MYSTERY OF A WATEREE SWAMP SKELETON

You will know about this true story if you are following the Historical Society’s monthly column!

Are you reading it?

The Kershaw County Historical Society column appears by permission for first printing on the second or third Friday of the month in the Camden, S.C., newspaper Chronicle-Independent, a print publication also available digitally to subscribers.

 “Mystery of a Wateree Swamp Skeleton,” by Joan A. Inabinet, appears in the October 15, 2021, Chronicle-Independent. (Its content is described in the catalog below.)

A catalog of recent KCHS columns follows:

The Society also plans soon to post the recent columns on this website. (They are archived as well on the digital Chronicle-Independent and may be searched there.)

Author of the following columns is Joan A. Inabinet. All columns include recent or more detailed research, or a fresh focus on historical topics, all directly related to Kershaw County past and present.

In 2020

  1. May “1918—What Happened Here?”  The 1918 flu epidemic (“Spanish influena”), schools, churches, and public entertainments closed by public health directives.
  2. June “We Must Not Forget Again.” Events of the time that obscured public memory of the 1918 flu epidemic, continuing previous column.
  3. July “A Centennial for Women Voters.” Reactions to women registering to vote.
  4. August “Kershaw County’s First Women Voters.” Details on individual women (A-K).
  5. September “More KC Women First-Time Voters.”  Continued (L-Z).
  6. October “A Long Tradition of Sharing Historic Treasures.” Details of a sample 1957 KC Historical Society meeting that set a pattern of work and programs.
  7. November “A Fresh Perspective on Collective Community Preservation.” 1960-1980: The Historical Society, District Heritage Foundation, Historic Camden, the Camden Archives and Museum. KCHS’s rescue, move, restoration, and use of the historic Bonds Conway House.
  8. December “A Very Noisy Christmas to You!” Fireworks of years gone by. Carton by Jak Smyrl.

In 2021

  1. January “Yep, He Sure Would Take It!” Smallpox, pest houses, local outbreaks, vaccination, turn of century. Photo grave of victim Joanna Morris.
  2. February “Hearts and Valentines—1921 Style.” Customs of the time. Old photo of couple at the Precipice.
  3. March “A Shout-Out to Teachers”—Teachers’ names/addresses at Camden and county public schools (white and “colored”) and at private Mather Academy, from a 1925 phone directory.
  4. April “Historic Home Recalled in Memoir.” The Douglas-Witherspoon-Reed House, from early 1900s memoir of Sarah Mickle Marsh. Illustrated by a painting by Mary Ellen Jenkins.
  5. May “A Gardening Book, A Love Story, and Life in 1800’s Camden.” Story of Phineas and Elizabeth Thornton. Illustration from book.
  6. June “Mission in Mind—An 1819 Visitor to Camden Area.” Englishman William Faux’s visit regarding his relative Revolutionary Loyalist Col. Henry Rugeley.
  7. July “Outside Camden—An 1819 Visitor in ‘the Wilderness.’” Continuing William Faux’s mission to learn more, visiting Rugeley’s kin. Image of Drakeford House. moved to Historic Camden.
  8. August “Terrible Gale and Conflagration.” Horrifying woods fires with widespread outbreaks statewide and beyond, bring great damage on March 9, 1855, to county areas. Image, modern controlled burn by foresters.
  9. September “A Legacy of Change and Roots.” A 1976 Bicentennial article on early 1900s Cassatt in Kershaw County Legacy inspires a review and update.
  10. October “Mystery of a Wateree Swamp Skeleton.” In 1943, an extensive and futile search of the dense Wateree Swamp for a Shaw Field pilot trainee whose plane was lost. In 1946, discovery by chance of a skeleton in the swamp. Who was this young man?

Thanks if you are reading along with us! Please start and catch up if you have not been reading! Your responses and suggestions are welcomed.

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Summer 2021 at the Bonds Conway House

Rain storms and high winds brought broken limbs, and grass and fences required regular attention outside our headquarters at the Bonds Conway House. Thanks to our volunteers who helped out! Our old-time pear tree, transplanted years ago we are told from an old plantation garden, produced abundantly all summer. Just one collection of fine pears, donated to Food for the Soul, yielded 45 pounds of fresh fruit. We also had three families of bluebirds to hatch out of our weathered handmade birdhouse and fly away.

