Interviewers: Patricia O’Connor, Mandy, Emily, Ronda, Gillian

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Interview: Doc Lachicotte with Lee Brockington

Interviewers: Patricia O’Connor, Mandy, Emily, Ronda, Gillian

Interview Date: 15 February 2016

Transcription by: Jenifer Butler

Transcription Date: 18 February 2016

Begin Transcription:

Doc: See, I remember going to Georgetown and we had to take the ferry.
Trisha: Ok, this is going to be great. This is exactly what we’re looking for.
Doc: The Ferry, the Cornwallis and the Pelican. One would leave Georgetown and one would leave here and then cross. I don’t remember the times. Then they would reverse them, every half-hour, I think.
Trisha: Well, we came down a couple weeks ago and spent a good time with Lee, and she said, ‘you have to talk to Doc’. You can blame her.
[General Conversation]
Doc: [casual discussion about relatives in MB] You know we’re part owners of that campground, Ocean Lakes. The best move I ever made was getting in the campground business. You know I remember going down to Myrtle Beach and they had the Broadway Theater. We would go up there on a Saturday to the movie. Myrtle Beach was a long way away, so I didn’t know a lot of those cousins growing up. Now we do everything together, and going into business together.
Trisha: Well, that’s some of what we want to talk to you about. You know because you’ve got family and business and community relationships that we’re interested in hearing about.
[Doc asks about where the students are from. Lee gives some information of where Doc is from and how far his family extends. It’s safe to say he’s a firm part of history in the area himself.]
Emily: I just want to start off with a quote that we have heard that you had said at one point about the time period that we are looking at. It was, I think, about the time that the highway was coming through, and you were talking about the community and you said, “We were all poor together.” What was that time period like?
Doc: Well, I was born in 1926, and we all grew up together on Pawleys. Most of us until about 1939. But we had, I’d say we had about 150 whites living on the neck and about 150 blacks. We were all friends. Bill Murray, one of my close friends just died a couple weeks ago, a month ago. But we went in the creek together, we swam together, we tried to catch flounder. We use to take pitchforks and dig for them. I remember the first time I went I went with those guys and always thought you could get a flounder from underneath and ended up with a jelly fish. Bit my finger, too. Anyway, we did a lot of things together. But primarily everybody, most people didn’t have any money. So in the summer time the kids would go in the creek and get shrimp and crabs and other things to try and help with the food bill. Then we would sell to the boarding houses to try and make money.
Trisha: So Doc, you were telling me before we officially started that you remember when the bridge was constructed. Tell us about getting around before the bridge was built.
Doc: Well, they had two ferries – The Pelican and the Cornwallis. One would be over on the Waccamaw side, which is about 50 yards north of the existing bridge. And the other would be in Georgetown and they would cross. And then about every half-hour they would go. Anyway, they held three cars on each side and one in the back. It was an adventure for me to go to Georgetown because we would go about three or four times a year. My father use to go more often. But it’s hard for people to realize with all the prosperity we have today how poor this area was. During the depression, the Bank of Georgetown fell in 1925 and there was absolutely no money in this county. The God-send was that a lot of these north-easterners came down and bought these plantations. Baruch bought this plantation, and in 1905 they ran the sum of 50k dollars, 13k acres. Dr. Emerson bought Arcadia; he bought that plantation. He spent a fortune. I think he spent 75k. My father sold Litchfield plantation for 25k. Brookgreen was bout later in about the 1930s by the Huntingtons for less than 180k. But, Wachesaw was bought by Mr. (Kimmer? Name?) for 22k, that’s a thousand acres. Anyway, to see all this transfer of wealth and what use to be, we were, I’d say, plenty of aristocracy but no money.
Trisha: What started all of a sudden this sale of all this land. Sounds like it all went in a very quick amount of time. Was it somehow that it all just got discovered down here?
Doc: Well, I think when the bridge was built you had access to the beach. Because people, I remember when my sister went to high school – she was six years older than I was - any functions she had to take the ferry over there. Any functions she did in school, she had to spend the night with a friend. When they built the bridge, it made a world of difference. It was a draw bridge and you paid admission to go through. And invariably they would open when these boats would go by. But it was a narrow, two-lane bridge. In the 1960s they changed it to a permanent bridge where boats go under. It sounds rather primitive, but we all enjoyed it.
Lee: And Doc, thinking about before the bridge and riding the ferry, how much was it for an individual to ride the ferry, or if you had your car? It wasn’t a free ferry, was it?
Doc: No, I think it was around $3. I wouldn’t swear to that, but I think that’s right.
Lee: And that would limit a great deal of others that would go out of Georgetown. I mean it was a commitment for $3, wasn’t it?

