22 May 2016

Yamasees and the Battle of Sadkeche

People often wonder about the Native Americans who once lived in this area. Let your wonder cease by attending our next BDC@ the Branches local history program! 
On Friday, May 27th at 11:30 am in the Beaufort Branch Library's Children's Programming Room (311 Scott Street, 1st floor) you have a prime opportunity to learn about the Yamasee and what happens when cultures converge and clash in frontier areas. That morning the BDC and the Beaufort Chapter, ASSC will host Dr. Jon Marcoux of Salve Regina University whose topic is the Battle of Sadkeche, a Yamasee War engagement in nearby Colleton County. He is an archaeologist who specializes in cultural and historic preservation and the study of late prehistoric and early historic Native American Indian societies (ca. A.D. 1000-1800). Dr. Marcoux is particularly interested in studying cultural interaction among late 17th-century Native American Indian communities, enslaved Africans and European settlers.

A little background: According to Dr. Chester DePratter, the Yamasee tribe moved into the Port Royal Sound area around 1683 and resided here only for 30 to 35 years. They allied themselves with the English attacking Spanish-allied Indians throughout Florida. Captured Indians were then sold as slaves in Carolina or transported to other British colonies. The Yamasee were critical in a general uprising of Native Americans against the British traders and settlers of the Carolinas beginning with the Good Friday Massacre 1715 at Pocotaligo. For decades the Yamasee were on the run. Many Yamasee survivors eventually relocated to Cuba with the Spaniards in 1763 at the end of the Seven Year’s War.  However, some Yamasee descendants still reside across the Southeast.  [Source: “The Yamasee Indians in South Carolina” by Chester B. DePratter, Legacy, vol. 19, no. 1, July 2015, pp. 14 – 16.]

For additional materials, visit our Recommended Links & Materials post about this area's Native Americans.  Here are the ones most relevant to the topic of the Yamassee War: 

975.702 MCI Indians’ revenge: including a history of the Yemassee Indian War: 1715-1728 by William McIntosh, III, 2010, c2009. (BDC, HHI, LOB) [Other SCLENDS has copies that can be checked out]

973.25 RAM The Yamasee War: a study of culture, economy, and conflict in the colonial South by William L. Ramsay, c2008. (BDC, BEA, BLU, HHI, LOB) [Other SCLENDS has copies that can be checked out]

SC 975.7 HIS “An Account of the Breaking Out of the Yamassee War, in South Carolina extracted from the Boston News, of the 13th of June, 1715,” Historical Collections of South Carolina; embracing many rare and valuable pamphlets, and other documents, relating to the History of that State, from its first discovery to its independence, in the year 1776. Compiled, with various notes, and an introduction, by B. R. Carroll. In two volumes. Vol. ii. New York: Published by Harper & Brothers, 1836, pp. 569 -572. (BDC) http://bit.ly/1O53EDJ

Beaufort County Historical Society Paper #14.“John Barnwell and the Tuscaroras” by Rebecca DesChamps McDowell. Presented before the Beaufort County Historical Society on June 29, 1954.

Beaufort County Historical Society Paper #59.“The Yamassee War in the Beaufort and Port Royal Area, 1601-1715” by Larry Ivers. Presented before the Beaufort County Historical Society, no date.

Take a look at digital images of Yamasee artifacts from the Altamaha archaeological site.  

We have a few copies of the SCIAA 2015 Archaeology Month poster still available to distribute at the program. The front has a wonderful map and the verso has lots of delicious information about the conduct of the war.  The poster is free.
Reminder: All units of the Beaufort County Library will be closed Mon., May 30th for Memorial Day. Regular hours resume Tues., May 31st.

15 May 2016

And the survey says...

Thanks to all who participated in the online  Adult Library Programs Survey during April. The sample size was not as large as we had hoped so the results are not statistically significant. However it was not a wasted effort. We learned several things that can inform our adult program offerings as we plan for the rest of 2016 and into 2017.  

