If you ever find yourself traveling Highway 17 passing from Charleston, SC down to Beaufort/Hilton Head, SC or Savannah, GA you will have to cross the Molly Graham Memorial Bridge. Molly Graham, a slave who saved her life as well as that of her 3 daughters by escaping from Cypress Plantation during the civil war. She was also a naturopathic herb doctor and served the community. You can say she started the 1st community hospital in Green Pond, SC. Molly Graham is also my 4th great grandmother. The bridge in her honor was unveiled today – July 4, 2019.
It was such an honor to be present and to be able to witness this.
Below is Molly’s Story.
STORY SUBMITTED BY: Renee Givens
Whereas, born a slave on Cypress Plantation in the South Carolina community of Green Pond, in Colleton County, Molly Graham went on to see the end of slavery and enjoy a fruitful life with her children and their descendants; and
Whereas, toward the end of the Civil War, as Molly Graham baked bread, her daughters, their uncle and others were working in the fields when they spotted a group of Confederate soldiers. The girls immediately ran to their mother for safety as their uncle hid under hay and straw in the barn; and
Whereas, according to documented American History, Confederate soldiers, realizing that Union soldier, would free the slaves and enlist the males to fight against the Confederacy, began killing all male slaves before Union troops arrived; and
Whereas, upon finding Molly Graham and her daughters in the slave house, the Rebels inquired about the uncle at gun point. They all denied knowing anything about him at which point a Rebel officer told Molly, “If you value your life and your children’s lives, you better leave here right now;” and
Whereas, the Confederate soldiers rode off and according to reports, Molly Graham’s husband and brother were among those captured and killed by firing squad at Crooks Hill. Molly grabbed the freshly made bread, a jug of water, and with her three daughters, Sally, Sarah, and Effie, set out on foot towards Beaufort where they were told Union soldiers camped and would protect slaves; and
Whereas, walking by night and hiding by day, crawling across the Combahee River on a narrow plank as the bridge had been destroyed, the family continued its journey despite the risk of being caught by the Rebels or the natural dangers they faced; and
Whereas, being a woman of faith, Molly Graham and her daughters persevered, reaching the banks of the intracoastal waters at Fee Farm Landing where she could see the Union soldiers camp; and
Whereas, rescued by Union soldiers, Molly and her daughters stayed at the camp for several months until the war’s end. They returned to Green Pond where all the daughters married and had children of their own. The family pooled its money and in time acquired several hundred acres of land which they farmed and raised poultry; and
Whereas, Molly was a naturopathic herb doctor who treated black and white patients, and former slave owners without prejudice. She developed a reputation for restoring patients to optimal health and for being used by God in treating conditions that baffled medical doctors at the time. Molly went on to add rooms to her home for patients who needed overnight care; and
Whereas, at their deaths, Molly Graham, her daughters and other family members all chose to be interred at Hickory Hill Cemetery in Green Pond, the closest burial site to the Combahee River and the area through which God delivered them to freedom; and
Whereas, it is fitting and proper that members of the General Assembly honor Molly Graham for her courageous fight for freedom and for her tireless contributions as herb doctor to the Green Pond community by naming a bridge in that community in her memory.10