02 October 2022

Miller Featured in the SC African-American 2022 Calendar for October

Since 1989, the South Carolina African American History Calendar has highlighted the contributions of distinguished Black citizens who have connections to the Palmetto State. The October 2022 honoree is Beaufort District's own Thomas Ezekial Miller

The text from the October 2022 calendar says: 

"Thomas Ezekiel Miller was born June 17, 1849, in Ferrebeeville, S.C. near present-day Ridgeland. He was raised by Richard and Mary Ferrebee Miller, both freed slaves. Due to his fair skin, there was much speculation about his biological father. [Indeed in the press, he was often referred to as the "Yellow Canary."] 

In 1851, Miller moved to Charleston with his family where he attended illegal schools for free Black children. Miller attended Lincoln University in Chester County, Pa. and upon graduation in 1872, he returned to South Carolina where he became school commissioner of Beaufort County. Later he studied law at the recently integrated University of South Carolina before returning to Beaufort to set up his practice. 

Miller was elected to the S.C. General Assembly where he served until 1880 when he went to the state Senate. Miller returned to the S.C. House of Representatives in 1877 and served on the Republican State Executive Committee from 1878 to 1880 and was state party chairman in 1884. In 1890, Miller served in the U.S. House of Representatives in the seat formerly occupied by Black Representative and Civil War hero Robert Smalls, although he only served for a few months due to election fraud, which many registered Black voters were prohibited from casting their ballots resulting in his opponent, incumbent William Elliott being initially declared the winner. 

After his time in Congress, Miller remained active in politics, serving as a member of the 1895 Constitutional Convention. He helped establish South Carolina State University in 1896 and served as their first president until 1911. Miller was married to Anna Hume and had nine children. He passed away in 1938 in Charleston, S.C." 

His tombstone in the Brotherly Association Cemetery in Charleston is inscribed: “I served God and all the people, loving the white man not less, but the Negro needed me most.”

An earlier Connections blog post includes links to additional biographical and political information about this important Beaufort District historical figure. 

Note: The "We'uns Canary" article appeared in the Palmetto Post, 9 June 1892 on page 2. 

25 September 2022

New (and New to Us) Materials in the Research Room, May 2022 - August 2022

In spite of my prolonged absences this calendar year due to the final illness of my husband and my own knee replacement surgery, the Research Room continues to add items to our holdings for permanent retention. Most have been gifts. Of the six items shown in this first photograph, I only bought one. 

Fifteen Hurricanes of the Carolinas by Jay Barnes was a gift of the author because he used a few of our hurricane images in his book. More copies are on the way for you to borrow from the local history section at your nearest branch library. 

Similarly, the BDC Research Room received were two copies of the Jewish Historical Society of South Carolina's Summer 2022 magazine issue that covers the Jewish Community in Beaufort. The JHSSC also used some visual materials from our holdings in the article.  

Not shown but received from Robert Hall were some relevant Southern Exposure magazine issues with Beaufort District related articles. 

The 1990 SCAIA Review of Architecture that has the Port Royal observation tower on the cover came from a donation to the Friends of the Beaufort Library who in turn let me have it. 

We actually added two issues of the Islander annual of the Beaufort Junior High School, 1976 and 1977. The 1977 annual is not shown in the photograph. We also received and cataloged the 1980 and 1981 Talon annuals for Battery Creek High School. The Islander and Talon annuals came from Misty Barton.  The 1950 Beaufortonian from Beaufort High School along with 2nd copies of the BHS annuals for 1951, 1952, and 1953 (not shown in the photograph) were donated by Henry Jackson.

American Conquistador: An Action-Adventure that is more Robin Hood than Robin Hood. And the Story is True! by Daryl Arden Ferguson covers the early Spanish and French settlements in our area. There are also copies of this title that you can borrow from the Local History sections at the branch libraries. 

It may seem odd to some that I would allow shelf space for a 1995 Profile & Business Catalogue of Hilton Head Island but these sorts of directories can be invaluable to those doing family history in the future. 

I bought volume 7 of the Short Story America series to add to the ones we already have

Shelf three of the display bookcases has two items about the Marine environment: Southern Flounder: Natural History and Fishing Techniques in South Carolina by Dr. Charlie Wenner and John Archambault, a SC Department of Natural Resources publication from 2005 and the Guide to South Carolina Marine Artificial Reefs from 2006. Horticulturally speaking I added The Lowcountry Gardener from the Beaufort Council of Garden Clubs of 2016 to our other editions of this "basic guide to garden planning for every season." All three of the items were gifts from the Friends of the Beaufort Library. 

Habersham Entertains (2018) is primarily promoting a leisure lifestyle through a cookbook.  It is divided into the four seasons and thence by theme. For example, the section on Autumn has the following menus with accompanying recipes: 
"Harvest Festival; An Autumn Feast; Farmer's Table Dinner; Wine List & Finger Foods; and Chili Cook-off." The Spring section includes "Bottles & Barrels; Coastal Living's A Table for 20; Porch Parties; Appetizers Made Easy; BTR [short for Beaufort Twilight Run] and Oyster Roast; [and]  Retreatables" for informal gatherings to watch the sunset from the community's River Retreat Pavilion. 

I donated an extra copy I had at home of the Lowcountry Phone Directory: Beaufort, Jasper & Hampton Counties for 2021. Phone books can be invaluable for title researchers and family historians.  

Burnt Church Road: Unraveling the Story Behind the Name by Genevieve Reilly Secchi with Melanie Beal Marks (2020) explains the history of how this particular thoroughfare in Bluffton got its name. The research was commissioned by the owner of the Burnt Church Whiskey Distillery. Families connected to the history of the area include Seabrook, Kirk, Martin and Cram. We got this title from Doug Rooney of Sun City who sent it to me via the Bookmobile South staff. 

I added an older technology, that of the cassette tape, when I accessioned Luke Gullah: De Good Nyews Bout Jedus Christ Wa Luke Write by the Sea Island Translation and Literary Project (1995) in which one can hear this book of the Gospel read in the Gullah Language. We have a cassette player in the Research Room for our customers to use. 

Please contact me at least a few days in advance of your proposed visit to our Research Room: gracec@bcgov.net or 843-255-6468. 


