Cemetery notes and/or description: Machpelah Cemetery was originally known as the Waddell Family Cemetery. The first burial there was in 1839. In 1849, William Bradford Waddell donated his family’s cemetery, along with other nearby land, to form Machpelah.
During the Civil War, many soldiers from both sides of the Battle of Lexington were buried at Machpelah. There is also a special memorial to the victims of the Saluda steamboat explosion of April 9, 1952. The Saluda carried Mormon immigrants from England and Wales who were travelling to Utah. Some of the bodies from that disaster are buried in a mass grave at the cemetery.
Among the prominent citizens buried at Machpelah are Stephen Wentworth (founder of Wentworth Military Academy), Ike Skelton (representative to U.S. Congress and chairman of the Armed Services Committee), William Waddell (one of the founders and operators of the Pony Express), and Gilead Rupe (the first settler of the area).
Cemetery records date only to 1885 with no record of earlier burials. Many headstones of earlier burials can be found. Records from the years of 1920 thru 1940 were destroyed by a fire.
Just inside the south entrance is a kiosk with a database of burial locations.