Family Haunts

Road to the Home Place

I have always enjoyed looking at the photos of Scott West (South Carolina’s Northern Kingdom). Scott and I seem to cover some of the same territory in Laurens County, and I’ve always admired his gutsy trespassing to get great shots of the interiors of old abandoned houses and interesting places.

Recently, Scott posted a couple of pictures of the old Poole Homestead in the Long Branch Community of Laurens County. I immediately recognized the place as being in one of the old photos my Dad has. After a couple of message exchanges it turns out that we do have some distant family connections (don’t ALL Southerners?) and that some of his family had attended Long Branch Pentecostal Holiness, where my father had pastored years ago.

That brings us to this Tuesday. My mother had taken a trip to visit her sisters in North Carolina, so my Dad was on his own for the week. Since I was on spring break, I decided to head down and hang out with him, and see if I could find this photo of the Poole Homestead. I did find it, and we decided to take a tour of some of the old family haunts throughout Newberry and Laurens Counties.

Continue reading “Family Haunts”

Holiday Update

It’s hard to believe that it’s already Christmas Eve. The year has been a busy one, and it seems like it has flown past. So this Christmas Eve we find ourselves doing some last-minute wrapping, tracking Santa on NORAD, and watching Ghost Hunters and the Dragnet Christmas Story on So a quick update that … Continue reading Holiday Update

Taylor Family Singing

Since I was hanging close to home over the Thanksgiving holidays I had some time to work on some overdue projects. One of these projects was to process some of the audio from my mother’s 80th birthday party. We sat around and sang hymns and even did our a capella rendition of Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus. … Continue reading Taylor Family Singing

A Question of Ancestry

Over the weekend I signed up for a free two-week trial of I guess I fell prey to their recent marketing campaign, which shows users discovering new things about their families as “leaves” appear on their family tree. I had already amassed quite a bit of data on our family, so I was curious to see if I could add to my list.

It has been several years since I’ve done any serious research on our family’s history. Even then I’ve been more of a collector than actual researcher, depending upon the prior research of several cousins and some nice folks that I’ve met online, such as Dan Ellenburg in Pittsburg, with his excellent website on the Ellenberg family. By using several sources I’ve found some conflicting data, and have had to do some verification before merging various data sets. I figured that would also be the case with, and I was certainly right. Continue reading “A Question of Ancestry”

A Green Cadillac Hearse and Mistaken Identity

While on our journey to the promised land, Glynda and Houston and I reminisced about another [mis]adventure from over a decade ago. Since this was pre-RandomConnections, the episode was never properly documented. So here, for the first time, is the tale of “The Green Cadillac Hearse and the Case of Mistaken Identity”…

The year was 1997 and I was still a teacher. This was in the pre-digital days, and I was using a Canon Xapshot video still camera from my classroom. This particular camera recorded still images onto an analog disk similar to a floppy disk. It was one of the first cameras that could record images that could be erased later. The images were transferred to computer via an image capture card, which could also do video stills from a camcorder.

Houston had come up to visit and we were on one of our photo rambles, this time staying fairly close to home. My intent was to capture some interesting textures as backgrounds for some classroom web projects we had underway. While I did get some good textures from that trip, the other things I captured would never make it into the classroom. Continue reading “A Green Cadillac Hearse and Mistaken Identity”

Bound for the Promised Land

What more could you want?

On Jordan’s stormy banks I stand and cast a wishful eye
to Caanan’s fair and happy land where my possessions lie.

I am bound for the promised land, I’m bound for the promised land.
Oh, who will come and go with me, I am bound for the promised land.

The trip was going to be a ghost-hunting expedition for Eric Rogers and me. Eric and I had finally met offline, and were planning a joint expedition to the haunted Rock House just south of Greenwood. Since we would be down in that area, we had also plotted out some other interesting locations. I had flagged one little town, Promised Land, SC, with the comment, “With a name like that, how could we NOT go there?”

Eric was not able to make the trip, but my brother Houston and sister Glynda were able to go. Houston took on the role of Aaron, the spokesperson, with Glynda as Miriam, and me as Moses, leading and documenting our trip. So early Sunday morning we found a suitable radio evangelist and headed for the Promised Land. We hoped we would make it all the way, further than our biblical counterparts. Continue reading “Bound for the Promised Land”

Dedications and Birthdays

It’s been a busy weekend. First there was the dedication for the new Townes Science Center at Furman on Friday, then there was a birthday party for my mother’s 80th birthday on Saturday. The Townes Science Center is named for Charles Hard Townes, Nobel Prize winner for his pioneering work on maser and laser technology. … Continue reading Dedications and Birthdays


There are few foods that evoke such intense memories – the warm days of early autumn, climbing under the vines to find the ripe fruit, feeling as much as tasting the sweet juice and ripe pulp. My Grandmother Ellenberg had huge scuppernong vines growing on her farm. I can just barely remember them, but I … Continue reading Scuppernongs