20 September 2022

Season 6 of the BHM-BCL Local History Series Roster

With the cooperation of the Beaufort History Museum, I am proud to announce the roster for Season 6 of our joint Local History series. Programs will be in-person only and registration is required. Our roster covers the 17th - early 21st centuries: Proprietary period, Civil War era, a local seafood industry, and drug smuggling. In other words, there is something for everyone! Please take particular note of the location in which program will be held. Sometimes we will be at Beaufort Branch Library and sometimes we will be at St. Helena Branch Library.

1. Tuesday, October 4, 2022 @ Beaufort Branch Library | 2 PM – Jackson Canady re: 11th South Carolina Volunteers CSA | Registration opens: September 20th on the BHM website

Learn about the history of Beaufort’s Civil War era 11th South Carolina Volunteers Confederate regiment.. Canady will cover  the local men who served, the battles they fought, and the struggles they encountered.                  

Jackson Canaday is a resident of the city of Beaufort. He grew up in Beaufort learning about his many local Confederate ancestors, which instilled a fascination for historical research-primarily of the 11th South Carolina Volunteers.  In these efforts, he has read many soldiers' personal letters and records, tracked their individual journeys throughout the war, and located and cleaned numerous final resting places of men within his ancestors' unit.

Registration opens September 20, 2022 at https://beauforthistorymuseum.wildapricot.org/event-4884467

2. Tuesday, December 6, 2022 @ St. Helena Branch Library | 2 PM – John Warley re: Tuscarora Jack Barnwell | Registration opens: November 22nd on the BHM website 

Learn about Colonel John “Tuscarora Jack” Barnwell (1671-1724) whose contribution to the survival of Beaufort and the other English settlements in both North and South Carolina has not been fully appreciated.  Both the Yamasee and Tuscarora Indians made concerted efforts to drive the colonists into the Atlantic, and both failed largely due to Tuscarora Jack’s courage, skill and determination. And when it came time for South Carolina to free itself from the clutches of the Lords Proprietors, there was only one man to send to London to make the case: Colonel Barnwell.

The lecturer, John Warley, is the grandson of Colonel Barnwell seven generations removed and is currently at work on a biography of his famous ancestor.  He is the author of five works of fiction and one history of his undergraduate alma mater: Stand Forever, Yielding Never, The Citadel in the 21st Century. John lives in Beaufort and currently serves as vice-president of the Beaufort History Museum. 

Registration will open for this local history program on November 22, 2022 at https://beauforthistorymuseum.wildapricot.org/event-4884890

3. Tuesday, March 21, 2023 @ St. Helena Branch Library | 2 PM – Beverly Jennings about her book Shrimp Tales: Small Bites of History | Registration opens: March 7th on the BHM website 

Shrimping is a tough, messy business full of physical risks and economic hardships. Beverly Jennings interviewed over 65 fishermen, marine biologists and others to explore the commercial shrimping life along the southeastern coast to create an exhibit for the Sharon and Dick Stewart Maritime Center - which in turn led to the publication of her book Shrimp Tales: Small Bites of History in 2020.  

The book explores the trade that started in Florida and eventually found its way up to Georgetown, SC. There are lots of photographs, illustrations, quotes from shrimpers and even some recipes you can cook at home after the program.

Beverly Bowers Jennings has loved the sea since age 6 when her father built a white rowboat named Little Fish for her. A Master Naturalist, Jennings has designed exhibits for the Port Royal Sound Maritime Center and Coastal Discovery Museum.  She has been featured on Walter Edgar’s Journal,  Local Life magazine, and SCETV’s By The River series. 

Registration will open for this local history program on March 7, 2023 at https://beauforthistorymuseum.wildapricot.org/event-4962919.

4. Tuesday, May 2, 2023 @ Beaufort Branch Library | 2 PM – Jason Ryan about his book Jackpot: High Times, High Seas and the Sting that Launched the War on Drugs  | Registration opens: April 18th on the BHM website | 

Topographically speaking, if smuggling is on your mind, then our county's waterways are just about perfect! 

For centuries a variety of outlaws have used the twisting waterways of the South Carolina Lowcountry to conceal illegal activity. Pirates found refuge in Carolina creeks, Civil War blockade runners sneaked supplies past a naval blockade, and rumrunners imported alcohol in the midst of Prohibition. 

But perhaps more exciting than all of those historic misdeeds are the escapades of South Carolina’s “gentlemen” marijuana smugglers, who sailed nearly $1 billion worth of pot into Southern marshes during the 1970s and ‘80s. Come learn how a group of fun-loving college dropouts from the Palmetto State made it big in the world of marijuana trafficking before losing it all at the hands of federal investigation Operation Jackpot.

Jason Ryan is a nonfiction author and journalist in Charleston. His books include the marijuana smuggling tale Jackpot: High Times, High Seas and the Sting that Launched the War on Drugs, the true crime thriller Hell-Bent: One Man’s Crusade to Crush the Hawaiian Mob, and the early aviation account Race to Hawaii: The 1927 Dole Derby and the Thrilling First Flights That Opened the Pacific. He is a former reporter for The Beaufort Gazette and The State newspaper and is currently at work on a book about the Murdaugh family of South Carolina.

Registration for this local history program will open on April 18, 2023 at https://beauforthistorymuseum.wildapricot.org/event-4962913

A word about registration: When we opened registration a month ahead of program date, we had a lot of no-shows. We learned by trial and error that the 2 weeks window for registration resulted in getting the most butts in seats. We are pleased that our programs have been quite popular in the past, often "selling out" all seats. However, even with the shorter registration period, we may have no-shows. Therefore, we decided that a reservation holds a seat for you up to 1:54 pm the day of the program. Any seats vacant at 1:55 pm are offered to others on stand-by to enter the session until room capacity is reached. 


1. Don't be late if you have a reservation. 

2. It's best not to rely on showing up at the last minute in hopes that a seat might be empty. Oftentimes there isn't one left at 1:55 pm the day of.

18 September 2022

Diversify Your Reading Challenge: Literary Fiction

The "Diversify Your Reading Challenge: Literary Fiction" choice this month is an easy slam dunk. Who better to represent September's category of Literary Fiction than Pat Conroy? 

The Beaufort County Library has a long standing interest in documenting the life and career of author Pat Conroy. 

Almost from the moment Pat Conroy arrived in Beaufort as a teenaged military dependent, he embraced the community as his own. It was a sometime contentious relationship as matters seldom were simple in his life. During the course of his writing career, he became internationally recognized as one of the best and best-selling authors of Southern literature.

