been very hard to track....I would love to see your tree sometimes!

    2. My sister owns the tree "McCowan/Stacks Family Tree" and it is public so you should be able to see it. I do not know where Louisa and Margaret are buried. They lived in Camden and we have relatives buried at the Quaker Cemetery, (Belks). Don't think any McCowans are buried there. We have not been able to find information on the McCowns, who came from Ireland, past John and his father James (1775-1820). James, John, and Hugh were 3 of 6 brothers who went to NY and the to Pennsylvania and finally to the Camden District in SC. James who was the grandfather of Margaret and Louisa had a wife whose name was Sarah "Sallie" and that's as far as we can go.


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