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”

PNW Southern Connections – Part 1, The Lost Cause

Skagit Valley Foggy Sunrise-004

The “small world syndrome” always catches me off-guard. At the Bellingham Folk Festival I met musicians that live in Asheville and frequently play in Greenville. Even just meeting someone who has visited South Carolina, much less my home town, makes me feel a connection. As I’ve found out, though, the Southern connections with the Pacific Northwest are even deeper than I had thought. Continue reading “PNW Southern Connections – Part 1, The Lost Cause”

The Tale of a Map

1822 Carey and Lea Map of South Carolina

I recently acquired a map from my Aunt Grace’s estate. While she was in Paris she found an old map of South Carolina in an antique store. The map had lots of interesting information, including the slave population for each county. The information and history intrigued her, and since it was from her home state, she bought it. Aunt Grace knew that I was a map geek and was especially interested in the history of the state. Before she died she expressed her desire that I get the map. I won’t go into the long and sordid details of how it did eventually end up in my possession, but rather delve into the history of the map itself and the cartographers that created this work of art. Continue reading “The Tale of a Map”