Visit the BDCBCL: Links, Lists, and Finding Aids blog to explore all that the Beaufort County Library and its special collections and archives unit, the Beaufort District Collection, offers about this man and his work. 

I put in active links so that you can go straight into the SCLENDS catalog to borrow most of the items, provided, of course, that you have a valid Beaufort County Library card

Seeing as how September is always Library Card Sign-up Month, there's no better time to apply

07 September 2022

August 2022 Posts to the BDC's Facebook Page

In keeping with my 2022 - 2023 performance evaluation goal of "Social media posts will be reduced by 66% to free up time for preservation and archival projects," and the fact that I was out for 5 weeks recovering from surgery, I didn't make all that many Facebook posts in August. Most were related to the "Materials Monday" and "Black History Note Wednesday" series as you can see ...    

August 1, 2022 "50 Shades of Beige: Materials Monday:" William Elliott's Carolina Sports by Land and Water is considered a sports literature classic. It has stayed in print since 1846. The USC Press reprint of 1994 with a new introduction by Theodore Rosengarten (author of Tombee) has a beige, brown and red cover - which is way I am featuring it here today.

The BDC has a first edition copy and several other reprint editions in the Research Room. We also share more recent reprint editions through the Local History sections at the Branch Libraries. In other words, there is no reason at all why you shouldn't check out "Carolina Sports".

August 8, 2022 - "50 Shades of Beige: Materials Monday": In Seth Rockman's review of Making a Slave State: Political Development in Early South Carolina by Ryan A. Quintana (2018) he opines that the Quintana "makes the social history of enslaved people central to the processes of state building and the political economy of capitalism. Indeed, the book's great value is its recognition of enslaved people as crucial historical actors whose everyday lives created the infrastructures of the state."

August 15, 2022 - "50 Shades of Beige: Materials Monday": A great many people are interested in family history - particularly if someone else does the work for them and all they have to do is listen to the stories compiled from the researcher's work.
(I too am guilty of this. Most of what I know about my ancestors comes from compiled genealogies written by others.)
Among the genealogical books held in the Research Room for family historians to use as a reference is Abigail's Story, Tides at the Doorstep: The Mackays, LaRoches, Jenkinses, and Chisolms of Low Country South Carolina, 1671-1897 compiled by William Greer Albergotti, III (1999), a tome of 566 pages. The index is 55 pages worth of 4 column entries of names, averaging 75 entries per column, a lot of those using the same first -often common - name (or first and second - often common - names) over several generations. There is no way that I would be able to equitably unravel these multiple Richards or Thomases or Sarahs or Elizabeths in the time I have left on this earth - much less in the time I have left in the employ of the Beaufort County Council.
Therefore, the best that I can do for those who do not undertake the work themselves is to send a few cellphone photos of a family history book's index as I did a few months ago for a woman who lives in Nebraska but who had South Carolina ancestors. She was not able to visit the Research Room to review this title in person.
JSYK: We have approximately 15 linear feet worth of compiled family histories directly relating to families that lived for two generations or more in Beaufort District for our Research Room customers to use.

August 22, 2022 - Today is a great day for a 2-fer-1 deal: I have a "50 Shades of Beige" selection for my choice for August's Diversify Your Reading Challenge. Learn more about Ann Head's life, career and her best known title, Mr. and Mrs. Bo Jo Jones that is credited as kicking off the Young Adult literary genre in Connections.

August 29, 2022 - Materials Monday: "50 Shades of Beige:" The Rev. Archibald Simpson kept manuscript journals of his life from 1748 until 1784 that have been edited down by Peter N. Moore to 2 beige colored volumes of material. References to Simpson's preaching and ministry in Beaufort can be found in volume 1 on pages xvi, 97, 278, and 288n53 and in volume 2 on pages 2-4, 9, 12, 21, 170, and 230. He also wrote about his time in Indian Land and the people he served and observed therein - which in his case means the people and environs of Prince William's Parish and its Stoney Creek Independent Church. The journals would be virtually unintelligible is not for Moore's annotations and explanations of the interrelationships between many of Simpson's flock. Part 2 recounts the many unsuccessful pursuits the widower made among the area's women between 1765 and his ignominious return to Scotland in 1772 having failed to secure a second wife.

Rev. Simpson would return to South Carolina 1783 and would write of the Revolution's aftermath in Beaufort District: "The British & the American armies having carried off all my fine breed of horses, and Several hundred head of cattle ... Was all day entertained with the account of the most horrid transactions of the British Army & the Loyalists, during the war." (Extract of diary entries of Tuesday, November 4, 1783)
You can make an appointment to read Rev. Simpson's diaries in the Research Room: bdc@bcgov.net or 843-255-6468.

August 3, 2022 - "Black History Note:" A more contemporary version of the Trial of Sundry Negroes ... mentioned here on 13 July is Designs Against Charleston by Edward Pearson (1999). On July 2, 1822, officials in Charleston, South Carolina, executed a free black carpenter named Denmark Vesey for planning what would have been the most extensive slave revolt in U.S. history. Pearson provides a fascinating and comprehensive account of the Vesey conspiracy that uses both primary and secondary sources including the words of the accused.

August 10, 2022 - "Black History Note:" Black Majority : Negroes in Colonial South Carolina from 1670 through the Stono Rebellion by Peter H. Wood (1996, 1975) was a groundbreaking thesis in 1972; an important book of 1975; and has remained in print since. Wood explored the consequences of importing the largest single group of non-English-speaking migrants to the North American colonies on United States history through a thorough and penetrating case study of the Palmetto State during the period. The BDC has a copy but there are also plenty of copies that you can check out through the SCLENDS consortium.
August 17, 2022 - "Black History Note:"
The Risen Phoenix : Black Politics in the post-Civil War South by Luis-Alejandro Dinnella-Borrego highlights the careers of six African American legislators, our own Robert Smalls included. The book argues that African American congressmen effectively served their constituents' interests while also navigating their way through a tumultuous post-Civil War Southern political environment. Black congressmen represented their constituents by advancing a policy agenda encompassing strong civil rights protections, economic modernization, and expanded access to education. As these black leaders searched for effective ways to respond to white supremacy, disenfranchisement, segregation, and lynching, they challenged the barriers of prejudice, paving the way for future black struggles for equality in the twentieth century. The BDC has a reference copy in the Research Room but there are two copies that you can borrow from other parts of the BCL.

