Lowcountry Ghost Stories ~ Part 5
Part 5 – Jasper County
Jasper County has seen its share of battles over the years. First the Revolutionary War, then the Civil War took its toll on the county. The story of Purrysburg predates both historic events. The settlement of Purrysburg was established on the banks of the Savannah River by Swiss Protestants in 1734. By 1736, the town had 100 houses and 450 settlers. The town soon began to suffer from disease and unhealthy conditions. Those that survived moved on to other surrounding towns in the state and Savannah.
The town would once again see activity in 1779, when it was the site of the Battle of Purrysburg during the Revolutionary War. A 2015 excavation unearthed more than 100 musket balls, several canister shots, and many explosive shells. The battle was a British victory, but the American Patriots fought them off for one year in several skirmishes across the Lowcountry, including Bees Creek and Coosawhatchie. British troops returned to Purrysburg to rest before heading to Charleston. The Patriots were not captured. In fact, they were able to get word to other troops of the British advancement. Today, Purrysburg is the site of a boat landing. The only thing that reminds of the settlement of long ago is a historic monument. Just how many settlers and soldiers died on this spot is unknown. Do any ghostly specters haunt these grounds? If one believes in such things, one will have to admit the possibility.
The city of Hardeeville began to develop and flourish just as the Civil War came to town. During Sherman’s March to the Sea, his army blazed a trail through the town, leaving only one church and a few homes. The Hardeeville Methodist Church was spared because it served as a make-shift hospital for injured soldiers. How many soldiers died in this church? That is unknown. Do any souls haunt the grounds? That is unclear as well. You be the judge of that.
Ridgeland also experienced a visit from Sherman’s men. The Battle of Honey Hill was fought in 1864, and Union soldiers spent time in the Grahamville community. Officers stayed in a home on Bees Creek Road and used the Holy Trinity Church as headquarters. The Union army expedition failed to cut off the railroad between Charleston and Savannah. The battle saw 89 Union and eight Confederate casualties. Although the battle was a Confederate victory, it only delayed the capture of Savannah by a week. The battle was also significant because it was the first large scale combat engagement by a majority African American force. It was launched by the US African American Troops, including the 54th Massachusetts. After the war, these troops were stationed in Port Royal during Reconstruction.
Just outside Yemassee, Frampton House is nestled under ancient live oaks, dripping in Spanish moss. It is also the home of a few ghostly residents. It is said that the Frampton House has a few residents who have not moved on from this physical world into the afterlife. The house and surrounding land have witnessed a great deal of history and some of those souls may not be ready to leave just yet.
The Frampton name dates back to the 1700s, when thousands of acres were given as a King’s Land Grant to the Frampton family. It was divided into working plantations. During the Civil War, Robert E Lee commissioned earthworks built directly behind the house. This is a spot that was used to successfully (for a time) defend the railroad. In 1865 Union troops burned the original plantation home and the surrounding buildings. Frampton returned in 1868 and built the structure that still stands today. After seeing many owners and falling into disrepair, the house was acquired by the Lowcountry Tourism Commission in 1993.
Today visitors to the house report feeling a ghostly presence. Some have encountered an old woman in the front parlor. Others say they have seen a small girl on the stairs. Stop by and see for yourself so you can draw your own conclusions. The house is open daily, from 8:30 am – 5 pm. Stop by and wander the house and grounds. Have an open mind and see if you can discover one of the spirits that roam the property.
Ghost stories are a part of the Lowcountry folklore. They are woven into our history and have been passed down through generations by elders sitting on the front porch, rocking, and enjoying sweet tea. They are the stories that children love to hear repeatedly. They are best told after dark, especially during the Halloween season. Are they true? Who knows? Can they be debunked? Who cares? Are we going to keep telling them? Of course. Are we going to enjoy the telling? Absolutely!
Three ghostly images were altered for your enjoyment! Did you find them? Happy Halloween!