Clemson professor writes history of little-known Pickens County community

By Wanda Johnson

Clemson University

CLEMSON — A group of Clemson University students and faculty tiptoed through a weed-filled plot of land in northern Pickens County as if they were trying to avoid disturbing the birds flying above them. They removed brush and debris from a cemetery some feared was forgotten.

That was more than seven years ago, when members of Clemson’s anthropology club and faculty carefully cleaned and marked graves at a slave cemetery that belongs to Soapstone Baptist Church in Liberia, a small community in northern Pickens County.

“Hundreds of freed slaves settled in the Upstate of South Carolina after the Civil War,” said Mable Owens Clarke, Soapstone Baptist Church member and historian.

Clarke said the church dates back to about 1865, when her maternal great-grandfather founded the house of worship.

Clemson anthropology professor Mike Coggeshall read bits and

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