Kayaking to Vienna

Early settlers seemed to have a fascination with reusing old names. The US is full of place names with the word “New” appended. In some places they didn’t even bother with the “New.” This longing for a hint of European homeland was the case with several of the ghost towns along the Savannah River – Hamburg, South Hampton Lisbon, Petersburg, New Bordeaux, and Vienna. On this unseasonably warm February day I decided to paddle out and see if I could find any remnants of the tri-city area of Lisbon, Petersburg, and Vienna, now located under Strom Thurmond Lake. Continue reading Kayaking to Vienna

A Hidden Cemetery on Pleasantburg Drive

On North Pleasantburg Drive near Worley Road there once was a local dive called the Radio Room. It was either a din of iniquity or a cool place to hear up and coming bands, depending on with whom you spoke. The Radio Room has relocated into more respectable digs in the Auld Hardware building on Poinsett Drive and the old building has been demolished, revealing a once-hidden cemetery. Of course I had to explore it. In the process I found a collection of fascinating people that had been part of the Turpin/Raines Family that were early settlers of Greenville. Continue reading A Hidden Cemetery on Pleasantburg Drive

Renno Revisited

When you’ve lived in an area as long as I have you can’t help but find yourself exploring places that you’ve been previously. Expect the term “Revisited” to start popping up more frequently in blog post titles. This was the case for a recent photo trek with fellow explorer Mark Elbrecht as we wandered over lower Laurens County. We both wanted to see what was left, if anything, of the old ghost town of Renno. Continue reading Renno Revisited

Nineteen Miles on the Savanah River

It was another Second Saturday and time for a paddling trip with my friends from Lowcountry Unfiltered. For our September trip we had planned to do the western portion of Okefenokee Swamp, but we decided to put that on hold. I had told Matt that after our epic Morris Island excursion I wanted something with current, preferably going on the direction we were paddling. We got that…sort of…by paddling a section of the Savannah River below Augusta. However, any helpful current was offset by the length of the trip, a new record for Lowcountry Unfiltered. Continue reading Nineteen Miles on the Savanah River

Searching for the Mountain Lily – Part 1, History

mountain lily2

While browsing through the mountain of posts on Reddit I came across a link on the Asheville Subreddit about the “Mountain Lily”, a river boat that once plied the French Broad River between Brevard and Asheville in the 1880s. This was the first time I’d heard of the boat and I wanted to know more about it. That brief post launched me into my first RandomConnections obsessive trek since I got back from Washington. That obsession would involve research, a photo trek, and a river paddling trip. First though, some background about the ill-fated riverboat billed as the “Highest Steamboat in America.” Continue reading “Searching for the Mountain Lily – Part 1, History”

Family Scoundrels and Overcomers

Burdick Printing

When you start digging into family history you’re bound to uncover some scoundrels. In my own family I’ve got Samuel Campbell Clegg, who was hanged as a British spy at Star Fort during the Revolutionary War. Then there are the two uncles that spent time in prison, one of whom I visited when he was incarcerated. Of one branch of our family a fellow genealogy researcher said, “They weren’t nuthin’ but horse thieves and ne’er-do-wells.”

Here in Washington we’ve uncovered at least one potential scoundrel in Laura’s family. While his story is interesting, I think the real story is that of his daughter, Vinnie Alethia Reed Burdick, Laura’s great-grandmother, and her ability to overcome what could have been a disastrous family situation. Continue reading “Family Scoundrels and Overcomers”

PNW Southern Connections – Part 2, Tar Heel Land

Jump Off Rock-003

There used to be a BBQ place near my office in Duncan, South Carolina that we would frequent for lunch. There were lots of exposed timbers and it had a logging/lumberjack theme. Old photographs hung on the walls of men with saws felling giant trees. On close inspection, I could see that all of these were labeled “Skagit Valley Lumber.” It caught me off guard…but it really shouldn’t have. There has long been a connection between Appalachia and the river valleys of Washington, much of it based on the timber industry. Continue reading “PNW Southern Connections – Part 2, Tar Heel Land”