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Tabernacle Cemetery in Smoaks Installs Metal Arch

Driving just North of the community of Smoaks in Western Colleton County, passersby will notice something new to the area. A custom wrought iron arch has been erected at the entrance of the Tabernacle cemetery, displaying the name and the established date of 1876. Public donations pay for the upkeep of this cemetery since it is operating independently, and recent fundraising efforts provided for the new metal arch.

Since there is no church at this cemetery site it is possible to drive right past this Lowcountry landmark, so be sure to look for the grass parking lot with a chain link fence surrounding the burial area. The new arch is 13-feet high over the swing gates and was designed to be large enough to allow for funeral company equipment to be able to access the grounds. I can report azaleas, camellias and crepe myrtles in the cemetery area, bordered by an agriculture field filled with white cotton blooms.

Edyce Griffin is the secretary / treasurer for the Tabernacle cemetery and she takes great care in the upkeep, especially since her late husband is buried here. “Carol Padgett of Ruffin is the President of the Tabernacle cemetery committee, and I serve with him to generate the funding we need for site maintenance,” said Griffin. “The new arch was put up just in time for the Christmas season, which is a high traffic time for all cemeteries when folks visit the graves of loved ones.”

“Ken Drawdy of Walterboro was commissioned to create the metal arch, and we are thrilled with the way it adorns the entrance to the cemetery,” said Griffin. “Neil Way of Walterboro is our groundskeeper. We are always looking for donations, but we are blessed to have some regular contributors too. One lady is about 90-years old now and she sends us $10 every year, and we sure do appreciate it. I try my best to respond with a thank you note for every donation received.”

The founding date of 1876 would have been shortly after the Civil War, and when we toured the cemetery we located veterans from several different wars. A few members of the Kinsey family are buried here, with tombstones that relay they fought in the Civil War. Some of these grave sites have Confederate iron cross markers on them, and some of the tombstones themselves are modern day, revealing they are gone but not forgotten. We also found markers of veterans from the Spanish American War and from World War I.

The community of Smoaks was established in 1789 and their welcome sign reads Quiet Country Living. Griffin is a Smoaks resident and shares that it can be very quiet there, except maybe on weekends when Interstate traffic reroutes onto Highway 21, revving up the normally quiet countryside. “This is a nice place to think about internment and we do have room in the Tabernacle cemetery for anyone looking for burial plots,” said Griffin. To make a donation to the Tabernacle cemetery or to inquire about any further information call Edyce Griffin at 843-908-9815.

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at LowcountryOutdoors.com

Jeff Dennis, Contributor (305 Posts)

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at www.LowcountryOutdoors.com