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Thread: Unknown Farm/Settlement, South Carolina

  1. #1
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    Question Unknown Farm/Settlement, South Carolina

    I recently found what looks like an abandoned farm complex on my property but the more I look into it the more evidence I find that something else was there.

    There are about 10 recognizable structures:

    - Apparently old farmhouse; contains some possessions, historic bottles, etc. Has telephone wire/electrical line running from the house to a pole and back into the woods. I'd say circa 1920's or 1930's.
    - Cotton shed/barn/sleeping quarters; contains bales of cotton, clothing, some old mattresses, tools, etc. Structure probably dating to early 20th century.
    - Small blacksmith(?) shop; miscellaneous iron tools and horseshoe looking objects.
    - Several chicken coups and pens.
    - Two smaller sheds, one appears to have been a makeshift garage.
    - Old car; probably 1960's, unknown make/model.
    - Several piles of tin cans, bottles, and roofing tiles.
    - Ruins of other small structures and fences, probably sheds as well.

    Not sure what happened the owner(s). My guess is the place was deserted 20 years ago. The property belonged to a Civil War-era rice plantation. There are many roads through the property, lost of young vegetation and what looks like an old road bed or railroad right-of-way.

    What do you think? Is it worth investigating?

  2. #2
    Tsarevna's Avatar
    Tsarevna is offline Rawk Crawlin GPS Totin Ghost Towning Expert
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    Did anyone tell you about it when you bought the place?
    I'm a bit confused as to why you couldn't speak with the former owners of the property. Did you buy it as a foreclosure or was it auctioned?

    I think it's very neat and interesting. Some ghost towns don't have that many standing structures. That would be awesome if you could show us some pictures.
    It could be just an abandoned ranch or something, but the railroad possibility has me wondering if it once was an actual town, and if foundations of other buildings might be lurking nearby wating to be found.

  3. #3
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    The owners had inherited the land from their ancestors. See, a person from a wealthy family up North may have bought it many years ago, forgotten about it, and their next of kin received it automatically through inheritance. That's why it's such a pain tracking down the owners of a particular parcel of land; their relatives may have bought it several generations ago and they never even knew about it.

    By the way I did some in depth research today and it seems highly (90% likely) that the Walterboro & Western Railway once ran a branch line through there. I was studying a railroad map from 1900 today, over-layed the the current road system, and found that to be strangely true. I even mentioned it someone, and they said there's an abandoned right-of-way that coincides with the map I made.

    I'll get some pictures tomorrow and I'll try to find that abandoned railroad bed, again. It's doesn't run through the settlement though, more like a quarter-mile away.

    Also, if its worth mentioning, there were three rice plantations in the area dating from the late-18th century. The area bordering my property belonged to one of them (the field is now a bog).

  4. #4
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    Here are the images I took today. Eventually I'm going to clear the thicket around the area to make it more easily accessible and find the old railroad line.

    http://profile.imageshack.us/user/liozac0261

  5. #5
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    Wow! That sounds incredibly fascinating. I think it's more than worth an investigation, but I'm the kind of person who investigates almost everything so that's not saying much coming from me! But seriously, pictures would be really cool, and I can't wait to see what you find out.

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    I feel really stupid about this, but the old railroad line is actually about 2-3 miles south of where I thought it was. Whatever I found must've been an old road from the plantation days. I also looked at an aerial image of the property from 16 years ago, and found that there are actually more buildings further back in the woods.

  7. #7
    Tsarevna's Avatar
    Tsarevna is offline Rawk Crawlin GPS Totin Ghost Towning Expert
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    Oh I wouldn't say you're stupid, not at all.
    In fact your road really could be a railroad bed, just because you don't have a map in your hands right now proving it doesn't mean it never was.

    Take the plantation. At one point it may have been a swamp or forest that had to be cleared/drained to make way for rice. It very well could have been a little logging railroad spur that went up to your property that was used to clear the area. There's thousands of miles of abandoned track in Oregon, mainly from logging. It is very possible here to discover one, and find out 20 years later or so that the "road" is a rail bed. Often times that is just what happens, a rail bed is converted into a road.

    It seems extravagant today to build a railroad spur just to cut logs. But back then it was worthwhile because it was old growth. It was easier than hauling it out with oxen and time was money.

  8. #8
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    It could have been a railroad spur. I've traveled on roads that were railroads or spurs back in the early 1900s. Try to find historic maps from the USGS (don't have the exact website right now). I found a bunch of them from the early 1900s, mid 1900s and the regular 1970s 7.5 minute quads, with those 3 I was able to figure out where were the old railroads and figure out more or less when were the roads built.

    Just wondering. How big is your property and how long did it take you to find these buildings. Did you know that they were there? were you simply driving around and found them?

    I find it common that when you buy old properties, houses, etc., you find old coins, containers, even burials, but I've never heard of people finding old buildings from almost 100 years ago. It's a pretty cool find I gotta say.

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    What is the geographic position of the property (latitude/longitude)?

  10. #10
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    I happened to see a roof sticking up over the tree line one day and soon noticed some old power lines too, and figured that it was just some neighbors until I realized its well within our property line. There's a thicket surrounding all of the buildings now that makes its nearly impossible to get to, but it seems as though the area hasn't been touched in almost 16 years. I'm hoping to take some more pictures soon but these are all I have to offer for now (I live about 45 minutes away).

    I can't stress how strange this is. I've found dozens of Pepsi bottles scattered throughout the area and some kind of Canadian bottled liquor. I also found a license plate from 1976 though I doubt the DMV has any record of who it belongs too. I can still see a blue recliner and whats either an A/C unit or TV set inside the house, along with some newspapers from the mid-1950's(?) plastered on the walls. The chicken coups still have feathers in them as well. There's even a mooshine jug with some kind of brown liquid in it sitting up-right outside.

    I'll have to get the coordinates, and these two satellite images of the area which show a stark contrast in the past decade.

    Thank you for everyone's advice, it's been very helpful.

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