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  • Writer's pictureNancy Rogers

A New Headstone for Percival

When my foundation set out to restore the Pawley Family Cemetery, we realized that Percival’s headstone was missing. We knew he was buried next to Sarah—it was tradition. We ever dug up a portion of the concrete crypt that he was buried in, but his headstone wasn’t there.

That wasn’t surprising though, because when Freedom came to the plantations, the freed slaves often uprooted the master’s headstone. A tree could have downed Percival’s headstone, but pieces of it should have survived, so my guess is that the People removed it from the cemetery.

Either way, we wanted to replace it, so this is what we came up with. I’m sure that he and his family would be pleased. Not very many people get a second chance at a headstone.

A Charleston company that specializes in historic stonework made the headstone for us. I think it cost $1300, but it probably would be twice that amount today.

I watched the headstone being installed and it was quite an operation. The supervisor said that people were always eager to see them come, but equally happy to see them go. I still don’t know what he meant by that, but cemeteries have a way of drawing out thoughts that you don’t feel anywhere else. Watching a headstone emplaced is a final act that loved ones might rather do alone.

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