This historic cemetery in the hamlet of Wedgefield is the final resting place of Matthew Singleton, a prosperous farmer who helped settle present-day Sumter County in the mid-eighteenth century. Singleton owned four plantations totaling over 9,000 acres at the time of his death in 1820. The Singleton property holdings increased over the subsequent decades, with Matthew’s son, Richard, amassing more than 12,000 acres at his death in 1852.
The family cemetery seen here was established at Melrose Plantation (pictured below). Part of the former plantation is now Poinsett State Park. According to the book Sketches of Planters, Plantations, and living along the Great Road St Mark’s Parish 1700-2000 by Charles Broadwell, “The third home built by Matthew Singleton is known as Melrose. It was built as a summer residence for the family to escape the fevers of Wateree Swamp. Matthew Singleton’s daughter, who married a Brohun inherited the home and her family named it Melrose Lodge after it became their permanent residence. The home remained in the family until it was sold to the state in the 1930’s. The structure was rented for many years and succumbed to a fire in 1963.”
Several prominent South Carolinians are interred within the Singleton family cemetery, including George McDuffie, husband of Richard Singleton’s daughter, Mary Rebecca. McDuffie served as Governor of South Carolina from 1834 through 1836.
The Singleton Cemetery is listed in the National Register:
Singleton’s Graveyard was the family cemetery of one of the most prominent families in the Sumter area during the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Many of the 43 known graves are of Matthew Singleton’s descendants, dating from 1796 to 1944. The Singleton family amasses fortunes in land and built large neighboring plantations. As these plantations were self-contained entities, a family graveyard was established at Melrose. This plantation has long disappeared. Singleton’s Graveyard remains not only as they physical evidence of a prosperous and influential family in the Sumter area, but as evidence of a cultural pattern practiced on plantations throughout the South. Statesman George McDuffie (1790-1851) is also buried in the graveyard.
George C Markos says
After several years of searching Ancestry I found Angelica Singleton Van Buren on my mother’s side of the family.
Wow, related by marriage to two presidents and many governors.
Fortunately, my mother’s father was also a moonshiner in South Georgia. He brought some honesty and integrity back to our family heritage.
Better yet, my cousin’s wife in Tennessee is related to Dolly Parton. From Dolly Madison to Dolly Parton. Very thankful to be a part of this great family.
My grandfather was a Singleton from SC … I imagine some ancestors may have come from the Singleton Plantation.
Joseph Singleton says
My family ancestors were slaves on the Singleton plantations during the eighteenth century. All my ancestors are from Sumter County, S.C. My grandfather was Fate Singleton; my great-great grandmother’s name was Caroline Singleton Pregnell.
Veronica Singleton Merriwether says
This is a response to Joseph’s response from 2020. My daughter has shown interest in her heritage, taking her to this point. My grandfather’s name was Lafayette Singleton. His father was Henry Singleton. His father was listed in ancestry.com as Lafayette Singleton Sr. (a mulatto) on the birth records. His father is listed as Sydney Singleton, but there is no evidence of a woman who bore our lineage, which by all accounts was probably a black woman. It would be nice if we could get more information regarding our heritage.
chris a foxworth says
My grandfather, Thomas O. Foxworth and grandmother, Elma Foxworth, lived in the old plantation house from 1940 until 1949 when my grandfather died. He worked at Manchester Forestry and that’s where my daddy was born in March of 1940 and they lived there until my granddaddy died.