Laurens County, as is most of S.C., is full of great architecture, history and heritage worthy of preservation. Several individuals in that region have spearheaded these efforts for decades, and saved invaluable resources, being freely shared with Roots and Recall. Long-term, Historian and Curator of Collections at the Laurens Library, Ms. Elaine Martin, graciously opened her personal collections for sharing but also introduced Roots and Recall to numerous like minded individuals. Tremendous materials have been offered to the website by those in Laurens County and we are proud the website’s use in the area has been strong. But it is the Armstrong Collection of store
ledgers and other historic materials, that have been so significant, in linking data across paths and people. Two of the store ledgers have been digitized thus far, and names from each, alphabetically listed for ease of researcher is on display. Between the two ledgers, more than four-hundred families now know where their ancestors shopped and perhaps even what they purchased. DNA history and research is the hot button but for me, knowing that we have preserved these names and linked them to a specific place in time, is far more interesting than proving that a percentage of my ancestry were Frenchmen.
One group of Laurens County ledgers and day books, belonged to the Kellett Family of Babbtown and the area in and around Dial Township. Not only has R&R extracted these names, a process that has taken months, they are now linkable to the Laurens County Township Maps of 1883. Remarkably this map group lists hundreds of families living across the county and pinpoints their homeplace locations in ca. 1883, a period cronicalling that of the ledgers. Using the maps and the Kellett’s Store ledgers (ca. 1880s), many individuals will be able to piece together their ancestors homeplace, shopping experience, and where they even received their mail. R&R can’t link all the names to each specific house location listed on the maps but we have provided the tools for members to enjoy doing so on their own.
Besides old store ledgers, a valuable collection of papers from Lancaster County have also been digitized by R&R.com for the first time. The Faulkner Collection of some 350+ documents had not seen the light of day for perhaps decades. This collection tells the economic and social workings of one farm family and their interaction with cotton brokers, store owners, insurance agents, and relatives over several decades in the antebellum period. What a treasure these documents provide in our better understanding of local history.
And if these collections were not enough, R&R.com has also received a copy of the Fishing Creek Canal Toll Book from the 1830s. The original remains in private hands but R&R’s digital copy has provided significant insight into river traffic up and down the Catawba River. Coupled with the Kelly Barge Papers, covering river traffic along the Broad River from 1817-1860, these two collections raise innumerable questions about just how canals worked, what was being shipped downstream and just who were these bargeman or as the ledger refers to them as Patroons. These collections are fantastic assets but raise far more questions than provide answers. Do you know of anyone in your family’s history who operated a barge on one of S.C.’s rivers? Do you have documents pertaining to river traffic? If so, please contact R&R so we may examine them to get a better picture of river traffic. Case in point, the Bolling Store Ledgers of 1844, Laurens Co., S.C., states that several individuals paid their accounts in full by “hauling up and down”, were these individuals hauling items from Columbia, Newberry, Augusta, or elsewhere? We need your help in answering many of these important questions.
Take a minute and enjoy looking at several of these sites. In Laurens County visit: the Kellett Store and Bolling Store papers. And in Lancaster County access the Faulkner Papers for an array of interesting documents that cover four counties. By linking to these pages through R&R’s search function you can then access numerous allied sites by clicking on the Thread Links.
R&R NOTE: Due to pressing family issues, From the Porch has not been regularly posted. We deeply regret that for many of you, this has been a disruption, to your weekly schedule. Over the foreseeable future, the blog posts will remain disjointed but we know that you understand and can appreciate that family comes first! Thank you for your understanding and patience.
Wade B. Fairey, R&R.com – Manager