Laurens County Photo Trek

I had Monday off as part of the 4th of July weekend. My brother, Houston, and my sister, Glynda, also had the day available, so we decided to go on another photo exploration. This time our target was our old stomping grounds around Laurens, South Carolina.

Houston had some specific locations he wanted to see if we could find. Most of these were in the old Long Branch area, but we knew we would get sidetracked in route. I picked up Glynda and Houston at the family home in Gray Court. Armed with GPS, maps, and more cameras than we had passengers, we set out.

We actually didn’t get very far. At the south end of Gray Court is the historic farm area that the Gray Court-Owings Historical Society has put together. Glynda and Houston weren’t aware of this place, so we spent a good bit of time looking at the old cabins and farm implements and taking pictures of these.

Continue reading “Laurens County Photo Trek”

Return to Long Branch

Long Branch Pentecostal Holiness Church

Long Branch Pentecostal Holiness Church…

The name is long in our family lore. The church was established by my grandfather in 1911, as were many of the Pentecostal Holiness churches of this area. My father pastored the church for most of the 1960’s, and it is here that I have my earliest memories of church.

The church was small, and our large family made up a sizable bit of the congregation. My father preached and led the singing, and my mother played the piano after Mrs. Annabelle Brown left that position. It was just a tiny, unique country church, but its effect on us was indelible. The place is etched in our memories, and the myths and legends of Long Branch have grown over time, and have been embellished through retelling. So, today, nearly forty years since I last set foot in the church, I decided to see how close those myths were to today’s reality. Continue reading “Return to Long Branch”

LDHS Class of 1979 Reunion

LDHS Class of 1979 Reunion

This past weekend Laura and I attended the 30th reunion of my high school graduating class. It was the first time that I had seen many of these folks since we had graduated. It was great re-connecting with these folks.

About 100 people attended the event – that number including both alumni and spouses. You could pick out the non-alumni spouses very easily. They were usually the ones sitting in a corner off to a side, while the rest of us laughed and caught up. Continue reading “LDHS Class of 1979 Reunion”

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.

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Exploring Laurens County

Laurens County Courthouse

It’s Spring Break this week, and the weather stinks out loud. Monday and Tuesday were cloudy and wet, so I spent the first part of the week on home maintenance, specifically, oiling our unfinished knotty pine paneling with linseed oil. It was a smelly job, so by Wednesday I really needed to get out of the house. Wednesday was also the only day this week predicted to have good weather, so it was now or never.

As with most of my photo drives, I only had a rough idea of where I wanted to go. I knew that I wanted to check out the Gray Court-Owings Historical Society’s new display area, and I wanted to visit some sites for genealogy purposes, but apart from that anything was open. Originally, I had planned to load my mountain bike in my truck and check out the Enoree Passage of the Palmetto Trail. However, with the weather not cooperating, I abandoned that idea. Continue reading “Exploring Laurens County”

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