The Jamison Photo Exhibit

THE PHOTOGRAPHIC CAREER OF JOHN A. JAMISON

In 1935, I opened a small ill-equipped photographic studio, during the pit of the Depression, on the Public Square above the then Deluxe

The DeLuxe Cafe, Publlic Square, Darlington, SC.

Café, where the smell of frying eggs and stale grease lent very little attraction to my few customers.  I had a large unwieldy early, really antique camera and stand, formerly owned by Mr. Angus Gainey, musician, merchant, teacher, and man of all work, who ran the “Old Barn” on North Dargan Street (Main?).  Few people know that Sears Roebuck and Company began in the middle of the last century as a photographic equipment house, and my camera was one of their early products.  It was built for use of wet plates but Mr. Gainey later adapted it for the use of glass and later, plastic plates.  I still have it.  The lens is a brass barrel of superb quality.

I took pictures of many people in the Darlington area, including our recent Chief Justice J. Woodrow Lewis and his bride, also Dr. G.B. Edwards, Mayor, but did very little outside commercial work except for school pictures.  I later moved the studio to the South side of the Public Square, where I also operated the small job printing business of Mr. A.R. McIver who started the business about 1890.  The Depression was getting worse instead of better and I closed the business in August of 1938.

As for my training, I was an apprentice under Mr. Gainey after school during my senior year at St. Johns and completed a correspondence course from the American School of Photography in Chicago, which really helped me a great deal.

J.A.J.

John Ambler “Jack” Jamison
John Ambler “Jack” Jamison
John Ambler “Jack” Jamison

 

Staff & Graduates Photo. This photo shows “Jack” Jamison among the graduates of the American School of Photography in Chicago, Illinois. In a March 24, 1987 letter, Jamison stated that this correspondence course was of great help to him.
Jamison Photo Studio & Patron Reception Area This photo shows “Jack” at his desk with sample photos on a table behind him. It also shows the doors leading into his studio and the print shop.
Jamison Self Portrait. This photo shows “Jack” at his camera taking a self portrait.

WE NEED YOUR HELP!!

Do you recognize any of the people, places or events depicted in these photographs?

If so, please leave comments on this post to help us in our task of identification.

 

 

TODAY IN DARLINGTON COUNTY HISTORY: Coker College opens

Hartsville, Coker College Liberal Arts Bldg.
Present day Coker College

The trustees of Welsh Neck High School converted their institution into a non-sectarian Baptist college. It opened September 30, 1908, as “Coker College for Women,” founded by James L. Coker. Baptist control ended in 1944, and in 1969, the college became co-educational. The Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics opened on the campus in 1988. Throughout its history, Coker has emphasized liberal arts.

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Aerial view of Coker College circa 1909.

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Spotlight On: William Cain, educator

Bill Cain, St. John's HS
Letter to Cain from 1972 graduating class at St. John’s HS.

Born in Pinopolis, South Carolina, William “Bill” Cain graduated from the University of South Carolina, where he later received a master’s degree in education. He came to Darlington in 1934 when he began his teaching career at St. John’s High School, where, later, he served as principal from 1947 until his retirement in 1972.  After retiring from St. John’s, he also taught English at James F. Byrnes Academy for more than a decade.

In addition to being a topnotch educator, Cain was an avid tennis player. He coached the tennis at St. John’s for a number of years, and he was the chairman of the S.C. Closed Tennis Tournament, which was held, for a time, in Darlington. He actually won the State Men’s Doubles Championship, and in 1984, he was inducted into the S.C. Tennis Hall of Fame.

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Spotlight On: Stephen Presley

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Father Stephen Presley was born a slave in 1820. He was owned by Boykin Witherspoon, a prominent planter from Society Hill. Presley was a carpenter by trade. He married another slave by the name of Phyllis McIver Presley. Welsh Neck Baptist Church records indicate that the couple fellowshipped there as slaves but were dismissed in October 1854.

Witherspoon, like many other Darlington District residents, migrated west in search of fertile ground ideal for planting. They settled in a then virtually unoccupied area of Desoto Parish, Louisiana, which was previously inhabited by the Caddo Indians, bringing with them over 200 slaves.

As a carpenter, Presley along with other slaves helped with the building of Witherspoon’s “Buena Vista Plantation,” which was designed by Architect, M. Robbins in 1859 and was used a Confederate Hospital during the Civil War.

After slavery, Presley founded, built, and served as pastor for 3 churches in Desoto Parish, including Bethel Baptist Church in Frierson, Morningstar Baptist Church in Gloster, and Mechanicsville Baptist in Caspiana.  The latter was named for the church and town in his native Darlington District, South Carolina.

All of the churches he founded in Louisiana are still serving the community over 100 years after his death in 1904. His many descendants gather every other year for a reunion to celebrate his legacy and their Louisiana/South Carolina roots. His great-great-great grand-daughter, Karen Burney, a genealogist from California has made visits to Society Hill to research and honor her ancestors.

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Spotlight On: Colonel Lamuel Benton

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Col. Benton (1754-1818) served as Colonel of the Cheraw Militia during the Revolutionary War, was a member of the South Carolina Legislature, Sheriff of Cheraws District, and a member of Congress (1793-1799). He is said to be buried in an unmarked grave on the premises at Stoney Hill.

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TODAY IN DARLINGTON COUNTY HISTORY: Johnny Mantz won first Southern 500

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Historical marker for Darlington International Raceway

TODAY IN DARLINGTON COUNTY HISTORY: On September 4, 1950, Johnny Mantz of Long Beach, California, won the first Southern 500 in Darlington, S.C. He drove a 1950 Plymouth Coupe, and his First Place Prize was $11,500. The track had been built under the leadership of Harold Brasington.

Johnny_Mantz_IV CARRERA_PANAMERICAN_51CarLincolnCapri

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Arcade Hotel opens for business

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On September 1, 1913, Hartsville’s Arcade Hotel officially opened for business. Here is a brief sketch of the hotel from Darlington County: A Pictorial History by Horace Rudisill:

The Hartsville Arcade Hotel Company was chartered on August 7, 1912, by J.J. Lawton and Associates. He awarded the building contract to his kinsman, J. Maner Lawton, and to Lawton’s colleague, A.E. Abbott of Abbeville, South Carolina, for $51,000.  They commenced working on the project on January 1, 1913, and eight months later the hotel opened its doors. The first manager was W. H. McFall who later moved to Darlington and bought his own hotel. The Arcade opened with forty-two rooms on the second and third floors. The first floor contained the lobby, dining room, kitchen, barber shop, and a sample room for traveling salesmen. The era of small-town hotels began to fade with the coming of motels after World War II.

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We here at DCHC are dedicated to promoting the rich and varied history of Darlington County. So if you enjoy our posts, please Like us on Facebook by clicking here. And, by all means, follow our blog as well.