Note; long read with images and history ‘you can touch’.
All the old churches and chapels provided gravesites to their congregation. Strawberry was no exception. The current owners of the property, the Ball family, have generations buried here.
(Edward Ball published a best seller titled ‘Slaves In The Family‘ a biographical historical account of the family history and a narrative of the slaves that were here . The Ball family opened the chapel to a small group the day these photographs were taken).
Catherine Chicken, great-granddaughter of James Child founder of the settlement once here, is said to have suffered grave abuse in the chapel’s churchyard as a young girl in 1748. At age seven, Catherine was sent to board with her French schoolmaster, Monsieur Dutarque. Catherine was in trouble for not completing her chores when the schoolmaster found her outside chasing her pet turtle around. When he asked her why she had not completed her chores, she told him she just wanted to be outdoors. Dutarque was enraged and thought he would punish his student by tying her to a tombstone and leaving her there for a brief period of time. If she wanted to be outdoors he would ensure she stayed outdoors. He only intended for this to last a short period of time but forgot and left her there into the night. (SC Picture Project).
Of course over time this turned into a mythical ghost story. Truth is she was rescued during the night, the headmaster ‘punished’ and sent packing. Catherine later married a plantation owner, had a family, and ultimately was buried near Middleburg Plantation.
Above is the ‘receiving tomb’ and vaults of the Harleston family, related to the Ball and Coming families. All plantation owners along the Cooper River and near Strawberry.
The church yard is closed, behind old high brick walls to protect the historical site. The Ball family has kept this property private for 297 years and does not accept any government funding preventing any outside influences.
Next week the Chapel will be open for a service, baptism, and a family style picnic. After then the grounds will be closed until the traditional Christmas service.