Almost 54% of the respondents to the online survey use the Beaufort Branch Library most often. Bluffton Branch users were 22% of the survey sample and Hilton Head Branch users comprised almost 16% of the sample. The least used library location (as expected) was the Beaufort District Collection. (Only 1.27% of the respondents indicated that they use the Beaufort District Collection the most often. We have a limited and unique clientele in comparison to the general public library branches so this answer was not in the least surprising. We also have a large number of non-resident visitors and about half our interactions occur over the Internet or telephone.) Nevertheless, here are some of the findings: 

As regards time of day that adult programs are held, 95% preferred afternoon or evening programs; 34% wanted morning programs. (Respondents could pick more than one option which accounts for the 95% +34 % equaling more than 100%).

The least popular day for programs is Friday (25%); the most popular day for programs is Tuesdays (48%), closely followed by Thursdays (46%)  and Wednesdays (44%). Saturdays came in at 32%.  Sunday was not a choice because none of our libraries are currently open on Sundays. (Respondents could pick more than one option which accounts for the total percentages being more than 100%). Take away: mid-week afternoon programs are the most likely to satisfy Library customers.

The preferences for types of programs survey respondents said that they would attend were varied. Local History came in at #1 with 52% of respondents desirous of "Local History" programs. 40% welcomed adult programs about the Environment/Nature and 27% wanted genealogy related programs. These three categories fall mostly under the BDC's umbrella of programs and services. And overall, the BDC program attendance numbers do tend to be among the highest for Library programs geared towards adults. Average attendance usually clusters between 10 to 12 people per BDC local history program.

Although the Beaufort District Collection is the smallest public service unit of the Library system with a staff of 2, we are the only public service unit that has to do programs in other parts of the Library system. No one working at Hilton Head Branch, for example, has to arrange, coordinate, and host programs at St. Helena Branch Library or vice versa.  The size of our staff, the distance between our physical location and the other branches (Beaufort County is 923 sqm) and our responsibility to keep the Research Room open 22 hours a week makes programming at other locations challenging. Nevertheless the last Strategic Plan stated that the BDC must provide at least one local history, Gullah culture, archaeology, genealogy, natural history and/or preservation program per year at each of the five regular Library branch locations. We have not failed to meet this obligation yet.

We tend to get the highest attendance in the Beaufort Library building whether for a BDC@ BDC program or a BDC@ BEA program. We tend to get good numbers for BDC@ Bluffton and BDC@ St. Helena Branch libraries. We struggle to get average numbers to attend BDC programs at the Hilton Head and Lobeco Branches.

Why? We have lots of competition at those locations.

Hilton Head Island has both the Coastal Discovery Museum and the Heritage Library Foundation which run high quality local history, natural history, Gullah related and genealogy programs on a regular basis. Occasionally we band together to co-sponsor free programs. 

Lobeco Branch is in the most rural part of Northern Beaufort County with many residents still working for their daily bread. Access to transportation is an issue. The meeting space is small. It also has the smallest customer base. On the other hand, for the population size it serves, it is a well used branch library. However, learning about local history, the environment, and genealogy is trumped by more urgent concerns getting access to the internet, putting food on the table, and supporting the educational needs of youth.  

Being open only by advance appointment on Tuesdays and Wednesdays has certainly made coordinating programs easier for us. Indeed, depending on topics covered, BDC staff schedules and special projects, availability of branch meeting space, and speaker preferences, we may do more than one program a year at some locations. For example, thus far in 2016, the BDC has sponsored 6 programs: 3 have been held in the Gallery outside our Research Room on Saturday afternoons; 2 have been held in the Beaufort Branch, one in the evening, and one from 10 am to 3 pm;  and 1 on a Tuesday afternoon at Bluffton Branch. We're doing "Battle of Sadkeche" at Beaufort Branch on Friday, May 27th at 11:30am in concert with the Beaufort Chapter, ASSC.

