Blackville’s Healing Springs

Yes, you can drink the water. That’s really the whole point, isn’t it?

Drive south 80 miles and you’ll come to what well may be the only property deeded to God. You’ll find this unique place near Blackville. It’s well-known and popular Healing Springs. People have long made pilgrimages to this Barnwell County site to fill jugs, bottles and whatever works with water. It’s not for the taste, though the water tastes fine. No, they come to take the reputed healing powers back home.

Healing Springs has long been considered special. We can go back to pre-European times when Indians considered the waters sacred. They bathed in the springs for restorative power when ailing or injured. The springs’ fame skyrocketed during the American Revolution. An historical marker chronicles the legend. “By tradition, Healing Springs got its name during the Revolutionary War. In 1781 after a bloody battle at nearby Windy Hill Creek, four wounded Tories sent inland from Charleston by General Banastre (the Butcher) Tarleton were left in the care of two comrades who had orders to bury them when they died. Luckily, Native Americans found them and took them to their secret, sacred healing springs. Six months later the Charleston garrison was astonished by the reappearance of the six men. All were strong and healthy.”

Springs have long held a prominent role when it comes to a hot topic these days, our health. When modern medicine fails many people turn to springs hoping to heal various ailments. Back a ways I knew a woman who would regularly make a 120-mile roundtrip to Blackville. Laden with plastic milk jugs, she’d come home with the therapeutic spring water and swore by it.

The water surges out of the ground in three places where four-spigoted fixtures make it convenient to collect. I stopped by the springs recently and three people were filling milk jugs and soft drink bottles with artesian water that surged up and out pipes. One lady told me she was from Pennsylvania. I have no doubt the water she collected was headed for the Keystone State. Folks come from all over. Some describe the springs as “a hidden gem in the middle of nowhere.” This hidden gem has ample parking and a picnic area. A sign urges people to revere God by keeping his property clean.

Blackville’s Healing Springs, known as God’s Acre Healing Springs, is indeed famous and it’s true that no one owns it. Lute Boylston deeded the springs to God in 1944. The deed states that the owner of the land surrounding the springs is “God Almighty.” (I’d say He’s always been the owner, wouldn’t you?) Gallons gush forth every minute. Healing waters are just 80 miles away. Get some jugs and hit the road. Once you’re loaded up with water, drive into Blackville and enjoy Amish-Mennonite cooking at Miller’s Bread-Basket in Blackville at 483 Main St.

 If You Go …

 • Springs Court, 3 miles north of Blackville on Hwy 3/Solomon Blatt Ave. Turn onto Healing Springs Road, then make a quick right at Healing Springs Baptist Church. The springs are behind the church.

• Open daily, dawn to dusk. Free.

• Read more here: www.roadsideamerica.com/story/12456

Learn more about Tom Poland, a Southern writer, and his work at www.tompoland.net. Email day-trip ideas to him at [email protected]