Saint Mark's Parish Church
Family cemetery and gravesite of General Richard Richardson
Where: 33.6371062 -80.4911967 Richardson Cemetery
Maps: [map notes]
- 33.6371062 -80.4911967 Richardson Cemetery
- GNIS record for Richardson Cemetery. Note mapping options.
- Confidence: 5(cemetery, 3(St. Mark's Parish Church)
- 33.637301,-80.4908 Richardson Cemetery (JCP)
- ACME Mapper.
- National Map
- Confidence: 5(cemetery, 2(St. Mark's Parish Church)
- Gravestone of Gen. Richard Richardson, courtesy of Jack Parker:
- This cemetery is the alleged site of of one of the more egregious acts of which Lt.Col. Banastre Tarleton is accused in partisan history. The historicity of this account has been effectivly challenged by several credible researchers who make the case that no primary sources have been found to substantiate the account. The account is firmly entrenched in popular lore and will not likely go away. Examples of the account:
- Clarendon County Chamber of Commerce
In an attempt to force information concerning Francis Marion's whereabouts from the widow of General Richard Richardson, Banastre Tarleton, a British general [sic, Lt.Col.], compelled Richardson's widow to dig up the body of her husband laid to rest six weeks earlier. Buried here also are Governors James Burchell Richardson, and John Peter Richardson (founder of the Citadel). The most Governors to ever be elected from one family were from the Manning/Richardson family of Clarendon County.
The Clarendon County Archives and History Center:
One of the most historic graveyards in the region, Richardson Cemetery was founded prior to the Revolutionary War. In an attempt to force information concerning Francis Marion's whereabouts from the widow of General Richard Richardson, Banastre Tarleton, a British general[sic, Lt.Col.] compelled Richardson's widow to dig up the body of her husband laid to rest just six weeks earlier. Buried here also are Governors James Burcell Richardson and John Peter Richardson (founder of the Citadel). Five of S. C.'s governors were from Clarendon County.
- George Summers, Revolutionary History in Clarendon County, SC:
"Richardson Cemetery and St Mark's Parish Church", Search for "richardson cemetery"
This is where Tarleton camped, started on the chase to Ox Swamp and returned to harass the Richardson family. He made Mrs. Richardson prepare dinner for him, then dug up Gen. Richardson’s body, burnt the house and the barn with all the animals in it and finally flogged Mrs. Richardson in front of her children.
- Lyon Gardiner
Tyler, ed., Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography...,
"Richardson, Richard", p.135, 1915, Lewis Historical Publishing Company
when on a raid through Carolina in 1781,
burned his house and opened his grave to
be assured of the patriot's death.
- James Grant Wilson, John Fiske, Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography, "Richardson, Richard", p.243, 1888,
Colonel Tarleton subsequently burned his house and disinterred his body to verify his death.
- Edward McCrady, The History of South Carolina in the Revolution, 1775-1780, p.817, 1901, Macmillan & Co., Ltd.
