Zion Chapel of Ease is the site of the oldest structure on Hilton Head Island, the Baynard Mausoleum, built in 1846. The site was also the first chapel on Hilton Head, completed in 1788, but no remnants of those structures remain.
The Mausoleum is in fair condition, but that was not always the case; at one time, it was said to be in such poor condition that the bones of the inhabitant could be touched through giant cracks in the walls. During the Civil War, the mausoleum was raided and emptied, so the building that stands today, while beautiful, is empty.
An upside down torch represents a life cut short. One of my favorite things about old cemeteries are the many symbols that can be found on the markers.
There are several Revolutionary War era graves, well worn and nearly illegible, some even being reclaimed by nature.
This grave was the most striking to me, Mary Davant, nearly 30 years old, buried next to her two infants; Samuel, who passed after one month of age in 1808, and John, who she died giving birth to, and who followed his mother in death 17 days later. Life was unfathomably cruel and dangerous, and things which are considered to be moderately easy medical procedures and ailments were routine death-sentences.
I never tire of exploring old cemeteries, and trying to uncover the stories of those within.