Pickens Cemetery



The Summary List is organized by grave number: the first two numbers are the row numbers, and the last two are the grave numbers.  The Register is in alphabetical order. I think (and hope) that all dates and names agree -- and are correct, but I learn about new info almost every day.

If you want to look up a specific grave, pick the correct last name under "Graves".  These are broken into blocks so they will load faster.  Each grave is listed by its last name and everything is in alphabetical order (I hope!) and you can find each grave in its proper block under "Graves "A" thru "D" or whichever is the correct letter.  I apologize for having to break it all up like that, but otherwise you would have to sit and wait 5 minutes for the page to load, so. . . this seemed to be the best way.  You can search by row and grave number on the "Summary" page, but it's NOT in alphabetical order.  Thanks and good hunting for your relative.  If you run into big problems, do not hesitate to call me.  I don't mind -- in fact I made this site to try to help people, so why not be available?  See the Contact Us page for details.


Total Number of Graves -- 272

Number of Unknown Graves: 69 (approximately 25%)

Revolutionary War Veterans: 23 plus probables

War of 1812 Veterans: 3, maybe even 8

Seminole or Florida War Veterans: 1

War Between the States (Confederate) Veterans: 7 

Spanish American War Veterans: 1

World War One Veterans: 1

World War Two Veterans: 3

Enslaved African Americans: 12

A Quiet Place of Rest

Pickens Cemetery is a beautiful square acre with 272 known graves, dating from 1787 to 2010, honoring veterans of every conflict from the Revolutionary War through World War II and providing a beautiful hilltop to rest upon for all the others who have passed away.  The cemetery began as the resting place for Richmond Presbyterian Church, formed about 1784 or 1785, (and underwent a name change to Carmel Presbyterian about 1793-1795).  After Carmel moved about 3 miles northwest, Capt Robert Pickens, who had graciously allowed his land and timber to be used for Richmond, continued to encourage any of the Carmel people who so desired to be buried in the original cemetery.  The Methodists built Wesley Chapel in the 1800 time frame about a quarter mile north, and buried their dead in the same cemetery.  When Carmel Presbyteryian moved, some time later (maybe in the 1820-1840 time frame), Wesley Chapel (Methodist) was erected  on the old Richmond/Carmel site.  My guess is that Wesley Chapel had suffered a fire and so had to build another building and decided to move near the cemetery.  At some later time, Wesley Chapel became Pickens Chapel until it totally ceased operation in the early 1990s.  At some time in the 1930s/40s, Robert Welborn Pickens (the owner of the land at the time and descendant of Capt Robert), put the Three & Twenty School District in charge of the cemetery land.  I think he was looking for someone to keep the cemetery from becoming overgrown with brush, etc. Whatever Robert W.Pickens had planned must have fallen through, because about 16 months later, the school district deeded the cemetery back to him. The ownership is in the process of being changed and set up in a permanent tax free foundation under a local university, but it has not been finalized yet.  Hopefully, this will be finished in the next year or so.  

The cemetery has been known by all the church names, but now is Pickens Cemetery because the majority of graves belong to the Robert Pickens family.  Capt Robert Pickens received the deed to the land on October 10, 1784, only four months after the area was opened to white settlers.  It has been in the family ever since, and some of the original grant is currently owned by great-great-great-great-great grandchildren of Robert Pickens, who came with his mother and father and siblings to Pennsylvania around 1715 or so.  Like many Scotch-Irish, many members of the family moved south along the Great Wagon Road, stopping temporarily in Maryland and Virginia and then the Waxhaws, and finally ending up in the Long Canes Community in the 1760s.  During Indian troubles and the Revolutionary War, Capt Robert Pickens was on duty in this area which would become Pendleton District.  I believe he saw this place and made a vow to bring his family here and settle permanently in these rolling foothills of the southern Appalachians.  Probably in 1783, before it was legal, the family moved from Long Canes to this tributary of Three and Twenty Creek, and some of the family has been living here ever since, with some from every generation buried in this sacred little acre, along with their friends, neighbors, and fellow church members.  Please come visit the cemetery some time and share our love for it.

In 1960, my father (David Garrison, only son of Lura Agnes Pickens Garrison, the youngest daughter of Robert Welborn Pickens) and I began to clean the cemetery.  It was so overgrown by kudzu, honeysuckle, bramble briars, thorn bushes, poison ivy and every other weed or unwanted plant that you could not see a tombstone ten feet away.  Of course, we had to do it by hand as we did not want to injure stones, and neither one of us knew where all the fieldstone markers were.  The majority of the graves were marked with plain old rocks, with some having some home "chiseling" on them and some plain and some in between.  I started trying to locate every grave and identify them when we finished.  Grandma (Lura Pickens Garrison) and her older brother Uncle Andrew (Dr. Andrew Lee Pickens) were of great help.  Dr. Pickens had located many in the 1920s and had ordered veterans stones for those he could find service records for.  There are graves that were certainly Revolutionary veterans, but have no veteran markers. I'm working on these.  If you know about Abraham/Abram Nally/Nalley, John Wilson, Michael Smith or any other Revolutionary veterans, please let me know.  I need all the help I can get.  This little acre has more Revolutionary veterans than any other single upstate cemetery.   Dad and I finished cleaning the cemetery in 1967 -- of course we only worked on Saturdays and holidays.  In 2004, I cut down dead pine trees and hauled them and fallen pine trees that had been killed by shortleaf disease or shortleaf pine beetles and did a thorough cleaning of the cemetery.  I continue to do some maintenance work on the grounds every time I come back to Carolina.  Tommy Keaton, a distant cousin, provides day-to-day oversight and maintenance of the cemetery.  


If you desire a copy of this handbook, contact me.  I'll send one out free of charge.


Every known grave has a little paragraph and at least one picture of the tombstone.  You are free to copy anything on this website, nothing is copyrighted!  During 2007-2012, I replaced field stone grave markers on the known grave sites with modern stones and modern "engraving" so that everyone can find all the graves if you have patience.  When I put in the new stones, I did not remove the old field stones. Louis Smith and I have repaired all the broken tombstones.  By the end of 2017, expect new pictures on the website so you can read the engraving on each marker.  Thanks for your help and support!!

Please come visit Pickens Cemetery soon!