Hampstead Hill

IMG_2005In Charleston’s famed Washington Park, there are two monuments to people who were buried elsewhere in the city. One is to Captain John Christie, a master of Masonic lodges, whose marker says he was buried on “Hampstead Hill”. The other is to Elizabeth Jackson, mother of Andrew Jackson, who was “buried on a hill” just outside the old city.
Both are probably under a building or sidewalk on the East Side, which was developed in the post-Revolutionary period as the Village of Hampstead, on a hill overlooking the marshes of Town Creek.
In the colonial period, non-native Charlestonians were typically buried in “strangers’ graveyards” , which were located in forbidding locations near marshes in the upper regions of the peninsula, where disease would presumably not be spread.
Both Christie and Mrs. Jackson died of cholera, which was a mystery in the 1780’s when they died. Both were non-natives without a local church, so they were sent up to Hampstead Hill.
Today, the hill is still very evident, rising just west of East Bay Street at Cooper Street. The section of land along Drake Street between Blake and Columbus Streets is noticeably higher than the Town Creek area to the east, and is most likely where Christie and Mrs. Jackson lie today.

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