Preservationist addresses Peedee Chapter Colonial Dames
The Peedee Chapter Colonial Dames XVIIC invited Agnes Willcox to speak about preservation of local historic sites at its January meeting at the Florence Country Club.
Willcox has been chairman of the Florence City County Historic Commission and has been a strong and passionate leader in historic preservation in Florence and throughout the state. She is a realtor and a restorer of historic homes and has been accredited by the American Society of Interior Design and is a past president of the Carolinas Chapter of that group.
Agnes Willcox reminded the group that during the colonial period many families lived along the rivers and creeks in the area that was to become Florence County, and the concept of history should not be limited to the time when a railroad stop was named Florence in 1853. She cited Darlington historian Horace Rudisill who has provided one of our most informative accounts of the families that lived in the colonial backcountry that was to become Florence through the record of their deaths as told by the family cemeteries found along Jefferies Creek. Maps of their homes and lands drawn through his research help understand the area’s ultimate development into the leading economic center for the region.
She noted that the railroad had a major influence on the commercial development of the town, but the history is rich in the stories of many families who justly deserve credit for their important contributions to the success as a thriving regional force today.
She cited also the contributions of other historians: Rise Up So Early, A History of Florence, SC, Wayne King; A History of the Old Cheraws, Alexander Gregg; Village to City, Florence, South Carolina 1853-1893, Eugene N. Zeigler Jr.; The History of the Pee Dee, Benjamin T. Zeigler.
The National Chapter of Colonial Dames XVIIC is advocating renewed interest in hearing the early stories and visiting local sites that are the framework of the region. The Peedee Chapter is open to receiving new members who are interested in joining and have documented proof of an ancestor’s service and residence in the colonies prior to 1701. Martha McGee is president, but applications may be made through any member.