by Robin Jarvis
Many people are aware that, over the years, as the many man-made lakes in South Carolina were formed by damming various rivers, many homes and even entire towns were relocated because they were going to be flooded as part of the project(s). Much evidence of the ruins of those towns still exists, some of it visible above the water line and some of it below, only visible to those who are willing to dive to the bottom of a lake to see it.
Not many people have heard of Ghost Island or Cemetery Island — or the 50 or so graves that remain at the top of the hill. Many of them are from the 1700s and are of the above-ground variety. Including that of the plantation’s owner, John Harris, Jr.
It’s a safe bet that while some wayward campers are aware of the graveyard at the highest point, other campers are not. According to an account on findagrave.com, the graves are all still in their original places and have never been moved. This page details 48 unknown graves as well as the 11 graves that have been identified.
In spite of the Ghost Island moniker given to Cemetery Island, we couldn’t find a single report of ghost sightings at the cemetery. However, the island has long been an informal camping spot on Lake Hartwell for its ease of access and sandy beach on which to pull up a kayak or small boat.
Perhaps there’s been an occasional paranormal occurrence on Ghost Island that fuel the name. After all, a family DID lose their land for the project (as did many), and then went to battle with the government to save the sacred ground on which ancestors lay interred. Is it possible those ancestors are just welcoming the company and happy to see visitors after being stranded in the middle of a lake?
Do you even believe in ghosts? It’s difficult to live in South Carolina and not have an occasional head-turning event that can make you wonder. Have you heard of Cemetery Island (a.k.a. Ghost Island, and Harrisburg Plantation) located on South Carolina’s scenic Lake Hartwell? Even better… have you already visited and did you experience anything paranormal?
During the construction, the Harris family refused to have the remains of their loved ones moved inland. The matter even went to court, where, in the end the government washed its hands of being responsible for the graves or maintaining the island.
Once you arrive, just look for the highest point and start walking.
According to an account on findagrave.com, the graves are all still in their original places and have never been moved. This page details 48 unknown graves as well as the 11 graves that have been identified.
Including that of the plantation’s owner, John Harris, Jr.