Locate historic John Wilson Jr grave

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Photo – Ed Ballard, Larry Coker and Jim Harrison look at the grave marker of one of the area’s early residents, former plantation owner and congressman John Wilson, Jr.Identify gravesite.

The Pelzer Historic Commission (PHC)has located the grave of a member of the original family who owned a plantation which eventually became the location of the town of Pelzer. PHC members met last week with Ed Ballard of Piedmont in Pelzer’s oldest historic cemetery located behind Bi-Lo on State Hwy. 20 and Hwy. 8. Ed’s father, Gordon Ballard of Pelzer, along with Esther Shirley was instrumental in restoring the old cemetery in the 1980’s. Ballard, who is now deceased, placed crosses on graves along with putting a chain link fence around the property. During this time an Archeologist identified approximately 100 graves.

The Cemetery dates back to the 1800’s and was started as the Wilson Family Cemetery and was a part of the family’s plantation which is now the town of Pelzer. John Wilson Sr is believed to be buried there, but no grave site has been identified as his. John Wilson Jr. served in the US Congress from 1821 to 1827.

PHC member Jim Harrison is heading a committee of volunteers with a clean up of the old cemetery which will begin this Saturday, January 28, weather permitting. All interested in helping please meet at the Community Building in the Monkey Park at 9:00 am. Please bring blowers. lawn mowers, rakes, etc. For more info call Jim Harrison at 947-9809 or Larry Joe Coker at 243-9120.