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The Ghost Rider of Columbia

For the most of men who've seen battle, a piece of the conflict is taken home with them as a sort of unwanted souvenir. The ordeal they experienced is something that those of us who've never seen battle could never understand. And yet, on at least one occasion, they come back to protect and warn the living. Columbia, South Carolina was the place for one of the most odd of ghost sightings...

Wade Hampton III was, at the beginning of The Civil War, the richest man in America. During the war, he would give nearly all of his fortune to The Confederates. He was wounded a total of five times in battle and during the course of the war he lost both his brother and youngest son to violence. And, to top it off his home was burned to the ground by Sherman during his infamous march. If a man had cause to be angry at the world, it was Wade Hampton. However, Wade was able to put his pain and anger behind him and go on to a fairly successful career in politics, becoming governor and then later a senator.

Wade Hampton III died on April 11, 1902 at the age of eight four. It is said that nearly 20,000 mourners followed his casket as it was carried to Trinity Churchyard in Columbia. This was not the last that anyone would see Mr. Hampton. In the spring of 1914, Wade Hampton was seen in the town of Columbia, riding his horse down the street, although he was riding his horse a few dozen feet in the air. Several witnesses saw the ghost, and a few even feared that it was one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse until someone mentioned it looked like Wade Hampton. It was only after the great war started that the theory of his warning of the coming war was heard.

There are no stories of anyone seeing Mr. Hampton since that spring day of 1914. Perhaps, his duty done, he's decided to ride off into the sunset forever.


Life on the Hampton Plantation

Back in the 1970's I was quite pleased about the fact that we lived in a home that was built on what was formerly part of the Hampton Plantation. I don't know if the main house ruins are still standing but I enjoyed, on occasion, venturing onto the property and alongside the ruins and just feel it's history and the activity of what once was - a bittersweet experience.

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