13 May 2021

Peace Officers Memorial Day 2021

Law enforcement has been much in the news over the past 15 months as calls for reform have increased in light of questionable actions captured on officer cams and personal cellphones during arrests and police shooting events. And it's been 6 years since I have written about the seven law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty in Beaufort County's past. Thankfully, no law enforcement personnel have been killed since 2002 here. For that we should all be grateful as police work is a dangerous occupation to hold. The post below is updated from Connections posts published in 2009 and 2013. As to be expected some of the links in those older posts are now broken. Accordingly, I have deleted the content of each with a referral to this post. -- Grace Cordial 5/7/2021 

Statistics vary somewhat but the number of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty since the United States was founded in 1776 is now approaching 25,000. The Officer Down Memorial Page provides a figure of 24,872 since 1776; The National Law Enforcement Memorial and Museum website begins counting in 1786 and states "more than 22,000 law enforcement officers had died in the line of duty." If you round up the country's age to 250 and do the math, on average there are approximately 100 police officers killed per year.  

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation which designated May 15th as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as Police Week. The Memorial Service began in 1982 as a gathering in Senate Park of approximately 120 survivors and supporters of law enforcement. Decades later, the event, more commonly known as National Police Week, has grown to a series of events which attracts thousands of survivors and law enforcement officers to our Nation's Capital each year - until COVID. COVID-19 mitigation efforts impacted the National Police Week, just as it did countless other events as fighting the disease took precedence from March 2020 and into 2021. 

National Police Week is co-sponsored by the National Law Enforcement Memorial and Museum, the Fraternal Order of Police and Auxiliary (FOP) and Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS). The Police Week website says "The three host organizations remain committed to their missions and to honoring the fallen law enforcement heroes from 2019 and 2020, while making sure their survivors are supported." This year the in-person ceremonies to honor fallen law enforcement officers is being delayed until October in hopes that they can secure the necessary permits for a large public gathering.

Among the fallen law enforcement officers who lived and/or died in Beaufort County who are honored on the monument are: 

5-E: 20
End of Watch: January 6, 1925
Beaufort County, South Carolina, Sheriff's Department

49-W: 20
End of Watch: June 6, 1927
Beaufort County, South Carolina, Sheriff's Department

22-W: 18
End of Watch: August 19, 1969
South Carolina Highway Patrol

5-W: 2
End of Watch: September 27, 1985
South Carolina Highway Patrol

4-E: 10
End of Watch: April 17, 1990
Beaufort County, South Carolina, Sheriff's Department

Walter Dennis wrote a poem "Tribute to Deputy Russell Bell (Killed in the line of duty.) for inclusion in his self-published pamphlet of poems and short stories, Street People:
I didn't know him
Nor did many of the thousands
Who came that day to say goodbye.
But we felt his presence in his widow's eyes
Who must carry on and continue on with life.
We could feel his love in his children's faces
Who were left to grow up
With only memories of a great man.
We could see his compassion in the deep furrows
Of his mother's face who had lost
All that was precious and all that was good.
We could feel his strength
Etched in the faces of his friends
Who had been touched by his short life.
And in his peers, we could feel his dignity and his courage
Standing proudly beside him
But we all thank him for what he did.
For each of us he gave his life
So we might live a better one.
We will honor your memory and forever remember your name.
For you are the man who gave so much
To those of us you hardly knew.
48-W: 23
End of Watch: January 8, 2002
Beaufort County, South Carolina, Sheriff's Department

13-E: 23
End of Watch: January 8, 2002
Beaufort County, South Carolina, Sheriff's Department

To learn a bit more about the circumstances of some of these deaths, visit the "Fallen Heroes" page of the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office website
The BDC has several vertical files on the topic of law enforcement and law enforcement officers who were killed in the line of duty: Murders - Woods (1969); Murders - Coursen-Tate (2002); Police; Beaufort County Sheriff's Department and of course, lots of information and publications by and about legendary Sheriff Ed McTeer (who, just to be clear, was not killed in the line of duty). Just be sure to contact me (gracec@bcgov.net; 843-255-6446) to make an appointment to come into the Research Room to review these and other BDC materials.

09 May 2021

"The Planter" Escapes: Lt. Lamson's Letters

A perceptive United States Navy lieutenant, Roswell H. Lamson, was stationed on the USS Wabash in Port Royal Harbor from November 4, 1861 (participating in the Battle of Port Royal Sound) until July 5, 1862. He would later command a gunboat fleet that helped stop Gen. James Longstreet’s advance on Norfolk, VA and was very involved in capturing Fort Fisher in North Carolina in December 1864 – January 1865. According to editors James M. McPherson and Patricia R. McPherson, “Lamson of the ‘Gettysburg:’ The Civil War Letters of Lieutenant Roswell H. Lamson, U.S. Navy” contains “the best portrayal of blockade duty in the Civil War.” It’s lucky for us because Lt. Lamson was personally involved in receiving a prize of war that received lots of media attention in both the United States of America and Confederate States of America – and wrote personal letters to his cousin Flora Lamson of Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts about the event.

