I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of a man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor. (Henry David Thoreau in Walden)
The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. (Albert Einstein)
Historic District project update
Date: April 21, 2011.
During the past few weeks, we have been vigorously working on the National Historic District in Pelzer, SC. As part of this work, we have produced a new working map of the proposed National Historic district. Here is a copy of that working district map - click the image for a larger view.
Date: January 26, 2010.
THE LOST COLONY AND HISTORIC PELZER,SC?
Late in the afternoon of August 15, 1591, two small ships sailed into the bay at Hatorask (Hatteras)and dropped anchor some three leagues from the shore. As twilight fell one of the voyagers paced the deck restlessly from stern to stern. The voyager was John White, Governor of Sir Walter Raleigh's Roanoke colony, who was finally returning to the little band of English settlers, among them his own daughter, whom he had left nearly four years before to return to England for supplies. Upon first coming to anchor in the place where the Colony were left in 1587, John and the others saw .."..a great smoke..". This had them in high hopes that all was well and that the colonists were in John's words.."...there expecting my return out of England." John found no sign of the colonists at the site. An agreement had been established between John's group and the colonists in which in the event that the colonists were to run into any trouble, they would .."carve over the letters or name a Cross in this form (a Maltese cross with arms of equal length..) There were no such signs of distress. After exploring at least two signs of smoke, which led to no positive result, John White and his group closely observed at the site "...in all this way we saw in the sand the print of the Savages' feet of 2 or 3 sorts...and as we entered up the sandy bank, upon a tree, in the very brow thereof, were curiously carved these fair Roman letters CRO: which letters presently we knew to signify the place where I should find the planters seated, according to a secret token agreed upon between them and me at my last departure from them; which was, that in any ways they should not fail to write or carve on the trees or posts of the doors the name of the place where they should be seated; for at my coming away they were prepared to remove from Roanoak 50 miles into the main." White was disturbed to find that the houses had been taken down and in their place built a "..high palisade much like a fort...". After closer inspection, White found "..one of the chief trees or posts at the right side of the entrance had the bark taken off, and five foot from the ground in fair Capital letters was graven CROATOAN without any cross or sign of distress.." There were a few items found and the area was nearly overgrown with grass and weeds. John White and his men ended up sailing back to England and any other search was abandoned. Thus, the Roanoke Colony became the famous "Lost Colony" in American history. It should be remembered that this colony included the first child born of English parents in the new world, Virginia Dare, daughter of Eleanor, herself the daughter of John White, and Ananias Dare.
One day, in 1937, a tourist found a stone with what appeared to be Elizabethan English words on the banks of the Chowan River near Edenton, North Carolina. Eventually this stone found its way to the desk of a professor at Emory University, by the name of Haywood J. Pearce Jr., an authority on fourteenth to seventeenth century English writing. He aroused the interest of his father, Dr. H J Pearce Sr. , then President of Brenau College in Gainesville, GA. Then, in 1939, a "Bill" Eberhart, of Fulton County, GA was traveling by automobile through the upcountry of South Carolina. He pulled over to take a nap in his car and realized that he had a flat tire. He used a stone that he picked up in a clay ravine to help raise his car from the ground. He noticed the stone had writing on it. He was curious and went back to the ravine and found twelve more similar stones. The site of Eberhart's discovery was a hillside on the Greenville County side of the Saluda River some twelve miles below Greenville just outside the town of Pelzer on Hwy 20. The story told from these stones is indeed amazing as it tells of a 350 mile trek begun by one hundred and seventeen settlers of the Roanoke Colony to the southwest through North Carolina into South Carolina. By the time they arrived near the hillside by the Saluda River, their number had diminished to twenty four. At this place, the band was attacked by savages, resulting in seventeen additional persons killed, including Ananias and Virginia Dare. The seventeen were then buried on that hillside.
After discovery of the "Pelzer stones", the Drs. Pearce believed that the Edenton stone was originally inscribed on the hill in Pelzer and then sent by an Indian runner to be placed on Roanoke Island for the purpose of informing John White or others of what had become of the colony. They thought that perhaps the Indian runner had either died or was killed near Edenton, hence, the stone found in that particular location. The hill property is said to have been sold to the Pearce gentlemen and that after a search of the ravine they concluded that the stones had probably not been originally placed there by the colonists, but simply thrown there by workmen later clearing the fields. On October 21, 1940, the two Drs. Pearce invited a select committee to discuss the "Pelzer stones" or "Dare stones". They chose Samuel Eliot Morrison, then of Harvard and President of the American Antiquarian Society to head the committee. After much discussion, they concluded that..."The preponderance of evidence points to the authenticity of the stones commonly known as the Dare stones."
