“Bloody Columbus” subject of history museum monthly program

Published 11:26 am Tuesday, December 27, 2016

On a lonely hillside just outside Columbus town limits lies a small family graveyard. It includes the gravestone of Benjamin Franklin Hampton with the inscription: “Killed Dec. 30 1864, he fell on his knees begging Christ to have mercy on him.”  

Benjamin Franklin Hampton gravestone

Benjamin Franklin Hampton gravestone

Across I-26, on former land of the Weaver plantation, a brush-covered hillside holds the graves of Sam and George Weaver, two others killed on Dec. 30, 1864.

In New Prospect Church Cemetery in Spartanburg County, lies the remains of Columbus hotel owner, Sam Hunter, a merchant who owned many early downtown Columbus lots.

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These men and several others lost their lives in what the Charlotte newspaper termed at the time as “Bloody Columbus.” This was a deadly incident that led to lawsuits against Polk County founder, Columbus Mills, Sheriff J. I. Ward and others for wrongful death. This event led to the flight of Columbus Mills who sold his home and moved to Cabarrus County.

What events occurred that led to this slaughter of several wealthy, prominent citizens of Polk County? Did it have anything to do with Civil War allegiances? Was there bad blood amongst the leaders of the newly formed county? Had the murdered men committed some heinous crime?

Learn more about “Bloody Columbus” at the Polk County History Museum’s monthly program on Jan. 3, 2017 at 2:30 p.m. The presenter will be James Metcalf, who has researched many facets of Polk County history over the years. The museum is located at 60 Walker Street inside the Feagan Building. Everyone is welcome to attend. 

For more information, call 828-894-3351.

– article submitted by James Metcalf