The Legacy of Molly Graham


The Molly Graham Story ( 1805-1925): Reawaken Our Forgotten Past

Molly Graham, a former slave, also known as “Ma Mudda,” lived on Cypress Plantation in Green Pond which is now a part of Myrtle Grove Plantation.

Molly was married to Joseph Graham and together they had three daughters

Mid ways through the Civil war, after being approached and threatened by Rebel soldiers while working in the rice fields, As this story has been told to 7 (seven) generations, How Molly Graham along with her three daughters (Sally, Sara and Effie) fled for their safety to Beaufort County, first at Fee Farms and finally settling in Frogmore, SC (an unincorporated community on St. Helena Island in Beaufort, SC). Harriet Tubman also stayed in the Beaufort County areaThe story begins as such:She (Molly) was wearing a beautiful red shawl that day which she had knitted to keep herself warm when a group of rebels rode up on horse backs and began to question her about a man in a red jacket that was in the field.

Molly Graham told them that she did not see any man in a red jacket. One of the rebels pulled a gun and pointed it at her and said no slave could own a shawl that beautiful, you must have stolen it from a white woman. One of the rebels then told her that if she wanted to live, she had better start running because they were going to burn down the plantation. Molly only had enough time to prepare a straw basket filled with cornbread and water gathered her three children and began to running through the swamp and woods, hiding by day, and moving by night to save their life from the confederate soldiers who was looking to kill them. Having made to the river, Before crossing into Beaufort SC, when she heard dogs barking and the rebel soldiers who was hunting for them, Molly began to yell, Help Me! Help Me! To the Yankee (Union) soldiers at Fee Farm Landing. Hearing the woman yelling the soldiers rescued her and her children by going out on a wooden raft.

After the war ended and it was safe to return, Molly Graham and daughters returned to Cypress Plantation in Green Pond, SC. Those who once were the overseers of the slaves on that plantation and punished them had to now work alongside them, (former slaver) in order to survive.

Molly Graham was widely known as a businesswoman, a slave herbalist Doctor and midwife. Molly and her family sold the produce (chickens, turkeys and peanuts) they grew and raised. Molly was able to buy land.

As a slave doctor, and an Herbalist, Molly Graham treated both Blacks and Whites. Molly Graham had a wealth of knowledge, and she was able to find medicinal plants to treat the people. Molly created the first three room hospital in her home located in Green Pond. Years later a gentleman by the name of Mr. Caesar Hamilton told and gave an account of his personal stay at Molly’s hospital; having travelled by mule and wagon from the Hickory Hill area to Green Pond and being hospitalized for five days. He was also quoted as saying “ The licensed doctor told him that if it wasn’t for the treatment and care by Molly Graham he would’ve died.

Herbal medicine was crucial during slavery because slaves had to take care of themselves. After the civil war was over and slaves were free, Molly still practiced herbal medicine, because there wasn’t a trained doctor available in the Green Pond area Molly was midwife the the area women.

The only trained doctor for the Green Pond area came by train once a month from Charleston. Her reputation for healing her patients with lifesaving methods of treating all kinds of conditions baffled the trained medical physicians.

Her medical practices grew to have long lines of patients arriving by mules or horse-drawn and ox-drawn wagons by both blacks and whites.

They would pay her fifty to seventy-five cents, and those who did not have the money at the time of treatment, she would say to them, “when you get better come back and pay me.”

Molly Graham’s daughter, Sara died when her only child, Louisa, was one month old. Molly, who was a Herbalist doctor, prepared an herbal “moss tea,” in which she (Molly) drank to cause her breasts to produce milk. She then breast-fed Louisa her granddaughter and raised her as her own child.

As this family blessing unfolds, we realized the courage that Molly Graham had and the unending love for her family. You see the man in the red jacket was her brother Joe, who she never saw again.

Molly’s husband and brother were eventually reported captured and killed by the Rebels at Cooks Hill. (their ONLY crime: BEING BLACK!) located near Bowman Lane in the Ritter area. Both men are buried in Cooks Hill graveyard.

Molly Graham’s descendants proudly say “That God’s continued blessing upon her from slavery was a setback. However, it became the setup for the success for future generations.