August 24, 2022 - "Black History Note:" One of my favorite books in the Research Room is Camera Man's Journey: Julian Dimock's South edited by Thomas Johnson and Nina Root (2002). The photographs compiled here are of African Americans taken around Columbia and Beaufort, S.C. between 1904 and 1911.
There are plenty of copies in the local history sections at the Branch Libraries to borrow as well.
BTW: The American Museum of Natural History has the originals of these and about 3300 more images taken by Julian Dimock in its collection.

August 31, 2022 - "Local History Red Letter Day" and "Black History Note" are rolled up in one: Find out why frightened people white and colored fell to their knees singing and praying 136 years ago today in the latest Connections blogpost.

A couple of posts referred to the "Tide of Death" local history program I did at Bluffton Branch on Saturday, August 27th - which had 27 people in attendance. 27 people is a very satisfactory turnout for a local history program on a Saturday morning south of the Broad River.

August 25, 2022 - The 1950 Census Indexing update: It is fully indexed on the Ancestry Library Edition website - and in record time. The downside is that access to Ancestry Library Edition has returned to its pre-Covid state, that is, one must use it on one of the Library's public computers.
FamilySearch.org's 1950 Census project remains underway "indexed by computers, reviewed by people" with 80% of the states and territories all done. South Carolina's returns are completely indexed.

28 August 2022

Red Letter Day: 1886 Earthquake Felt in Beaufort

The ground has been quivering rather often as of late, particularly in the mid-state but as historical events go, there are two South Carolina based earthquakes to know: the 1886 Charleston Earthquake and the 1913 Union Earthquake. Of these, the Charleston Earthquake was by far the most significant for Beaufort County. 

The 1886 Charleston earthquake had an estimated magnitude of 7.6 on the Richter scale. It threw many people from their beds at 9:51 pm on the night of August 31, 1886. The earthquake rattled most of the East Coast, killed about 60 people, and caused much damage all along the coastal plain of South Carolina. It remains the strongest earthquake to date along the Eastern Seaboard affecting an area north to south from New York to Cuba and east to west from Bermuda to the Mississippi River. 

You can still see earthquake bars on some older Beaufort County buildings such as the Interpretative Center of the Reconstruction Era National Historical Park next door to the Beaufort District Collection.  

Here are a few local reports about the 1886 Earthquake as felt in Beaufort County as explained in Beaufort County Historical Society Paper #11, Reminiscences of Beaufort Storms by E.B. Rodgers in 1950:

"There was a rumbling from the northwest, then a slight shock, then a more severe shock and it lasted on through the night. The people thought the world had come to an end and rushed out of their houses and hurried to the churches. The white churches would not open. ... However, the Rev. Bythewood of the Tabernacle Baptist Church...opened its doors and to the surprise of all, the whites outnumbered the Negros [sic] in attendance."
"A tidal wave, twenty feet high, came up Beaufort River towards Port Royal and another down Beaufort River. They met just off Battery Creek and the water dashed high in the air..."  
I doubt that there was a 20 foot tidal wave because the Palmetto Post, a newspaper based in Port Royal then, did not mention any tidal wave at all. It covered the 1886 earthquake quite extensively including reports about aftershocks or damage to area buildings.  The newspaper included some colorful tidbits, such as "Weather Prophet Wiggins now claims to have predicted the great earthquake, and the most remarkable thing about it is that he claims that he predicted it before it occurred" (Palmetto Post, 16 September 1886, p. 2); the vilification of one John Thomson of Charleston for evicting earthquake survivors from his vacant lot; the inadequacy of the Western Union telegraph line in Beaufort; and, phosphate rock cracking at the Coosaw mines. But on the topic of a tidal wave, the newspaper is absolutely mum. I think that a 20 foot wall of water coming up and down the Beaufort River meeting at Battery Creek would have been noticed by someone and that the Palmetto Post would have included the event in its reporting - if it had really happened.
I propose that the author of Reminiscences of Beaufort Storms had heard the story about the tidal wave throughout his life and was simply sharing what he had heard with the members of the Society. He was but a toddler when the Earthquake of 1886 occurred as the preface to his talk indicates. Here is what he wrote:
My friends of the Historical Society have taken me for a much older person than I am and have indicated it by asking me to tell something about the earthquake.  I was only two years of age at the time -- I was born in 1884 and the earthquake was in 1886.  However, I have heard many things pertaining to the earthquake and some of those present know more about what happened than I, and I hope they will correct me or add to what I might say so as to make the record as nearly complete as possible."     

And perhaps someone at the Beaufort County Historical Society did discuss whether or not they had heard about the tidal wave as well. Local lore has a way of taking on a life of its own. Reminiscences can quickly turn into accepted not tested statements without the basic rules of historical research being considered. Given the date of Rodgers' presentation (June 1950), I doubt that he had access to the Palmetto Post newspaper issues from August - September 1886 in which he could read journalistic accounts of the earthquake and its aftermath. And, as his presentation title indicates, BCHS Paper #11 was a reminiscence, his recollections of what he had heard about the earthquake, not a formal historical study of local impacts of it on the Beaufort area. 

My favorite tale about the earthquake that Rodgers shared is this one:
“When the first shock [of the 1886 Earthquake] came, James Crofut was taking a bath. In his haste to get to the relative safety of the street, he remembered his beaver hat, but forgot his clothes!
I can confirm that Mr. James Crofut was taking a bath at the time of the earthquake from the August 31, 1886 diary entry that his wife Ellen Chapman Crofut (1837-1905) made.  
She doesn't mention that he reached the street in the buff. He was a Bay Street merchant, real estate investor, and auctioneer. Here is what she wrote about the earthquake the day it happened: 
Quite a severe shock of earthquake was felt here at 9.45 pm. Ja[me]s was taking a bath up stairs and I was writing letters. He came down and we went out in the yard. Mr. Mayo and Willie came over: were afraid to stay in their building, it shook so. There were eleven shocks before twelve o'clock

The people white and colored were very much frightened. The colored churches (except Waddell's) rung the bells at 11 o'ck [oclock] and the people went there and stayed all night, singing and praying.

Mr. & Mrs. Burr, Nellie, Mrs. Fitzsimmons and three children were out in the street. James told them to come in so they did and stayed half an hour or so. Most of the Beaufort people spent the night in the streets.  

