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Beckham: Your local 400-year-old ghost
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What is the common link between the massacre of thousands of Christians, the longest continually inhabited city in North America, local barbecue sauce and three streets in Camden?

In 1605, the French king revoked the Edict of Nantes which had given the Calvinist (Huguenots) substantial rights. The Protestant interpretation of the Holy Bible differed from Catholic doctrine. However, most of France was Catholic and the Catholic Church was ingrained in the government.   When the edict was revoked, the Huguenots were massacred and many survivors fled to other countries. Like the Spanish Inquisition, much of Europe was not respectful of different religions. You can now see the same friction between the Sunnis and the Shiites fighting over which is the true religion.

One of, if not the first attempt at a settlement in what was later the U.S.A. was when Jean Ribault lead efforts to establish a Huguenot colony in the New World. His first effort, Ft. Caroline on Parris Island, was unsuccessful and the survivors sailed back to France.

His second attempt was in Jacksonville and to counter this settlement, the Spanish built a fort in St. Augustine. The Spanish successfully attacked the French Huguenots and gave the survivors the chance to revert to Catholicism or have their heads displayed on pikes. There were a couple of conversions.

One of our great liberties is the freedom of religion as our forefathers realized the danger when the government is controlled by religious orders. As South Carolina grew as a colony, the government gave land grants to European Protestants. Many French and German families settled on the central and western side of the colony and both used mustard in their meal preparation which is why the local barbecue in these areas is mustard based. Prior to the American Revolution, many German families settled in the Dutch Fork area and they were one of the few groups who were able to remain neutral when the war reached here. They were thankful to King George, the German-born speaking King of England, for their land but understood the quest for independence. Quite often during the American Revolution the Anglican British burned the Presbyterian and Lutheran churches which were located in Whig areas.

In the French Religious Wars in the 1560s, Eloise DeSaussure (DeSaurin} fell in love with a Protestant against her wealthy Catholic father’s wishes and she was banished to a convent where she died of a broken heart. Her mother went mad and died; on his death bed her father told his two sons Eloise’s ghost had visited him and later took out the same dagger he had threatened Eloise’s boyfriend with and killed himself.

During the murderous times of the St. Bartholomew massacre, the two brothers -- who were Catholic but also Huguenot sympathizers -- were visited one night by their sister’s apparition and told to flee. Only one, dressed as a monk, was able to escape and fled to Switzerland. Lausanne is a French-speaking city in Switzerland on the Swiss-French border and, like Geneva, became a haven for French Protestants.

In 1830, a large stately home named “Lausanne” was built on Mill Street. It was  the home of the DeSaussure family and named for the Swiss city where the family had sheltered during the 1500s. It was also the family's home for the “Gray Lady” who followed the family to America and whose appearance previewed a tragedy. 

The most chronicled story of the Gray Lady is of a young lady engaged to Raoul DeSaussure who was spending the night at the Lausanne home, visited by the Gray Lady and told not to let her fiancé go on the next day’s scheduled hunt. She begged Raoul not to go, but he did and was killed that day in a hunting accident.

In 1889, Mrs. Callie Perkins purchased this home site and changed it into a tourist hotel which she named Upton Court. In 1889, it was renamed the “Court Inn.” Through the years, there were many stories told by hotel guests of strange and supernatural events. The hotel was demolished in 1964 and the area became residential.  However, according to the residents of Upton Court, DeSaussure, and Lausanne streets, the 400-year-old ghost will still make appearances.

Your neighbors who reside in this area can provide you with their own ghost visitors.

Thank you for your attention.