Two letters recount the escape of The Planter headed by Beaufort’s own Robert Smalls.  In a letter dated May 13, 1862 while the USS Wabash is temporarily “off Charleston”, Roswell writes his cousin Flora Roswell that:

“… Soon after I commenced this letter the ‘Officer of the Deck’ bellowing through his trumpet –‘Steamer Ahoy!!’ – What Steamer is that?’ – and you may imagine our surprise when we learned that fifteen negroes had run her out of Charleston harbor, past all the forts and reached our fleet outside.

She is an armed steamer having six guns on board and was lying at the wharf between two other steamers nobody being on board except the negroes, when they backed out and steamed down the bay with the rebel flag flying, as they passed Fort Sumpter they saluted the flag on the fort by dipping their colors and as soon as they were clear of the guns they ran up a white flag…" (p. 60)

Another letter to Flora five days later was written from aboard The Planter:

"… You will no doubt hear before you receive this of the negroes running this Steamer out of Charleston harbor….The enterprise was planned by Robert Small, the black pilot, who proposed it to the others some time ago….Nine men, five women and three children came in her. When the Steamer reached this place the Commodore sent me on board…to take command of her, and the next day sent me to Beaufort to find good quarters for the families…. They are altogether better fixed than they ever were in their lives before, and it would do you good to see how happy they seem at being free. When they ran up the white flag and were out of range of Sumpter, Robert Small[s] said ‘We’re all free n* now.’ … Robert has his wife and three children and he says it was the cruel treatment his wife received that made him first determine to make the attempt to escape. They all express their firm determination not to be taken alive after leaving the wharf, and if fired into to sink rather than stop the vessel well knowing what their fate would be if taken. They say the slaves are treated with the greatest cruelty in Charleston now…

I do not know how long I shall continue in command of the boat for she is not a man of war and it would be contrary to naval etiquette to put a regular officer in her." (pp. 62-63)

Robert Smalls would serve as the pilot of The Planter for the rest of the Civil War. Lt. Lamson would later command a gunboat fleet that helped stop Gen. James Longstreet’s advance on Norfolk, VA.  Lamson was very involved in capturing Fort Fisher in North Carolina in December 1864 – January 1865.

The US Navy would honor Lt. Lamson by naming three ships after him: A torpedo boat destroyer built in 1907; a second destroyer launched in 1919 that served through 1935, and a third destroyer named USS Lamson commissioned in 1936 that saw service in the North Atlantic Ocean during World War II.

Learn more about how the military has honored the bravery of Robert Smalls in the WordPress blog. 

06 May 2021

Re-cap of the BDC's Facebook Posts in April 2021

I like to lead off the month with an overview of the topics to come. Therefore on April 1, 2021, I wrote:

It may be April Fool's Day but it's no joke that the Library will be closed tomorrow on Good Friday. It's also not a joke that April is National Poetry Month so as you may have come to expect, we will highlight poetry resources in the BDC all this month. Other particular topics of note in April: Libraries, library and archival materials preservation, and posts related to the "Historically Speaking" Local History lecture 2.3 "Hidden Senator" that's currently online for your edification. [Update: The lecture was available March 25 - April 23, 2021. It's been taken down.]

PS: The April Fools Day graphic is courtesy of Pixy.org.

Please note: Including entire poems – and a lot of them across the month of April – makes for a particularly long re-cap post. You just might want to skip to the topical sections that are of the greatest interest to you.   

4 April 2021 -- Today begins National Library Week 2021. At some point this week, I'd like to challenge you to explore what's behind the tabs on the Library's homepage. By my count, there are more than 50 buttons out to additional information about library services and governance.

6 April 2021 -- Today we celebrate - us! It's National Library Worker's Day - and the past year has been quite a challenge. But BDC staff composition changed yet stayed grounded to our principles, pivoted in how some of those services were delivered, and continued to serve our community both those who live in the local area and those who reach out for help through the internet. Go us!

7 April 2021 -- Today we celebrate National Library Outreach Day. (BTW: It used to be called "Bookmobile Day.") You may have seen the BCL vehicles back on the road and stops are being added back into the schedule as circumstances warrant. You can learn about current bookmobile services on the Library's website (https://www.beaufortcountylibrary.org/bookmobile) and about the history of bookmobile services in Beaufort County in the BDC's Connections (https://beaufortdistrictcollectionconnections.blogspot.co...) blog.

