06 December 2011

Friday the 13th – 7 Hours of Greatness

Bob & Larry
The National Genealogical Society held the 2011 Family History Conference in Charleston, South Carolina on May 11–14 2011. A special pre-conference event was scheduled for May 10 to do research at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History in Columbia, South Carolina, which is approximately 90 miles from Charleston.

At approximately 10:00 a.m., two buses containing 94 researchers arrived at the Archives. I (Larry Ulmer) was doing the “WalMart Greeting” by holding one of the doors open while wearing my conference nametag. A gentleman (Bob Harper) with an Indiana Jones hat asked if I was an Ulmer from Walterboro. I said yes and he replied, “We will talk later.“ Later that afternoon we met in the break room, with my laptop, and discovered that we may have a connection back to the later 1700s. The connection could be the Rev. Richard Bryan who married Elizabeth Harper. Since I was a volunteer for the Family History Conference, I checked my schedule and told Bob that I could do a personal tour of Colleton County and Walterboro on Friday afternoon.

Bob & Larry at Longhorn

At 3:00 p.m. on Friday the 13th we met at the Holiday Inn in Charleston and headed south on US 17 toward Walterboro. At the little town of Jacksonboro we exited onto SC 64 toward Walterboro and after several miles we arrived at the Isaac Hayne Historic Burial Site. After taking many pictures, we then went several more miles to the Pon Pon Chapel. In Walterboro we visited the Old St. Bartholomew Chapter of the South Carolina Genealogical Society (www.bartholomew.scgen.org). Both Bob and I are members, but since Bob lives in Louisiana he has not been in the office and research library. After a brief visit we then headed west on SC 64 toward Bells Cross Roads where I showed Bob the old Bells High School (now elementary school) that I graduated from in 1958. (Bells High School Yearbooks are online at www.yearbooks.scgen.org.) We then headed north on US 21. After a brief visit at my old homestead, we continued to drive north to the little town of Ruffin. We drove past the Ruffin Community House (http://www.nationalregister.sc.gov/schools/S112113000002649000/pages/S11211300535.htm), which was used when I was small and is still used today. We then stopped by the Smyly Cemetery for pictures before driving to the town of Williams for more pictures. After leaving the town of Williams we passed fields of small tobacco on our way to the Old Field Creek Cemetery where still more pictures were taken. Our next stop was the Bethel United Methodist Church. My parents and grandparents are buried here and I’m probably kin to 90% of the people buried here. This was the church of the Rev. Richard Bryan (1739–1826) who kept the Richard Bryan’s Journal. Many more pictures were taken before the sun started going down behind the big pine trees. After dinner in Walterboro, we headed back to Charleston, arriving at our hotels after 10:00 p.m.

Bob & wife Mary
Friday, May 13, was one of the greatest seven hours that I have spent in a very long time. The outcome of those seven hours is having had my DNA test taken and I should know the results in several weeks. I have received a GEDCOM file of Bob’s ancestors, and when I receive my DNA results we may find that Bob and I are long-lost cousins!


Larry is Lawrence Ulmer from Columbia, South Carolina
Larry is Director for the Old St. Bartholomew Chapter of the South Carolina Genealogical Society.
Larry is Treasurer for the South Carolina Genealogical Society
Larry is Webmaster for the South Carolina Genealogical Society

Bob is Dr Robert Harper from Ruston, Louisiana

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