I’m back at Trinity Episcopal Church (TEC) on Edisto Island this week with Part II of my series.
Wandering around this cemetery, I truly enjoyed the sight of many very old moss-covered trees. So many of them get taken down by storms over time. It’s amazing these are still here.
Two children’s graves caught my attention. They were brothers, born about 20 years apart.
The marker for Charles Edward Wescoat (1853-1854) is a bit different. While worn down quite a bit, you can see the image of a male figure holding a child in his arms.
The carving on this marker is not as sophisticated or detailed as the one for William Stuart Hanckel. The figure of the child is especially rough in comparison to the large male figure. My guess is that the message implied here is that the child is safe in the arms of God after his short life has ended.
Charles’ father was Jabez Wescoat, a planter on Edisto Island. The family name is sometimes spelled “Westcoat, “Wescoat”, or “Wescott”. Jabez married Mary Susan Skrine in 1834. Over the course of their marriage, they had at least 11 children, many living well into adulthood. Three sons served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War.
To Charles’ right is his unnamed brother. He was born and died in 1834, early in the marriage of Jabez and Mary.
Jabez and Mary share a monument with three of their children, Washington, Hubert, and Sarah. Mary died in 1877 and Jabez died in 1886.
There’s only one statue I could find in the cemetery and that belongs to Jennie Stevens Wescott. She was the daughter of Daniel Augustus Stevens (a Confederate veteran) and Agnes Jessie Yates Stevens, who are also buried at TEC.
Jennie was the wife of Thomas Cecil Wescott, the son of Jabez and Mary Wescoat. Somewhere along the line, Thomas changed the spelling of his last name to Wescott.
Thomas Cecil Wescott (who went by Cecil) married Jennie in 1890. Unlike many of their peers, Thomas and Jennie only had one child that I am aware of. Mary Violet Wescott was born in 1891 and lived to the ripe old age of 90. She married Francis Wilkinson and they built a home on Edisto in 1916. Francis was Edisto Island’s first policeman. One of their daughters, Mary Wilkinson Mead, still lives on the island today.
Why Cecil changed the spelling of his last name from “Wescoat” to “Wescott” is unknown but a message of Ancestry.com noted it may have been the result of a family feud. I discovered that both Cecil and Jennie had served as postmaster/postmistress on Edisto at different times. Jennie died in 1918.
I also learned that Cecil was a painter. I was able to find one of his works called “Edingsville”. Edingsville was a small resort town on Edisto that no longer exists. After Jennie died, he often lived with daughter Violet and her husband, Francis, in their Edisto home on what became known as Wilkinson’s Landing.
Cecil died at the age of 84 in 1942 and is supposed to be buried at TEC’s cemetery but I did not see his stone and there is no photo of it on Find a Grave.
As I’ve noted before, you can find a lot of the same surnames in the cemeteries on Edisto. Before I even visited, I imagined I would find some parts of a family at the Presbyterian Church on Edisto (PCE)’s graveyard while others might be at TEC’s cemetery. As I started looking into family backgrounds, I found this to be true.
Take for example the situation of Mary Stites Wayne Mitchell Whaley. I found her grave at TEC between two of her daughters. But as I started looking closer, I realized the girls had two different fathers.
Mary Stites Wayne was the daughter of General William Clifford Wayne and Anne Gordon Wayne, the daughter of Revolutionary War Captain Ambrose Gordon. Mary’s uncle, Dr. Richard Wayne, was mayor of Savannah. She was born in 1828 shortly after the Waynes had moved to Charleston where Gen. Wayne’s father had first come to America from England in the 1760s.
In 1844, Mary married planter William Grimball Baynard Mitchell in Charleston. In 1849, Mary gave birth to their only daughter, Llly Elizabeth Mitchell. William died about a year later and was buried in the TEC cemetery.
Mary remarried to William James Whaley, another planter on Edisto, in 1859. He was a widow as well, first wife Martha Clark Whaley having died in 1850. William and Martha had four children together. He owned Crawford Plantation (purchased in 1847) on Edisto but the family had to abandon it in 1861 during the Civil War. They returned in 1866.
Lily Mitchell, Mary’s firstborn, died the same year and was buried at TEC beside her father.
In 1868, at the age of 40, Mary gave birth to her second daughter (her only child with William J. Whaley), Mary “Nanie” Whaley. Nanie would also die at the age of 16 like her half-sister Lilly in 1884.
Mary died in 1886 at the age of 58. She was buried alongside her first husband and daughters at TEC. I wondered what had become of her second husband, William J. Whaley. Was he perhaps just down the road at PCE?
After looking through my photos of PCE, my thoughts were confirmed. I found his grave beside that of his first wife, Martha, and one of his daughters, Elizabeth Edings Whaley.
William died in 1888 and ownership of Crawford Plantation went to his son, William J. Crawford, Jr. and his family. After William Jr. died in 1922, the family moved to Charleston and left the home vacant. They sold it in 1945 to I.C. Tavell. New owners purchased it in the 90s and it still stands today.
Finally, I had mentioned in my PCE posts about the great variety of ornamental ironwork in their graveyard. As it turns out, TEC has a small remnant of iron work as well. It was produced by the Robert Wood Ornamental Ironworks in Philadelphia, Pa. The ear of corn at the top of some of the spindles is a motif I have never seen before. It’s unfortunate that it’s deteriorated so much due to time and island weather conditions.
It’s now time to say goodbye to Edisto Island, a place I won’t soon forget. Next time, I’ll be on nearby James Island with more South Carolina stories.