8 April 2021 - "Take Action for Libraries Day" is a relatively new advocacy initiative of the American Library Association. Begun in 2017, it was designed to advocate for sufficient funding at the Federal Level for the Institute of Museum and Library Services from which grants could flow down to support state efforts in providing literacy programs for youth, small business service centers, services for veterans and technological resources and services in local communities. In a broader sense, "Take Action for Libraries Day" means letting your local Library Board of Trustees, County Council members, State and Federal representatives know that you are a Lover of Libraries who understands that even beloved libraries need sufficient funding to sustain, adapt or even expand services as the needs of our communities evolve. If you are so inclined, today is as a good as any, to reach out and touch governmental authorities who have a part in the funding of libraries.

8 April 2021 -- I'm going to paraphrase Jeff Foxworthy today. Instead of "You might be a redneck ..." You might be a local history librarian and archivist if the title "The Red Book" conjures up an image of the cover of a classic genealogy guide rather than a best-selling Detective Billy Harney thriller by James Patterson & David Ellis. 

10 April 2021 -- Libraries are sometimes the subject of poems. I hope that this one entitled "Library Poem" by Julia Donaldson reminds you to meet the National Library Week Challenge I posted on Sunday.

15 April 2021 -- At least until June 30, 2021 Beaufort County Library cardholders have access to Ancestry Library Edition from home. ProQuest, the Library's vendor for this database is offering a free webinar that might interest those of you with immigrants in your background.

The webinar is "International Content in Ancestry Library Edition." It will be held online on Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at 3:00 P.M. ET but registration is required (hence this post).

The blurb says: "In this session, you’ll learn about international content in Ancestry Library Edition. Whether you are researching your family’s migration history through a DNA kit or you’re building a family tree that includes immigrants, this session is for you. You’ll discover historical records including census and voter lists, travel and immigration records and receive tips for navigating and searching international collections. Share with patrons!" Use this incredibly long URL to register: [URL deactived]

16 April 2021 -- I am still digesting the results, conclusions, and ramifications for the BDC from the "'Small & Diverse Archival Organization Needs Assessment Project' Survey Report" from Lyrasis. Once I make up my mind, perhaps I might write a Connections post of how - in my opinion - the BDC stacks up against the results and which of the recommendations, if enacted, would - again in my opinion - be most beneficial to secure the BDC's future. Want to nerd out? You can read it, too.

24 April 2021 -- Required reading for librarians (and library lovers): The annual State of America's Libraries Report released on April 5th. 2020 definitely had its challenges.

“Materials Monday: Letters” Posts highlighted items in the BDC containing poems related to important people, poets, places or events in Beaufort District’s history.

5 April 2021 -- Among the many letters that Thomas Wentworth Higginson wrote while in the Port Royal area during the Civil War was one to poet Ralph Waldo Emerson. Higginson's headquarters of the USCT 1st Regiment of South Carolina Volunteers was based at Camp Saxton (present-day Beaufort Naval Hospital grounds). From there on 20 February 1863 he wrote:


Dear Sir

I thought it might be pleasant for you to know that your Hymn was read aloud to this regiment during the services last Sunday, by our good Dr. Rogers. It was his own impulse to do it, and I was glad to have it done. For though they might not understand all the verses in detail, yet the spirit of the hymn was evidently comprehended. The personal experience of these men has been a liberal education to them, in respect to the principles of liberty; on that point their minds are very clear, you cannot entangle them nor sophisticate them.

Very respectfully yours

T.W. Higginson, Col. comdg

I send some autographs of my Sergeants, which may interest you.

The poem to which Higginson refers is "Boston Hymn", first published in the "Atlantic Monthly" in February 1863. The stanza "I break your bonds and masterships, / And I unchain the slave: / Free be his heart and hand henceforth, / As wind and wandering wave" must have been inspiring for the soldiers. You can read the entire "Boston Hymn" online.

In addition to being the commander of the 1st South Carolina Volunteers, Higginson was a prolific writer, an ardent abolitionist, and later became a literary agent for poet Emily Dickinson. There are copies of The Complete Civil War Journal andSelected Letters of Thomas Wentworth Higginson in the Research Room and some that can be checked out through the SCLENDS catalog.

