fbpx

Swamp Fox Ghost Town

Taking a step back in time is a normal activity for Charlestonians and tourists alike. However, this hidden gem of history is located outside of Charleston in Summerville, South Carolina. What remains of the Colonial Dorchester Site are tales left to be told of how early settlers in the area lived and eventually vanished after the Revolutionary War.

181030_101213_230
Inside the bell tower. Photo by Nicholas McGirr

The Structures

The first thing anyone would notice as you pull in to this park is the remains of the St. George Bell Tower. Erected before 1756, the bell tower was burned by the British during the Revolutionary War. It held four bells in it’s prime and was slightly repaired after the torture of being burned. What remains today is a scope of historical architecture for all to observe.

screenshot_20191127-093244_chrome
Burned bell tower of St. George’s Church. Photo from Art of Charleston
181030_101212_225
Repaired bell tower of St. George’s Church. Photo by Nicholas McGirr

Towards the back of the park next to the Ashley River is a tabby fort with walls made of oyster shells and concrete. Today, this is the best-kept display of tabby in America even though it was damaged during the earthquake of 1886.

Inside the fort walls are the remains of a powder house where Francis “Swamp Fox” Marion was stationed. The remains are preserved by keeping visitors from climbing or damaging the remaining structure. Along the Ashley River, the park has set up benches and tables for fishermen and for those wishing to enjoy a very peaceful lunch. At low tide, you can observe the wharf and dock that was once used in this colonial society.

20191123_135946
Photo taken by Nicholas McGirr

Behind the church, you can stroll through the base structures of homes and the school that was located there complete with informational panels to guide you. There were even street signs still visible, their date is unknown.

181030_101212_221

The History

With the site once thriving with homes, two schools and a church, where did everyone go? I’ll keep it simple.

During the Revolutionary War, many settlers began to flee the area after many of the structures were burned. These areas included parts of Georgia and further south to avoid another raid in the area. By 1788, the entire town was abandoned leaving it to become a ghost town.

20191126_164021
Photo taken by Nicholas McGirr

During the war, it was Francis “Swamp Fox” Marion and Thomas Sumter that were stationed at the site to guard the powder magazine. The remnants of the magazine can be seen today in the middle of the fort walls.

During my research, I found no reported deaths or tragedies on the area which left me curious as to find any paranormal activity on the grounds.

The Data

It was on the bell tower that I first received EMF readings, but after several visits to the site, I have never been able to recreate the readings. Even with a small cemetery nearby (at least what’s visible as a cemetery), there are absolutely no EMF readings, cold spots or spirit box activity of any kind. Even the app that I normally use to accompany the actual spirit box gave random answers and words while investigating this site. None of the terms and words that came from the app could be linked to the site.

181030_101212_222
Photo taken by Nicholas McGirr

This ghost town is just a town abandoned. Even though I was able to find a slight EMF detection near the bell tower, I was unable to recreate it. This tells me two things: First, any hauntings that are at this site do not wish to be found. Second, that this was once the home to many of our early settlers doesn’t mean it will hold onto the residual spirit activity.

The intent for my research is to not just investigate the famously haunted locations but to find new locations that may not have been discovered as having activity. The Colonial Dorchester site is not one of those locations. What I did get out of this investigation is a furthered understanding of the Charleston history which may tie into future investigations later. This is a good thing.

screenshot_20191128-093737_chrome
Photo of the tabby fort walls at Fort Dorchester. Photo from Art of Charleston.

So even though I found no paranormal activity, to keep my integrity as an author and researcher, I presented this investigation anyway. Not all investigations are going to be a success, but with the history attached to the Colonial Dorchester site, I am claiming success on what I’ve learned to further understand how our ancestors lived before us.

20191126_164214
Parish Church of St. George. Photo taken by Nicholas McGirr

I recommend you visit this site for yourself to not only see the tabby walls but to get a feel for how our ancestors before us would have created a community.

More than just a Blog

This is episode 15 of the Stories in the Cemetery podcast.

