South Carolina Picture Project

Badwell Cemetery — McCormick, South Carolina

SC Picture Project  |  McCormick County  |  Badwell Cemetery

Badwell Cemetery in McCormick is the resting place of the Petigru family. The Petigrus (also spelled Pettigrew) were Huguenots, and their patriarch was the Reverend Jean Louis Gibert, leader of the nearby Huguenot settlement, New Bordeaux (no longer extant). Gibert established Badwell Plantation in the mid-to-late eighteenth century and is interred within this cemetery.

Badwell Cemetery Entrance

Shelley Johnson of McCormick, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Gibert’s grandson, James Louis Petigru, inherited the plantation and took great pains to improve the property, including planting a mile-long avenue of oaks leading to the plantation home. He is said to have named each tree for a friend. The trees have since been cleared. Petigru, a Willington Academy graduate, lawyer, and vocal anti-secessionist, was a notable South Carolinian. He served as state Attorney General, opposed slavery, and is famous for his quote, “South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum.”

Badwel Cemetery

Shelley Johnson of McCormick, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Petigru is also the namesake of the James L. Petigru Public Interest Law Society at the University of South Carolina School of Law. Despite Petigru’s history at Badwell, he is buried within the churchyard of St. Michael’s in Charleston, the city where he lived and practiced law after being admitted to the bar in 1812. As Petigru lived out his adult life in Charleston, his widowed sister, Jane, managed the plantation in McCormick.

Badwell Cemetery McCormick

Shelley Johnson of McCormick, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

James Petigru’s sister, Adele, married Robert Francis Withers Allston, who served as governor of South Carolina from 1854 through 1858. Their daughter, Louise Gibert Allston, is also interred at Badwell Cemetery. Petigru’s niece, Mary North, married the nephew of Governor Allston, Joseph Blythe Allston, who eventually became the owner of Badwell Plantation. Joseph Blythe Allston’s grave marker is seen above.

Badwell Cemetery Headstone

Shelley Johnson of McCormick, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

A few headstones stand outside the walls of the family cemetery, such as the marker in the above photo. The memorial to “Daddy Tom” marks the resting place of a Badwell slave. Other markers can be found within the surrounding wooded area; in the mid-twentieth century, several graves were moved from Augusta, Georgia – just across the Savannah River – to this site by the Poteet Funeral Home prior to a damming project by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. The moving of the graves spared them from being submerged.

Badwell Cemetery Wall

Shelley Johnson of McCormick, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The gate to the cemetery, seen in the top photo, is now painted black. However, it once depicted a cast-iron image of the grim reaper, circa 1860, which was stolen and later recovered. In the 1970s the property was acquired by the Sumter National Forest, which now maintains the site. The United States Forest Service along with local historical organizations and private citizens have been working together since 2009 to restore and maintain the historic cemetery. Rust has been removed, the stone wall has been repaired, and many broken marble grave markers have been reassembled. Future plans include replacing the grim reaper with the original or a replica. An urban legend claims that a troll haunts the stone wall of the cemetery.

Badwell Cemetery Info

Address: Badwell Cemetery Road, McCormick, SC 29835
GPS Coordinates: 33.926314,-82.378344

Badwell Cemetery Map

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3 Comments about Badwell Cemetery

Kyle Young Michael says:
March 14th, 2016 at 2:27 am

More of my ancestors.

NikkiNo Gravatar says:
November 11th, 2016 at 2:55 pm

It was burned down years ago. There is still a spring house down below.

Rooty KingNo Gravatar says:
February 14th, 2016 at 11:41 am

Hello, I was hoping you could help me with a problem I’m having regarding the Badwell plantation. I have been searching high and low for the spring house that is suppose to be located on the plantation somewhere but can’t find it anywhere. There aren’t even any pictures of it that I can find. It was made of cut stone, and I’m sure it still exists. If you have any idea of its location, could you please give me directions to find it. If you do not know where it is, perhaps You may have a picture of it to share with me. Just email your reply to me at Thanks very much!!!


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