R&R Note: The monthly feature articles are a vital means of sharing the in-depth research and scholarly work being conducted by numerous individuals from across all of S.C. Nick’s attached article, provided as a PDF link, is a fantastic reminder of just how important and influential contractors were to the fabric of a community. R&R’s website is full of stories dealing with individual contractors who most often built far more than one structure, can you too link builders across your own community and help preserve their stories? Enjoy reading the Bearden’s story, one of hundreds yet to be documented across S.C.
I grew up and live in Oakway, S.C. Sometimes we joke as to why it was not named “Beardenville.” When I began to research and write this article, I had only a slight idea of the influence that the Bearden family had in construction, not only in Oakway, but in the Upstate of South Carolina. I heard stories growing up of certain buildings that were built by the Bearden Family of Oakway, but as I started to ask questions recently, I realized how much I really did not know!
It is told that one of the first, if not the first, settlers of what is now Oakway, S.C. was William “Bucky” Bearden (1810 – 1882), a Confederate gunsmith. Legend has it that his large expanse of land in Oakway, or “Nubbin Ridge” as it was also called, was obtained by trading a gun for land. There is one small house still standing that is associated with this Mr. Bearden. One of the oldest structures still in Oakway is this small home with stairs accessed from the porch and rafters that are pegged together…. Access the full article here: Bearden Family Builders
The feature writer, Mr. Nick Gambrell was born, raised and still resides in Oakway, SC. He earned a degree in History at Appalachian State University followed by a Masters in History at Clemson University. Nick worked with the Oconee Heritage Center from 2001 through 2009 when he left to do Mission Work for 4 years. After traveling the world, he returned home, got married, began his own Architectural Salvage business and now works solely for the Foothills Farmstead in Oakway. During all of this, Nick has taught history at many of the Colleges and Universities in the Upstate including Greenville Technical College, Southern Wesleyan University, Erskine College and Tri-County Technical College. Nick and his wife, Bentley, welcomed their first child last year, a daughter named London. She is named for Nick’s Grandmother, a British WWII war bride.
Interested in becoming a contributing author, contact R&R at firstname.lastname@example.org / Feature Article March, 2018