Because of the migratory patterns of large segments of our customer base, we have fewer adult programs June - August than in any other 3 months of the year. This summer, the only BDC@ program on the schedule is set for July 19th at Bluffton Branch, a reprise of the Author-Book Talk on A Yankee Scholar with Bob Hester.

We're extending our reach a bit through displays and "Meet-and-Greet"s. The BDC will have a small display at Hilton Head Island Branch in June about Harriet Tubman, the Underground Railroad, and "contrabands" to supplement the 2016 National Underground Railroad Conference hosted by the National Park Service, National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program and Friends. Staff will be present at the Humanities Festival during table time to field questions about what we do and have to support deeper study of local history. The South Carolina Historical Society has loaned us a small panel exhibit about the Pollitzer Family. We're adding some of our own materials to it for mid-Summer.

More than a decade ago, Hillary Barnwell (Beaufort Branch Manager/Interim Library Director) led the formation of the Beaufort County Historic Resources Consortium. The BCHRC is made up of people who are responsible for stewardship of historic collections and resources in institutions that are open to the public on a regular and recurrent basis. At present there are almost 20 such organizations here. More than a few offer local history, natural history and/or genealogy programs at their respective locations. Most involve a fee but sometimes a program is offered at no charge to members of the general public. Among those which have regular program schedules are:

When you have a hankering to learn more about local history, natural history, Gullah culture, archaeology, family history and/or preservation of family treasures, check our schedule of free programs first. Then investigate learning opportunities at our sister cultural heritage organizations. 

Believe it or not, some Fall 2016 programs are already on my calendar. If there is some particular local history, family history, nature, archaeology, preservation, local non-fiction author or film  program that you'd like for me to look into, please send your suggestions to me at gracec@bcgov.net
at your earliest convenience. We set the Fall program schedule by mid-July.

08 May 2016

Military History Projects and Programs

We seldom think about the magnitude of the number of sites of military conflict in our state. As the South Carolina Battlefield Preservation Trust (SCBPT) website states "Since the Province of Carolina was chartered in 1663, hundreds of battles representing nearly every regional and national conflict have been fought on South Carolina soil." You have the opportunity later this month to learn a bit more about some of these battles in free programs scheduled by the Beaufort District Collection, the Beaufort Chapter, Archaeological Society and the Beaufort County Historical Society.

At present the SCBPT is undertaking an archaeological inventory and some site investigations of colonial and Revolutionary War battlefields. SCBPT Executive Director Doug Bostick will be the speaker at the Beaufort County Historical Society's 77th Annual Meeting, Wed., May 25th at the Beaufort Yacht and Sailing Club on Meridian Road. Bostick will battle sites in the Beaufort District. Reservations for an optional light lunch catered by Debbi Covington for the fee of $10 must be made by May 20th to lindahof@earthlink.net. Lunch is served at 11:30am; the meeting presentation begins at Noon. The Meeting is free and open to the general public.

Two days later, on Friday, May 27th at 11:30 am, the Beaufort District Collection and the Beaufort Chapter, Archaeological Society of South Carolina have partnered to bring Dr. Jon Marcoux of Salve Regina University (Newport, R.I.) to enlighten and inform us about his forthcoming project which aims to identify the location of the Sadkeche Fight.  He will also address the broader historical and archaeological contexts for the battle and for the Yamasee War. This program will be held in the Children's Programming Room, 1st floor, 311 Scott Street in the Beaufort Branch Library.
Historian William Ramsey states that the Yamasee War (1715-1717) “easily ranks with King Philip’s War and Pontiac’s Rebellion” as a key colonial conflict; however, compared to these other wars, it remains woefully understudied. “The Sadkeche Fight,” as it has been called, occurred in April 1715, just days after the Yamasee War began.  It was a pivotal engagement within the war, marking the first major battle between the Yamasees and the South Carolina militia.  In this battle, the militia, numbering 240, defeated a force of Yamasee Indians roughly twice its size. A number of Yamasee leaders were also killed in the fighting, which halted their advance toward Charleston.

