Special People

Esther Holland Pitts

When I first started doing genealogy and history research in the late 1970s, I was focused on South Carolina – while living in Connecticut. The internet hadn’t been invented yet. Resources were scarce at best. Everything for me, my interest in genealogy and history, started with a booklet my mother gave me. It was in a brown binder, typewritten, “Some of the branches of the Holland family Laurens County South Carolina — Adair family some of the branches in Laurens County South Carolina — Adair family some of the branches in Laurens County South Carolina” 1965, by Mrs. Esther Holland Pitts. There is a copy at the Elaine Martin Room at the Laurens County Library.

Read more about Mrs. Pitts here. All of my pages, research, the journey, the people I have met along the way, and the friends I have made can be traced back to her. Sadly, as it is with many of the old friends I will be adding here, I never had the opportunity to meet Mrs. Pitts. I try to honor her memory.

As a pack-rat, I have a lot of papers from my early research days. I have maintained an original email address, with some genealogy archives that go back to correspondence in 2000. Prepping for a presentation, I started going through everything, and the correspondence-what a treasure to find again. These are special researchers, cousins, fellow enthusiasts as thrilled to teach as I was to learn. Handwritten letters – a lost art, notes, emails, in one case a VHS tape, there is a lot I am sorting through.

I’m going to continually update this section with expanded information, as the circle always grows and time permits. These folks are just a few of the people who have helped me, and became friends, along the way. In no particular order:

Gerald McCrary

I have a lot of handwritten letters, emails, and a real gem – a VHS tape. My local library actually had a player and a TV hooked up, they let me review the tape to see what was on there. Well, that tape is out being converted to digital for preservation, it is a cemetery documentary of sorts, from a genealogy trip to Laurens County that Gerald took, and shared with me.

Mildred Brownlee

Mrs. Brownlee’s documentation, and diligence, helped to correct many inadvertent errors, and cleared up a lot of cloudy Adair family information. Her meticulous sourcing, and clear explanations of assumptions have been invaluable.

Mary Keith Adair Watts

I have many lovely, handwritten note cards and letters from Mrs. Watts. She too was a believer in Mrs. Brownlee’s work, and we compared notes in detail.

James “Buddy” Copeland

I have emails, and clearly remember a couple of phone calls with Mr. Buddy Copeland. He is the person who started my thirst for knowledge about the people and the history of Duncan Creek Presbyterian Church.

Tom Anderson

I have some pages from a Holland Bible, beautifully copied, and a sweet letter from Mr. Anderson.

Jett Hanna

Jett shined a light early on to some erroneous information, especially regarding James Adair, the everyman. To this day, Mr. Hanna teases me about the Chicago Bears on Meta, and worships the Dallas Cowboys. Go figure.

Durant Ashmore

From the first time I met him, being with Durant is always an adventure in learning. Whether it be out in the field on a battlefield walk, at Revolutionary War places in Laurens County, or in storytelling lectures that bring history to life. Hammond’s Old Store will always be a special place to me, thanks to Durant. Seeing it develop has been amazing. Learning from Durant has been spectacular!

A special thank you to every single person I have met that is associated with the Laurens County Genealogy Society. It was an honor and a privilege to be able to attend my first in-person meeting November 2022. Awesome group!

Last but not least – a shout out to all my cousins – and there are a lot of us! My Adairs and Hollands and Bramletts and Leakes go back to the earliest days of upstate South Carolina. Just about all of the Adairs can be traced back to James, Joseph, or William – which makes for a lot of cousins. I’ve been blessed to meet several cousins I did not know existed.

I consider all my research friends as honorary cousins as well.