29 July 2015

Speakers Series to Celebrate the Recruit Depot

Over the next few months the Parris Island History and Museum Society will host a series of speakers and discussions on the history of Parris Island to commemorate the Centennial of training Marines on the Depot. These events are a collaborative effort with Parris Island Historical & Museum Society, Historic Port Royal Foundation, Beaufort County Historical Society, Santa Elena Foundation, the Beaufort District Collection of Beaufort County Library, and the Town of Port Royal.
August 27th-6 pm - Discussion by the Santa Elena Foundation -- Union Church-11th St., Port Royal. Hosted by the Historic Port Royal Foundation and Santa Elena Foundation
Sept. 10th-6 pm - Women Marines on Parris Island -- Union Church-11th St., Port Royal. Hosted by the Historic Port Royal Foundation             
Sept. 15th-11AM – “Court Martial at Parris Island: The Ribbon Creek Incident”--Bluffton Branch Library, 120 Palmetto Way. Hosted by the Beaufort District Collection, Beaufort County Library            
Sept. 24th-NOON – “Court Martial at Parris Island: The Ribbon Creek Incident” – Hosted by the Beaufort County Historical Society             
Oct.7th-6 pm -The Harbor Masters in Concert present Patriotic Songs -- The Shed on Paris Avenue in Port Royal. (Please bring lawn chairs for comfortable seating, limited chairs available.)             
Oct. 24th--11 am- Grand Parade--Parris Avenue followed by the premiere of a documentary “100 Years Making of Marines on Parris Island” -- The Shed on Paris Avenue in Port Royal. The documentary will be shown at Noon, 1:15 pm and 2:15 pm.              

For additional information:
Caroline Fermin
Executive Director PIM&HS

7/27/2015 10:52 pm PS: The talks by Dr. Rowland and Dr. Wise originally scheduled for Thurs., July 30th at 6 pm have been postponed due to technical difficulties. 

26 July 2015

Freedman's Bank

Few people know that the Freedman's Bank was the first local financial institution in Beaufort District. Yes, that's right: Beaufort District did not have any local financial institution before Gen. Rufus Saxton (U.S.) advocated a bank for the newly freed slaves to learn "habits of carefulness and prudence"during the Civil War.

  • You can peruse the online version of "New South Newspaper," a part of the University of South Carolina's Digital Collections, to read more about Gen. Rufus Saxton's efforts to get a branch of the Freedman's Bank in Beaufort.
  • We also hold the New South, Free South, and Palmetto Herald on microfilm at Beaufort Branch and Hilton Head Island Branch libraries for the customer who loves reading old newspapers. [It can take awhile, but oh, it is ever so much fun!]
You can read plenty about the Reconstruction era financial difficulties in "Bankless in Beaufort: A Reexamination of the 1873 Failure of the Freedman's Savings Branch at Beaufort, South Carolina," by John Martin Davis, Jr. in the South Carolina Historical Magazine, vol. 104, January 2003, pp. 25-55. The author is both an attorney as well as an accountant so his skill sets afford penetrating insight into what really happened to the bank.
  • You can find the South Carolina Historical Magazine in the Beaufort District Collection and at our Hilton Head Island Branch Library.
  • When the Freedman's Bank failed, it left behind some crucial records for anyone doing African-American family research. Although the extent of the information can vary widely, it is one of the best sources of genealogical information to get you ever closer to that key 1870 Census.
  • You can search Freedman's Bank records on the Family Search website. 
  •  Ancestry Library Edition numbers the United States, Freedmen's Bureau of Field Offices, 1863-1878 records among its more than 10,000+. The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, also known as the Freedman’s Bureau, was established in the War Department by an act of Congress on March 3, 1865. The Bureau was responsible for the supervision and management of all matters relating to refugees and freedmen, and of lands abandoned or seized during the Civil War. 
  • Check out our Reconstruction webpage to gain a better understanding of the fascinating complexity of the Reconstruction era and its enduring impact on the people and institutions of the United States.

22 July 2015

Program about Fort Frederick, August 13th

The Beaufort District Collection continues its partnership with the Beaufort Chapter of the Archaeological Society of South Carolina to present another local history and archaeology program in August. This time there is even an optional tour of an important historic site!

"Old Fort, Beaufort, S. C." Postcard by Palmetto Studios, 1941
(From the Lucille Hasell Culp Collection, Beaufort County Library)
Join us for the Film Screening of the Fort Frederick documentaries on Thursday, August 13th at 11am in the Children’s Programming Room (1st floor) of the Beaufort County Library, 311 Scott St., Downtown Beaufort, SC. At the conclusion of the library program, there will be an optional tour of the Fort Frederick led by the archaeologists. The remains of Fort Frederick are located mostly on the Beaufort Naval Hospital grounds.  

