Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Fighting Loves

By Joan Inabinet
Kershaw County Historical Society Update May 2009

A short distance east off of Flat Rock Road, and about a mile and a half north of the memorial battleground of the Battle of Camden, a granite memorial marks the site of the family burying ground of “James Love of Granny’s Quarter, Revolutionary Soldier.”

Reprinted below is an excerpt of a nineteenth-century biographical sketch of James Love’s grandson, Dr. William Abram Love (later of Atlanta). The account reveals that family experiences during the Revolution in Kershaw County continued to be related for many years thereafter. The account also provides additional glimpses of local interest.

The sketch, published in Dr. Love’s lifetime, is excerpted from Memoirs of Georgia, Vol.I (“Fulton County Sketches”), published in Atlanta by the Southern Historical Association in 1895:

"DR. WILLIAM ABRAM LOVE, one of the oldest and best-known physicians in the state of Georgia, has lived in Atlanta nearly a quarter of a century. With the spirit and the blood of the old English cavaliers coursing through his veins, he has ever been a man of action and decided character, keeping the same even to his old age.

"Dr. Love, the only child of William and Sarah (Childers) Love, was born May 16, 1824, in that historic place, Camden, Kershaw district, S.C. His grandparents and his father were residents of that vicinity in colonial days and suffered much at the hands of the British and the tories during the revolutionary war.

"Indeed, though a mere boy at the time Dr. Love’s father, for the sake of freedom and his loyalty to the colonial cause for which his father fought, carried a withered arm all his after life.

"It was through the cruelty of the tories that he suffered most. The facts are: He was captured one day while riding a very fine horse, when, after being deprived of his mount, he was bound hand and foot to the back of an old, worn-out army mule. The mule was then turned loose to graze in a desolate wood, and here after three days of intense pain, the exhausted, but patriotic boy was found by his friends. Little wonder that to this day Dr. Love despises and scorns the name and memory of tory.

"Notwithstanding the suffering thus endured by the elder William Love, he grew to a noble manhood and because of his affliction was most carefully educated, after which, for the greater part of a long life he held high positions of public trust in his native state.

"By the death of his father, Feb. 17, 1825, and the second marriage of his mother, William Abram Love became the special care of his grandmother Childers. This grandmother, previous to her marriage was Miss Sarah King, a daughter of that sturdy revolutionary soldier on whose property was fought and for whose honor was named that fateful and famous encounter known in history as the battle of King’s mountain. The daughter of this soldier inherited the stern and sturdy characteristics of her revolutionary father, with all his vigilance and high sense of honor and justice.
So the life of her young charge was closely guarded, but the thrilling accounts of his adventures in childhood, which he often relates to his children and grandchildren stamp him as a character of strong individuality, even in early youth.

"In his boyhood Dr. Love attended the schools of Camden and afterward Russell Place academy, but at a very early age he chose his life’s work and when twelve years old, with a view to the study of medicine, he entered the [Camden] drug store of Dr. George Reynolds, continuing his other studies under private tutors. Later, as a regular medical student, he was for four years under the preceptorship of Drs. E.H. Anderson, senior and junior, then of Camden, S.C., the latter now in Kirkwood, Miss.

"In 1844 Dr. Love entered the medical department of the university of Pennsylvania…July, 1846, he came to Georgia...In 1871 he was elected to the chair of physiology in the Atlanta Medical college…He is now (1894) senior professor and president of the faculty…."

Dr. Love’s obituary in the Atlanta Journal Jan. 22, 1898, also includes reference to his family background in the Revolution:

"DR. WM. ABRAM LOVE, 74, prominent physician of state and leading writer of nation on Masonry, died at home, 237 Whitehall St. Atlanta, Jan. 22…Dr. Love was born in Camden, S.C., of Wm. Love, and wife Sarah born of Abraham Childers, Lancaster Co. [Note: Before formation of Kershaw County, the area was part of Lancaster County.] Wm. entered the Revolution while a mere boy, and suffered great cruelties at hands of Tory captors. While Wm. A. was employed in local drugstore, he read medicine under Dr. E.H. Anderson and in 1846 took M.D. at University of Pennsylvania….”

