Saturday, August 06, 2011

God's Acre Healing Springs

Robin came home for a few days this past week and planned to leave again on Wednesday. I decided to take half a day off on Tuesday so we could spend some time together. With so much recent stress over home repairs for the house insurance policy, my niece moving in and other drama in our lives I just wanted to get away, if only for a couple of hours.

There are a couple of road trips that I have really wanted to take for a while and one of them was to God's Acre Healing Springs in Blackville, SC which I learned about years ago.

From the Historical Marker:

By tradition, Healing Springs got its name during the Revolutionary War. In 1781 after a bloody battle at nearby Windy Hill Creek, four wounded Tories sent inland from Charleston by General Banastre (the Butcher) Tarleton were left in the care of two comrades who had orders to bury them when they died. Luckily, Native Americans found them and took them to their secret, sacred healing springs. Six months later the Charleston garrison was astonished by the reappearance of the six men. All were strong and healthy.

Ownership of the springs passed from the native “Indian” tribes who revered them to Nathaniel Walker, who bought them with corn. The site passed through several hands until it was acquired by L. P. Boyleston. On July 21, 1944 he deeded the land and springs to GOD. The waters, by analysis are exceptionally pure and contain healthful minerals. People today, as in the past, believe they truly are Healing Springs.

It was already mid-afternoon and we knew it was roughly a two hour drive so we headed out, grabbing some happy hour drinks from Sonic for the trip. The ride up Highway 78 is pretty uneventful and littered with a lot of farms. I always wonder loudly when traveling through places like this why on Earth would someone choose to live this far from civilization? As I drove, wanting to get to our destination as quick as possible, I made a mental note of places I wanted to stop and photograph on the way back.

When we arrived at the springs we pulled into the circular drive and assessed the situation. There were several cars there and people milling about. Others were carrying bottles to and from the springs after filling up. I decided to check us in on Facebook. We were so far in the country there wasn't even 4G reception!

After several cars came and went we decided to get out to get a closer look. As soon as I got out of the car I grabbed the bug spray and began spraying my entire body. I'm ALWAYS the one that gets a million bug bites whenever I'm outside and I'm allergic. The swelling and itching is brutal. One of the ladies that was getting into her car saw what I was doing, laughed and said "That won't help!" We South Carolinians always joke that the mosquito is the state bird and I didn't want to take any chances - especially while hanging around a source of water!

When we approached the springs we noticed that out of the three spring spigot's only one was producing any water. I walked around and took a couple of photos.

I went over to the working spring and started talking to the woman that was filling her bottles. I asked a couple of questions about the springs and she came to life telling me about the fact that she had been coming to the springs for years. She lived in Bamberg with her husband, who she claimed was Clarence "Choo-Choo" Coleman who used to play for the negro leagues, the Mets and Phillies. I asked how he got the name "Choo-Choo" and she smiled and said "Because he was as fast as a train!" She said he wasn't much into the springs, or collecting the water so he chose to stay home today after telling her that she already had enough water. She told me that you can never have enough!

I asked her what she used the water for and she said "Everything!" She said she drinks it, cooks with it and even bathes in it. She told me that sometimes she sits in her bathtub and pours it over her head. We chatted for a long time and I learned a lot about her life. She told me that she loves everybody and that it didn't matter who you are or what you do... she can't help it if you are going to hell! Ha! This lady is awesome! I really wish I had gotten her name! She started accumulating a lot of filled bottles and we helped carry them to her car. She thanked us and said "God sent ya'll here to help me!"

I really thought the water was going to smell and taste like the sulfur water from the spring at the Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine so I was hesitant to taste it. The lady told me that it tasted better than her tap water so Robin and I filled our cup and each had a drink. It was actually quite good! The day was incredibly hot and the cold water was really clean tasting and refreshing. I started wishing I had some empty containers to fill up for us!

It was getting late so Robin and I decided to head out so we said our goodbyes. In the meantime, a few more people had gathered with loads of bottles to fill!

We definitely need to come back during the Fall or Winter since we found that there is a cache in the woods that leads you to another spring. I was wearing sandals so there was no way I was going to trudge through high weeds. There's no telling what critters were hiding out there!

On the way to the car Robin decided to douse her head in the "Jesus Water" (as we took to calling it) because it was so hot outside. After doing so, she said "May the Gamecocks have a winning season!" I'm surprised we didn't hear thunder roll.

On the way home we stopped to take a couple of odd rural "roadside attraction" photos...

Finally, after a stop at the grocery store and take-out Chinese shop we came home and relaxed for bit before hitting the sack. Robin was leaving the next morning and I had to work. Days like this make me miss the fun, spontaneous trips Robin and I used to take when she was working (and living!) in Charleston. I don't go nearly as much when she's not here, but I should... just to get out of the house and put my camera to use.

Perhaps when the weather cools down and it's not 100+ degrees outside!

1 comment:

Beth Niquette said...

What a fascinating description of a wonderful trip! I totally enjoyed that--I liked the idea of the water, too. Makes a body wonder.