Doc: I think $3 round trip, I think.

Trisha: So, this might sound like a stupid question, but as long as you had $3, you could get on the ferry and go? It didn’t matter if you were black or white?
Doc: No
Emily: I have another question that’s kind of along those lines: So, once the bridge is open. You said it was a drawbridge and you had to pay to go across. Do you remember how much that was? The drawbridge was also $3?
Doc: I don’t think it was that much.
Lee: It was a toll bridge? When the bridge opened it was a toll bridge?
Doc: Right, I remember once I cut my hand fooling around opening a shelf. My father told the bridge keeper “We’ll be back. I’ll pay you on the way back”. But I had to go put on some stitches and put in that finger. So, I know there was a tenant.
Trisha: What business was your father in? Clearly he owned a lot of property.
Doc: Well, they held on to a lot of property. We were fortunate enough where we grew up in Waverly. Waverly on the Waccamaw Neck and Rosemont plantation in Georgetown were the only two that weren’t sold to the Yankees. I’d say every other plantation in the county – the Dupont family, the Yorkies, the Vanderbuilts, the Emersons – you name it and they were down here. And it was a God-send really when you think about it because they preserved these plantations. We locals didn’t have the money to do it. We talk about the recession, but we don’t know what a recession is like back in those days.
Lee: And when you say God-send, we think of that now. But at the time, what was the feeling about losing properties? Y’all kept Waverly and the Rosemont were here yesterday, by coincidence, but what was the feeling at the time when certain individuals were losing their properties. Were they grateful then? Or were they resentful?
Doc: You didn’t have any choice. It was either that or you get nothing. It was a God-send that they came because it provided work. You take people that worked down here – Mr. Jim Powell, the Masseys, all these people that, Lewis Massey was a patriot with Bill Baruch, and they travelled all over the world together. I went to school with two of the French Children…
Lee: the Dartez (spelling?) family.
Doc: That’s right. We’d drive in on the school bus – 5 miles in, 5 miles out. It took two hours to get to Georgetown and two hours in the afternoon to go home. So, it was interesting. And when I think, at the time I thought I was pretty beleaguered, but when I look back I probably had the best of life.
Trisha: Talk some about the change of ownership of land. Not just by landowners, but also by the black owners here on the neck. You said everybody, there were 150 blacks and 150 whites around the time you were born.
Doc: The most prominent black family was the Besselieu family. He had the Baptist church. But his family is still around. Most of his children are now in their 70s and 80s. Very prominent family - well thought of. We never had any problems down here with race relations. Maybe later with some of the other whites coming in, but I don’t remember any conflict in my lifetime. But, they had Miss Ruby Forsythe and Reverend Forsythe with the school down there. Then the medical clinic with Cathcart Smith. I think we’ve had, through the years, excellent race relations. I know making hammocks, we worked about 100 people, and I think most of them were my buddies. Both male and female. We found out that the females could outwork the males, so we worked the females making hammocks.
Lee: Did the blacks working in the hammock shops and factories ever get promoted to management positions or were most of them actually making the hammocks. What were the jobs for blacks?
Doc: Most of them were making hammocks. But most of them, two or three of them, were supervisors Jake Maybank was always a supervisor. Carl (lastname?). One of the Dennises (name?).
Lee: Not Luther
Doc: Well, Luther worked with us for a long time. But in the latter years he worked with the golf courses.
Lee: With the…?
Doc: Caledonia
Lee: And he also drove for the senior citizen senior. He was busy.
Doc: In his latter years, he thoroughly enjoyed having jobs selling soup at the Caledonia because he could meet all these people. He was an important part of our atmosphere. He brought a lot of that local (unclear) with the golf courses.
Lee: Trisha had asked you something about property, and I was always curious with black ownership at Pawleys, how did they first acquire the land? When we think of Frasierville and Georgieville, were those gifts of land? Were those purchases of land? I think of Frasierville, so many of the people there now connected…
Doc: I think they were given that after the Civil War. To my knowledge they were always on it. There was never any question about it. There was Frasierville and all those different communities. But, I don’t believe there was any question. In a lot of years some of it was sold, like I said Litchfield. But I know Bill Murray for one did a lot of work to make sure they got a fair price. I personally tried to help him because I wanted to be sure that if they did sell that they sold at a reasonable price.
Lee: And Bill Murray was one of your relators at the Latchicotte company, I just wanted them to know.
Doc: That’s correct.
Lee: I was just thinking about those early villages. Most of them are located out near the highway, so if we’re thinking about those black homes connected with Litchfield and Willbrook or Waverly or Hagley, was there an effort to give them land and move them off of the plantation and closer to highway 17, or were they always there even during the rice cultivation era?
