Marlboro County, SC
THE ELUSIVE ODOM CEMETERY
by Kellie West © 2005
On 13 September 2004, I made my first attempt at finding the Odom Cemetery located in Marlboro County, near Bennettsville, South Carolina. I had not been to the cemetery proper since I was a child around the age of 10. The closest I had come since that time was in 1994 during a visit with my Grandmother, Ruby Odom Jones. She lived her life in Fayetteville, North Carolina but at that time owned an inherited property near the cemetery site. We set out in 1994 to visit the county courthouse and I drove to her property so she could see her trees. The day was a hot one in late August. We stopped at a nearby house and spoke to the residents who verified the general location of the cemetery. Because of the heat and the time of day I did not feel comfortable leaving Grandma on her own for the sake of following my genealogy bug.
Ten years passed before I was able to pursue the elusive Odom cemetery. As stated above I made a first attempt to locate the cemetery on 13 September 2004. I was unable to make contact with anyone who could give me road names and locations including my father who was the last family member I know who had been to the site. (He was attempting to get photos and info for me but had a malfunctioning camera and none of the photos came out! That was October 1988.) Since I wanted more information from the Marlboro County Courthouse I decided to start there. I spent far more time there than anticipated but found a 1984 edition of Cemetery Records of Marlboro County South Carolina by Elizabeth C. Drake located in the Judge of Probate office.
Armed with directions photocopied from the book and a map of the county I set off. I followed the directions noted in the book but nothing was looking familiar. After doubling back and talking with a man standing outside a house in the general area where the cemetery should have been I was becoming very dismayed. It would soon be dark and I was having no luck. I proceeded to backtrack my way out of the area very slowly. I was nearly back to the main road when I passed a house that looked vaguely familiar. The door stood open so I turned the car around and was met by a very friendly older lady. She assured me that "Yes, there is a cemetery in those woods across the road. You go back there you need a man with you. Theyís snakes back there." I will never forget her words or the accent they were spoken with. Since it was getting late in the day I thanked her and told her I would come back in the next day or so to make sure I had plenty of daylight to accomplish my goal. I came to the conclusion that she was most likely a daughter of the older lady my Grandma and I had spoken too in 1994. I told her that if they searched the chain of title to her land she would most likely find my grandmother had sold it to the family years ago.
On 14 September 2004, I returned to the area located the previous day. I had spoken to my Dad in Colorado and he verified the direction I needed to take into the woods from the road. I didnít have a man with me but I had a hoe in case I ran into a snake and plenty of tape to mark my trail (I credit my dad and my husband for teaching me to navigate my way into the woods.) I began to make my way. I was going on a lot of faith since I had no one around to guide me. Nearly an hour into the woods and making sure I had a clearly marked trail out I began to request that my ancestors guide me to their final resting place. Not ten minutes later I let out a giggle of relief when I found my quest was not in vain. After nearly 16 years of waiting to set my eyes on this location it was sitting right before me. The weather was nearly perfect for photos and I had my notepad and some stone cleaning supplies. I was pleased to find most of the stones in reasonably good condition. The canopy of trees has provided a nice protective layer for most of the stones.
Because the property is marked no trespassing and I have not determined who the owner is at this time, I will not disclose the location of the property. The directions given in the previously mentioned book will get you in the general location but the distance is somewhat off. I am not sure I could give accurate directions anyway because of the wooded location. I would not want to be responsible for someone getting lost out there. I currently live in Washington State and my trips to the east are limited. I hope my efforts will be of benefit to others who research this Odom line. I would love to hear from anyone related to this family. I am related through my fatherís mother, Ruby Odom Jones. Her father, Berry Odom rests in the Odom Cemetery as well as his father Henry King Odom and mother, Bettie McInnis Odom. I still intend to research how each of those that lie in the cemetery are related but that will take a little time.
I would love to hear from anyone who finds this information helpful. I can currently be reached at email@example.com. Happy hunting, Kellie West
The Odom Cemetery
Rev JAMES ODOM
Died May 21, 1852
She Made Home Pleasant
And Died (??thru??) Jesus
Elizabeth Drakeís 1984 edition of Cemetery Records of Marlboro County South Carolina, notes a Rev. James Odom, Born 1773, Died Aug 20, 1856. I did not locate a stone for him during this trip.
Oct. 27, 1828
July 16, 1859
Footstone with initials WMO
Most likely the stone of
William Murray Odom
Apr. 12, 1851
Feb. 15, 1863
Name and dates from Cemetery Records of Marlboro County South Carolina, c. 1984.
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