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Exploring the Rich History of Marlboro County, SC at Anson County Historical Society in Wadesboro, NC


Robin R. Foster at Anson County Historical Society on 4 May 2024. Photo taken by Ellis McClure.

That is right. I went to the Anson County Historical Society today to work on my own research. As I was walking inside, Steve Bailey said to me, "Guess who I heard from morning?" It was someone I have been researching for. He mentioned that he had collected lots or resources for Marlboro County, South Carolina. You know where this is going. I was just too excited to pass that up.

When you go to the place your ancestor lived or near it, you experience things you cannot online. I have another experience like that, but I am going to save it and tell you completely about it when I have rung it dry.

Steve immediately got several books from Marlboro County, SC down from the bookshelf. Oh boy! I said to myself, "I am excited."


Marlboro County, SC and Anson County, NC


Marlboro County, located in South Carolina, and Anson County, situated in North Carolina, are neighboring counties that share a border.


Here’s a brief overview of each:


Marlboro County, SC:


Anson County, NC:


Murphynw, a FamilySearch Research Wiki user. https://www.familysearch.org/en/wiki/File:Ncanson.png

Both counties have a deep historical significance and are part of the broader region known as the Pee Dee, named after the Native American tribe and the river that flows through the area. Make sure you ask if the historical society has books from surrounding counties.


Browsing the books on Marlboro County, SC


The names of my patron's ancestors were in my head. I had not brought anything with me. For two hours Ellis took photos while I looked for names, and Marlboro County cemeteries, churches, land conveyances, Bennettsville cotton mill, and Marlboro County history. I went through almost all of what Steve gave me.

What I would like to do for you now is to tell you what books I had and the types of things I looked for. This is so that if you are ever in this position in a historical society, you will know how to have some success by looking at the same type of books.

The first book that I looked at was "Bennettsville and Marlboro County in Vintage Postcards," by Jerry Thomas Kendall. It was donated to the ACHS by Mrs. Dora on March 20, 2019.

"Bennettsville and Marlboro County in Vintage Postcards," by Jerry Thomas Kendall. Photo by Ellis McClure on 4 May 2024.

I checked the index, but I did not find any of the people that I was looking for. Perhaps some of you might want the book because of photos inside such as the courthouse. The book is out print. Call the ACHS to find out more.

The second book was "Cemetery Records of Marlboro County, South Carolina," by Elizabeth C. Drake and Jacquelyn M. Rainwater.


"Cemetery Records of Marlboro County, South Carolina," by Elizabeth C. Drake and Jacquelyn M. Rainwater. Photo by Ellis McClure on 4 May 2024
"Cemetery Records of Marlboro County, South Carolina," by Elizabeth C. Drake and Jacquelyn M. Rainwater. Photo by Ellis McClure on 4 May 2024.

I looked up the two surnames that are my patron's ancestors, and I found both surnames. We went to the respective pages they were on, and Ellis took photos of each one. I also had him to take a photo of all the cemeteries. I have not yet determined if any are African American, but if they are not, I can find out if they were the enslaver to his ancestor.

Next, the third book was "A History of Marlboro County, South Carolina," by J. A. W. Thomas. I found the churches and the surnames of my patron's ancestors. Before 1865, the churches the enslaver went to might have the enslaved listed in the church record. I first found church records at Darlington County Historical Commission & Museum. They will be having their Darlington County Museum Grand Opening at 10 am on May 18.

"A History of Marlboro County, South Carolina," by J. A. W. Thomas. Photo by Ellis McClure on 4 May 2024.
"A History of Marlboro County, South Carolina," by J. A. W. Thomas. Photo by Ellis McClure on 4 May 2024.

In the back of the book, there was a map of Marlboro County, South Carolina prepared by Capt. J. R. Parker. I love these old maps because I love seeing the property owner's names. The Anson County Historical Society volunteer, Cruse Carpenter, got a copy for me:



"The Abstracts of Marlboro District, SC Land Conveyances, Books H1, K, M (1813 - 1827)," by Larry W. Cates, MLIS was the next book I had a chance to look at. I found the surnames of my patron's ancestors, and I found a list of the enslaved with the enslaver who owned them.

The Abstracts of Marlboro District, SC Land Conveyances, Books H1, K, M (1813 - 1827)," by Larry W. Cates, MLIS Photo by Ellis McClure on 4 May 2024.

I went on to look at "The Bennettsville Cotton Mill," book by Jerry T. Kendall. I identified the names of the people with the same surname of my patron's ancestor living in the same house.

"The Bennettsville Cotton Mill," book by Jerry T. Kendall. Photo by Ellis McClure on 4 May 2024.

I was pretty excited about this last book called, "Rediscovering the Gulf: Bennettsville's Colored Business District 1876-1976." It had photos, and we found one family photo that had the same surname as my patron. Plus, how great it would be if I determine that the people listed in the index with the same surnames match my patron's ancestor since they are African American.

Robin and Steve inspecting the names. Photo by Ellis McClure on 4 May 2024.

Here are a few more photos from Saturday:


Robin gifts Anson County Historical Society with three of her books. Steve receives them. Photo by Ellis McClure on 4 May 2024.

Steve is looking at "My Best Genealogy Tips: Finding Formerly Enslaved Ancestors." Robin is looking on. Photo by Ellis McClure on 4 May 2024.

Steve is looking at "My Best Genealogy Tips: Quick Keys to Research Ancestry." Robin looks on. Photo by Ellis McClure on 4 May 2024.

I took the opportunity to chat with Steve and Cruse Carpenter, a first-year graduate student at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC.

Steve Bailey, Cruse Carpenter and Robin chatting. Photo by Ellis McClure on 4 May 2024.

Steve Bailey, Cruse Carpenter and Robin chatting. Photo by Ellis McClure on 4 May 2024.


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