Nature outside mirrored the way our Society’s work progressed fulfilling other goals–some plans were damaged but are repeatedly being repaired with attention of persistent volunteer efforts. We find our work also bearing fruit and we are ready to keep moving forward!.

THANKS TO ALL OUR FAITHFUL SUPPORTERS!
Your contributions of funds, efforts, and positive words constantly encourage us and are much appreciated.

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A Turning Point

An audience of more than 50 persons, socially distancing with lawn chairs and masks, encircled the front of the Camden Archives and Museum April 25, 2021, for the first Kershaw County Historical Society public program since the local outbreak of the Covid-9 pandemic.

Sunny spring sunshine and gentle breezes invited lingering conversations sparked by the timely program, co-sponsored by the Archives. Speaker John Miller informed and entertained as he told vivid stories of the Battle of Hobkirk’s Hill, fought only a few blocks north of the meeting site exactly 240 years ago that same day.

Before and after the outside program, meeting guests visited the inside Archives exhibits on two Revolutionary War “turning points,” the battles of Camden and of Hobkirk’s Hill. Society members hoped the meeting would prove a “turning point” in opportunities to return to active programming.

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“A Turning Point” Invitation

(Image in “Turning Points” exhibit,
Courtesy of Don Troiani, copyrighted)

At the Camden Archives & Museum
Co-Sponsored by The Kershaw County Historical Society


We invite you to observe a Revolutionary turning point
Sunday afternoon, April 25, 2021
240th Anniversary on this date of the Battle of Hobkirk’s Hill

3:00 p.m. Outdoor program on the battle’s importance
Speaker (with microphone): John Miller
At front center entrance of Camden Archives & Museum
(1314 Broad Street, Camden, South Carolina)

Park your car at indicated areas. Bring your own lawn chair.
Seat yourself socially distanced. Masks required in Archives.
Archives will open at 2:30 and until 5:00 for viewing its exhibit:

The Battles of Camden—Turning Points of the Revolution.

In case of rain, re-scheduled until next Sunday, May 2

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Inviting You To Change 2020 to 2021

Your Renewal or New Membership helps us continue preserving Kershaw County History

Thanks to our current Members! Your support has been faithful and has been valued in Covid year 2020. For what we hope to be a brighter year ahead, the Kershaw County Historical Society invites present members and other interested persons to join us to sustain the legacy of Kershaw County history in 2021.

Membership renewal cards have been mailed to current members for updated information and dues payment to be sent by mail/email or by Paypal.

Other interested persons, or members lacking a renewal card, may join by clicking the homepage tab “Membership” on the Kershaw County Historical Society webpage for steps to submit information and dues by the same ways.

We thank you for joining us! Membership is invaluable to our mission. We will be posting again soon with other updates.

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In the Interim of Coronavirus Covid-19

Since our most recent Society program (Feb. 16, 2020, see views below), we have all been thrust into the present history-making period of unexpected changes, adaptations, and waiting.

Now in mid-May we pause broad societal reflections to mark within that time also three losses of significance in our Society’s history—the last two surviving charter members of our 66-year-old organization, and our immediate past president:

  1. Last surviving charter member Harvey Stuart Teal 1928-2020
  2. Charter member Henrietta McWillie 1923-2020
  3. Immediate past president Katherine Williams Hill 1949-2020

Acknowledging appreciation to the above for their contributions to the historical community and the Society, we will continue to meet current challenges.

Looking Ahead—Canceled Plans Still Hold Interest

Three scheduled 2020 activities of our Society during the past three months have required postponement to an indefinite time because of the Covid-19 pandemic.  These include:

  1. A field trip to view archaeological work at Kershaw County’s White Pond, with Dr. Christopher Moore
  2. Program with Tom Poland, speaker, on Carolina Bays
  3. Program on The World of Jak Smyrl by the Authors, on his Kershaw County roots. Preview here.

Click on the hot links above to understand our interests.  (Yes, it’s like online adult-home-schooling for the historical society! Feel young!)

Research, information gathering, preservation, and planning go on.

Thanks for your continued support!!

Below, our February 16 program.

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Upcoming—Historical Society Program February 16

Sunday, February 16, 2020, at 3 p.m.,
to meet at Post 17 American Legion Hall
(Corner West DeKalb & York St., Camden, SC)

A Camden Journalist in the Civil War
Capt. Thomas J. Warren

presented by Dr. Allen H. Stokes, Jr.

stokes_001

Featured speaker Dr. Allen H. Stokes, Jr., Director Emeritus of the South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, has been a long-time friend and member of the Kershaw County Historical Society.