Clearly, the events of the Revolution were held of great importance to be retold in succeeding generations. A number of local families are kin to or descend from the “fighting Loves” or other area patriots. Readers with information about other Kershaw County area patriots are invited to share with us!

Rural Community Identifier—the Post Office

by Harvey S. Teal
Kershaw County Historical Society Update May 2009

In my youth during the Depression, World War II, and later, members of my family made occasional visits to the Cassatt Post Office to mail a letter or buy stamps. As a general rule, however, we relied on Mr. Rozier for stamps and other mail needs.

He was our R.F.D. carrier who delivered mail to or picked up mail at our mail box on his R.R.D. route. The Cassatt Post Office also had a few P.O. boxes rented primarily by a few individuals in the village.

When I first remember the Cassatt Post Office in the early 1930s, it sat adjacent to the present post office on ground now occupied by the raconteur and owner of the Hard Times Café, H.C. Robinson.

The present Cassatt Post Office building was constructed in the early 1960s by Joe Cooper, the Cassatt railroad depot agent for many years. The service window, the post office boxes, and the oak woodwork framing them were removed from the old post office and installed into the new post office.

On a recent trip to the Hard Times Café for lunch, I was photographed inside the front lobby of the post office. It looks much like it did 60-70 years ago.

After the present post office building was completed and occupied, Joe Cooper removed the old post office building to a spot about three miles up the Providence Church Road to Robinson Town. He located the building on a pond he had constructed and added a porch on its front overlooking the pond.

The pond and building changed hands some years ago. When I visited the site recently, the pond had partially died up and the old post office building sat empty and deserted. The photograph below showed its condition on that visit.

I reflected on my visit that it was in this building that my brother, J.R. Teal, arranged his mail for delivery on this R.F.D. route out of Cassatt. It was also to this building that my letters from Italy in 1946-47 to my future wife were delivered, and letters from her to me were sent. Likewise thousands of other letters to and from all of us at Cassatt to loved ones during World War II came through this building.

This building had the word “Cassatt” emblazoned on its front, a word that gave our community its name, identity, and distinction. The present Cassatt Post Office continues to be the identifier of our community, our “home place.”

Thirty-four small post offices were created and operated between the Civil War and World War I (1865-1917) to serve the rural, sparsely populated areas of the county. All but five of the post offices have now been closed due to population shifts and transportation and technology advances.Of these remaining five post offices, Bethune and Elgin (formerly Blaney) now serve incorporated towns. Lugoff, not a town, serves an area not now sparsely populated.

Of those 34 post offices originally created and the five remaining, only Cassatt and Westville continue to serve rural and sparsely populated county areas.

Work of the Kershaw County Historical Society

By Fred Ogburn
Kershaw County Historical Society Update October 2009

Since it was established in 1954 by local history buffs, the Kershaw County Historical Society (KCHS) has promoted the preservation and transmission of county history by publishing books and pamphlets, conducting educational programs, identifying historic sites and buildings, and holding conservation easements on historical properties.


The society has published 33 books and pamphlets, including early 19th century census reports and local cemetery surveys, considered to be invaluable for genealogical research. The classic two-volume Historic Camden by Kirkland and Kennedy, which details the history of Camden from colonial times to the late-19th century "Grand Hotel" era, has been maintained in print.

More recent publications include full-color coffee table books Camden Homes and Heritage and The Decorative Arts of Camden and Kershaw County, SC, both written by the late Ethel Wylly Sweet, as well as shorter pamphlets on a wide variety of county historical subjects.

The University of South Carolina Press will publish an in-depth history of Kershaw County, the first book to encompass the full-length history of the entire county.

As KCHS president Peggy Ogburn said, "The history of Camden has been thoroughly documented, and rightly so, but we felt there was a need for a new publication that would also cover the smaller towns and rural parts of our county. We are thrilled that our long-awaited book project will soon become a reality."