E42: The Stone Tape Theory and Lodge Alley Stories in the Cemetery

This episode discusses The Stone Tape Theory and uses Lodge Alley in Charleston, South Carolina as a study for the theory. You can always become a sponsor the Stories in the Cemetery Podcast by going to Anchor.fm and searching the name of the podcast. Sponsorships buttons are available. See the blog post for this episode on http://www.storiesinthecemetery.com along with our other Ghost Hunting 101 posts and Paranormal Investigations. Or if you'd like to see/hear more about the Interactive Ghost Hunting Experiences, visit the same website and click the "Let's Go Ghost Hunting" tab.  Resources used to create this episode and blog post:  References for The Stone Tape Theory Bos, P. B. (n.d.). The Stone Tape Theory. Retrieved June 6, 2022, from Haunted Walk: https://hauntedwalk.com/news/the-stone-tape-theory/ Danielson, L. (n.d.). Using GIS to Analyze Relationships to Explore Paranormal Occurrences in the. Retrieved from http://gis.smumn.edu/GradProjects/DanielsonL.pdf Lucia. (2020, March 9). How Does It Work?: The Stone Tape Theory, Residual Hauntings and the Deep Influence of Memory and Emotion. Retrieved from Ghost in the Machine: https://theghostinmymachine.com/2020/03/09/how-does-it-work-the-stone-tape-theory-residual-hauntings-and-the-deep-influence-of-memory-and-emotion/ ParaPedia. (n.d.). Theory behind Limestone Quartz and Magnetite. Retrieved June 6, 2022, from ParaPedia: http://www.panicd.com/encyclopedia/theory-behind-limestone-quartz-and-magnetite.html Potter, C. (2004, October 14). Were Pittsburgh's original finished roads and streets paved with cobblestone, Belgian block or some other type of brick? Retrieved from Pittsburgh City Paper: https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/were-pittsburghs-original-finished-roads-and-streets-paved-with-cobblestone-belgian-block-or-some-other-type-of-brick/Content?oid=1336413 References for Lodge Alley SC Picture Project. (2022). Lodge Alley. Retrieved from SC Picture Project: https://www.scpictureproject.org/charleston-county/lodge-alley.html Zierden, M., Calhoun, J., & Paysinger, E. (1983). Archaeological Investigation at Lodge Alley. Charleston, South Carolina. Retrieved from https://www.charlestonmuseum.org/assets/pdf/ArchaeologyReports/Lodge%20Alley%201983%20-%20AC%205.pdf References for Cesium Foist, L. (n.d.). What is Cesium Used for in Everyday Life? Retrieved June 22, 2022, from Study.com: https://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-cesium-used-for-in-everyday-life.html Nelson, R. (n.d.). Cesium FAQ. Retrieved June 22, 2022, from Rochester: https://www.cs.rochester.edu/users/faculty/nelson/cesium/cesium_faq.html U.S. Geological Survey. (2018, June 14). Mineral Resource of the Month: Cesium. Retrieved from Earth Magazine: https://www.earthmagazine.org/article/mineral-resource-month-cesium/ — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/storiesinthecemetery/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/storiesinthecemetery/support
  1. E42: The Stone Tape Theory and Lodge Alley
  2. A Few Announcements
  3. E41: Types of Hauntings with BONUS Audio
  4. E40: St. Augustine Lighthouse; St. Augustine, Florida
  5. E39: New CoHost Amy Smart and Interview from Hillbilly Horror Stories Podcast

If you’d like to support this blog/podcast, you can always

Buy Me A Coffee

Let’s Go Ghost Hunting

Let’s go Ghost Hunting in Charleston, SC. Click to find dates and times.

References Used to write this post

City of Charleston. Art Work of Charleston: Published in 12 Parts. W. H. Parish Publishing Co., 1893. https://lcdl.library.cofc.edu/lcdl/catalog/lcdl:129214?tify={%22panX%22:0.449,%22panY%22:0.964,%22view%22:%22info%22,%22zoom%22:1.393}.

South Carolina Picture Project. Colonial Dorchester, Summerville, SC. Updated 2019. https://www.scpictureproject.org/dorchester-county/fort-dorchester.html. 28 November 2019.

South Carolina State Parks. Colonial Dorchester State Historic Site. 2019. https://southcarolinaparks.com/colonial-dorchester. 28 November 2019.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: