Author Patrick Harwood doing research for his latest book at the First Scots Presbyterian Church | Provided

The churchyards of Charleston’s Historic District paint a picture of local ancestry, according to S.C. State University communications professor Patrick Harwood, who has penned a new book titled, Stories from the Underground: The Churchyards of Charleston. 

“The old but well-maintained burial grounds that exist today in the Historic District help tell the story of life and death here in the 17th to 19th centuries,” Harwood said.

His new book takes readers on a tour of a local synagogue and 13 churches in Charleston’s Historic District.

“Patrick Harwood is a born storyteller, and his tales of the dead confirm it,” said Harlan Greene, author and scholar-in-residence at the College of Charleston’s Addlestone Library. “This book is not just a tour de force of Charleston’s churches, churchyards and cemeteries, but a tour through time as well, with stories of funerary history, customs and design.” 

Hardcover and in full color, Stories from the Underground: The Churchyards of Charleston explores several different religions throughout its 228-pages, including Anglican, Episcopal, Baptist, Catholic, Congregational, Huguenot (French Protestant), Judaism, Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian and Unitarian.

Additionally, the book examines the history of many Black burial grounds on the peninsula, including the Charleston Cemetery Historic District, which is located in the Charleston Neck area.

“The unique level of religious freedom allowed by the British in early Carolina attracted people prepresting a wide range of faiths,” the author said.

The public is invited to a book-signing event 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Nov. 6 at the Second Presbyterian Church,  342 Meeting St. For additional information, click here.

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