His remains had been
interred but a short time before Tarleton occupied the
establishment. He ordered the body of General Richardson,
it is said, to be taken up, and left it exposed until,
by the entreaties of his family, they were permitted to
reinter it. His pretext for this act of barbarity was that
he might examine the features of a man of his decided
character; but the true object was, it was believed, to
ascertain if the family plate had not been buried in his
grave. All the property of the estate which could not
conveniently be taken for his Majesty's service or the
gratification of his officers, was wantonly and sedulously
destroyed. Provisions and houses were all burnt; stock
of all descriptions slaughtered or driven away; negroes
captured, until little or nothing was left but the dwelling
house. Tarleton, having first been in the house and helped
himself to the abundant good cheer it afforded, in person
directed the torch to be applied to it, and the widow and
three children of General Richardson were only rescued
from the flames by the humanity of one of his officers.1
1 Johnson's Traditions. 161, 162 ; James's Life of Marion, 63. [Note: James does not mention disinterrment.]
- Joseph Johnson, Traditions and Reminiscences, Chiefly of the American Revolution in the ... , p.162, 1851, Walker & James
His remains had been interred but a short time
before Tarleton occupied the establishment. He ordered
the body of General Richardson to be taken up,
and left it exposed, until, by the entreaties of his
family, they were permitted to re-inter it. Tarleton's
pretext for this inhumanity was, that he might examine
the features of a man of his decided character;
but it was, in fact, from a mean suspicion that the
family plate was buried there for concealment. All
the property of the estate, which could not be conveniently
taken for his majesty's service, or the gratification
of his officers, was wantonly and sedulously
destroyed. Provisions and houses were all burnt;
stock of all descriptions slaughtered or driven away;
negroes captured or decoyed, until little or nothing
remaining but the dwelling house, Tarleton, in person,
directed the torch to be applied to it, with the
a/vowed intention of making it the funeral pile of the
widowed mother and " her three young rebels." The
humanity of one of his officers interposed to rescue
this . family from the flames, and in saving a few
articles of clothing and furniture.*
[This is the earliest mention of the disinterment I have found. If you have an earlier reference, please email it. Note that Johnson says that most (not all) of the "facts" related came from J.P. Richardson. Richardson's letter is not a primary source.]
* Most of these facts were communicated by the Hon. John P.
Kichardson, grandson of the general, in a letter, dated Clarendon, 29th
- Terry W. Lipscomb, Names in South Carolina, "South Carolina Revolutionary Battles, Part Four", University of South Carolina, English Dept., Winter 1976, XXIII: p.32
Cornwallis was now sufficiently concerned about Marion's activities, that he sent Tarleton's Legion across the Wateree to put down the in-surrection in eastern South Carolina. For several days, Marion and Tarleton made cautious moves toward each other, until the morning of November 8 found Marion approaching Tarleton's encampment at Mrs. Richard Richardson's house. Her plantation was located on the Santee Road a few miles south of the modern village of Rimini. Before daylight, Marion discovered that the enemy's force greatly outnumbered his own troops, and, he reversed his line of march in time to escape through the swamps. He first traversed a large swamp called the Woodyard, then crossed Richbourg's Mill Dam on Jack's Creek and headed in the direction of Black River. As soon as Tarleton found, that Marion was retreating, he immediately started a pursuit through difficult terrain, which lasted for seven hours. Finally, he found his way obstructed by Ox Swamp, and seeing no obvious route through the morass, he turned to his men and said, "Come my boys! Let us go back, and we will soon find the Game-cock (meaning Sumter), but as for this damned old fox, the devil himself could not catch him." This remark is supposed to have been the origin of Marion's nickname, the "Swamp Fox".6
6 James, pp. 61-63; Marion to Gates, November 9, 1780,
Continental Congress Papers, Item 154 (Horatio Gates Letters);
Cornwallis Papers, PRO 30/11/4, 96-97. In his memoirs (p. 172),
Tarleton dated his pursuit of
Marion on November 10, and alleged that he abandoned the pursuit
because of an express order from Cornwallis, but the original
letters demonstrate that this account was a misrepresentation of the
- SCHHMG, p.224
About 3 miles W of Pinewood, just off SC 261 at St. Mark's Church.
[This is the same location given for the "St Mark's Episcopal Church" historical marker, pictured on St. Mark's Parish Church. That marker was found by JCP to be at Church of the Holy Cross in Sumter, approximately 11 miles to the north.]
An early plantation owner in this area, he was a Commissioner of St. Mark's Church who donated land for its construction. He was magistrate and delegate to the First and Second Provincial Congresses. In the Revolution he was colonel in the Snow Campaign and later brigadier general. Six governors of South Carolina are among his descendents.
Erected by Sumter County Historical Society - 1969
- NBBAS:Two p.353-354
Revlist post Williamsburg Township, South Carolina, 7 – 8 November 1780. Mentions the disinterrment but provides no source.
- Sherman's Calendar.... p.215-216 To avoid long downloads, use option to "Save and view this PDF in Reader".
- Nov 1780 listing 11/7 - 8/1780 Tarleton's Raid. British victory. Per O'Kelley.
St. Mark's Parish Church,
Confidence level:: See above.