1823 - 1853
1854 and on
(Sumter was originally part of Camden District)
The History of the Project
This project was born when Clara Gedding Osteen offered me the loan of her copies of old wills of Sumter District. Her copies are copies of the old book of typed up wills at the Sumter County Library. The wills were typed during the 1930s, during the era of WPA work projects as part of the CWA (Civil Works Administration) Project. The front cover states that the original belonged to the Carnegie Library in Sumter, South Carolina. The Carnegie Library evolved into the Sumter County Library during the 1960s. The old Carnegie Libary building now houses the Sumter County Archives. Clara's notebooks currently reside at the LDS Family History Research Center here in Sumter County. She made arrangements for me to borrow the notebooks so that the wills could be placed on-line to share with Sumter County researchers, all over the world via the Internet. Everyone who gets use from these wills, needs to thank Clara Osteen for her generosity. Thank you, Clara.
On Saturday, May 20, 2000 I borrowed the two notebooks from the LDS Family History Center when they opened at 10:00 a.m. My mother, Dot Lowder and I visited the Sumter County Museum for Back Country Day to hear the story teller, but by 11:15 we were xeroxing. We finished the first notebook, Volume I at about 2:00 p.m. and returned it to the Family History Center. My mother kept the other notebook to work on so that I could begin getting the word out to volunteers who would help transcribe scanned pages of the wills from Volume I. (Note on July 18th - I returned Clara's copy of Volume II on June 20, 2000.) Please thank my mother, Dot Lowder for all of the hours that she has spent xeroxing Clara's copies. Thank you Mama, for helping with this project.
I knew that the only way to get these wills on line was to ask for help, from a lot of people. The first message that I sent out was to the SCSumter mailing list. Later, I sent a message out on the SCRoots list. The response has been overwhelming. I received over 50 offers of help from folks who read those messages. They worked steadily to transcribe the wills that I sent out. I offer all of them my grateful thanks.
A great deal of thanks also goes out to a number of Alice Drive Middle School students. When I asked for volunteers to help me with a project, they didn't know anything about my work with Sumter County genealogy. Most middle schoolers aren't a bit interested in that sort of thing. But, they volunteered their study hall time anyway. I taught them how to use my scanner, and they went to work scanning, and scanning, and scanning. It took six school days to accomplish scanning Volume I. If you know any Alice Drive Middle students, ask them if they helped scan the old wills, and if they tell you that they did, please give them your thanks.
Another pair of brand new scan experts comes to mind: Dee and Ken Schmidt. My favorite cousin, Dee came over to my house on Tuesday, May 23, and took home 100 pages to scan and OCR. When we began to realize that some of the wills that I had sent out as scans to volunteers, weren't going to com back to me for posting, Dee volunteered to type the missing wills. There were almost 70. When a page came missing in the notebook, Dee has gone to the Sumter County Library to track down the missing page. Dee and her husband, Ken are always willing to give of their time and knowledge and share the wealth of Sumter District's history. Thank you Dee and Ken for being such great relatives and friends.
Once the start of school had pretty much settled down, I asked around among my 7th grade students for volunteers to once more help with the wills project. A number of students offered to help. As it turned out, all of my students who wished to volunteer had the same study hall period, 4th. That is also my planning period. At first, I trained one student, who in turned showed 3 others how to use the scanner and save the will scans. After that, I had 2 students come to my classroom during their study hall to work on the wills. We can take our time with this volume. School doesn't let out until May 18th. Their efforts will become part of Alice Drive Middle School's history. Our work preserving Sumter County's history will be documented as a service learning project for the school's SACS report this school year.
Today, I uploaded the last of the wills from Volume II to the Sumter, SCGenWeb site. I thought that we would have finished much sooner, but there have been many new demands on my free time during the past year. Once again, my cousin, Dee Lowder Schmidt came to the rescue and typed up the remaining wills needing to be transcribed.
Below, you will find listed the names of folks who have helped in one or more of the following ways: loaning the notebooks, xeroxing, scanning, donating paper or funds for copies, or transcribing the old typed copies and sending them to me to be put on a web page. If I have missed placing your name here and you helped, PLEASE let me know. I did not mean to leave you out. This project is so very big, and between coordinating it and tending to the other things that I have to get done, I may miss a name. Please forgive me and help me by letting me know about my mistake.
to send me any wills or data that you may have pertaining to
Sumter District, South Carolina. The more that we share, the
we can learn about our history...........
act of kindness reverberates across great distances and
of time, affecting lives unknown to the one whose generous
spirit was the
source of this good echo, because kindness is passed on and
time it's passed, until a simple courtesy becomes an act of
years later and far away....." This Momentous
Day , H.R. White
Robert Cooper Manning, Jr
Mary Ann Kimberl Bell
Billie H. Devane
Polly Poole Craig
Faye L. Dyess
S. J. Green
Charles E. Westberry
Katherine T. Fowler
Thomas Bailey Holladay III
T. Mark James
Sara Broughton Pyle
Victoria Barrett Baker
Linda J. Warren
Elizabeth W. Noble
Betsy Pylate Simpson
Cindy Ridgeway Parker
Thank you all very, very much...........
1823 - 1853
1854 and on