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  • Writer's pictureNancy Rogers

ELIZA LOMAS

I should begin by explaining that I've been off the air because my iPhone crashed and I lost virtually everything. Two geniuses later and HOURS/DAYS retrieving files, I'm pretty much back to normal, although I'm having trouble reconnecting with my car speakers and I lost more than two hundred contacts. That might not sound like much, but I've only been able to rebuild thirty so far.


The reason I selected this headstone is because I've never seen another one like it, and I'm really into headstones. It has that circle that is mindful of a Christmas ornament, and it also has weeping willows, an urn, Egyptian-style rays of sun and palm fronds at the bottom. Those are all important icons and it's interesting to see so many on one headstone.

Oh, and there is another unusual thing about this headstone. The deceased, a woman named Eliza Lomas, is referred to as the CONSORT of John Lomas. I looked that up. Consort is usually a term reserved for the spouse or favorite of a reigning monarch. I've never seen that before, either.

Eliza's headstone is in Trinity Episcopal Cemetery in Columbia, SC. If you've never visited the cemetery, you should. The cemetery is filled with the remains of powerful South Carolina planters and politicians. These were important, wealthy people and their headstones reflect their positions.

Before the Revolutionary War, the church was an Anglican Church--the Church of England.

Although some powerful South Carolinians were of Huguenot descent, most of them were English, thus the Church of England. Following the war, the church broke away from England and renamed itself the Episcopal Church.

Eliza Davis Lomas, born in Scotland in 1808. She married an Englishman named John Lomas, and soon after they immigrated to Columbia, SC. I haven't been able to determine what John Lomas did for a living, but my guess is that he was a merchant of some kind, and probably quite successful.

John and Eliza Lomas had four children before she died in 1834 at the age of 27. He went on to remarry and to have eight more children.

One of Eliza's daughters was named Alice, who was born around 1831. On Jan 14, 1864, Alice married Samuel H. Duke. Samuel had signed up on Nov 13, 1861, with Company B, 7th SC Battalion (Enfield Rifles) to fight in the Confederate War. He died in Petersburg, Virginia, on Sep 28, 1864, nine months after their marriage. I also learned from one of the contributors to Find-A-Grave, that Alice and two of her sisters all married sons of Samuel and Isabella Duke of the Bear Creek section of Fairfield County. (One of my friends has a family of five male cousins who married five sisters back in Georgia.)

I also learned that Eliza's mother outlived Eliza by forty years; Eliza's father died in the same year as Eliza, 1834. I know absolutely nothing more about the Lomas family, but I guess that's not the point. When you visit a cemetery, you are surrounded by headstones and memorials to people trapped in the past. But with a little digging, you can bring them back to life, or at least learn something about them that makes them more three-dimensional.

You should try it if you haven't. Photograph some headstones and then begin your research. A good place to start is the Find-A-Grave website that contains photographs from cemeteries around the world. Some years ago, volunteers like me submitted photographs to the Find-A-Grave website and now, you can find practically any headstone in the entire country (and many parts of the world) on the website. It's free to use and fun. You could find members of your own family that way, too.

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