Everyone agrees that Hilton Head is a beach-side paradise.
But there’s a hidden gem on the Island with an eerie past. The Baynard Mausoleum holds a melancholic tale that sends shivers down some spines.
Legend has it that William Baynard, a wealthy plantation owner, was inconsolable after losing his young wife in the early 1840s. He would wander the halls of his Hilton Head plantation, yearning for a glimpse of her presence. Today, ruins of the plantation still stand, a testament to this heart-wrenching tragedy.
In a desperate attempt to stay connected to his beloved, Baynard constructed the mausoleum three years before his passing in 1849. Whispers spread, speculating that the tomb was meant to safeguard his precious possessions for the afterlife he hoped to share with his wife.
During the Civil War, Union soldiers caught wind of the alleged fortune within the mausoleum.
What followed was a relentless raid, leaving every treasure stolen. The spirit of Willaim Baynard, angry and heartbroken, is said to linger not only in the ruins of the Stoney-Baynard Plantation, but also within the empty mausoleum itself.
This chilling tale continues to captivate visitors to the cemetery, who report a sense of eerie emptiness near the tomb. Step into the oldest surviving structure of Hilton Head, the Baynard Mausoleum, and prepare to be enthralled by the ghosts of the past.
The Zion Cemetery is located on William Hilton Parkway (Bus. 278) on Hilton Head near the intersection of Matthews Drive. It’s open 24/7 and free to explore.
Want to uncover more haunting secrets of Hilton Head Island at the Zion Cemetery and Baynard Mausoleum?
Mark your calendars for four nights only: Wednesday, Oct. 18 to Saturday, Oct. 21 for a spine-tingling event brought to you by The Heritage Library: “Ghosts and Myths of Hilton Head Island.”
Hear ghostly tales as costumed reenactors bring to life the stories of Andrew Baynard, Cap’n Jack Stoney, Williams Eddings Baynard and others. It’s a unique account of the chilling history of Hilton Head Island. For more information, click HERE.