Baynard Mausoleum on Hilton Head Island

Work is under way to restore the Baynard Mausoleum and Zion Cemetery.  Nestled under a canopy of old oak trees where Mathews Drive and William Hilton Parkway (highway 278) meet is the oldest surviving structure on the island and now a designated listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

Built around 1845 by William E. Baynard, one of the island’s wealthiest cotton planters, the mausoleum served the needs of the dead, but an inscription on its wall urged the survivors to live with “integrity and uprightness.”  Four years after the completion Baynard died at the age of 45 and both he and his wife were interred in the building.

The Zion Chapel of Ease Historic Site was the location of the plantation owners’ first church built on the island in 1787, and also served as the post-Revolutionary War militia muster house.  The cemetery that remains contains memorials for four Revolutionary Way soldiers, two who are buried on site.

The cemetery is also the final resting place of several Revolutionary War patriots and of Charles Davant, who was ambushed while out on patrol during that war and was the only casualty on the island of that war.  Walk among the headstones and learn of our former citizens who are buried there.

The restoration is a project of the Heritage Library and is an effort to transform the area into an educational history park. 

To learn more, check out the Friends Of Baynard website or the Heritage Library website.  The Heritage Library is a great source to turn to for information on the history of our island and the development of Mitchellville.

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