The next day she recorded seven more aftershocks, though "not severe". Several neighbors moved into their house at 201 Laurens Street fearing structural instability of their own homes. She also notes that communication with Charleston remained cut and that no mail from the North had arrived in Beaufort. 

Telegraph messages began to arrive on Thursday, September 2, 1886 indicating the safety of family members More aftershocks occurred at 1 AM and 5 AM.  

On Friday, September 3, 1886, Mrs. Crofut writes: "I was hesitating whether to go to church this afternoon as I feel too nervous to go anywhere by myself..." but some neighbors dropped by to visit. Later that evening, the couple 

Thought we had better go to bed up stairs as there had been no shocks today except a slight one at noon. James was in bed, and I almost ready when there came a heavy shock and we hurried on our clothing and went over on the sea wall. Mrs. Willet was there with Katie, her servant, Mrs. Levin, Mrs. Murray (Brown), and the girl who works for her. James came home got our two double carriages, hauled them over there. Mrs. Willett, Katie, Mrs. Levin and myself got in one and stayed there till 5 a.m. There was muttering and rumbling all night but no heavy shocks.

Mrs. Crofut mentions aftershocks of varying strengths, sometimes several a day, through September 10th.  

You are welcomed to make an appointment to read the diaries that Ellen Chapman Crofut kept from 1874 to her death, the clippings in the EARTHQUAKES vertical file, Reminiscences of Beaufort Storms, and the backfiles of the Palmetto Post on microfilm here in the Research Room. Contact: 843-255-6468 or bdc@bcgov.net to make the necessary arrangements. 

Just a friendly reminder: All units of the Beaufort County Library, including the Beaufort District Collection, will be closed on Monday, September 5, 2022 to observe Labor Day. 

18 August 2022

Diversify Your Reading Challenge 2022: Young Adult

The selection in this month's Challenge category of "Young Adult" was easy-peasy as the Research Room has precisely the perfect title. It was authored by a native Beaufortonian who has been credited with starting the literary genre! And it also fits as a "50 Shades of Beige" item, too. 

Mr. and Mrs. Bo Jo Jones by Ann Head was on school reading lists for 50 years after its original publication. It remains in print and available through major online booksellers.  As her daughter Nancy Head Thode said during a BDC/ Pat Conroy Literary Center presentation on March 27, 2019, "I think having an out of wedlock child is what prompted her to write [it.] It's a story that has some similarity to hers. In the case of Mr. and Mrs. Bo Jo Jones, two teenagers struggle with an out of wedlock pregnancy." 

Ann Head's real name was  Anne Wales Christensen Head Morse. She came from a prominent Beaufort family. The author's grandmother, Abbie Holmes Christensen, came to Beaufort during the Civil War to teach the recently freed slaves on the Sea Islands. Her father was Niels Christensen, local businessman, land owner and South Carolina State Senator.  Born on October 30, 1915,  Anne grew up in both Beaufort and Boston, Massachusetts. 

Anne wrote her first novel in childhood though she "abandoned [it] when she became more attached to the villain than to the hero."  She married Howard Head of Philadelphia on February 26, 1939 but they divorced in 1944. Their child was the aforementioned and quoted Nancy Head Thode. Her second husband was Dr. Stanley Morse. He was the father of her daughter, Stacey. Head published over 50 short stories in magazines such as the Saturday Evening Post, McCalls, Redbook, and Ladies Home Journal. She wrote four internationally published novels and was also Pat Conroy’s first creative writing teacher. 

Here's what that famed author wrote of her in The Pat Conroy Cookbook: Recipes from My Life (2004): "She was the first novelist I'd ever met in the flesh. She looked like a woman who would not tolerate a preposition at the end of a sentence or the anarchy of a dangling participle... She required that my adjectives actually mean something when I landed them into one of my overloaded paragraphs." 

Anne Christensen Head Morse died in Beaufort on May 7, 1968 from a cerebral hemorrhage at age 52. At the time of her death, she was negotiating with a Hollywood studio to turn the book into a movie. A few years later her book was adapted into a "Movie of the Week" starring Desi Arnaz, Jr. and Christopher Norris in 1971. 

The BDC Research Room contains copies of her novels, Fair with Rain (1957);  Always in August (1961); Everybody Adored Cara (1963);  and Mr. and Mrs. Bo Jo Jones (1967); and a fat vertical file of clippings and some of her magazine articles for our customers to study by appointment. To make the arrangements, call 843-255-6468 or email BDC@bcgov.net.

07 August 2022

June and July 2022 BDC Facebook Posts

As you have learned, I am to reduce social media posts by 66% over the course of the Performance review period that runs from April 1, 2022 - March 31, 2023. I have had some difficulty cutting things down since that went into effect but as the posts below indicate, I am getting some better at it. Without doubt, I will exceed that dictum - and do more than the 200 required posts -- but I seriously doubt that I will ever get close to 700 posts in a year again. Here are the posts I made or scheduled to appear during June and July.  

JUNE 2022 

June 1 - Overview of the months of June and July in the BDC:
The Library system offers "Oceans of Possibilities" during the 2022 Summer Reading Program. You can expect to see some promotion of "salty" materials from the BDC this month and next.
I am thrilled to announce the return of Doug Bostick, Executive Director of the South Carolina Battleground Preservation Trust for our annual "Carolina Day" lecture on June 28th. The Beaufort County Historical Society and the BDC are co-sponsoring the event.
No local history programs are planned for July though there is a historical marker unveiling at the Carnegie Library building on July 7th that you might want to attend.
The Library system will be closed on Monday, July 4th for the Independence holiday.

June 2 - I am going to 'The Search for Stuarts Town' Free Kick-Off Event Monday, June 6, 2022 10:00 AM 12:00 PM and perhaps you should too! (BTW: I'm stealing this notice from the BCHS)
The public is invited to the kick-off of this community archaeological project that will happen, LITERALLY, in our own backyard! Join us on June 6th from 10AM to noon at Morrall City Park on Craven Street to get the “inside view” from local experts Dr. Larry Rowland and Dr. Chester DePratter, and Mr. Adam King, Director of USC’s SC Institute of Archaeology & Anthropology. A demo of the archaeological digging process will be provided and The St. Andrews Society of the Lowcountry, SC will be on hand, clad in their Scottish regalia, with light refreshments.