Doc: In my lifetime they were always there. I can’t tell you how they got there. But most of them are up along the creek, particularly up in Murrayville. You know, which is between Palweys and Litchfield. The other, Second Murrayville down at the south causeway, and then you’ve got Simmonsville, Fraiserville, Parkersville.
Lee: So close to the creek, and that would make a lot of sense, as y’all would understand, for making a living or gathering food. Or is there another reason for closer to the creek? Land value?
Doc: I don’t think people back in those days thought much of land value? Nobody had any…no land was valuable back in those days. Not like we would consider it today. We were pretty well isolated over here. That’s what people don’t realize. I went to town maybe two to three times a summer. Daddy would take me in to go with him to do business or something. And if you get a foggy night, I know one night he came in and one day he came to Georgetown, he had to go all the way to Conway and Socastee to get over. The ferry couldn’t run. A lot of change.
Trisha: What year was the bridge built?
Doc: 1938. Then the paper mill. Georgetown was the poorest of the poor until that paper mill came in, and they started that in 1936. All the stores were freshened up, and it made a huge difference because we didn’t have any industry. See, Atlantic Coast Lumber company went out in 1910, and they cut all the trees from 1910 to 1920, and they cut all the timber in this area, and then I remember seeing a few stores on Fraiser Street. That’s where most of the stores were, downtown on Fraiser Street and First Street.
Lee: Because of the lumber company’s location. And then the train depot right there near the steel mill. If the bridge was built, I know the news paper talks about it being open in July of 1935…
Doc: I don’t remember 1935
Lee: The hammock shop was 1938
Doc: The bridge was built the year the hammock shop was opened.
Lee: Okay, 1938, then. So, the paper mill did not need the bridge to open here. The bridge itself did not influence the paper mill being built.
Doc: No, not the paper mill. Because you see you had roads from Andrews to Columbia. You didn’t have to cross the Waccamaw River.
Trisha: Tell us just as you remember from that point forward, how did things here on the neck begin to change? Who started arriving? By then the Yankees had already been down and bought some property.
Doc: Well, they came down and they journey down here Thanksgiving to early April. Like Dr. Norris, he would go back and spend the summer in Maine.
Trisha: It’s too hot down here.
Doc: Too warm or whatever, but he spent the summers in Maine. But he’d come back. The people who worked for him, particularly the local black people that worked with him, they went to Maine with him. Curtis, I can’t think of his last name, he was later drowned in (unclear) ferry, I think he was one of the Besselieus. But he drown somehow drown at that ferry on black river (name of the river?) They would go with the Norrises and come back with them.
Lee: Was that common? To take staff with you, was that common?
Doc: Well it was with his family. I don’t know about, I know some of the Vanderbuilts…George Young, he traveled all over with Mr. Vanderbuilt.
Lee: He went to California and cooked a pig for John Wayne.
Doc: He told me that, I better not say this. Anyway, he had questions about a certain death. I won’t mention any names, but
Trisha: Sounds like there’s a mystery in here
Doc: Cut that thing off and I’ll tell you, but…
Trisha: And so as the plantation owners became more mobile, is that when tourists started to come down?
Doc: Tourists came down in the summer. I mean you had boating houses. You had maybe 50 houses on Pawleys, and people came down, some of the locals, and people came down from Columbia and Georgetown. The Peace family from Greenville came down here for years. All of them are down here now with their offspring. You had a lot of visitors who came. You had Miss ( Dale Tiptop?? Name?) You had the Clinshells (name?) had a boating house. Cedar Inn. Anyway, there were about 8 or 10 places you could stay. Most people rented a house or a cottage. They’d rent a room and go to those places to eat, not so much like cottages you have today.
Trisha: Right, more like a boarding house.
Doc: Yeah
Lee: And that attracted mostly South Carolinians, would you say?
Doc: A good many people from Ashville.
Lee: But not many northerners
Doc: Not in the summer. You had your northern visitors coming to these plantations.
Lee: Northerners were going to Long Island and Europe and Maine in the summers. As opposed to these beaches.
Doc: They would come down here in the winter and hunt. The Santee Gun Club, but all these plantations hunted, duck hunted in the morning then go over to the Williamsburg County and hunt quail in the afternoon. The draw was in warm weather, basically from Thanksgiving on.
Trisha: For the locals who lived here, what did people do for a living? What did the white man do, of course there was a depression so there wasn’t a whole lot.
Doc: Hopefully getting a job on these planatations
Trisha: What about the African Americans. What did they do?
Doc: The same thing.
Trisha: Was there still a lot of farming?
Doc: Well, some. I know my father dumped three loads of, three car loads of potatoes in the Potomac River. And we sold, right after that he sold Litchfield to Dr. Norris. We had Litchfield Beach, which is about a mile of beach. We had Litchfield country club, the river club, and the plantation. Know what he got for it? 25k dollars.
