Thursday, July 24, 2008

Trip to Abbeville, SC

On Tuesday, July 22, I took a day off of work and spent the day in Abbeville, SC, the home of our ancestors in the late 1700s and early 1800s. It was in communities around Abbeville that our Wakefield ancestors met, among others, the Shirley, Clinskcales, and Kay families.

I spent the night at the Hearthside Manor Bed and Breakfast in Abbeville and then early in the morning I visited a few of the cemeteries in the area looking for some of our ancestors. I visited the cemetery in Due West, Little River Church's cemetery, Keowee Church's cemetery, and, after nearly an hour of searching the Shirley family cemetery.

With temperatures approaching 100 degrees, I made my way through historic downtown Abbeville to do research at the Abbeville Library. The library had a fair number of books and maps on the counties history and several that contained significant family history items. I made copies of various maps that showed home owners in the Abbeville area from the late 1700s to the late 1800s. After 4 hours of reviewing nearly all of the genealogical material at the library and making copies of the relevant material I made my way to Antreville.

Antreville is an unicorporated area of Abbeville County that is just a few miles from the Abbeville-Anderson county line. This area is almost exactly half-way between the cities of Anderson and Abbeville and was where the Temple of Health, a early 1800s way-point was located. According to some other research material I have found, The Temple of Health was owned by Wakefields in the early 1800s. After reviewing maps from 1825, the late 1800s, and today I determined what I believe was the location of the house that was once the Temple of Health. Over 200 years old, the house is in poor condition and is currently vacant. It was exciting to have finally found the home that was owned by our family so many years ago but sad at the same time seeing that it was in need of some serious repair and renovation work.

After taking photos of the Temple of Health I continued on my way to Anderson where I passed the First Creek Baptist Church that was just across the county line in Anderson County. In preparing for my trip to Abbeville I noted that church's cemetery was the final resting place for Wakefields who resided in the area. I gave up trying to locate the church since it was in Anderson County and felt that it might be out-of-the-way and not possible to visit on this short of a trip. Well, imagine my surprise when I came around the bend and saw the church right in front of me just a few miles away from the Temple of Health. I took advantage of the opportunity that was presented to me and stopped to take photos of the graves. Sure enough, there were several Wakefields present in the cemetery. Lucky us.

After about 30 minutes at the cemetery I made my way to Anderson for an hour's worth of research at the Anderson County Library. Their family history room was only open until 7 so I had my work cut out for me to find any information that might be of interest. In that short period of time I reviewed their family history collection and did not uncovered any new material. Their maps were also reviewed and I made copies of various maps and purchased two others from the library. Some of the maps from the 1800s show Wakefields living in the area near the Anderson-Abbeville County line on the road between The Temple of Health and First Creek Baptist Church. Pretty cool to see.

Some interesting things about the area:
- Saw several roads in Anderson and Abbeville Counties named after allied families including Kay and Clinkscales.
- Many of the scenes from the movie Sleeping with the Enemy starring Julia Roberts were filmed in and around Abbeville.
- Abbeville is called the "Birthplace and Deathbed of the Confederacy", because it was here that Jefferson Davis made some of his most important decisions as President of the Confederacy. On what is now known as Secession Hill, the meeting which launched the state's secession from the Union took place on Nov. 22, 1860. Five years later in 1865, Jefferson Davis and his cabinet decided to dissolve the Confederacy at the Burt Stark Mansion, a stately home right off from Abbeville's historic Court Square.
- Abbeville was settled in 1758 by a group French Huguenots. In 2008, Abbeville will be celebrating its 250th anniversary.
- This is an interesting look at the early history of the First Creek Baptist Church.
- I also visit the Shiloh Cemetery located just a mile or two south of the Antreville. Almost forgot about that.

Future posts will contain more information, pictures, and maps from my trip.



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