by Jane Nardy
The Cashiers Historical Society’s October 2019 Cemetery Ramble started inside the Church of the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church with a lecture on the history of the church presented by Carol Bryson and Ann McKee Austin.
Afterwards, the group went outside and visited the first burial sites in the cemetery, placed there in 1876. Within a plot surrounded by a wrought-iron fence are the graves of four toddler girls of the Thomas Grimshawe Sr. and his wife, Helena Grimshawe Family, residents of the Whiteside Community of Cashiers.
Their names were Olive who was 4; Bapsie, 7; Helena 2; and Mary, 6. All four girls died within eight days of each other of the dreaded disease, diphtheria.
Next to the girls in the same plot is the grave of their great aunt, Anne Eastwood who died in 1892. Another interesting early grave is the nearby one of Henry Heigham, a friend of the Grimshawe family who, like the Grimshawe family, was originally from England and had immigrated to Canada before coming to Cashiers.
The oldest cemetery in Cashiers is the Lower Zachary Cemetery, located on what was Col. John A. Zachary’s property, and dates its earliest burials to the 1860s.
Col. Zachary, prior to his death in 1872, directed that anyone, who was sympathetic to the Union during the Civil War, would be banned from burial in his burying ground.
So, when in 1873, the Union sympathizer and son of Col. Zachary, Alexander “Andy” Zachary’s wife, Sarah Isabella Wilson Zachary, died, she became the first person laid to rest in a new Zachary cemetery on land owned by her husband. Located very close to the Lower Zachary cemetery, the new burying ground was eventually referred to as the “Upper Zachary Cemetery.” Note that neither of the Zachary cemeteries had a close church affiliation and all financial upkeep of these cemeteries comes from money collected each year at the Zachary family reunion.
As time permitted, a few of the graves in the Upper Zachary Cemetery were visited and stories from the occupant’s lives were told as follows:
Alexander “Andy” Zachary, who died 1895 at age 89, sold Wade Hampton III his first piece of land in Cashiers Valley in 1855.
Jeptha P. Slatten died in 1883 at age 45. He was a Confederate soldier who lost one of his arms during a Civil War battle.
John Lee Rogers died 1994 at age 74. He ran one of the gas stations at the Cashiers Crossroads where his great wit provided out-of-control, side-grabbing laughter to everyone who pulled in to get gas.
Thompson Roberts “T.R. or Tom” Zachary, died in 1921 at age 71. During the Civil War, at age 14, he guided a number of Union officers, who’d escaped from a South Carolina Confederate prison, from Cashiers Valley to Knoxville, Tennessee. Walking through deep snow, the group arrived at Knoxville on January 1, 1865, where a picture was taken of the exhausted escapees and their guides.