History, Local

Volunteers working with the Fork Shoals Historic Society restore old Donaldson Cemetery

The Nimrod Donaldson Cemetery is located about 20 feet off Oliver Scotts Mill Road in Southern Greenville County. It is in a wooded area on the former land of Nimrod Donaldson (1803- 1883). Nimrod had a mill on Horse Creek and was very wealthy. The cemetery dates back to the 1852 when William McCullough was buried there. It is surrounded by a 4 ft high stone wall that is covered in concrete. According to Samantha Peirson Nifong. “Nimrod Donaldson was my 3rd great grandfather. He owned a mill in Dunklin Township from the 1850s to 1870s. He also patented a manure distributor and cotton planter in 1871. I think the stone wall was added after Nimrod died in 1886 because it originally had no entrance. It has 13 graves including 6 slave graves. The other people buried there are Nimrod Donaldson, his wife Sallie McCullough Donaldson, William McCullough and Jane McCullough (Sallie’s parents), James Donaldson (Nimrod’s son) and BP West Jr and Lafayette West (sons of BP West and Mary Ann Donaldson West. The slave graves are marked by fieldstones.”

Jim Scott, member of the Fork Shoals historical Society enlisted the help of volunteers Chandler Mitchel and Chase Cox to help clean up the Donaldson Cemetery. Both are members of the FFA at Belton / Honea Path High School.

Jim Scott shared details of the challenges the crew faced. “The first thing we had to do was to remove the headstones out of the way of the falling timber. We made a survey with reference points and a complete drawing of the locations of each of the headstones to be moved.” Jim continued, “We were advised by Preservationist Kyle Campbell on moving the headstones. The headstones were stacked neatly in a retired corner of the cemetery that would be out of the way of falling timbers. The next day we started cutting trees and removing the wood from the cemetery and were assisted by Bonnie and Raymond Orr from Mauldin SC. The Orrs, who searched for other graves that were marked by fieldstones, found several more in addition to the 3 we already knew about. The following Saturday, Chandler’s Dad, Kelly Mitchel, and Will Hutchins, who are tree surgeons by trade, took down the be enormous white oak and sawed it into small pieces so it could be removed from the cemetery. The following Monday Chase, Chandler, and I removed all of the wood from the cemetery and found all of the wooden stakes that we placed in front of each headstone for a location reference. We leveled one of the graves that had sunken a little bit. Then the rain came back, so we didn’t get to finish. We hope to be able to finish getting the headstones replaced soon.”

In reviewing the progress made at the cemetery Jim Scott recognized the efforts Jason Chandler were putting forth. “I have known these guys since they were born, not so long ago. They have grown into great and strong young men. I may add they are good men in character as well. First class in every respect! They each hold a special place in my heart. Both young men are in FFA. Last but not least, my friends at Fork Shoals Historical Society want to extend our thanks for all the support you have given on all the projects we have done. Y’all keep me going…we still have a lot to do on this one. May the Lord bless each of you!”♦

2 Comments

  1. Thomas Quinton Donaldson V

    Really enjoyed reading about the effort.

  2. Freda Donaldson Williams

    In comparing the before and after pictures, I’d say they did a terrific job while keeping the integrity of each grave. Thank you to each one who worked on this project. In one way or another they said history is important and these persons left an impact on their community.

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