ROCK HILL, S.C. — A South Carolina realtor made an unusual discovery while hiking a 3.5-acre commercial property that she’d just listed for sale: a decades-old tomb nestled in a small, wooded area on the land, according to WSOC-TV.
Kimberly Gaffney told WSOC that she’s never found anything similar in her 15 years as a real estate agent.
“As we were walking down the … property line, I’d seen this thing sitting up,” Gaffney told the news station, adding that she thought it was a front porch or the remains of a house. Instead, WSOC reported that she found “a large concrete tablet with four concrete walls sticking out of the ground with a headstone on top of it.” The headstone bore the name of William Mason Chisolm and the dates “1905-1962.”
“I thought, ‘Oh my God, I’m standing on somebody’s grave. I’ve got to get out of here,’” Gaffney told WSOC. “Then the next thing that came to mind was, ‘Oh my God, how am I going to sell this?’”
The property, which is on the market for $300,000, was bought by the current owner for $5,000 at a delinquent tax sale about a decade ago, according to WSOC. The news station reported that Chisolm previously owned the land, although it appeared that his family moved away after his death and stopped paying taxes on the property.
Chisolm spent his own money during the segregation era to buy school buses to allow Black children who lived in the country to get to school, The Herald reported in a 2014 article celebrating Black History Month. WSOC described Chisolm as “a local hero.”
Frankie Greene, of Greene Funeral Home in Rock Hill, told WSOC that similar burials on land outside of the city were not uncommon in the past. However, it was unusual that there appear to be no signs that anyone lived on the land previously, according to WSOC.
Gaffney told the news station that she is determined to find Chisolm’s living relatives to let them know about the discovery. In the meantime, she said she has contacted the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and the York County Coroner’s Office. WSOC reported that DHEC would have to approve of removing the remains, a cost which the property owner said he’s willing to foot if no relatives of Chisolm can be found.
©2021 Cox Media Group