Soapstone Baptist Church

and

Liberia Community

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Cemetery

There are two cemeteries on site: the current Soapstone Baptist Church Cemetery and the Slave Cemetery (to the south of the site). Please respect both places.

To get to the historic Slave Cemetery, please take the first road to the south of Soapstone Church (Flyroot Drive), and follow the road to the right, into a large gravel parking lot.  Please take the steps into the cemetery, but respect private property and stay within the split-rail fence lines.

Five graves in the Slave Cemetery are marked by legible tombstones. Most prominent is that of Rev. A. R. Gowens (1845-1928). Gowens married twice: his first wife was Rhoda Gowans, born in 1837 and died May 17, 1882. Her epitaph reads: “Farewell my husband / Dear keep Christ the / Lord in your heart / In heaven we all / Should meet we will / shout around/ the Saviours feet.” Gowens’s second wife (and mother of daughter Charlotte) was Adline Gowan, who died October 4, 1890 [born 1854]. Her epitaph reads: “Farewell my husband / child dear keep / Christ the Lord in / Your [curved symbol] If in Heaven / We all should meet / We will shout around / The savior’s feet.” Charlotte Gowan married Ansel McKinney, also buried in the cemetery (footstones marked APM).

Another hand carved tombstone is that of Chanie Kimp (actually Chaney Kemp), born a slave about 1824 and willed to James Hester, along with her infant son Emerson. Emerson grew up to be Hester’s overseer. Freed in 1865, Emerson took the last name of Kemp, and by 1880 had settled in Liberia with his mother Chaney and son James. James Kemp’s grave is marked by the small white funeral home marker; he died in 1938. Since Emerson Kemp’s mother and son are buried here, it is likely that Emerson Kemp also lies in this cemetery, but his grave is unmarked.

The final legible stone is that of Queen, daughter of C. H. and E. A. Anderson, born December 28, 1896; died February 25, 1903. [carved epitaph:] “Asleep in Jesus.”
Other graves are marked only with rough fieldstones or by depressions in the ground.

Since many of these individuals had been born into slavery, we ask that you respect the graves by staying on the designated path and not taking rubbings from the stones because the stones are soft and easily eroded. Help us preserve the site for future generations.
 


For more information contact
Mable Clarke
296 Liberia Road
Pickens, SC  29671

(864) 414-8470

 
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