June 3 - Today is World Bicycle Day. In its honor I share an historical tidbit that I came across while reviewing the clippings in the "Merchants" vertical file on behalf of an off-site BDC customer awhile back. From the "Palmetto Post" newspaper of 4 October 1900, [p.2]: "It is estimated that there are 500 bicycles in Beaufort, and only one first class repair shop. The business ought to pay handsomely." (I just love the Palmetto Post's slogan.)

June 6 - "Materials Monday: 50 Shades of Beige" in honor of the kickoff for a new archaeological project: Map #239 [Scotts Settlement or Stuart Town 1682 - 1686] is a reproduction of a map rediscovered in the British Museum in 1971. Local historian John Morrall wrote an article for the Beaufort Gazette published on 29 July 1971 on page 3-B explaining his reasoning for stating that the Stuart Town colony was likely along Hermitage Road.
I think that the editor - like me - doesn't want to get involved in any arguments so the article begins with "(Editor's Note: The following has been submitted to the Beaufort Gazette by John Morrall, a well known Beaufortonian and highly respected historian. Anyone who has any questions concerning the following information is asked by Mr. Morrall to contact him at P. O. Drawer 498, Beaufort, S.C.)"

The article is among others in the STUART TOWN COLONY vertical file in the Research Room.
The goal of the "Search for Stuarts Town" archaeological shovel test being demonstrated today at the project kickoff in (appropriately named) Morrall Park on Craven Street from 10 AM to Noon is to ascertain information that might lead to the discovery of the exact location of Stuart Town - which remains in doubt.

June 6 - Great turnout at the Search for Stuarts Town Kick-off this morning. I was privileged to be among my "tribe" and sitting next to Mr. Robert DeLoach who designed the BDC's HVAC system more than a decade ago. Lead archaeologist Dr. Chester DePratter was explaining what archaeologist Hannah was doing to the crowd. (I support the study of archaeology professionally and with BDC programs, personally make a point to visit archaeological sites on my free time, but no way would I want to practice their profession.)

June 7 - My 4 year old grandson is fascinated by sharks and whales. During his recent visit he told me all about the various species. The BDC has sufficient material about local sharks but not so much about whales. A desire to impress my grandson was a key reason why I went to the St. Helena Branch Library's SC Aquarium's presentation on 4 June to gather some more information in hopes of sounding a tad more knowledgeable about whales and sharks the next time he and I What's App. The Aquarium folks didn't say much about sharks but I did learn that a Cuvier's beaked whale can dive almost 2 miles below the surface of the ocean. Can't wait to tell Aidan! (Cuvier's beaked whale photo by Ed Corey, Brian Patterson, Andrew Rapp, Seabirding customers)
June 8 - "Black History Note:" The Family Tree Magazine announced its "Best African American Genealogy Websites" list recently. Be sure to explore all the offerings but particularly the wonderful resources curated by genealogy guru Toni Carrier hosted on the International African American Museum's Center for Family History website.

June 8 - The Spring 2022 issue of the Jewish Historical Society of South Carolina magazine features Beaufort's Jewish families: the Levins; the Keyserlings; the Scheins; the Lipsitzs; the Marks; the Neidich/Rudowitzes; and the Youngs, the Beth Israel Congregation, and a few images from the BDC's holdings. We have a copy in the Research Room for permanent safekeeping.
BTW: The JHSSC will meet in Beaufort this weekend, June 10 - 12. Contact Enid Idelsohn idelsohne@cofc.edu or 843-953-3918 for details regarding conference program details, schedule and fees. [Note: This event has passed.]

June 9 - During my absence, my "Diversify Your Reading" choice for May was published in the Connections blog If you just want the meat: The most classic of Beaufort District related titles, Rehearsal for Reconstruction: The Port Royal Experiment by Willie Lee Rose (1964) was my "History" choice.

June 9 - Well it's hurricane season again and the predictions are for another active season. I watched with some trepidation a Pacific cyclone end up off shore of South Carolina last weekend. Are you ready? Neil Baxley, head of Beaufort County Emergency Management is presenting "Are You Ready?" at various library branches. Check the Library's events calendar for details. Looking ahead: I'll be doing my most popular presentation "Tide of Death: The Great Sea Island Hurricane of 1893" at Bluffton Branch on the anniversary of the storm. Live and in-person ...

June 10 - FamilyTree Magazine named the South Carolina Digital Library as one of its 75 Best State Websites. Did you know that some of the BDC's resources are hosted on the SCDL website courtesy of our long partnership with the Lowcountry Digital Library? See images from the American Civil War to the mid-20th century. View postcards. Read a surgeon's journal and accounts of the 1893 hurricane. Access all 1750 items (so far) that the BDC staff and beloved docents have labored to share digitally with our customers, locally, nationally and internationally.

June 12 - According to FB, this is when most of you actually read my posts. Learn about what was "New and (New to Us) in the BDC for March and April 2022".

June 13 - Oysters and the lowcountry just go together. so the "Materials Monday : 50 Shades of Beige" series will have a briny focus the next few weeks. I will share a few beige hued items in the Research Room that are about oysters. First up: Read Burrell's South Carolina Oyster Industry: A History in the Research Room by advance appointment, borrow Bluffton Branch Library's local history copy or read it online.

June 14
- A lot of flags have waved over this area in the past as one of my favorite local history books of all time indicates in its title. Port Royal Under Six Flags by Katharine M. Jones is an oldie-but-goodie book first published in 1960. She included letters and notices and other primary documentation for the Spanish, Scots, English, Confederate, and Federal periods, mostly focusing on people who lived during those times. It helped plant the seeds for my future career as both a degreed librarian and ACA certified archivist with post-graduate study in American and African-American history at UNC-CH. (Other major influences that I remember from elementary school days: Ben and Me by Robert Lawson and Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes.) (Seeing the beginning of a pattern here?) The Library has plenty of copies of Port Royal Under Six Flags to share.

June 14 - Registration for the "Legacy of Carolina Day" lecture by the Executive Director of the SC Battlefield Trust, Doug Bostick on Tuesday, June 28, 2022 at 11 AM has opened. Space is limited. Please note: This lecture is being held in the Fellowship Hall of the First Presbyterian Church of Beaufort, 1201 North Street at 11 AM. Registration closes when capacity is reached. This in-person only program is brought to you by the BDC and Beaufort County Historical Society as lecture #4 of the 2021 - 2022 "Historically Speaking" series.