It is said that WWII precluded further study of the stones and that Dr. Pearce Sr. died in 1943. Additionally, his heirs sold the Pelzer hill to P. M. McClane for $700. Although no conclusive statement can be made about the stones, is it possible that the blue-eyed Lumbee Indians of the Laurinburg area of North Carolina, and the bearded Keyauwee Indians who lived near the Chattahoochee River, could have acquired these characteristics from intermarriage with remnants of the Roanoke Colony?
Memories of Pelzer
Supreme Results: Historic Pelzer meets Historic Columbia
Date: July 18, 2009.
On July 18 we had the pleasure of a tour hosted by Mr. Robert Busbee and Dr. Fritz Hamer in the historic Columbia Mills building, better known today as the South Carolina state museum. Over a period of three hours and more we learned of how the museum had developed, increased our knowledge of South Carolina history, and most importantly recognized the extraordinary history of electricity that binds historic Pelzer with historic Columbia. Mr. Busbee provided designs of the building on paper to help cultivate our further understanding, and Fritz delivered interpretations regarding their various exhibits. We were able to capture some photographs and have them posted below for your enjoyment.
Newry Folk Festival
Date: June 13, 2009.
Oscar Wilde once said,
Memory is the diary that we all carry about with us. These words hold great meaning as we record our memories of participating in the Newry Folk Festival this past Saturday, June 13. We arrived that morning in historic Newry to honor the historic connection, of William Ashmead Courtenay, between Pelzer and Newry, South Carolina. Our location, at the top of a hill, and arranged earlier with festival organizer Debbie Van Beek, offered us an extraordinary view of both the festival and the historic Newry mill. We exhibited artist Judy Young's wood work views of Pelzer's historic buildings and handed our flyers out to festival participants. One of our favorite memories included an outstanding performance by Dr. Moore and his textile band. We took these photographs below to share our experience with friends here in America and our friends of Ireland. We invite you to explore our captured photographs in the slideshow below.
This Place Matters: Pelzer Mills
Date: May 1, 2009.
To celebrate National Preservation Month 2009, we took steps to promote the preservation of our local historic sites through The National Trust For Historic Preservation's This Place Matters Campaign. You can see our photo in their Flickr Group, see our writeup on their Google Map, and join with us in celebrating our heritage this month.
Second Presbyterian Church of Charleston, SC: First Historic Tour
Date: St. Patricks Day, March 17, 2007.
We toured the Second Presbyterian Church of Charleston, SC for the first time on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 2007. We've linked in a photo gallery of that tour. Pat Mellen was kind enough to tell us more about the amazing history of the church and more about the history of Rev. Thomas Smyth, who was father of Captain Smyth.
ATHM Hall of Fame Nomination
The Community of Pelzer Historical Society has been seeking the induction of a founder of Pelzer, Captain Ellison Adger Smyth, into the American Textile History Museum Hall of Fame for several months. The ATHM museum is located in Lowell, Massachusetts. The latest news in this regard is that the nominating committee has great interest in our proposal and should be considering Captain Smyth's induction this spring/summer of 2009. Please check back in periodically as we keep you updated on this monumental development in southern and American history.
Pelzer National Historic District Proposed
Several months ago we initiated the founding of a national historic district for the Pelzer, South Carolina area in collaboration with the South Carolina Department of Archives and History. This project, considered to be one of the largest of its kind in the state of South Carolina, includes an estimated 600 historic buildings, objects, sites, and structures within the proposed boundaries. This tangible history is a statement in itself of the amazing account of our nation's industrial development. Please contact us if you may have information or resources to help our efforts in documenting this historic treasure of our state and nation. We should have updates posted here periodically. Please check back in with us!
PROPOSED STREET BOUNDARIES:
- Courtney (Courtenay)
- Highway 20
- Kayla Cir
- Old River
- Pelzer Park
- Wesleyan Dr.