As the rocking chair historians in Central, SC have told it, Billy's mother was known to sleep in graveyards, shielded from the wind by a tall headstone. And from here, she herself one night departed. Left behind were the infant Billy and his older brother. Adeline Weems heard the baby crying amongst the gravestones and reportedly rescued, then raised both children.
Billy was obviously no ordinary person. In fact, he soon decided that he was a horse.
As he grew up he began to earn his meals with his wheels...a wagon that he used to carry freight parcels, passengers and their luggage to and from the train depot. Billy was a loved and respected part of the community of Central and still is today.
The first year of the twentieth century ushered in a brand new luxurious hotel in Aiken. Known as a resort for the elite, Aiken was the perfect setting for the Park in the Pines. It had 300 rooms and was nestled within pine trees, which were thought to offer respite for respiratory health problems. The grandeur was shortlived, with the Park in the Pines burning to the ground on February 2, 1913. Here's an excerpt from a New York Times article chronicling the event:
"Winter residents from New York and other cities were compelled to flee for their lives, leaving jewelry and other belongings behind, when the Park-in-the-Pines Hotel burned here to-day. Low water pressure troubled the firemen and only the wing containing the dining room was saved." -New York Times, February 3, 1913
When it began in the late 1930s, the Santee-Cooper Power and Navigation Project was the biggest land-clearing project in U.S. history. The purpose was to improve navigation on the Santee and Cooper Rivers and to provide hydroelectric power. Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion were created during the process, which also meant that families had to be moved and around 6000 graves were dug up and subsequently re-buried at higher ground, while many were lost to the waters. This photo and a series of others were taken by Jack Delano in 1941 for the United States Farm Security Administration.
My grandmother, Annie Elizabeth Rentz Clayton, lived next door to us. In the country, that means "down the dirt road a piece" and I visited her often as a child. Since I was a girl in the 1950's, I was expected to learn to cook and clean, which I was NOT interested in at all. I was given to Grandmama on Saturdays to help her cook the big Sunday meal so I could learn to cook. Sunday Dinner in those days was the most important meal all week. I was to arrive early in the morning and stay all day.