12 April 2021Beaufort-born Mary Palmer Shindler Dana was a rather well-known poet in mid-19th Southern Literary circles.  Today we begin with a sensational statement from Mary S. B. Dana in a letter she wrote to her "Kind and Venerated Parents" on January 19, 1845: "I will keep you no longer in suspense, but will proceed to declare, that I do not now believe that my blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is the Supreme God... I conscientiously and firmly reject the doctrine of the Trinity." Her conclusions about religious matters Unitarian, Trinitarian, Calvinistic, Lutheran and Catholic are the substance of 30 letters that are addressed to "My Dear Sir" which can be read as "To Whom It May Concern." As you may have gathered, it is quite a philosophical discussion about religious principles. I feel far more comfortable reading her poetry and novels. You can learn more about her life and career as a poet and lyricist in the BDC's Connections blog.

We have a reprint copy in the Research Room of Letters Addressed to Relatives and Friends,Chiefly in Reply to Arguments in support of the Doctrine of the Trinity of the New Edition published by James Munroe and Company of Boston and Chapman Brothers of London in 1846. There's also a digital copy of the first edition from 1845 on the Hathitrust website.

19 April 2021I wrote about Beaufort District’s arguably most famous poet, William John Grayson.

“Since I am featuring letters by poets, about poets, or specific poems related to Beaufort District during National Poetry Month, today's post is a letter "To the Hon. W.J. Grayson" written in response to Grayson's Letter to Gov. Seabrook in 1850 concerning possible secession from the United States. (We don't have a copy of the "Letter to His Excellency..." but Hathitrust does  in case you'd like to read it.) The letter "To the Hon. W.J. Grayson" expresses disbelief that a Whig so long supported by his democratic neighbors could profess that leaving the Union was a bad idea indeed - in 19th century syntax. Our copy is quite fragile so it's best for you to use the Hathitrust's digital copy online. There's a short article about the poet of "The Hireling and the Slave" and a list of available recommended resources in the "BDCBCL: Links, Lists, and Finding Aids" (http://bit.ly/1xTWdo1) WordPress blog.”

26 April 2021Local VIP’s are occasionally serenaded in verse as the "Materials Monday: Letters" entry on this date showed. Today's entry has a long title, viz., Letter Addressed by the Poet, Paul Hamilton Hayne, to Colonel (Afterwards Brigidier-General) Stephen Elliott, Then in Command of Fort Sumter, Sending the Sonnets Printed Below Which Were Published in a Greenville Newspaper. The letter penned from Greenville, SC on the last day of January, 1864, addresses "a new Leonidas ... holding his own in a Thermopylae which will never be taken! (The last 5 words of the sentence are italicized for emphasis in our "Privately printed [copy] by William Elliott, Columbia, S.C.) In Sonnet II. "Elliott in Fort Sumter" Hayne writes: 

Superbly brave, inflexibly serene,

Man of the stalwart hope, the sleepless brain,

Well dost thou guard our fortress by the main!

The BDC has sponsored several local history programs about Gen. Elliott through the years so there's even a BDC flyer of materials that you can check out from the branch libraries. The BDC is the only SCLENDS library to hold this item.


I choose poems penned by local African-American residents for the three “Black History Notes: Wednesdays” posts during April.

7 April 2021 --"Black History Note Wednesday in National Poetry Month:" Mama’s Pearls by Patricia Bee is a book of poetry that captures the essence of Gullah culture. The author is a native of Beaufort and wrote this book of poetry to serve as a manual for living and to honor her ancestors. Almost each poem is accompanied by historical photos of African American adults and children as well as a Bible verse.

Here's her poem "Smooth Black":

Mama's skin was black

Black like the night

Her eyes were bright

Like pearls in twilight

Her hair was coarse

Coarse like wool

Her arms were strong

Strong like a bull's

Her feet stood firm

Firm like a mountain

Her hope ran free

Free like a fountain!

Jeremiah 17:7 -- Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. (p. 103)

There are copies of this title in the BDC and from the local history sections at Beaufort and St. Helena Branch Libraries.

14 April 2021 -- "Black History Note:" Organizations that we use often, or perhaps even every day, have a key role in community building. Poet Wilhelmina Mitchell self-published a booklet of poems and short essays entitled "Along the Way." In it she writes of:


I like to imagine -- to think of this spot --

What it was like a couple hundred years ago.

Yes, even further back to a time when this road

Was a trail to other villages and settlements;

When the Ogeechee and Coosaw Indians were here.

History tells us that

The Blacks and Whites were here.

That this very site was used for prayer meetings;

For giving their supplications to God.

I hearsay that there were orange trees flourishing.

A schoolhouse was created by families

To pass on knowledge to their children.

Folks had farms; cows, goats, pigs, turkeys, chickens.

Many families remained

And lived out their lives, here, on Coosaw.

This corner was just far enough from Lucy Creek

And its treacherous waters to stop and rest;

To meet family, exchange greetings,

News of Beaufort Town --

News of births, deaths, losses and gains.

Perhaps the young exchanged their

First love-glances here;

Planned their future and families.