Lee: That was a good price at that moment, isn’t that what you said earlier?
Doc: That was the only price at that moment.
Lee: That was the going rate.
Doc: But you take, Baruch paid 50k for all his land. Now that’s 13k acres. Vanderbuilt paid, I think he spent a fortune: 72k for all of Arcadia. It certainly, across the river, the Vanderbuilts, the Duponts, and the Yorkies, by time Yorkie bought two islands, 40k acres just for hunting. And then he had a plantation over near Andrews.
Lee: So if you lived on the Waccamaw Neck, you know 1910s or 1920s you might have the opportunity to work on your family’s truck farms. I call them truck farms, did you call them that?
Doc: I never saw it. It was gone when I came along.
Lee: We had mentioned that a couple weeks ago, and I was just wondering if there was anything you wanted to add about that, about the canning factory, you know before the depression actually hit.
Doc: See the canning factory was in Murrells Inlet, and I never saw. They had a hot sauce, Latchcotte Hot Sauce, got in a law suit with the people who make Tabasco and a lost. Anyway, I was, those were all cousins, they weren’t my immediate family.
Lee: And the truck farms included (Wheelbrook – name?) and things being grown at Litchfield.
Doc: Yeah and then later years, George (Trash – Name?), came down to Myrtle Beach. He grew up in Wilmington. His family still lives in Myrtle Beach today. But they had Woodville, and then he rented places at Wheelbrooke, Litchfield, Waverly, Lower Waverly, Caledonia, down at Hagley. He rented all these fields and had truck crops.
Trisha: Crops included…?
Doc: Radish, carrots, cabbage, potatoes, peas.
Lee: What about tomatoes? Things you could ship? Turnips, greens?
Doc: See they had a, right on that five corner, Henry came up there to work for them. Ended up being the magistrate, and had grocery stores at Pawleys. But he work for (Trash family Name?) for a long time. The Trash family (name?) they had cousins down in Beaufort that had crops and in Wilmington. Like my daughter married into a family whose uncle, my son-in-law’s uncle is a Trash.
Lee: And whites and blacks worked those farms?
Doc: That’s correct.
Lee: Was that day labor? Were they paid by the day or by the week?
Doc: I assume they were paid by the day. Whatever they picked, they were paid by that. I had nothing to do with that, so I can’t give you a complete answer on that.
Lee: One of the pay stations still stands. We were getting a photograph back toward Waverly, y’all know what I mean by pay station – just a little wooden building that would be open on pay day. There was a pay station that stood for a number of years right at the corner that Doc was talking about; that one is gone, but there is still one that remains.
Doc: But you know they had a grocery store back on River Road back at that five-way stop, and they were paid by coupon. You redeemed the coupon at the store. I’ve seen some of those. I think I’ve got one in my living room now. I saved it.
Lee: Like script? And that’s important for y’all to remember, too. Before the bridge was built and before hwy 17 was built, River Rd. and King’s Hwy were still major thoroughfares, and as Doc talks about that 5-way stop, it’s on River Rd. that ran the Waccamaw Neck that runs from plantation to plantation is where all the stores were located.
Doc: Not on the seashore like….We use to have several stores on Pawleys Island, but they got so fancy over there with the corporations they don’t allow it.
Lee: There was even a gas station on Pawleys Island. Stop and think about that.
Doc: That’s right.
Lee: do you have a memory or knowledge of when Parker’s Store was first built on the King’s Hwy, which is now Pettigrew Rd. Can you remember when the Parkers first built that store?
Doc: Pettigrew Road is not King’s Hwy. I don’t think. You talking about the old original King’s Hwy?
Lee: Well really just talking about the old Parker’s store, before they picked it up and moved it to the highway.
Doc: I thought it was always on the highway.
Lee: The Parkers said they picked it up and moved it to the highway when that became the major thoroughfare.
Doc: I don’t remember that. But there were two Parker’s Stores. One where Watt Stromans office is (name?) up near Litchfield. And the one there is now, and someone is buying that and moving it right now to redo it.
Lee: Why two stores?
Doc: There were two brothers. Each one had a store. Then you had Marlowe’s Store and Latchicotte Store. Latchicotte Store use to be on the main causeway then moved to its present location. Then you had a store across the road called Densonvich (name?), remember that?
Lee: I’ve written about it. They were immigrants that took the name Denson, it’s in Pawleys Island: Stories from the Porch, and they were the ones that were about where Hardees is located, and the CVS store. And they even put in an amusement park and nighttime lights and mini-golf. But I think your point is there were a lot more stores that people would generally think. But by the time…are you talking post-WWII?