The book is expected to be in print in late 2010. Authors Joan and Glen Inabinet of Camden are retired Kershaw County school teachers, professional historians, and past presidents of the Society.


KCHS members receive Update, a quarterly newsletter with articles on local history, written by Society members.

The newsletter also provides information concerning upcoming educational programs and events. The Society recently completed a very successful 2008-09 program year, with program attendance and participation at record levels.

From October 2008 to May 2009 the KCHS presented five programs for members and the general public:

· A foray into county cultural history with a celebration of the life and art of Kershaw County native Jak Smyrl. · A guided driving tour of historic sites in the Boykin community (Part 1).
· A presentation on the old Wateree Canal, a 19th-century public works project on the west bank of the Wateree River, held at the historic Ebenezer Methodist Church in Lugoff.
· A second guided driving tour of historic sites in the Boykin community (Part 2).
· A history of Mather Academy and its mission to educate African-American children, featuring comments from alumni, including U.S. Congress-man and Democratic Majority Whip Jim Clyburn.
The Boykin tours and the Wateree Canal program held at the Ebenezer Church in Lugoff followed on the heels of KCHS events held in Bethune and in Elgin during the 2007-08 program year.

This reflects the Society’s renewed commitment to expanding its reach and focus beyond Camden to encompass the people and history of the entire county.

Ogburn commented, "Just as the Inabinets’ new book will focus on the history of the entire county, and not just Camden, we are committed to a similar countywide program focus as well. Camden’s historical significance will continue to be a major emphasis, but our small towns and rural areas have rich histories of their own, and we will make every effort to be a county historical society, just as our name suggests."


The Society has in recent years installed historical markers related to the Battle of Hobkirk’s Hill, which took place in Camden during the American Revolution. They are responsible for the markers for the self-guided driving tour of Camden’s antebellum homes.

The KCHS is currently working to have historical markers erected to commemorate several of the county’s lesser-known historic sites, including Cary’s Fort, Tiller’s Ferry, and Clermont (Rugeley’s Fort).


A recent focus for the KCHS, and one which should become even more important in years to come, is their effort to secure easements to protect significant historic properties from subdivision and development. The Society currently holds two preservation easements, one for Horsebranch Hall on Kirkwood Lane in Camden (Bragg and Kathy Comer, owners), and the other for Holly Hedge on Greene Street in Camden (Ben and Pam Schreiner, owners). Under the terms of the easements, the property cannot be subdivided for development, and this agreement is binding on future owners of those properties.

Ogburn stated in regard to the easements, "These agreements appeal to property owners who recognize the enduring historical significance of those properties. They consider the ownership of such a property to be a public trust, and want to protect them from development by future owners. Perspective buyers would be made aware that an easement exists and that the property is protected from further subdivision, so everything is out in the open and clearly understood by all parties before such a sale takes place."


The society is especially proud of the restoration and preservation of a very unique building, the Bonds Conway House, which serves as the society’s headquarters and also as a small museum. This charming cottage was built around 1812 by Bonds Conway, believed to be the first black man on record to have purchased his freedom in Kershaw County. (It is believed that he lived in this house; at his death it was left to one of his children.)

Originally located on York Street, the Bonds Conway House had been condemned and slated for destruction when it was purchased and moved by the society in 1977. Now located at 811 Fair St., behind the Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County, many of the original architectural details have been preserved, including original floors and framing. Two years ago the Camden Historic Landmarks Commission honored the Kershaw County Historical Society with an award for "Sustained Integrity and Authenticity of a Historic Building."


The Kershaw County Historical Society welcomes new members, with various membership levels ranging from Student to Life Memberships.

For information concerning membership, visits to the Society’s office in the Bonds Conway house, or purchasing society publications, you may find more information online, or email us, or write, or phone and leave a message! Our website is www.kershawcountyhistoricalsociety.org

Fred Ogburn’s article recently appeared in the "In Your Backyard" supplement of the Camden Chronicle-Independent.