What Christmas means to me….

This post isn’t genealogy related…..

What Christmas means to me…..

For me, Christmas is remembering that Jesus was born to save me from my sins…my sins of insecurity, anger, selfishness, impatience, and laziness. Christmas is also a time of gratitude and giving to others.

For me, Christmas is about family traditions. I am very old fashioned by nature. I am a “old soul” (that is why I love genealogy and history in general). I don’t like over the top decorations and lights. Half of the decorations on my tree were ones I had on my tree growing up. I have a Frosty the Snowman figurine and Silent Night Music from my childhood that I display every year. I like listening to Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole Christmas songs. I like watching all the Christmas shows and movies on TV.  I read Luke 2:1-20 and “The Night Before Christmas” to my children on Christmas Eve. I make cookies with my children a few days before Christmas and we give them to neighbors.

For me, Christmas is about peace and calm. The song “Silent Night” really epitomizes the Spirit of Christmas. It is a “be still and know that I am God (Psalms 46:10)” moment or moments. It is not about giving in to the chaos of buying presents or making sure the family Christmas card depicts us as a perfect family. The presents will not fulfill us spiritually and the Christmas cards will eventually end up in the trash can.

What does Christmas mean to you?

Merry Christmas!


The Story of Places

43950720_10156795834849846_4412206154990485504_oThis isn’t a genealogy post but rather a story of places.

I like to travel to different and interesting places. Sometimes my trips are planned and sometimes they are spur of the moment. I like “off the beaten path”  places and not “let’s go here because everyone else goes here” places.

My wanderlust began as a young child. My parents used to take my sister and I to the Isle of Palms, located near Charleston, South Carolina, every summer. My parents rented a beach house or condo with easy access to the beach.

During our stay at the beach, we would go to the now defunct Trawler Restaurant on Shem Creek. I was convinced that there was a witch that live upstairs in the fake lighthouse that was attached to the building. There was a treasure chest of lollipops at the exit and a cool gift shop there also. I used to think a troll lived under the drawbridge at Shem Creek also, you know, like in “The Three Billy Goats Gruff”.

When I was in college I went to New York City and London. I thought they were interesting places….”a nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there” kinds of places. After I got married, I started going to Myrtle Beach. I really don’t care for Myrtle Beach. It is too touristy and frankly just not very interesting. I went to Savannah which is also very touristy but is very interesting. Savannah has history and an artsy, bohemian feel too it (must be the SCAD influence).

This Memorial Day and Labor Day Weekends I was tired of camping in Myrtle Beach and longed for somewhere else to spend time. My husband and I decided to go to Beaufort, St Helena Island, Port Royal, and Tybee Island. We didn’t spend a lot of time in Beaufort, except for going to a dangerous place called “The Chocolate Tree”. St. Helena was a quaint little place with lots of marshes and pluff mud. St.Helena is home to the Shrimp Shack Restaurant and the Chapel of Ease Ruins. No tacky tourist shops or hotels on St. Helena which was nice to see. Tybee Island is a tourist destination but it is more artsy and eclectic than Myrtle Beach. It is also little more upscale that Myrtle Beach. My dad and mom honeymooned in Tybee Island and the other Georgia Sea Islands in 1962.

I would like to go back to Tybee Island and eventually visit the other Sea Islands and learn more about their stories. I also owe a overdue visit to the Isle of Palms.


Is the “Greenham Church” mystery solved?

I decided to email a genealogist in North Carolina named Diane L Richard about the “Greenham Church” brick wall.  She promptly responded and said there was no such Greenham Church in North Carolina. She said it could have been a transcription error in the record and the transcriber meant “Greensboro” instead of “Greenham”.

I told that there is a Grenham Road in Greensboro. She said that Greenham church may not have been an actual church but a location. I honestly think that Greenham Church could be a meeting house since meeting houses were prevalent in the early 1800’s.

One step closer to finding Cornelius Cook’s and Mary Cook’s parents hopefully…….

Stuck in my research….

I had a temporary setback this week when one of the people I was working with stopped working in the genealogy room at the library  this week. I tried emailing this person, but received no response back. Today I spoke to someone else in the genealogy room and maybe she will help me. I am trying to find information on the Cook family at Mt Bethel UMC since “Cooks” are listing on the historical marker as one of the early families who worshiped there.

I also found out that Cornelius Cook remained at his same location on the Saluda River from 1795- 1838. His neighbor Randolph Murff bought land in 1822 that was originally granted to Joseph Waldrop. Cornelius Cook and Dickerson Waldrop (Joseph’s son) were witnesses to a land transaction between Thomas Williamson and Benjamin Magee in 1794.

Narrowing down the Cook’s arrival to Laurens/ Abbeville….

I have narrowed down when I think Cornelius Cook and Mary Cook (Donaldson) came to Laurens and Abbeville.

Cornelius Cook is not on the 1790 Census of Laurens, which leads me to believe he was still in unknown County, NC. (Remember that on the the Turkey Creek Records that he stated he came from Greenham Church, North Carolina.)

Mary Cook  married to Thomas Donaldson in 1792/1793 because their oldest daughter Sallie Cook Donaldson was born in Abbeville in December 1793. Cornelius witnessed a land deed between Thomas Williamson and Benjamin Magee in late 1794/ early 1795. There was also a Daniel Cook who was a witness on Samuel Finley’s will in Anderson Co, SC in 1795. I am not sure how Daniel Cook is related to Cornelius and Mary Cook Donaldson. Daniel may be the same Daniel Cook who lived on Fishing Creek in Chester District, SC and died in York County, SC in 1823. I think they are related somehow because the Cooks, Donaldsons, and Finleys all lived in the area where Abbeville, Laurens, Anderson and Greenville come together on the Saluda River.

