Laurens Cemetery Association will sponsor tour of historic graveyard with interpreters
A tour of the historic Laurens City Cemetery will take place May 15, sponsored by the Laurens Cemetery Association and the Laurens County Museum.
The tour will be from 2 to 5 p.m. at the cemetery in the 400 block of North Harper Street in Laurens. It began as a family graveyard for the Thomas Porter family in the early 19th century. The first person buried there was the Porters’ two year old daughter, who died in 1817 as the result of a rabid dog bite. The cemetery was expanded twice in the early 20th century to its current boundaries on the Little River.
Soldiers from most of the wars in which this country has fought are buried there. Three signers of Ordinance of Secession from Laurens County are buried there, as are two South Carolina governors and one United States senator. It is the final resting place for many prominent local citizens, including Rear Admiral Samuel McGowan, who served as U.S. Navy Paymaster General and Chief of the Bureau of Supplies during World War I, and Wil Lou Gray, a state leader for adult education and literacy.
Parking for the tour will be in the city lot at the corner or North Harper and East Main streets, near Smith Chevrolet, or at the Little River Park on Gordon Street.
Interpreters will be on hand to discuss specifics of the cemetery and to give guided tours. History brochures will be handed out. Volunteers in period dress will be in the cemetery representing some of the people buried there.
Tour organizers said there is no charge; however, donations will be accepted for the cemetery’s upkeep and for the Laurens County Museum.