Dr. Jon Bernard Marcoux (B.A. 1997 Vanderbilt University; M.A. 2000 University of Alabama;  Ph.D. 2008 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) is an archaeologist who specializes in cultural and historic preservation and the study of late prehistoric and early historic Native American Indian societies (ca. A.D. 1000-1800). He has over 15 years of professional preservation experience, having directed archaeological survey and excavation projects across the southeastern U.S. and New England.  His recently published research explores the ways Cherokee communities negotiated the social and political turmoil caused by European colonialism. Dr. Marcoux is also currently conducting a long-term research project in the Lowcountry of South Carolina studying cultural interaction among late seventeenth-century Native American Indian communities, enslaved Africans, and European settlers.

01 May 2016

Author Book Talk on Saturday

(Courtesy of Stephanie Turner)
Please join us on Saturday, May 7th for another free inspiring and enlightening program about Beaufort District's local history and Gullah culture. At 1 pm we're hosting an Author Book Talk on A Yankee Scholar in Coastal South Carolina (University of South Carolina Press, 2015) with Bob Hester.

Transcribing the Civil War journals of William Francis Allen required a unique skill set. Allen was a New Englander with impeccable academic and abolitionist credentials who was "a perceptive observer of culture and events" in Civil War and Reconstruction era South Carolina. Taking an anthropological view of the former enslaved, Allen analyzed and collected their music for the first published anthology of Negro spirituals, Slave Songs of the United States (1867). He studied the syntax of their communication and dispassionately watched their interactions with others sharing his observations with his journal and a series of essays published in the Nation and the Christian Examiner.

Who had the particular set of skills and educational background to pay attention to the details and understand from whence came Allen's entries? According to Stephanie Turner of the Aiken Standard newspaper, Robert Hester, that's who.  Hester, an engineer by trade, is well accustomed to paying attention to all the details so vital in a scholarly transcription of manuscript material. Hester also has a deep interest in musical performance, theory and arrangement that equipped him to transcribe those portions of the journal relating to Gullah musical forms.

Hester did his job as historian and musicologist well. Professor George Rable, Charles Summersell Chair in Southern History at the University of Alabama calls A Yankee Scholar  "fascinating reading" and says that Hester's work "immediately becomes an important new primary source for studying the Civil War era."

All are welcome to attend. Books will be available for purchase and autographing from the author at a discounted price. Doors to the Gallery will open at 12:30 pm.

23 April 2016

Preservation Week Drop-In April 26th

As sincere and trained stewards of cultural heritage, we believe that memories and treasures should last a lifetime and be passed on to future generations, either within a family or via reputable institutions.

The Heritage Health Index survey (2005) revealed shocking statistics about the dire state of preservation of cultural heritage. A key conclusion of the survey was that people at all levels of government and the private sector must take responsibility for the survival of these collections. An essential step is strengthening everyone’s awareness of the importance and scope of preservation needs. The American Library Association and partner organizations have responded to the call for action with a week dedicated to heightening awareness of practical practices and techniques to insure that memories and treasures will last a lifetime and will be passed on to future generations in better condition because of those behaviors. 

In other words, Preservation Week inspires actions to preserve personal, family, and community collections in addition to library, museum, and archive collections. It also raises awareness of the role libraries and other cultural institutions play in providing ongoing preservation education and information. The Beaufort District Collection promotes Preservation Week to connect our communities through events, activities, and resources that highlight what we can do, individually and together, to preserve our personal and shared collections.

The BDC has marked Preservation Week with local programs each year since its inception. For 2016, I'm going to put a slightly different spin on it.  Instead of offering a workshop or lectures, we're having a Preservation Day Drop-In in the lobby of the Beaufort Branch at 311 Scott Street. Ashley and I will be on hand, 10 am to 3 pm on Tuesday, April 26th, to answer questions and distribute hand-outs to folks interested in learning how to better take care of their own family treasures.

Like all BDC programs this is an opportunity to learn something on a specific topic offered at no charge to anyone interested in dropping by with their questions about how to take good care of their "stuff."

Please share far and wide!