Doc: No, they were pre-WWII. And also they, the Marlowe’s, right by my present-day office. That store was built in the 1930s also.
Trisha: Doc, we are working five categories of our story and you are providing a lot of continuity for us. But our five categories are community, which is how people interacted or didn’t interact – what were the boundaries in those interactions. We have one interview with a brother and a sister who have since passed on who were members at Holy Cross, and the sister talks about how she was in the other church members homes, the white church members homes, and the brother stops her and says, “you were in the kitchen”. And so it was kind of that moment of, oh! That was one example, and we’ve got many others. We are also talking about land development because clearly the development of the, the sale of the plantations, began to really change things here, that we are assuming. Transportation, obviously the building of the bridge and the roads. The fourth is really faith and church with Holy Cross as a place where a lot of transition has happened there, and the fifth one there is sort of this migration. I love the fact of when the Yankees came down and bought the plantations, that was a beginning of an inward migration, and maybe there was an outward migration. So, that’ll give you a sense of where we are going with our questions.
Doc: One of the, I just met a guy this week whose grandfather bought True Blue back in 1939. And we, and when I say we I mean a group of about 15 of us, put together in 1971 bought it. And now we have Heritage Golf course on the river, Larry Young put that in. We built True Blue.
[Talk about golf courses and golfing]

Trisha: So you see where you’re helping us fill in some of those blanks about relationships.

Doc: The interesting thing is that the grandson of the man who bought it, he would fly down from Syracuse. And there’s an old airstrip within Heritage. There’s an old airstrip and they use to come down here flying the twin-engine planes. The airstrip is still there.
Lee: I enjoyed my with Mr. and Mrs. Brace (name?). They’re old friends now. When I called Doc to set this interview up, he said, “Oh, while I got you on the phone…” and I hadn’t asked him my favor yet, so Doc is paying us back with this interview. But in 1939 Mr. Brace bought True Blue. And of course there was an airstrip at True Blue, and Baruch had an airstrip here, although it was a bit later. But Syracuse, NY…
Doc: We had Brace and Mueller come in, and the interesting thing about Mueller, they were friends when he had his business was caskets. Mueller’s Casket Company. Made caskets for all the people up north. I told him I didn’t want him to get too darn close to me. I wasn’t ready yet.
Emily: You’ve given us a lot about the time when you were growing up here. Can you talk a little bit about the time when your kids were growing up?
Doc: It was changing. I took forever to get married. Most of my cohorts married well ahead of me. I figure I waited until I got the cream. Martha and I got married in 1957, but I figure I went into business, I started out I went to Clemson and was going to be an engineer. I took one semester of calculus and trigonometry and figured out that was not for me. I ended up in horticulture. So, I ran the nursery at the family shop. We had good business in the summer and no business in the winter. One of the reasons thank God for these plantations was because they would come over and shop. But when I got in the business we had one shop, and now there are 20 shops. I think I probably drove my father crazy because every year we would build another shop. Martha did all the buying. I could build the buildings, but I learned long ago that I was not a buyer. I’d either buy too much or not enough. There’s an art to buying stuff for the shop.
Trisha: And your wife, Martha, where did she grow up?
Doc: Winsborrow (name? Williamsborrow?), SC.
Trisha: That’s a ways from here. Did you meet her at Clemson?
Doc: I met her at Pawleys Island. I was fixing a boat at the bridge that was about to sink. And she went with my sister at Winthrop, and she said, “I want you to meet somebody.” And I was not much in the mood with that boat sinking, but anyway we made it.
Lee: And the original building for your shop. Can you tell the history of that?
Doc: That was built in 1938, and she had books and prints. And mother did the buying for that building. And we added on to that, it was the first building that we added on to.
Lee: That building was the one you built, and not one that was moved from somewhere else?
Doc: The original structure, he bought the land and built the building and stocked it for 1500 dollars. Back in those days, things were cheap.
Lee: So it was one of the few buildings that wasn’t picked up and moved from somewhere else.
Doc: Now we moved the Post Office at one time. And the old school in Waverly, everybody went there and then went to college. Then we had a couple of those buildings. Anyway, it was fun.
Gillian: I have a question. You talked about your upbringing, how everybody played together and did things together, I wanted to know if that transcended the playground. If you guys spent times at each other’s homes, if you visited the same churches. Did you go to the same churches? How much interaction?
Doc: Well, we went to various homes. We didn’t do too much mixing in the churches. But, we were all friends. And I don’t ever remember an incident in my childhood, and I’m not saying they didn’t ever – I don’t remember – but we primarily did…there weren’t any playgrounds. I remember we had a small pine tree that we stuck a basketball goal on. We’d have to come until they dropped that toll on the bridge, we had no overnight sports. We fished together, hunted together, and did other things, but we had no organized games.
