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Edisto Presbyterian Church: Live Oaks, Southern History, and the Ghost of Julia Legare

There are a lot of weird things about me: I constantly have cold feet (literally) even in the middle of the summer, I sleep like a mummy (with my hands crossed over my chest and my ankles crossed), and I have to take Little Debbie Nutty Bars, Twix, and Oreos apart before I eat them.

But one of the oddest things about me is that I like traipsing around graveyards. 

Perhaps this makes me morbid. Or maybe I've just read too many Gothic novels.

I know some people find them creepy (and you'd never see me exploring at night!), but they can be super interesting. I love reading the tombstones of the people buried there--it's crazy to think that, at the end of our lives, everything that we were and wanted to be gets summed up in a few words. 

Here in the South, we've got some particularly beautiful graveyards that are filled with old oaks trees, winding vines, and benches hidden in quiet corners. 

Edisto Presbyterian Church: Live Oaks, Southern History, and the Ghost of Julia Legare | CosmosMariners.com


On the road to Edisto Island, there's a gorgeous white church that greets visitors. Aside from it being really striking, Edisto Presbyterian Church supposedly has a ghost that's pretty famous around the Charleston area. 

Edisto Presbyterian Church: Live Oaks, Southern History, and the Ghost of Julia Legare | CosmosMariners.com
Landon, who's used to getting dragged along on my escapades, headed out to the church one evening so that I could take pictures and explore a little bit. The church, which has been on the site since the 1830s, has a quintessential Southern look with the white clapboard siding and the giant columns out front.

Edisto Presbyterian Church: Live Oaks, Southern History, and the Ghost of Julia Legare | CosmosMariners.com


Edisto Presbyterian Church: Live Oaks, Southern History, and the Ghost of Julia Legare | CosmosMariners.com


We didn't go into the church sanctuary because it was closed, so we made use of the early evening light and walked around reading the historical placards situated around the outside of the church. We also read some of the tombstones and noticed the local names: the Mikell and Legare families were particularly concentrated in that area. Many of the people buried there date back to the Revolutionary War, as the graveyard was first used in the late 1700s.

Edisto Presbyterian Church: Live Oaks, Southern History, and the Ghost of Julia Legare | CosmosMariners.com

Edisto Presbyterian Church: Live Oaks, Southern History, and the Ghost of Julia Legare | CosmosMariners.com

Edisto Presbyterian Church: Live Oaks, Southern History, and the Ghost of Julia Legare | CosmosMariners.com
At the very back of the cemetery is a mausoleum, which really sticks out since they aren't really common in Charleston. Unlike Louisiana, where mausoleums are the norm, the Lowcountry mostly has your standard in-ground graves.

Way back when in the 1800s, the Legares, a wealthy farming family, had a daughter that came down with diphtheria. Julia got sicker and sicker until the family doctor could not find a heartbeat and declared her dead.

Without the option of embalming, Julia viewing and funeral were quickly held, and she was placed inside the family mausoleum. The family mourned her loss, and time passed.

Years later, Julia's brother died, and the mausoleum was re-opened to place him inside. To the family's horror, they found Julia's body not in her coffin, but huddled against the mausoleum door. Her fingernails were ragged from where she'd clawed at the stone door, and the door had deep marks where she had tried to move it in vain.

Heartbroken, the family put Julia's body back into the coffin and resealed the door. To their surprise, they came back to the cemetery one day and found that the solid rock door had been cracked down the middle. They replaced it again with another solid door, but this one was found on the ground in front of the mausoleum. Since this had never happened before, the family believed that Julia was trying to keep anyone else from suffering her fate.

No matter what the family did, the new doors kept cracking or falling down. Eventually, they stopped putting a door up and conceded that Julia had won that battle.

To this day, there isn't a door on the mausoleum, and the last of the marble doors that stood there is now in broken pieces in the grass right in front of the structure.

Edisto Presbyterian Church: Live Oaks, Southern History, and the Ghost of Julia Legare | CosmosMariners.com

With all of the trees and vines and forest right next to the mausoleum, it's easily to let your imagination run wild. Landon peeked into the Legare mausoleum, but I was feeling like a chicken, so I just stood back and took a picture.

Not to mention that the story totally freaks me out because I am super claustrophobic, and I cannot imagine the panic that poor girl experienced when she woke up inside the building and realized that she couldn't get out. Shudder.

Edisto Presbyterian Church: Live Oaks, Southern History, and the Ghost of Julia Legare | CosmosMariners.com

The ghost story just adds another level of interest for me in the cemetery. Between it, the Civil War monument, and the historical placards, Landon and I spent a good hour poking around the place. 

The Edisto Presbyterian Church is located on Highway 174 just a few miles from Edisto Island. If you're going towards the island, the church and the graveyard are on your left--you can't miss it. 

The grounds are open daily and are free to walk around. Make sure to check out the historical self-guided walking tour; the pamphlets are located to the left of the main church building.