On a crisp, cold October day, Sharon Lowe peers into the walled-off area in her Appling front yard and sees a final resting place that has had much of its history cloaked through time.
It's a location that has piqued her curiosity since her family moved there five years ago, building a home nearby. Today, Lowe says she's happy to have the unmarked remembrance of a bygone era on her property and makes every effort to keep the area untouched.
"I don't look at it as being scary or frightening,'' she says.
But while standing among the prickly vines that surround the cemetery's fieldstone frame, Lowe and her daughter, Katy, remember the occasional sounds they say they have heard inside their home of a baby crying and someone walking up their attic stairs when no one else was at home.
"It's usually about 10 or 10:30 at night,'' Lowe said of when the noises have occurred.
Lowe said neighbors have told her the property was once part of a plantation and that a doctor's home might have once been located at the site.
County historians and longtime residents say the mystery in Lowe's yard off Louisville Road bears what remains of the Susie Bostic Cemetery, a final resting place that has been listed on old county maps but few know much about.
The assumption by some is that the cemetery could date back as late as the 1800s. Some say they've heard stories of the cemetery's namesake.
"Rumor was that she was a black midwife,'' said Joe Tankersley, a longtime Columbia County resident who lives near the cemetery site.
Ludelle Garnett, 84, who has lived close to the cemetery for more than 50 years, said she knew of the woman the cemetery is named for and believes she might be buried there, but she didn't know much about the cemetery's history and couldn't say for sure if Bostic was a midwife.
It's uncertain exactly whose remains are at the site being that all of the graves are marked only with blank fieldstones used as head and foot markers.
It's also not certain how many graves might be there, with county historians saying only a portion of the graves are inside the rock wall structure.
"It went back a pretty good ways off the road there,'' said Bill Blackard, a former Columbia County resident who now lives in Tennessee and is co-author of the book Sacred to the Memory of Cemeteries and Burial Sites of Columbia County, Georgia. "We estimated there was about an acre of graves out there.''
Tankersley, however, said he knows of graves being only about 50 feet outside the rock wall.
Tankersley said the wall itself also has become a part of lost history. He said that at one time it was shoulder high, but maay years ago homeowners in Martinez and Evans pilfered many of the rocks. Today, the rock wall surrounding graves sits just one to two feet high.
According to the property's plat registered with the county, the area in question is deemed only as a cemetery, with no official name. There also were no records in the clerk of courts office detailing a history of the cemetery.
Some have wondered whether the walled-off area was simply the remains of a former home's foundation. However, Blackard said the fieldstones sticking up from the ground tell of a different story.
"A lot of people back in those days couldn't afford a tombstone and you had to go all the way to Augusta to get it made,'' he said.
No matter what truth exists at the Susie Bostic Cemetery, Lowe said she's making sure not to clear brush inside the walled-off area.
And while recalling past sounds inside her house, Lowe admits she can't help but wonder if the mystery of what lies there is calling out to be remembered.
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