June 15 - "Black History Note:" Photographer Jack Leigh celebrates the African American men and women who made Oystering: A Way of Life before it passed into history. When he took the photos between 1979 and 1981 before his eyes the traditions were being lost. Pictured hard at work on the water and in the canneries are Beaufort County residents Fred Walker, Joseph Heyward, Joseph Pinckney Sr. and Jr., Sam Bennett, Nealy Fripp, Annie Mae Gadsen, Henrietta Kitty, and William Lawton.

June 16 - Family Tree Magazine selected the South Carolina Department of Archives and History website as one of the nation's best. I think that the index is geared more towards genealogists than historians and can take some patience to work through all the variations in names and spellings. That written, it is one of my "go-to" suggestions for any family historian. Search the index to names in wills, records of Confederate veterans, criminal court records and other sources - many of which you can view in their full glory.

June 17 - Only a few seats remain for Doug Bostick's lecture about the "Legacy of Carolina Day."

June 17 - I run across all sorts of interesting "things" while on the hunt for my customers - and sometimes I am struck by how everything old eventually becomes new again seeing as human nature seldom alters very much. Case in point, I came across the following statement in a MARC record created by Brenda Beasley-Forrest about a particular title we have in the BDC. She quoted the author of the source in the MARC record: "Manipulation, fearmongering, intolerance, elitism, arrogance, greed, deceit, slander, hatred, inhumanity, exploitation, unbridled ambition, and mercenary self-interest--all are inimical character traits . . . found in three recent biographies of ..."
Select the best answer - for you.
A) Randolph Murdaughs Sr., Jr., and III
B) Presidents Biden, Trump and Obama
C) early South Carolina religious leaders: Alexander Garden, Oliver Hart, and Archibald Simpson
Just to be clear - Ms. Beasley-Forrest was only quoting the author of the material and I am responsible for creating 2 of the 3 options above - but which 2? And I hope that you will chuckle at the irony ... I'll provide the answer from the MARC record a few days from now.

June 20 - A federal document is today's "Materials Monday : 50 Shades of Beige" selection. If you were interested in marine crustaceans it could put you in heaven but me, not so much. (JSYK: A special collections librarian doesn't have to like everything in a collection - the item just has to meet the collections development rubric and be affordable). It is a tri-colored beige item entitled Annotated Bibliography on the Fishing Industry and Biology of the Blue Crab, Callinectes sapdius by Marlin E. Gazatz and Ann Bowman Hall, NOAA Technical Report NMFS SSRF-640 (1971). JSYK: The cover looks a lot more beige in person than in the photograph - and the pages are definitely creamier in person.
June 21 - And the answer is to the Quiz Time post on 6/17/22 is: "Manipulation, fearmongering, intolerance, elitism, arrogance, greed, deceit, slander, hatred, inhumanity, exploitation, unbridled ambition, and mercenary self-interest--all are inimical character traits . . . found in three recent biographies of C) early South Carolina religious leaders: Alexander Garden (Anglican), Oliver Hart (Baptist), and Archibald Simpson (Presbyterian). The MARC record goes on to quote: "Promoting their respective Christian denominations throughout the colony . . . sparked volatile contests over membership and power, both between and within religious denominations. It likewise fueled fiery debates among clergymen concerning conversion methods and the proper role of the church in shaping individual congregants along with the larger society." Source : The Library's catalog record for the South Carolina Historical Magazine : July 2018, Volume 119, Number 4, page [251].

June 21 - Connections has a new post: The "Thriller" selections for June as part of the "Diversify Your Reading Challenge."

June 22 - "Black History Note:" Oystering was traditionally a part of the Gullah lifestyle. In addition to the book Oystering that I wrote about last week, the BDC has an inscribed poster of the book cover's in our holdings. This poster from 1983 is part of a collection of 200+ posters of local events and activities that we have in the Research Room. Titles of the posters are listed in the Library's catalog. Photodocumentarian Jack Leigh inscribed this poster "To Julie" - who was actually Julie Zachowski, the Director of the BCL from 1973 to 2003.

June 23 - Just in case you're interested in the rascals named in the post on 6/21/2022, the Library has more materials about Rev. Oliver Hart, Rev. Archibald Simpson, and the Alexander Garden, an Anglican priest who lived between 1686 - 1756 to share with you. There are chapters about Oliver Hart in both Saints of Clay by Louise Owens and A History of South Carolina Baptists by Joe King. We have two biographies about Rev. Alexander Garden: one by Hawkins (1981) and the other by Witzig (2018) and the 2 volumes of the Rev. Simpson's diaries, 1754-1784. Just be sure to make the necessary appointment: 843-255-6468 or bdc@bcgov.net.
June 24 - In keeping with the "Oceans of Possibilities" Summer Reading Program theme of 2022: My favorite sea creature is the dolphin. Did you know that the dolphins off Hilton Head Island have unique characteristics? Check out Dolphins of Hilton Head from one of the BCL's Local History sections to learn more.

June 26 - Pencil this into calendar: The Library will be closed on Independence Day. If you want to come to the Research Room between Wednesday, June 29th and July 8th, now would be a good time to make those arrangements with me: bdc@bcgov.net ; 843-255-6468.

June 27
- "50 Shades of Beige: Materials Monday:" A healthy ocean is necessary to grow tasty shrimp. Learn about the history of the commercial shrimping industry of this area in Where Have All the Shrimp Boats Gone? by Capt. Woody Collins. We have copies of the book at the Branch Libraries Local History sections for you to check out. Captain Woody was very gracious and gave the BDC inscribed, signed and numbered copies for permanent retention.

June 28 - I do so hope that you got a seat reserved for today's "Historically Speaking" Carolina Day 2022 program before they were all taken. I'll be there to learn -- and hawk the materials and services of the BDC to the assembled group. Please note: This is an in-person only local history program. JSYK: Most local history programs "sell out" within a few days once registration opens - and we have a great 2022-2023 roster for you! Details will be announced soon.

June 28 - We had another "sold out" "Historically Speaking" local history program with our partner, the Beaufort County Historical Society. Doug Bostick, Executive Director of the SC Battlefield Preservation Trust, got us all up to date about the Liberty Trail and highlighted the Patriot victory at the Battle of Sullivan's Island that we natives celebrate on Carolina Day.

June 29 - "Black History Note:" The Fishermen of the Lowcountry : Memories from Home features African American crabbers, shrimpers, and oystermen of the upper South Carolina coast. The BDC has the only copy in the BCL because of its beautiful depiction in images of one aspect of the Gullah way of life. There are a few copies you can borrow through the SCLENDS consortium.