Emily: Could you speak too whether that was different for your kids? Did everybody still run together, did they still play together? Or was it different?
Doc: I would say it’s different probably. See, you had grammar schools over…I remember I sent my kids, I don’t remember the year the grammar school was built –not that long ago, maybe 20 years ago wasn’t it?
Lee: Early 1970s, you talking about Waccamaw Elementary? That was the early 1970s.
Doc: See up until then you went to Georgetown. The kids in Murrells Inlet went to Myrtle Beach. Then they built the high school, but they had a couple. They had Winyaw Acadamy – some of the kids went, but it was pretty expensive as I remember. Then you had Winyaw High School and then you had Howard, and they merged when?
Lee: Pretty late. Georgetown High School did not properly open until 1984. You had some mix of students going, like Lynn Besselieu, the twins, went to Winyaw High School. The black students went to Winyaw High School, although it was still technically Howard – black and Winyaw – white because they had the college prep. So you got special permission, and there were a few whites that went to the black Howard school.
Trisha: And what year are you referencing?
Lee: It didn’t actually change until 1984 when the new Georgetown High School opened and the others became vocational schools.
Doc: My oldest child finished the Winyaw Academy, and the middle child went to Winyaw High School, and Lu (name?) tried the academy first and decided they liked the high school better, so they went to the academy.
Trisha: And so for the black children here on the Waccamaw Neck, even after federal integration came in, they were still…
Doc: A lot of them went to Miss Ruby’s school. And to be honest with you, I think that was one of the better schools in the county. She gave personal attention and so did he. I don’t know too many students who came out of there that weren’t well versed in a great many more things than the kids coming out of public schools.
Lee: And of course Miss Ruby’s was a private church school at Holy Cross Faith Memorial, but also simultaneously Rosenwall, Julius Rosenwall (name?) had established a school, I think about 1915 at the site of the present-day Parkersville Elementary School that was public and was black about the age of your children. And even today at that same site where Rosenwall helped establish a school, Parkersville Elementary opened for years and years. That school building, that site, is still being used as a Pawleys Island child development center. So, that’s real ground zero for black education at Pawleys. When and why did your elementary school close? When did it close and then children had to be bused all the way into Georgetown? Why not have kept it open, and was it considered private or public?
Doc: Public.
Lee: It was public, at the intersection close to where McDonald’s is today is where his school was.
Doc: I’m trying to think…
Lee: I mean, you hate to think about that transportation all the way into town.
Doc: I think probably ten years after I finished, but then the kids had to go to Georgetown. I remember we had to push the worst bus in the whole county. It had to be made in the early 1930s, Mr. Dick Austin drove it, going to all these plantations. But, I think they started busing things to Georgetown….
Lee: I was just wondering, why not keep the children at the Waverly school on the highway? Why close that school and send them all the way into town. That’s really my question.
Doc: I don’t know. I really don’t. I’m not that familiar with it because I finished, and I was working, and I didn’t get married until 1957, and it was the 1960s before I had any kids.
Lee: And you started school in 1932, and that school building was brand new. Y’all actually moved in in October from attending a school in a house across the street, and it was all white and remained all white until it closed.
Doc: And then it became a parish house for All Saint’s church.
Emily: You said you started having kids in the 1960s. What was Pawleys like at that point? From the 1960s on, I’m sure it was really turning and growing big here.
Doc: Well, you know, there were more activities on Pawleys when I was a child. Now, if you want my opinion, it’s just a bunch of stale folks that don’t want anything to do with the rest of the community.
Emily: What was the community like?
Doc: You had a bowling alley, you had a drug store, you had a little grocery store, you had a chapel, you had a little coffee (unclear), and you had a pavilion. Everybody went to the pavilion. It burned and then they built another one. Two of them burned. Then, I remember (unclear)I was home on leave, and I just found out that the Japanese surrendered. You talk about somebody having a good time that night, that was me. But they would have dances, but you don’t see any of that now. They drive to Myrtle Beach. Well, you didn’t have cars back in my day. Or, nobody could afford one.
Lee: And there were some blacks that worked at those businesses on the island. I know there were some black boys that set the pins at those bowling alleys.
Doc: I was right in there with them.
Lee: Were you? You were working for Mr. King?
Doc: Yeap. And, over there now, every house you see is either permanent or a rental house. No activity on the beach. I don’t know of a single thing other than the Pelican Inn, do you?
Lee: Sea View Inn still has, it operates as an inn almost all year long. And they have a large dinning room that they’re opening to members of the public with reservations could come in and eat.
Doc: Well, it isn’t air conditioned, is it?
