Monday, March 5, 2012

Memorable May 5th, part II

Boykin Mill Pond Tragedy Part II

SO...a real challenge lay ahead of me as I try to find out more about the 24 victims of the mass drowning of May 5th, I said I want to find the burial places of as many as I has turned into quite a search...
The old Sumter Watchman article listed the names of the dead..but as small communities are, the list caused more confusion for me than clarity!!

the Boykin Mill Pond

this is the exact transcription from the old Watchman article that came out 2 days later with the list of the dead:

Miss Lizzie McKagen, a lovely sister of Mr. Isaac McKagen, of our town, Willie McKagen, a young brother of the same; Luke (Lucius) and William LeGrand, brothers, one of them a brother-in-law of Mr. McKagen above mentioned. Miss Sarah Nettles, two Misses McCowns, Miss Minnie Alexander (daughter of Mr. Isaac Alexander, of Camden). Miss Howell, Miss Crosby, Miss Henson, two Misses Yound and one brother, Miss Mary Jenkins, Mr. Hocott, Mr. Huggins, Mr. Jery McLeod, Mr. John Oaks, Miss Kelly, little Alice Robinson (a sweet little girl), Mr. S.S. Richburg (surveyor, formerly of this place). Mr. Richburg, with noble devotion, lost his life as we understand attempting to save another. These, with two negroes, complete the melancholy list.

SO my work was cut out for me, with that very incomplete list of names....Miss Howell, Miss Crosby? Two negroes?  How can I find people with only a last name to go on? SO needless to say I had little to go on in some cases so I started to spend my entire Saturday in the archieves in Camden looking into what info was available about this tragedy...Google will only take one so far and then you have to jump into the trenches and leave your living room to research..Microfilm, city census reports, death indexes, cemetery surveys...documents, family histories---old newspapers, ETC.

IT took me about one week to find out that two Misses Yound (mentioned above) and one brother was actually a misprint and the name was really YOUNG..once I found that out it really helped me to search for them....

I found the Youngs by searching for Mr Jery McLeod (he was related) and I found this out through another person's research of their McLeod Family Lineage!! (...and great great uncle Jerimiah who drowned in Boykin Mill Pond...etc) GREAT Break for me...he was buried at the very old Methodist church in Rembert a nearby small community, south of the Boykin Mill Pond.

Rembert Methodist Church Cemetery founded in late 1780
Jerimiah R Jerry McLeod
Jerry McLeod a would be hero

SO I turned to the Lee County Cemetery Survey done in 1993, and there he was--  AND I found not just
Jerimiah R "Jerry" McLeod

who gave his life trying to save others, also the Young Children, 2 sisters, a brother, and a cousin of theirs who was in attendance of that celebrative day in May...a birthday celebration for Miss Hollie, who would have turned 20 the very next day but she drowned the day before....

Miss Hollie Adele Young, 19 yo                              Mary Ann Young age 11
May 6, 1841- May 5, 1860                                   Jul 10, 1849 - May 5, 1860
Hollie Adele Young            Mary Ann Young

at only 8 yrs old....
Young Mr Sameul Henry Young
Sept 29, 1852 - May 5, 1860
                                                                          all three of the afore mentioned were the children of
                                                                          Samuel Henry Young (1817-1881)
                                                                          and Mary Ann McLeod Young (1818-1864)
Samuel Henry Young
reads drowned in Boykin Mill Pond

and What a great surprise to find their Cousin
Miss Mary Eliza Jenkins buried alongside .
            1846 - May 5, 1860
            in the 14th yr of her life

     Mary Eliza Jenkins

so sad all these young and energetic lads and lassies snuffed out so Hamlet said "Out Out Swift Candle"
SO I did the dixxedoodles I had found 5 more of the 24 victims burials in the same cemetery..well I may not find them all but I had 7 located so far....17 to go!!! More to come.....for next week.

                                   for Taphophile Tragics



  1. Well done, you've put so much work into this.

    1. it has become quite a challenge!!

  2. You're amazing. The poor parents of the Young children. How very sad.

  3. Wow, what an amazing amount of research and work you've put into this. I really enjoyed reading it. I can't wait for next weeks.

    Herding Cats

  4. Interesting post complemented by great photos.

  5. Great piece of detective work so far, chances are some of the others may be buried close to each other too.

  6. Wow. This sleuthing has become a full time job for you!

    1. at least my weekend job...I work full time and this helps me to escape the work a day life UNTIL I retire in 1298 days!!

  7. Good job. We're all behind you, waiting for more!

  8. What an incredibly tragedy ! Were they all fully clothed on that flat bottom boat, especially the young ladies, in heavy dresses and petticoats of the period, which would have been a serious impediment to swimming ? Seems hard to believe that so many drowned, even so, treading water or floating on one's back is possible even when clothed... maybe a lot of panic occurred ? What an awful scene it must have been. Wonderful work on your part tracking down the stones in various places...

    1. How very true,,,,the Watchman account of the incident painted a picture of mass panic and when one is in 25 ft of water and 100 ft from the shore and fully clothed in fashions of that that time....Well we can only imagine the horror~~and ture enough Swimming was not exactly a talent had by many of these young ladies and men.

  9. It is so sad, but you are doing such an amazing job keeping these memories alive. You should write a book.

  10. Just terrific, Sondra. Both images, and the way in which you present your text ... and the very Dickensian serialisation. Wonderful work. This is what blogging should (and could) aspire to. I agree, that googling can only take us so far ...

    Owen poses some pertinent questions. I suspect that bodices etc weighed the females down. But also, swimming was not a widely attained skill in those years. It is nowadays, but not thenadays. The panic and hysteria at the time beggars the imagination. And the poor parents of the Young children who perished. I note the mother only lasted another 4 years, passing at the youngish (sorry) age of 46. One can not begin to appreciate her distress ...

    So, do the dixiedoodles ... you dun good, Girl ... real good! I await next week ... no pressure mind you ... no pressure ... *grin* ...

  11. Sleuthing can be SO interesting ... AND time consuming ... but SO interesting!

  12. I wonder if Mary Ann McLeod Young died of heartbreak. She was only 46 when she died, just four years after the drowning of her three children.


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