June 29 - Looking ahead: If you want to come to the Research Room on or before July 8th, now would be a good time to make those arrangements with me: bdc@bcgov.net ; 843-255-6468.

June 30 - Lowcountry marine creatures are fascinating. Follow the link to an updated oldie-but-goodie post about a special type of shrimp.

June 30 - I "stole" a wonderful post from the SC Battleground Preservation Trust about South Carolina's Signers of the Declaration of Independence for Connections.

JULY 2022

July 1 - Didn't get a reservation to the "Historically Speaking" lecture on Tuesday? Never fear. The Library offers titles by presenter Doug Bostick to increase your knowledge of South Carolina history.

July 1 - Reminder: All units of the Library will be closed on Monday, July 4th. Regular hours resume Tuesday, July 6th.

July 2 - A momentous day in the history of South Carolina: No doubt that the Beaufort District slaveowners were watching ... and waiting. Learn more about Denmark Vesey.

July 3 - In honor of our country's 246th birthday, I "borrowed" this post from an email I received from the South Carolina Battlefield Preservation Trust in 2020. Enjoy! (PS: Don't forget that the Library is closed on Monday, July 4th).

July 4 - Closing notice

July 5 - The Beaufort County Historical Society loves for the public to attend historic marker installations. As is the case for many of the BCHS Historic Markers, much of the research began in our very own Research Room - and of course, this particular dedication is part of our Library's own story.

July 5 - There's still time for you to participate in Hampton County's Historical Marker Hunt. (For those of you who don't know, all of Hampton County was once part of Beaufort District. It became a separate county in 1878). Details.

July 6 - "Black History Note:" Ocean views offer an "ocean of possibilities" for generating profits for some real estate developers. The Land was Ours: How Black Beaches Became White Wealth in the Coastal South by Andrew W. Kahrl (2016) documents the interrelationship between coastal economic development beginning in the mid-20th century and the dispossession of traditional African American landowners along the southeast and Gulf coasts. Hilton Head Island and St. Helena Island Branch libraries have a circulating copy of this title that you can borrow.

July 6 - New entry on Connections: This time the briny materials on display in the BDC.

July 7 - I hope to see at least a few of you around 11 AM today at the Historic Marker dedication. If you miss it or don't live in this area, you can read about the Beaufort Township Library's history on the BCL's website.

July 8 - The Association for State and Local History 2022 conference theme concentrates on the "Power of Place." The BDC has some "power of place" themed items. For example, Margaret Rushton's local history projects with the 6 - 8th grades at Lady's Island Middle and Beaufort Middle Schools and the Essence of Beaufort & the Lowcountry volume were all about the power of place. What it means to be here : Palmetto Bluff, Bluffton, the Lowcountry and beyond : the photography of Marge Agin and Bluffton State of Mind are all about the draw of the southern reaches of Beaufort County. Copies are in the BDC and in the local history sections at the Branch Libraries.

July 8 - I begin FMLA on Monday, July 11th. I have scheduled the Materials Monday and Black History Note posts in advance so no one has to be completely devoid of BDC historical notes and tidbits.

July 11 - "50 Shades of Beige: Materials Monday:" Of Sand and Sea : Teachings from the Southeastern Shoreline was published by the S.C. Seagrant Consortium in 2000. The booklet examines the physical features and marine life of the Ocean Planet as well as issues affecting its fragile marine environment. The title is available inside the Research Room for those who have made an appointment, you can use your BCL library card to borrow the item from another SCLENDS library or you can just read it online.

July 13 - "Black History Note:" 200 years ago a former enslaved Black preacher, Denmark Vesey, was convicted and executed (on July 2, 1822) for conspiring to foment a slave insurrection in nearby Charleston. The conspiracy to revolt was purportedly set for July 14th in honor of the storming of the Bastille in France during its Revolution. All of South Carolina's white residents were distressed by the events. The BDC has the only original published copy of An official report of the trials of sundry Negroes : charged with an attempt to raise an insurrection in the state of South Carolina: preceded by an introduction and narrative; and in an appendix, a report of the trials of four white persons on indictments for attempting to excite slaves to insurrection (1822) in the SCLENDS consortium and several secondary works about the trial and its consequences for you to increase your knowledge of this key antebellum event. The SCLENDS consortium and Hoopla have even more...

July 17 - Check out the latest content on Connections.

July 18 - "50 Shades of Beige: Materials Monday": Sallie Ann Robinson has released 3 cookbooks so far and the first one, Gullah Home Cooking, the Daufuskie Way (2003) featured a number of recipes featuring fish, crab, shrimp and oysters. The BCL has plenty of copies in the Local History sections to share. Whip up some "Daufuskie Catfish and Shrimp Mull" (p. 64) for your next gathering.

July 20 - "Black History Note Wednesday:" One of the hazards inherent in the obituary card files is the opportunity for misfiling. For example, earlier this summer I had a customer interested in the Stewart Family. Amid the obituaries for Stewart Family members was this card relating to the death of the teenaged son of a local Black law enforcement officer due to unspecified causes, but likely a disease of some sort. Because SC didn't require death certificates until the 1910s, we likely won't ever know what killed young Sandy. I have returned the card to its proper place in the obituary card files. Sandy B. Colonel is the only Colonel family member in our Online Obituary Index.

July 25 - "50 Shades of Beige: Materials Monday": A Guide to Saltwater Sport Fishing in South Carolina was published by the South Carolina Wildlife and Marine Resources Department in 1973. The photos of mostly fishermen triumphant with their catches are a real blast to the past.

July 27 - "Black History Note:" WEBE Gullah/Geechee : Cultural Capital & Collaboration Anthology compiled and edited by Queen Quet Marquetta L. Goodwine (2015) includes 3 essays that fall within the Oceans of Possibilities theme: "Culture interrupted: a brief overview of the history and state of Gullah/Geechee fishing" by Dr. Jamelle Ellis; "Gullah/Geechee subsistence fishing economies: under threat from gentrification" by Dr. Annette Watson; and "Protecting Coastal Communities of color through understanding the Federal Environmental Justice Executive Order and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964" by Attorney Chandra T. Taylor. There are reference copies of this title in the BDC and in the St. Helena Branch Library. The State Library has one copy that can be checked out by BCL library cardholders.

July 31 - Check out the latest content on Connections.