On a drive through rural S.C., on my way to Edisto Island and later Daufuskie Island, S.C., I was reminded just how rural most of S.C. remains. Though thousands of families have abandoned their old farmsteads for urban living and progressive towns; in the upcountry such as Spartanburg, Rock Hill and Greenville, or in the lowcountry for Beaufort, Hilton Head and Mount Pleasant (just to name a few), there are thousands of miles of S.C. roads with little besides pastures, trees and cultivated fields to enjoy. Our drive took us through the small S.C. town of Branchville, one of the most historic in S.C., having a rich railroad history, one rightfully proud to proclaim. If you have not visited the R&R site on Branchville, please take time to do so. It is in Orangeburg County and due to the contributions of writers and three outstanding photographers, who regularly contribute to the website, it is a great one to enjoy. Are you aware it is one of, it not, the oldest railroad junction in the world?
And are you aware that monthly, our feature writers are contributing fantastic articles for you to read on the homepage. This month, N.C. author and preservationist, Mr. Robin Lattimore has provided an article on a former plantation in Spindle, N.C. Take a minute to also read this article and learn about the new life of an old plantation home. Are you aware that preservationist and urban development activities are now working together to also showcase local history as never before. Each community has their own unique story to tell, and many S.C. towns are doing a splendid job of showcasing their heritage. The Spindle Plantation house shows how we can easily preserve local history by giving it a new purpose.
Asked recently, why we had started the R&R’s website, I told the story of wanting to preserve the sounds and smells of my grandmother’s home and kitchen. Oh, I had a grandmother who could cook the finest rice I have ever eaten and another, who thought I should eat as though I had been plowing a mule, all morning long. Their cooking styles were different, but how I cherished each. So, last week, I had an opportunity to visit with Matt Lee, yes, that Mr. Lee of the famed Lee Brothers, to show him one of R&R’s treasures, a cookbook. We met at the old Charleston Widows and Orphans House on Broad Street, where he examined the early 20th century cookbook with enthusiasm. The book is well preserved and as he explained, features cooking styles from mostly the mid to late 19th century. He suggested that some of R&R’s members might like to try cooking some of the book’s recipes and provide feedback on their taste, texture and preparation. In the meantime, we are looking for a food scholar interested in researching the cookbook, writing a manuscript on it, and collaborating with R&R.com to showcase foods and houses found in the book. My visit with Matt was both enjoyable and enlightening, we look forward to sharing and preserving S.C. foods, one recipe at a time.
And are you aware that individuals post queries to R&R’s Forum, asking for your help, with historic and genealogical data. Do visit the Forum link and see how you too can assist in providing answers to individuals who are in need of help with their research needs.
Suggested pages: R&R’s Forum (Homepage menu), Branchville’s Depot (Orangeburg Co), the Saint John’s Cookbook (Berkeley Co)
R&R NOTE: The recent donation of nearly eight hundred images of rural S.C. by West Columbia, S.C. photographer, Ann L. Helms, are a collection of outstanding images that truly capture some of S.C.’s most interesting and often overlooked stores, depots and defunct filling stations. Along with the contributions of nearly 40,000 additional images by other great S.C. photographers, R&R’s pages are constantly being enhanced. These images are reminders of just how quickly the S.C., “back roads” landscape is changing and sharing these images on the pages in R&R is a wonderful contribution and preservation of history and memories. A big thanks to Ann and all of the photographers who continue making R&R’s pages so worthwhile.