In the Feb. 5 moonshine article (“’Shine on”), the Island Packet writer stated that back in the day when someone died on Daufuskie Island, friends and family of the deceased would have a “sitting up” where everyone would stay awake through the night.
In my experience growing up in rural South Carolina, it was called “setting up.” No one in the country said “sit.” Everyone said “set.”
There were many reasons for “setting up” with the deceased. It was respect for the deceased and family, to prevent cats and other animals from getting to the body (remember, there was no air conditioning or screens to the windows and doors).
The mother or wife of the deceased would take to bed from the time of the person’s death to the funeral. Deceased persons were washed, dressed and “laid out” in a homemade casket. Lots of food was brought to the home, and friends stayed to help with serving the food and cleaning up and to visit. The deceased was usually buried as soon as possible.