This very soil holds the grains of sand

Upon which their feet trod.

I can feel their presence;

Almost hear their calls.

Under these great oaks

Must have stood

Rejoicing men and women

After the "Big Shoot."


Coming on down through the decades,

The young became old,

Took their exits,

And were laid down to rest.

Their children came and gathered here --

As was the custom --

And so are we here today,

To honor and dedicate to the future --

Coosaw Community Center.

September, 1988

Wednesday, April 21, 2021 was Staff Development Day so I did not write a “Black History Note”.  

28 April 2021 - "Black History Note:" Seeking is a spiritual exercise within Gullah/Geechee culture. Jonathan Green's Seeking is a documentary by Charles Allan Smith about how an interest in Green's ancestors influence his art. A complement to the award-winning documentary is Seeking: Poetry and Prose Inspired by the Art of Jonathan Green edited by Kwame Dawes and Marjory Wentworth. Several Beaufort residents and native children are included in the anthology.

Carol Maxzine Peels, the daughter of Beaufort born parents who moved to New York in the 1930s penned the poem of discovering herself amidst the lowcountry:


At 97 in '99 when grandma ma persevered,

mama, uncle, and me took a trip

very far from here.

To South Carolina I said, why shouldn't

we go?

To Beaufort, more particularly so.

For sure I'd find me.

Many cousins met, talking, laughing,

but I wasn't finding me.

Charleston ... what an unlikely place.

There's mama!

in colorful vibrant print.

Could it be I was Gullah/Geechee?

Could it be I found me?

Stewart eyes, Stewart art, Stewart hands, Stewart life.

I found me. (p. 41) 

Additional National Poetry Month related Facebook posts I made were on: 

9 April 2021 - A Decision to Stay once "presented as a gift from Palmetto State Bank, Bluffton, South Carolina" with photographs by Graham Bullock and text by Jeannie Bunton, contains Angela Herbert Straight's poem, "Myrtle Island Moon:"

A strolling summer moon shines tonight

With whispers drifting across salt-soaked marshes

Faces reflecting silvered river ripples

Two children ago

I strolled those summer-soft nights

Twenty years ago I whispered salt secrets

Myrtle Island Moon time transcends tonight

Because you change not

Your silver shadows take me back ...

We are the only SCLENDS library to own a copy of this rare title published in 1988.

11 April 2021 -- Former Beaufort Township Librarian Mabel Runnette published poetry. Her "To a Cardinal" appeared in "Contemporary Verse: The All-poetry Magazine for America" 101 years ago this month.


Up from the ground, swift as a leaping flame,

And very like to one, I see you rise

Into the heaven of your leafy frame,

Beyond my prying eyes.

Yet now and then a friendly wind betrays

Your hiding place, -- then how your red-coat gleams,

Flitting from bough to bough, -- a merry blaze,

To light a fire of dreams!

Have you no song for me? This sea-blown air,

The garden's morning face, do both invite

A stave or two, a greeting debonair, --

Fresh fancies of delight.

So brave a singer I have never known;

Sun on the trees; rain dropping in the pool;

The nodding grace of flowers; and your own

Brown mate; with all the cool

Sweet pleasantness within this garden space;

All these, and more, you love whole-heartedly,

And sing their praises with a wilding grace

Unmatched in gayety.

Beyond the garden's long confine you send

Your morning song; the first to cry, "Awake,

Awake," in high clear notes that beauty spend

Unstinted, for love's sake.

But now you will not sing, provoking bird!

Yet if I go within, 'twill not be long

Ere, from the upper air, by victory spurred,

I'll hear your conqueror's song.

What matters it, this garden, yours or mine?

Sing when you will, on your enraptured note,

But let my humbler song with yours entwine,

High in the ether float.

A part of your glad wonder and desire,

A gift, outliving, and beyond recall;

A beauty, warm with a creative fire

Bestowed alike on all.

This verse - and "Poems" by Bunny Haggerty of Hilton Head Island, student work in "Sweet Stars, Silver Shadows" funded by the South Carolina Arts Commission in [1979], "Some Island Poems and Other Poems" by Virginia Linton along with individual poems penned by Beaufort District residents -- may be found in the BDC's POETRY vertical file.

For the foreseeable future, appointments are still necessary to come into the Research Room. We appreciate if all customers continue to wear masks and follow CDC guidelines while in our space because we do so for your protection.

13 April 2021 -- Poems often are based on a person's individual experience with a troubling circumstance or practice. Elijah Heyward, Jr. shares his experience with segregation at a local service station in the 1960s in "Colored Restroom:"


I sure could go to the restroom, Dad

I've got to go; I've got to go bad!