The 2 burning questions I have are 1) Where was Greenham Church?  and 2) Who did Cornelius travel with to Laurens/ Abbeville.

If I could find out where Greenham Church was in North Carolina then I could find the origin of Cornelius and Mary. I am guessing it was somewhere along the Great Wagon Road between Orange County, NC and Mecklenburg County, NC.  It sounds like a Methodist or Episcopal Church to me personally. I don’t know for sure.

Also several families arrived in Laurens and Abbeville at the same time the Cooks did between 1790- 1792……the Maddoxes, the Poseys, the Gaines, and maybe the Finleys. Did Mary and Cornelius hitch a ride with them also?

Time will tell.

All roads lead to Chester?

My research is taken me in an entirely new direction.

It all started with a Cornelius Cook who died at the Battle of Fishing Creek on August 18, 1780. Cornelius Cook’s was a private in Henry Hampton’s Light Dragoons for 49 days. I found his record,  #1434,  in “Accounts Audited of Claims Growing of the Revolution”. Cornelius Cook’s brother, Daniel Cook, received Cornelius’s  payment for service. Daniel also was reimbursed 25 Pounds for Cornelius Cook’s smooth bore gun that was lost in the attack on General Sumter. Daniel Cook acquired land on Fishing Creek in 1774. It is safe to assume that Cornelius Cook lived in the vicinity of his brother, Daniel.

Fast forward to January 1795 in Pendleton District, South Carolina, where Samuel Findley died. A Daniel Cook witnessed his estate record. This was at the same time where Cornelius Cook (1771- 1838) was in Laurens, South Carolina, witnessing a land deed between Thomas Williamson and Benjamin Magee.  Also worth noting is that Samuel Findley’s 2 sons, John and Samuel Jr, bought items from Thomas Donaldson’s estate in 1811. Thomas Donaldson was a Brother In Law to Cornelius Cook. Thomas Donaldson was married to Cornelius’s sister Mary Cook in 1793. All these documents taken as a whole seem to link Daniel Cook to Cornelius Cook and Mary Cook.

I need to prove or disprove with documentation that Daniel Cook of Fishing Creek was the same one who signed Samuel Findley’s estate record in 1795. I also need prove or disprove if the Cornelius Cook of Fishing Creek was the father of  Cornelius Cook and Mary Cook.

Luckily, I live in York County, SC which is one county above Chester. I plan on going to the York County Library tomorrow and looking at the Chester County records.

Cheers and have a great weekend!

My love affair with history…

My love affair with history began with the plantation house I grew up in. The  plantation house was named “Charlton Hall” and it was located in the one stoplight community of Hickory Tavern, Laurens County, South Carolina. Charlton Hall was built circa 1847 by George Washington Sullivan. It was all brick and had a large central hallway flanked by 2 rooms on either side. It was a 2 story house. My mother started to prep it for the “National Register for Historic Places” nomination form in 1986 She died in the early stages of getting the house ready so my dad and stepmother took over. After 8 long years of getting the house ready for the nominating committee, it was finally approved in 1995. I remember going to the National Register for Historic Places meeting in Columbia and seeing my  house get formally nominated. It was a really interesting thing to experience. It really made me appreciate my house and my parents who worked diligently to get it on the National Registry.

My first actual trip to a historic site was when my mother took me to Fort Sumter and Fort  Moultrie in the summer of 1986. I was almost 10 years old. I remember thinking that “history happened here, the very place where I am standing.” After that trip, I became a bonafide Civil War buff.  I begged my dad to get me the Time Life series of The Civil War when I was 10, which I did. He and my grandfather took me to my first Civil War reenactment when I was 10.

As time went by, my dad continued to take me to Civil War battlefields and historic sites. I have been to Petersburg, Bentonville, Chancellorsville, the place Stonewall Jackson died, Fort Fisher, Stratford Hall (Robert E Lee’s birthplace), the White House of the Confederacy, and others as well.

For college I decided to apply to and miraculously got accepted to the College of College (founded in 1770). It was here that my love affair with old buildings and history really blossomed. I majored in US History and took several architecture and historic preservation classes. On weekends, I would roam around the Charleston streets looking at the old buildings and imagining what life was like behind those walls centuries before. I learned more about history outside the classroom walls than in them.  In college, I shifted my focus away from Civil War history to Revolutionary War history. My expertise is now South Carolina History from 1775-1865. I did internships at the South Carolina Historical Society and Avery Research Institute for African American Culture.

After college, I moved to Greenville, SC and did a internship at the Historic Greenville Foundation and volunteered at the Confederate Museum. My interest in genealogy grew during that time.

I got married in 2004 and moved to Charlotte, NC. Life got busy with the addition of 2 children so my love of all things historical had to be put on the back burner. The past few years I have been able to do more genealogy and take my children to historical places. I am also an active member in my local DAR chapter. My family and I have been to Kings Mountain several times, Andrew Jackson State Park, Land of the Waxhaws Museum, Edisto Island, Savannah, St Helena Island, Old Sheldon Church Ruins, and other exciting places. I am going to Cowpens National Battlefield tomorrow with my family. I have never been before so I am looking forward to a new place that has a story to tell.

I still go to historic places with a reverence and awe of those who came here before me. Some of my ancestors walked on the battlefields and I may be walking in their footsteps. It is very humbling for to think about and I so small when I go to these places. I hope my children and the future generations will value these places of history as much as I do.

History happened here. This place matters.