I have been exploring some lately at The Richloam Wildlife Management Area in Sumter County in an area known as Baird Unit. It is a big place with over 11,000 acres of property and many miles of forest roads, multi-use and side trails to wander. I discovered around five homestead sites so far but only two of them had any significant remains left. The sites may date back to the early to mid-1900’s when homesteaders lived out here and farmed the land.
The first site I found had a structure that could have been where livestock was kept. Nearby it was a really big pasture that is now overgrown. I could see fence posts surrounding the property and some clearings where other structures may have stood. I scoured the area and didn’t see any other structures. a lot of stuff may be buried as well.
Further down the trail a few miles was the second potential homestead site I was looking for. As I got closer to the area the forest road all but disappeared into dense brush and woods. I struggled to see the path so I just followed my map the best I could until I eventually came upon the site. I saw a small clearing in the woods but nothing else initially. Then I saw a glimpse of metal by the trees and it was an old refrigerator.I knew then that I had found the place I was searching for. Around the site was metal and wood and part of a collapsed structure.
After leaving this site I headed back out to the forest road and continued onto the third site where nothing could be found. I also discovered two other sites where all that was left was just clearings. I still have more sections to check out here so I am looking forward to seeing what else I can discover. Finding history in the wilderness can be hit or miss but it’s all apart of the adventure!