Lowcountry Ghost Stories ~ Part 2
Part 2 – The Haunting of Bluffton, Hilton Head and Daufuskie
Lowcountry Ghost Stories Part 1 discussed the spooky stories of Beaufort and the Sea Islands. This installment will focus on southern Beaufort County, particularly Bluffton, Hilton Head and Daufuskie.
Bluffton also has its share of spooky stories. Much of the town was burned in 1863 during the Civil War, including the Bluffton summer home of Squire William Pope of Coggins Point Plantation. This wealthy Hilton Head family spent the summers on the bluff of the May River across from Cross Episcopal Church.
Following the war, Mrs. Pope and her daughter returned to Bluffton in a state of destitution. They came back to find their home burned, but the carriage house and a smaller outbuilding had survived. They spent the remainder of their days in this structure. It has been said that on a full moon, candles can be seen burning inside the abandoned summer home. The Town of Bluffton is currently working to restore this house.
Old Town Bluffton’s Sarah Riley Hooks House is another dwelling that has a haunted past. Sarah was a retired public health nurse and daughter of a prominent Blufftonian. Her son Tony became a famous musician as the lead guitarist for Sly and the Family Stone and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee.
Tony answered knocks on the door one early morning in 1988, He was shot in the chest with a shotgun. Rumor has it, he was killed in a lover’s quarrel. The shooter was caught and arrested in Savannah, but the motive and gun were never discovered. The accused was a Hilton Head real estate agent and trumpet player. He was charged but found innocent by reason of insanity at his trail. The community was in a state of shock over this senseless murder. More than 600 mourners packed the auditorium of the school named after his grandfather for the 32-year-old musician’s funeral. The house has been neglected and is inhabitable, looking very much like a haunted house. In fact, locals report when the tide is high, and the moon is full – you can hear the sounds of Tony playing his guitar from the house ruins. Feeling brave, head over to Old Town Bluffton’s Bridge Street on the next full moon and listen carefully for the faint sounds of Tony’s guitar riffs.
The ghost of William Baynard can be seen and heard at Zion Cemetery on Hilton Head Island. Baynard was a successful planter from Edisto Island. During a lively card game, he won the 1,000-acre Braddock’s Point Plantation in a hand of poker in 1845. He took up residence on the island and lived a prosperous life. He and his wife Catherine enjoyed plantation life. It was not common for plantation owners and their families to live on Hilton Head due to diseases like malaria and yellow fever. Baynard and his wife were an exception to that rule. They enjoyed living and entertaining at their Hilton Head plantation. Unfortunately, Catherine began having health issues and died. She was buried in the Zion Cemetery. Baynard was heartbroken and inconsolable after her death. In his guilt-ridden state, he visited her grave every day until his death 15 years later. Why did he commission such an elaborate mausoleum? Many believed he intended to bury his most cherished possessions in the tomb to carry into the afterlife. Union soldiers heard of the possible treasure during the Civil War. They broke into the tomb and emptied it of all contents. The ghost of Mr. Baynard can be seen on dark and stormy nights as he comes to visit his wife’s grave. Perhaps he’s looking for his stolen treasure as well. The graveyard where Baynard roams is located on William Hilton Parkway near the intersection of Mathews Drive. The Baynard Mausoleum is believed to be the oldest surviving intact structure on Hilton Head.
The ghost of William Baynard can also be seen roaming the grounds of his former plantation. Perhaps he is looking for the spirit of his beloved wife here also. The ruins of their once-lavish home are located within the confines of Sea Pines Plantation. For a small fee, visitors can pass through the gates of Sea Pines and visit the site. The spookiest time to visit the ruins is at dusk. A small hike through a haunting forest will lead you to the skeletal remains of the once prosperous plantation house. This plantation and the surrounding trails have been labeled as the most haunted spots on the island. Visit if you dare! Baynard Plantation is located at 88 Plantation Drive.
Visitors to Daufuskie Island are greeted with the beautiful sight of the Haig Point Lighthouse. This two-story simple Victorian was designed to house the lighthouse and its keeper. It is here that we meet the ghost of Maggie…or do we?
The story is told that Patrick Comer and his wife Bridget were the first light keepers, coming to the island in 1873. Eventually they were blessed with a daughter they called Maggie. They lived a happy idyllic life on the island, until 1886. Tragedy struck when a Charleston area 7.0 magnitude earthquake nearly destroyed the light station. The quake and subsequent aftershocks caused severe flooding on the island which lead to an explosion in the mosquito population. Maggie soon became ill and died of malaria. Patrick morns the loss so severely that he takes to his bed and dies five years later. Rumor has it that on moonlit nights visitors to the lighthouse catch the faint scent of honeysuckle, and one of the porch rocking chairs will mysteriously begin to rock on its own.
According to Carolyn Males of locallifesc.com, https://www.locallifesc.com/the-ghost-that-wasnt/
Maggie actually had an older sister Mary Ellen that wed in 1879 and moved to Savannah, where she had five children with her husband, Captain Walter John Thompson. Mary Ellen would later die in 1895, and by 1899, Maggie married the same Captain Thompson and raise her sister’s three surviving children. She died in 1930 at the age of 65 and is buried in Laurel Grove Cemetery. Perhaps the ghost of Maggie returns to rock on her favorite porch in the form of her younger self, to remember her happiest memories. Who knows???
Did you notice the two ghostly figures that found their way into the pictures for this post? If not, look again! They have been added for your Halloween pleasure! Stay tuned for the third installment of the Lowcountry Ghost stories. Up next, Colleton County!