Nesleted beside Quaker Cemetery and a part of Quaker Cemetery, lies the graves of many Jewish people of Camden, South Carolina. Many names can be recalled in Camden’s History. From merchants to former Confederate soldiers, these people made a difference in Camden.
The city of Camden is the only city in South Carolina besides Georgetown where Jews settled in numbers prior to1800. The earliest notice of a Jew in Camden District which we have found occurs in the Columbia records, in a document dated 1790, and refers to Mordicai Lyon. Camden
still possesses some of its early records, but very fewof the early newspapers are available. There are only a few references to Jews in the records prior to 1800 : David Bush,31 Samuel Levy, 32 Moses Sarzedas,33 and IsaiahBush.34
That there were Jews in Camden from an early date would seem evident from the will of Joseph Kershaw, madein 1788 and proved in 1792. “To God’s Anticent people the Jews I give and devise the lot No. 315 for a Burying ground and place of worship whenever they may incline to
to build upon the same.” 35 The Jews do not seem to have increased in numbers, however, and it was not till 1880 thatan attempt was made to form a congregation “Gemilath Chasodim of Camden. ” Lot No. 315, however, was never claimed, owing to the undesirability of its location.”
Hayman Levy’s name occurs in the records in 1819, Jacob S. De Pass in 1831, Judah Barrett in 1832, and Mordecai M.Levy in 1836. The families of Levy were not related, but they were all of considerable prominence. Hayman Levy was Intendant of Camden in 1843 and 1844. Both Chapman
Levy and Hayman Levy fought duels with Camden men. The Jewish community of Camden consists of
about fifty souls. Among the leading merchants are: Mannes Baum, Gabriel H. Baum, Louis L. Bloch, Wm. Geisenheimer, M. H. Heyman, Gus Hirsch, Jacob Hirsch, L. Schenk, and David Wolfe. Harry Baum is one of the largest planters in the county. Legriel A. Wittkowski was Master in Equity for Kershaw County for the ten years and was held in general esteem by the community.
Some Infamous Jews in Camden:
COLONEL CHAPMAN LEVY, a native of Camden, born July 4, 1787. He studied law and was admitted to the Bar in Columbia in 1806. He practised with eminent success in his native town and district, as well as in Lancaster. He represented Kershaw in the Legislature from 1829 to 1833 and from 1836 to 1838. He was chairman of the Committee on Retrenchment. He was a member of the “Nullification” Convention in 1832 and was an ardent Union man. He removed to Camden, Miss., where he died in December, 1850.
BATMAN LEVY, a prominent merchant and cotton factor of Camden. He was Warden of Camden in 1835, Intendantin 1843, and a director of the Bank of Camden from 1842 to 1854.
MOBDECAI M. LEVY was a merchant of Camden. He conducted a drug business in partnership with Dr. AbrahamDe Leon. He represented Kershaw in the Legislature from 1834 to 1838 and was a candidate for Congress in 1836.
A. H. Davega was Warden of Camden in 1854 and of Chester in 1858