Document Conservation done on Hidden Treasures

Early this morning, while working on a map file at the  Commission, a Commission staffer and a volunteer came across 17 fragments of parer filed away in plastic sleeves.  The cashe was immediately brought to my attention and the priorities of the day immediately changed.  The fragments were removed from their plastic protectors and I began working to establish if they were a part of a larger document.

To our surprise, we ended up with 3 complete documents consisting of one Land Grant (December 1801),and 2 Deeds (1834 & 1788).   We also had one partial Plat dated June 18, 1839.

The conservation work that was done is 100% reversible and honors the 2 golden rule of conservation, “Do nothing that cannot be undone” and “Do no harm.”

Many may ask, “why is it important that we save documents such as these”?  These documents trace the ownership of the land we currently live on.  They tell us the story of individuals who dared to dream and then caused those dreams to become a reality.  For folks doing genealogical research, it will serve as a primary source documentation verifying place, date and location for the particular individuals included on the document.  But most important of all, they are threads in the overall historical narrative of Darlington County.

These threads mention the Prestwoods that came into Darlington County from Chesterfield County and today Prestwood lake carries their name. It mentions the Kilgore’s of Kilgores Mill, the area on highway 15 between highway 102 and the top of the hill by the Dollar General in Hartsville.  It mentions John Eli Gregg of Society Hill, one of the most outstanding early business men in the Pee Dee. Last it references William Fulconer, a former president of the St. Davids Society, Society Hill, SC and representative to the SC Legislature.  These and documents like them help tell the story of the birth of the Pee Dee and Darlington County is central to that.

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