Son, the restrooms are out back,

Colored, carry your brother, Jack

Dad, I'm too young to read,

Do you think they care?

I've got to go bad!

Son, your restroom is out back,

Colored, many things it lack.

It's usually dirty and unclean,

The way we're treated is very mean.

Now, go and relieve yourself quick.

The system we practice is sick.

"Whites Only" are the signs we see,

Most believe, but why should it be?

Son, the restroom is out back,

"Colored Only," it's out back.

There are copies of "Stories & Poems of a Gullah Native" by Elijah Heyward, Jr. in the Research Room and in the local history sections at the branch libraries.

15 April 2021
One of the joys of working in the Research Room (and preparing social media posts) is stumbling across "stuff" in sources unexpected. For example, in preparing for a researcher, I discovered that Rev. John C. Dortch begins his Memoirs of the Prodigal Son : The Road to Redemption, "Fifteen Years in Prison and Beyond" (Disciple Publishing, 2008) with four poems serving as "Evolutionary Introspections." And since April is "National Poetry Month" and I need some FB posts, I quote from poem #2 "The Spiritual:"

Faith is the energy of the Soul.

Faith is the key to powers untold.

Its eternal treasures are more precious than gold.

By faith, the mysteries of the universe unfold.

Without faith, it's impossible to please God.

Without faith, you and He are worlds apart.

Without faith, there can be no joy in your heart.

Without faith, all transgressions are laid to your charge.

You see ... disbelief was the original sin,

When Adam and Eve allowed pride and doubt to set in.

But for the battle of life's victory to win,

Trust in God through thick and thin. (p. viii)


23 April 2021 -- Today we revisit a post I wrote for National Poetry Month in 2015.



Yesterday, the diesel engine of a shrimp boat

throbbed in the harbor, windows rattled in a shack

and gulls squabbled over garbage on the shore.

Learn more about the poet and how he became the first winner of the South Carolina Poetry Archives Book Prize in Connections, the BDC's longest running blog.

27 April 2021 - Archibald Rutledge, Jr., South Carolina's Poet Laureate from 1934 to 1973, penned the following poem:

"Indian Days"

Coosawhatchie, Waccamaw, Yauhannah, Edisto!

What singing memorial of long ago,

Of Yemassee, Tamassee, and Pocotaligo.

The homes of our primal man, hard by God's ancient sea,

Oconee, See-Wee, Wateree, Cherokee.

Gone now, gone forever from Cumbahee, Jocassee.

The braves' change here no more shall ring by Peedee, Socastee.

Their maids' bright smiles no more shall cheer on golden Congaree.

Quiet, quiet, all is quiet, deep on the dark Santee.

 You can learn more about the local Indians groups by clicking on some of the links provided in the "Native Americans" post on the BDC's WordPress blog.

27 April 2021 - Here's an extract from a favorite poems of mine entitled "Island Names" by Edith Bannister Dowling from her book "One for Sorrow, Two for Joy" :

Fish Haul,

And Bay Gall:

Names in use down there --

Place-names, worn,

Like Honey Horn,

Through times both fierce and fair;

Houses, and

Plantations, stand

In ruins, or all waste.

Spanish Wells --

The names ring bells

Of memories; interlaced

With Skull Creek,

Broad Creek,

And Muddy Creek, abode...

Each place known, a name;

And Myrtle Bank,

And Bram's Point ...

Some etymologist

Can add them, dissect them:

I just know they exist

In Hilton Head's long story:

My last name I'll be tossing

In this good island's glory:

The James F. Byrnes, his Crossing.

Make an appointment to come into our Research Room or drop by one of the Local History collections to borrow collections of Mrs. Dowling’s poetry.

30 April 2021 - As you no doubt understand from the posts made this month, the BDC has fairly extensive holdings of some of our local poets from the 19th into the early 21st centuries. To be eligible for the "Forever Collection," the poet must have direct ties to the former Beaufort District area as well as write poetry which reflects their personal understanding of our culture, history, and environment. Among the poets, living and dead, represented are: Robert Woodward Barnwell, Patricia Bee, Walter Dennis, Edith Bannister Dowling, Arthur G. Foster, Robert Elliott Gonzales, William J. Grayson, and Gilbert Augustus Selby.

Set up an appointment and we'll share what we have with you in the Research Room.


Preservation Week has always been noted in the Beaufort District Collection. I could not let it pass by without writing some preservation related posts and highlighting some free resources on how to preserve your treasures at home.

20 April 2021 -- Preservation Week draws nigh and traditionally the BDC would "do" something with the community to celebrate. Given COVID-19 last year and this, this year I will just encourage you all to check out some no-cost opportunities. There are plenty of free webinars - not sponsored by a vendor -- available to help you learn more about how preserve your family treasures. Do check out the list and participate in one or more that addresses your specific preservation need(s). Some of the free webinars require advance registration so don't delay. Review the list - and check the registration requirements - today.

