Martinez author Sean Joiner says he has found about 30 haunted places in the Augusta area - one of which is in Columbia County.
Sean Joiner, a local author who wrote the book Haunted Augusta, Local Legends, sits on a bench under a cedar tree with his son Evan, 2, on the property of The Church of Our Savior on Columbia Road. A legend tells of strange lights seen in the windows of the house that are from the ghost of Gen. George W. Evans, who is angry about the cutting down of some of the ancient cedar trees that once lined the drive to the house.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Joiner, who has written the book, Haunted Augusta, Local Legends, said a house on Cedar Grove Plantation, which is located behind the Episcopal Church of Our Savior off Columbia Road near its intersection with Washington Road, is believed to be haunted by spirits.
"People believe the disturbance came about from the cedar trees being cut down," Joiner said. "There's some type of issue with someone that lived there, possibly the homeowners who built the house and planted the trees."
During the pre-Civil War era, Joiner said, the house belonged to Emily Alexander and her husband George W. Evans, a confederate general from whom the city of Evans got its name. The couple had a son who died as an infant and is buried on the land, Joiner said.
The couple, he said, owned 696 acres of land and planted cedar trees around the front of the house.
"When the church bought the property, they cut down the cedar trees that had been (planted) there," he said. "After the cedar trees had been cut down, inside the house, lights had been seen moving from room to room by the house."
Dr. Gerald J. Smith, a part-time English professor at Troy State University, once lived in Holiday Park subdivison, which is on land that used to be part of Cedar Grove plantation.
He said that while living in the subdivision there was always something "spooky" going on.
"You could actually hear what sounded like conversations going on in the house, and there was nobody in the house except me or somebody else," he said with a laugh. "I was always hearing some kind of noise going on. It was a common occurrence."
But Smith said he believes the subdivision is haunted because the neighborhood was built on the old plantation over slave graves.
"I'm convinced the slave cabins were behind the big house," he said. "I bet anything there was no slave cemetery, so the slaves were probably buried on the plantation. I don't think it's the cedar trees being cut down. I think it's because the slaves' spirits were disturbed."
Even though the legendary tales and sightings have been documented in Joiner's book, he said, none of the church members have told him they've seen or heard anything strange.
Joiner, however, said others say they have seen flickering lights passing in the windows of the Cedar Grove house. Now, he said he's focusing his attention on two other potential haunted houses in Columbia County - one in Grovetown and the other in the Appling area.
Joiner said he finds such haunted locations by checking on locations that have historical significance.
"I look for places that are old homes and bed and breakfasts," he said. "I chose some of the more obscure places that haven't been written about or no one knows about.''
Joiner is currently working on his next book, Civil War Augusta Georgia, in which he hopes to spotlight more Augusta and Columbia County haunted sites.
That book, he said, is due to be published sometime next year.
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