Lee: No, no. Who needs air conditioning? (laughter)
Doc: I tell you, on a hot July day…
Lee: And it’s like women and black men have served in the kitchen and as maintenance staff at the Sea View Inn and the Pelican, and a few other Doc mentioned. They were famous for their black cooks. But so many of those customers at the pavilion and those other places you mentioned, all of those customers were white. There were places where the blacks might have gone.
Doc: Really, the black pavilion was…Frank Mackenzie had it. It was on the marsh, just behind the north causeway. You know where Mackenzie hotel was? A fella, one of the blacks that was involved in it was from Sumter, I can’t think of his name.
Lee: The Teals, the Manigaults (spelling?), and Majestca Simpsons (name/spelling?) had something to do with it. And the Piats (spelling?) But, before…
Doc: They own a third of what’s there now. You had lots over on the beach…
Lee: Oh, Morris. You mean the Morrises from the Sumter?
Doc: No, not Morris. It’s a prominent family in Sumter, a black family. And Keith Hinson and Wilbert Smith were with him. And they’ve got 4 lots over there. How they’re going to get to them, I don’t know. The last lot at Litchfield is 1 foot. And they aren’t giving it up.
Lee: And before Frank Mackenzie, there was somebody that really started it before you were a child. You remember Ligan Piat (name spelling?)? Because Frank took it over after Hazel. So, in the 1930s, what do you remember about that black beach resort?
Doc: Really you had to run the drive way where it is now, and the pavilion was right over there by the creek where everybody went swimming.
Lee: And do you remember…?
Doc: I remember there was a boardwalk going over there toward the beach prior to Hazel, and they never rebuilt it.
Trisha: We’ve got about 10 minutes left, so does everybody want to collect and make sure: What are the questions that we really, really want to make sure we ask.
Mandy: I have one. You talk about the community and the way it was when you were growing up and how everybody got a long. Do you think the land development actually dispersed the community and got rid of that community feel with all the other people sort of moving in and building?
Doc: Well, there are a lot of people over there right now that I don’t know. I think as a whole, it’s a good place to live. You don’t have the closeness that we use to have. I remember one thing that we did that I enjoyed: Once a month you’d go to somebody’s house with food and music. They’d have it up at Pawleys and they’d have it down here or at Arcadia. See, all the overseers were in the church. You know like down here or, and rather than having at the church you would go to these various homes. And you’d have music, and some could sing and pianos or whatever. I use to look forward to that. They always had something good to eat. But, that’s one thing that I miss today. We just don’t do that anymore.
Mandy: So you think everybody just does their own thing, basically.
Doc: I think so. Almost like any other town, I guess.
Lee: One thing you mentioned was that we didn’t mix much in the churches. And one thing that I think has been so overwhelmingly nice since I moved here since 1984, I found that Bill and I were often invited to Mt. Zion, to – I mean obviously we went to funerals, of course more now. It seemed like there was always such openness and a willingness to include community members at black churches. I’ve been lucky to go to Mt. Zion and St. Johns more than any, and Holy Cross Faith Memorial. But I wonder, was it not so much the case when you were growing up? Where you would have attended a funeral or simply done something else to show your respect.
Doc: I don’t know how many black funerals I’ve been to, but I’ve been to a bunch of them and spoken at a lot of them.
Lee: And you went as a child as well, did your parents go…that far back?
Doc: My mother and others, when Miss Lucille Lachicotte, someone died she went to all of them. I went to the ones I knew.
Lee: Then weddings? How about weddings? Do you ever remember being included as a child or a young adult in weddings in black churches?
Doc: Yeah. They’ve been mighty nice to me through the years. I don’t know why.
Lee: But I think for y’all, I mean funerals are one thing because it doesn’t require an invitation and everybody that knows might come. But I think a wedding is something different, and on Sunday mornings how much are we included. I mean, it was definitely black churches and white churches as opposed to what we see now in a certain way at HCFM and there are a few non-denominational churches that might have mixed-race congregations, but it was very separate.
Doc: See, the guy who leads the music in our church is black.
Trisha: What is your church, Doc?
Doc: The Abbey, Litchfield Plantation.
Lee: And what denomination is that?
Doc: Anglican
Lee: Just for the record.
Doc: Not Episcopalian, but Anglican.
Gillian: I have a question. After your family started to acquire a lot of land, did it change or affect your relationship with the blacks that you grew up with?
Doc: I didn’t acquire that much land. But the, I went in with some cousins and we went into a camp ground in Myrtle Beach. We lucked up and just happened to get it, and thank God we did. But, since then we bought Caledonia and we used it as a place to go fishing and other things. And, the fact that the guy that’s helping us build up the clubhouse is a black contractor, and really a nice guy. We’ve had that golf course now…we bought the place in 1970 and in 1993 we built the golf course, and we built the second golf course in 1996. I never thought I’d be in the golf business, but thank God; I praise the Yankees that come down.