His professional and personal encouragement and assistance have been invaluable for a number of the Society’s research topics.  In addition, Dr. Stokes has been a program presenter, most recently on the Cantey Papers in 2016. He also allowed the Society to publish his original manuscript Gold Rush Letters in its PRESERVE series.

The upcoming talk on Camden newspaper editor Thomas J. Warren will be based on Dr. Stokes’s extensive examination of first-hand sources related to the Confederate officer’s life and his journalistic career, including battlefield letters. Capt. Warren was killed in action in 1863 at Gettysburg.

In addition to Dr. Stokes’s talk, the Society will provide audience members information about ways locally or at home to access historical newspapers of various times, places, and points of view for personal reading or research use.

Book Signing:  A Carolina Psalter by Tony Scully

During the conversation and refreshments period at the close of the featured program, Tony Scully will sign his new book, A Carolina Psalter.

Carolina Psalter, Scully

The Society’s Feb. 16 program is open to members and other interested persons.  We hope to see you!

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Year 2020 kicks off fresh

“Continuing the legacy,” our Society work rolls forward!

Anticipate details to be posted shortly for our first meeting of the year, Sunday,  Feb. 16, at the same place we met for our last meeting, at Post 17 American Legion Hall in Camden.  Save the date!

Our annual membership enrollment is proceeding well.  We thank all previous and new members who have already responded with dues payments, and look forward to the other responses which continue to arrive.

Newly re-inventoried and lowered prices for many of our Society publications are putting remaining copies in hands of new readers and allowing faithful readers to replace old, worn copies of our books with fresher ones…or to purchase gift books for family or friends. Find our books and prices by clicking the Publications tab above.

Meanwhile enjoy views below of some of the touring and book-buying visitors at our December Book Fair at our Bonds Conway House headquarters.

 

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December 8 Holiday Special, Timeless Asset

Sunday, December 8, 1:00-5:00 p.m.
Open House Drop-In for Our Book Sales
At the Bonds Conway House
811 Fair Street, Camden, SC

presents

STOCK UP YOUR SHELVES and
FILL YOUR GIFT BAGS with
our LOCAL HISTORY BOOKS

Browse, read, tour, converse, share ideas, enjoy a cookie
Buy our books while available–stock running low on some

(Select our Publications tab on top line for most titles)

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Thank You, Kathee! Oct.20 Highlights

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At the Kershaw County Historical Society members’ business meeting October 20,  2019, held at Camden’s Post 17 American Legion Hall, president Tony Scully on behalf of the Society appreciatively thanked Kathee Stahl for 35+ years of devoted service as executive secretary. Kathee holds the engraved gift clock she received with warm response from members, who also signed a book as another keepsake. Retired August 1, Kathee continues as volunteer hostess Thursday afternoons at the Bonds Conway House to greet and assist Society members and visitors.

The Society also paid tribute to a highly respected former president, the late Col. Frank Babbitt, who died September 27. In addition, the Society expressed supportive words for board member Charles Baxley, chairman of the South Carolina American Revolution Sestercentennial Commission, and for Ginny Zemp, new director of Historic Camden.

In other business, the Society elected officers; Tony discussed cooperative historical initiatives and the Bonds Conway House; and Joan Inabinet explained the KCHS mission “Continuing the Legacy (inspiring historical record-keeping to preserve our times).” Society members filled out, or took home to fill out, a questionnaire for information and ideas to participate in the mission and program planning.

The Society held its meeting at Camden’s American Legion Hall, the prime spot for its program, “100 Years of History at Post 17.” In introducing the program, Joan credited the local American Legion as one local organization already carrying out the mission the Historical Society promotes to the community in “continuing the legacy.”

Touring the Legion’s Memorial Room exhibits, Society members saw clear evidence of ways in which the post carries on historical record-keeping.

Glen Inabinet, a past Society president and a past Legion commander, presented the program summarizing his research of the history of Camden’s James Leroy Belk Post 17, begun in 1919, when the American Legion was chartered in every state by act of the U.S. Congress for benefit of veterans of “the Great War,” now World War I.

The meeting concluded with conversation and with refreshments, courtesy of Melissa Saavedra and Betsy Greenway.

 

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