Year of ConservationThis campaign will begin an intense and dedicated effort to focus on document conservation here at the Historical Commission.

Beginning June 1, we are kicking off a “Year of Conservation.”   This campaign will begin an intense and dedicated effort to focus on document conservation here at the Historical Commission.

For years, the focus of the organization has been on the acquisition of source material that tells the History of Darlington County.  This “Year of Conservation” will mark the beginning of an exciting new chapter in the Commission’s goals of preserving, protecting scannerand promoting our rich history.  It will allow us the opportunity to systematically scan, catalog, clean, stabilize and add protective archival polyester sleeves to our photographs.   We decided to start with our photo collection as it is the iconic representation of who we are as Darlington County citizens.  These photographs illustrate our history in ways that words cannot begin to express. From the quiet relaxed photos of fishing on the Great Pee Dee River to the bustle of industry – our county is well represented. So, where better to start?

The process is simple, yet the workload will be massive.  The photo collection here at the Commission is estimated to contain a quarter of a million photos.  Tpicture-collectiono help in this process, we are relying on interns, staff and volunteers.  How blessed we are to have a host of supporters that are interested in historical preservation and that are willing to help.

Throughout this process we will be sharing the project status and major developments with the community through Facebook, our WordPress Blog and local news media.

The project has several dimensions:

  1. Allows for a focused effort to conserve, scan, catalog and prot
    ect our records here at the Commission. The collateral benefit of this will be a searchable and cross-referenced index of our photos within the collection.
  2. It will be done very openly with complete transparency to allow for community involvement in the process and to help increase historical awareness.  We want citizens to feel connected to the project and invested in the history we are working to protect.
  3. While we are scanning our collection, we will be offering the same service to the community.  County residents will be able to bring in up to 50 photographs that are approximately 50 years or older and have them scanned.  We will upload the copies to a website that they will be able to access and download their copy.


A “Year of Conservation” was made possible by a private donation from an ancestor of one of our original Welsh settlers. The donation is funding 100% of the conservation materials that will be used during this project.

2 Responses

  1. Hey, Brian. It was good to see you today. I feel that John Kelly’s old Bible is in good hands.

    Knowing how thorough you are, you probably don’t need me to give you any help, but I thought I’d add a little of what I know.

    John Hicks Kelley was born in Kelleytown in (I think) 1842. He was the son of James Kelley and his wife, the daughter of the Rev. John Hicks. In Darlingtoniana, there is a wonderful eyewitness account of him escaping from the Yankees on horseback.

    After the War, he married Sarah Harrell. Sarah was the daughter of S.W. Harrell. They lived in the small plantation house Sarah had inherited. It was located between Lydia and Kelleytown and was torn down about a dozen years ago. At some point they moved to D’ton. John was elected county coroner and held that position for years. He was a long-time elder in the Presbyterian Church.

    He dropped the second “e” from Kelley at some point. Family lore has it that his daughter Lila (Mrs. Albert Parrott, Albert Parrott Coggeshall’s grandmother) did not want to acknowledge her relationship to those rough-and-ready folks out in Kelleytown. I remember “Granny Parrott” well and this sounds right to me.

    John was something of a character. The first movie he ever saw was “Birth of a Nation.” When he returned home his daughter (Mrs. R.E. Howle) asked, “Papa, did you enjoy the moving picture?” John replied, “It was all right, Mamie, but where in the world are they going to put all those people tonight?”

    Hope to see you again soon.


    • Thanks Paul!!! I have already been researching him and just discovered that he was also the coroner for darlington county. He was selected to fill Robert Parnells unexpired term on December 28, 1910 then was elected on his own right in 1912 and served and additional 12 years for a total of 14 years as coroner. Amazing man!! This is gonna be a fun article!!

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