Columbia’s Oldest Citizen (as of 1901)

Julian Selby was a newspaper man who lived in Columbia from the 1830’s until his death in 1907. He wrote a book, Memorabilia and Anecdotal Reminiscences of Columbia, South Carolina, which was reprinted and published in October 1970. It contains this, on page 138, about a St. Peter’s Parishioner, Hugh McElrone, who died in 1901 and is buried in the Graveyard at the Basilica.

“Mr. Hugh McElrone was, without doubt, the oldest citizen of Columbia – his age being 103 years – when he departed this life last year…Mr. McElrone was a native of Ireland, but had resided in Columbia for over sixty years, and enjoyed the respect of the entire community. It could be truthfully said of him that his word was as good as his bond, and he hated a lie “worse than the devil does holy water.” He had acted as watchman for the banks of the city for more than a quarter of a century. His remains are interred at St. Peter’s burial ground, of which church he was a revered member. Notwithstanding the ugly weather, there was an immense attendance of people to do honor to the venerated citizen.

It is good to read a positive comment about one of our parishioners of more than a century ago. We know from the 1900 census that McElrone was head of household and was residing, at that time, with several family members at 1400 Sumter St., just a short three block walk from St. Peters.

You can read more about Mr. McElrone HERE.

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