25 April 2021 -- This week is the 11th Annual Preservation Week. I do my best each year to not let it pass without sharing information about some of the basic preservation practices we follow in the BDC and offering some tips to you about how to extend the natural life of some of your important personal items.

The word "preservation" has multiple definitions in the library and archival world. When used as a noun, consider these meanings:

1. The professional discipline of protecting materials by minimizing chemical and physical deterioration and damage to minimize the loss of information and to extend the life of cultural property.

2. The act of keeping from harm, injury, decay or destruction, especially through noninvasive treatment.

3. LAW - The obligation to protect records and other materials potentially relevant to litigation and subject to discovery

When "preserve" is used as a verb, consider these meanings:

4. To keep for some period of time; to set aside for future use.

5. CONSERVATION - To take action to prevent deterioration or loss.

6. LAW - To protect from spoliation.

When I think "preservation" here in the BDC, definitions 1, 2, 4, and 5 convey the senses of the word most often applied in the Library's special local history collection and archives unit. You can read a bit more preservation in the BDC in "Connections." (I trust that by now you know how to find it.)

This week expect to see some practical tips about what you can do at home to help preserve your personal family treasures and "save your stuff". Expect to see the "Letter" of the week tomorrow per usual. We'll even share a few more poetry related posts in this week to close out "National Poetry Month."

26 April 2021 - Environmental factors, such as light, heat, moisture, and pollutants can cause serious and irreparable harm to books, photographs, documents, works of art, and artifacts. Personal, family, and community collections are equally at risk. Because the County's budget for staff and supplies is always an issue, and "A stitch in time saves nine," the BDC concentrates on low cost (or no cost) ways that require as minimal human intervention as appropriate to mitigate harm to our collections.

Rule of thumb: Prevention is always better than intervention.

Bottom line: Light can be dangerous for cultural heritage materials. Ultraviolet rays from natural and artificial sources can cause fading and disintegration.

Here's what you can do at home:

1. Keep your precious photographs and documents away from windows.

2. Keep your precious photographs and documents away from bright lamps and overhead lights.

Think of it this way. "Cool and dim" is better than "Warm and bright."

27 April 2021 - It's Preservation Week so here's a housekeeping tip that will help you protect and preserve your family treasures - and it's fairly easy, too!

Keep objects clean and clean them with care. Dust can actually scratch delicate surfaces such as photographs and textiles. When dusting, use a soft, lint-free cloth, and avoid rubbing. Always clean gently and avoid harsh commercial cleansers or cleaning solvents

28 April 2021 - Tape is a dirty 4-letter word for special collections librarians and archivists. If an item is precious to you, avoid using self-adhesive tapes to make repairs. The sticky side of tape contains acids that will "eat" paper with time. "Quick and easy" rarely has connotations of "safe and permanent" when it comes to tape and non-damaging repairs.

You can see some tape damage in the bottom center of this Hurricane Gracie (1959) photograph from one of the scrapbooks housed permanently here in the Research Room.

"Dear Donia" offers advice about how to remove old tape from paper and from postcards. Donia provides a host of advice about what to do with family treasures. Check it out to see if she addresses your preservation issues.

29 April 2021 - The most important thing you can do to protect your family papers, books, and photos is to place them in a controlled and stable environment. When storing your family keepsakes, locate an area of your home that will not suffer extreme fluctuations in either temperature or humidity. You'll also want to steer clear of water pipes and away from the floor in case there's flooding. A shelf within an interior hallway or an entry way closet is a very good option in most households.

29 April 2021 - If you have had a COVID-19 vaccination and got your card, please do not laminate it. Lamination is a destructive process. Instead sleeve it. 

30 April 2021 - Few of us think about all the family history captured on old-fashioned photographic slides but there are ways to preserve the images. Gaylord, a Library vendor, offers some tips about how to arrange, store, and improve access to these family treasures on their website

I’m happy to report that the views for Lecture 2.3 of the Beaufort County Historical Society-Beaufort District Collection sponsored “Historically Speaking” series were quite satisfactory. As you may recall, we launched Anne Pollitzer’s talk about her grandfather, Neils Christensen in March.  In April I wrote about the program several times on Facebook:

9 April 2021 -- There's less than two weeks left to see the latest virtual "Historically Speaking" lecture brought to you by the Beaufort County Historical Society and the Beaufort District Collection. It's on the Beaufort County Library's YouTube Channel (URL deactivated) for a limited time. Be sure to view it before it goes away. Trust me. If you're interested in the long and storied history of this place we all call home, you won't want to miss the opportunity to learn about a key figure in Beaufort County's early 20th century history.