Archaeological excavations, tabby restoration, and public tours took place at Fort Frederick Heritage Preserve in Beaufort County during the winter of 2014-2015, under the aegis of the Department of Natural Resources Heritage Trust Program. This cultural resources work was documented through a series of short films that will be screened at the Library. Funding for the archaeological work and filming was provided by the DNR Heritage Trust Program and through grants received from the Harry Hampton Memorial Wildlife Fund and The Humanities Council SC. 

Extract from Plat of Smiths Plantation, showing the "Spanish Fort", c1862
Extract from Plat of Smith's Plantation,  BDC Map Collection
Meg Gaillard, Archaeologist with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Heritage Trust Program, will introduce the short films. Audience members will have the opportunity to ask questions of those who did the digging, filmed the archaeology work, and who now protect the historic site.

Seating is limited to the first 50 guests. Guests will be asked to complete a brief DNR survey about the films prior to an optional field trip to the Ft. Frederick site. (Please note: Transportation is NOT included). The program and tour are free and open to anyone over age 6 interested in the topics of local history, military history, colonial history, archaeology, or historic preservation.  
About the Presenter:
Meg Gaillard has over 12 years of photography experience, and over nine years of archaeology and public outreach experience working mainly in the Southeastern United States. Her primary research is in historical archaeology, ethnography, and public interpretation. Meg holds two B.A. degrees from the University of South Carolina in Anthropology and Journalism. She also holds an M.A. degree from the University of Manchester (England) in Visual Anthropology. Meg has worked as a photographer, anthropologist, archaeologist, public interpretation specialist, and ethnographer on projects in South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, and the United Kingdom. In 2010, Meg co-founded the South Carolina Archaeology Public Outreach Division (SCAPOD), a 501c3 with a mission to encourage knowledge of South Carolina’s cultural heritage and archaeology. She is currently an archaeologist with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Heritage Trust Program, which was established in 1974 as the first of its kind in the nation to conserve natural and cultural properties across South Carolina.

Want to do a little background reading on this British colonial fort before you come to the program? Learn about Fort Frederick on one of the BDC’s Local History and Nature Pages.
BTW: Some images from the Beaufort District Collection are included in the films.      

REMINDER: The Research Room is closed Friday, July 17th.                                     

20 July 2015

Reconstruction Era

On July 12th, I attended the opening ceremony and reception for America's Reconstruction: The Untold Story, a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute for School Teachers being held at USC-Beaufort, July 12-August 1, 2015. Thirty teachers selected from all over the nation are in Beaufort to learn more about this pivotal era of American history and the crucial role that our county played in its evolution.  Keynote speaker was Dr. Emory Campbell, former Director of Penn Center and Chairperson of the Gullah/Geechee Heritage Corridor Commission who explained "What Emancipation Meant to the Gullah People."

The Institute examines the historical period 1861 to 1893 from the perspective of unique events and changing social conditions unfolding here in the South Carolina lowcountry and coastal Georgia. In many ways, Beaufort District was Ground Zero for Reconstruction. As Dr. J. Brent Morris wrote on the America's Reconstruction homepage: "The Reconstruction Era was literally a period of rebuilding ... The ending of slavery not only brought freedom to African Americans but also inaugurated a complex reshaping of fundamental American institutions including the lawmaking process, family structure, church organization, and the very definition of American citizenship itself." Reconstruction left an especial imprint on the lowcountry as it began in our locality late in 1861 and is said to have ended locally upon the death of Robert Smalls in 1915.

The Beaufort District Collection has compiled selective lists and links and digitized some of its materials and images on the subject of Reconstruction to support the goals of the Summer Institute. But, of course, we hope that anyone interested in the people, places, themes and issues of Reconstruction will use what we've put together.  We trust that all who peruse the content will gain a better understanding of the fascinating complexity of the Reconstruction era and its enduring impact on the people and institutions of the United States.

Thanks to Traci Cox, Information Services Coordinator, who helped me get the lists, links, and images onto our Library website.

12 July 2015

Who's Your Hero?

As readers are aware, this year's theme for Summer Reading for Youth is "Every Hero Has a Story." SRP ends this Saturday.  Over the past 6 weeks or so, we've highlighted some of our local heroes from Beaufort District's long and storied past here in Connections or on our Facebook page. However, your definition of "hero" may be different from mine. Which of the "Famous People of Beaufort County, SC" do you consider a "Hero" of Beaufort District's past and why?