Trisha: Two things: First, the camp ground is Pirate Land, which is one of the big ones right where Ocean Lakes and all those are right there together. And this is just for the record, Caledonia is considered one of the top 100 golf courses in the United States. It’s been on that list, I think, for years and years.
Doc: We’ve been very fortunate.
Lee: And Gillian, I think about what you said, and of course his parents and grand-parents and even great-grand-parents were purchasing property right at the close of the American Civil War. Then this transition with Doc and his partners, I want to ask Doc: Do you think very many of your employees at Caledonia, True Blue, Pirate Land, are people that are black and grew up on the Waccamaw Neck? Is it fair to say that a number of the employees…?
Doc: Yeah, I’d say half. The other half is probably from South America.
Lee: Right.
Doc: Whether we like it or not they are coming in.
Lee: Gillian, where are you from?
Gillian: South America. But I’m West Indian, so I’m there physically, but culturally I’m kind of pegged some place else.
Lee: But that’s what I hear a lot. I meet people who their grand-parents and parents, and they themselves, have worked for the Lachicotte family, either Captain Doc or Lil’ Doc sitting with us…for generations. And the ability to, even though the property has changed hands for more from a rice consortium, to a truck farm, to a boarding house on the beach, to mid-twentieth century hunting because y’all leased it, and then to gated communities. Is it fair to say that there has been a continuity of employment? It’s like the Lachicotte family and the Grates, or Grants, or Piats; you could probably trace that family tree…
Doc: I tell you, I just as soon not…cut that thing off for just a second…just this week I wrote a check for three black families, but I try to do things when they need help. I don’t want to publicize it, but they come to me because I’ve known them for years. I’m the guy they come to because I know them. They don’t know all these tourists. So, they come to me. You can’t turn them down; they are people I’ve known for years. Some of them are sick and can’t do, some are single families. But I don’t want that public on this.
Trisha: We certainly will respect that. So, Doc, any last thoughts for us?
Lee: What do you most want people to know? What do you want to get across about the history of the Waccamaw Neck?
Doc: I think the Waccamaw Neck still has great potential. I think we need to have more continuity of people gathering together. I don’t know a lot of these northerners coming in. I’m not saying they aren’t good people; I’m just saying I personally don’t know them. The ones I’ve gotten to be close with are really nice people. But, Myrtle Beach…we’ve been able on the south end to have more of a family look than the rest of the beach in my opinion.
Gillian: And that’s very important to this concept of community, too. Because the community, you have one sense of what it is, and now in one sense as it is developing and people are coming in and changing the closeness that some of you regard as community.
Doc: I’ve seen all this growth since, in my lifetime, I’ll be 90 in September, so I’ve been here a while, and it’s more than I ever dreamed. What will happen in the next 90 years? Is it going to be flooded with people? I think whether we like it or not – whether we want it or don’t want it – people from the NC/VA line to St. Augustine, Florida and east of 95 is going to be loaded with people.
Trisha: Then a hurricane is going to wipe us all out, and we will have to start over.
Doc: Could be, but I think it’s going to happen. I really do. But when you think about it, they are coming whether we like it or not.
Trisha: There is a stat, maybe it’s about 75 years old, but it’s like 75% of citizens in the US live within a hundred miles of…
Lee: It’s one of my favorite quotes: That 65% of the American population lives near or on water. Now that might be retention ponds, but on or near water. Coastal, you know people moving to the coast. And yet the construction of gated communities and golf courses, since your first Pirate Land, you have aided in that growth. You have attracted these northerners. Give me an examples of the gatherings that you think would be ideal.
Doc: Well, I tell you, I like to eat.
Lee: I think that’s a big, big, we can answer that, and I love to think that part of what a community can do is host programs that may or may not include food, but that’s been our great…
Doc: Well, I think one of the great things is this place right here (Hobcaw Barony) and Brookgreen Garden, and attractions on this end of the beach to keep us from looking like the rest of Myrtle Beach. North Myrtle beach is honky tonk. I’m comparing to what if could be. It’s a great strand, but I think they need to…I think it’s improved a lot. At one time…don’t you think so?
Mandy: I think they’ve done a lot to try and rectify that.
Trisha: You know when you’re almost 90, you get to say what you think.
Doc: We own some lands in Myrtle Beach on the west side of the Broadway, so I can’t say too much bad about it. But what I’m saying is, it’s different from down this way. Litchfield you know, they came in 1957and that was a great development.
Mandy: And there weren’t the big families there like there were here. My family was one of the first ones there, the Nixons.
{More General Conversation, but nothing that can really be used as there is a lot of talking going on at once}
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