18 March 2021 - Heads up: The Library will be closed on Wednesday for Staff Development Day; The BCHS-BDC's lecture "The Hidden Senator" by Anne Pollitzer will stay online only until Thursday at 6 pm. Don't delay! Watch it today.

19 March 2021 - "The Hidden Senator" local history program reminded me about the Legislative Manuals and the State Government records and materials here in the Research Room and digitally through the South Carolina State Library and the South Carolina Department of Archives and History. There's a lot. Read more in Connections.

Other posts in April covered next year’s release of the 1950 US Census, schedule changes, Beaufort’s reaction to FDR’s death in 1945, a Fold3 blog post about Beaufort’s Civil War history, job vacancies in the Library system, National Park Week, a report about social media, and two videos created by others that I shared. 

1 April 2021 -- Just received in my work in-box! "Today marks the start of an exciting countdown: we are officially one year away from the release of the 1950 Census! The National Archives will release the 1950 population census schedules in April 2022, 72 years after the official 1950 census day of April 1, 1950. We have been busy preparing for the release for many years, and we encourage you to start preparing too!" Read moreOne just might have been on the library staff too long if a third decennial census will soon open to the public. Just saying ...

12 April 2021 - POTUS #32 Franklin Delano Roosevelt died 76 years ago on April 12, 1945. He is the only President of the United States to have cards in our obituary index files.

The "Beaufort Times" described how "Beaufort Joins World in Mourning Roosevelt" in its weekly issue published on April 19, 1945 while the next day the "Beaufort Gazette" in its weekly issue recounted how "Beaufort Mourns Roosevelt's Loss." The "Gazette" carried the text of Beaufort Mayor J.E. Gill's a proclamation: "As a mark of respect to the late President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, all stores, business places and establishments of every kind are requested to close at four o'clock p.m., on Saturday, April 14, 1945, and remain closed until five o'clock p.m., while funeral services [at Hyde Park, NY, at FDR's family estate] are being held."

Both newspapers mentioned flags at half-mast, business closures and the church services though the "Times" coverage was less specific. The "Gazette" noted that special memorial services were held in the Beaufort city schools on Friday and the Episcopal, Methodist and Baptist Churches held brief memorial services on Saturday at which "Prayers were offered for the future security of the country."

You can read the microfilm of both the "Beaufort Gazette" and the "Beaufort Times" and 17 other local newspapers in our Research Room with an advance appointment.

16 April 2021 - -Jenny Ashcraft wrote a Beaufort-related Fold3 blog post yesterday that helps make the soldiers behind the names come alive. Please note: The Library does not have a subscription to the Fold3 database. We do, however, provide access to Ancestry Library Edition that includes a host of military service related databases.

16 April 2021 -- Looking for a job? The Library has a number of vacancies, including one here in the BDC. All available Beaufort County government jobs are posted on the County's Employment Opportunities page.

17 April 2021 -- We're lucky to have a National Park amongst us. Check out what the Reconstruction Era National Historical Park network has planned to celebrate National Park Week, April 17 - April 25, 2021.

21 April 2021 - Love it or hate it, a whole lot of Americans [including this one] use social media. The Pew Research Center recently published its findings on "Social Media Use in 2021." 

22 April 2021In honor of Earth Day, we got permission from GreenDrinks Beaufort to share a segment of its April 2021 virtual program with you. Al Stokes was the Waddell Maritime Center's first Director, serving from 1979 up until his retirement in 2018. He probably ranks as the 2nd best authority on Beaufort County's marine environment (IMNSHO: God holds position #1). [Don't forget to watch our final virtual "Historically Speaking" lecture of the season on the Library's YouTube Channel [Link is no longer active] before we take it down. The Beaufort County Historical Society and I are delighted with the numbers of viewers so far. This is an appeal to FOMO - a publicity tactic of long standing.]

29 April 2021 - In case you've missed this, here’s the link for our Beaufort County Team Pulls Together video. The Communications and Broadcast Services departments created this video showcasing how County Council, the Administration and all County departments pulled together to work as a team to get us through this last year’s pandemic. The general public has no idea how quickly everyone worked to shift gears and keep Beaufort County running smoothly. This video will help the public understand how much work was done behind the scenes and at the same time, will recognize all our efforts. It’s being shared on the website, all our County social media platforms and The County Channel. Please feel free to share it and let everyone know what we all accomplished. Thanks to all County employees who joined in for the drone shots—you make the video! 

Now you're "in the know" even if you don't have a Facebook account and follow the BDC on that particular social media platform. In case you'd like to get these posts in real time, please follow the BDC on Facebook