Saturday, May 21, 2016

A Year and a Day

May 21, 2016

Greetings to all. Thank you for visiting.

On May 20 of last year, the last installment of Greyback Diary was posted. At the time, I had thought that I would have no need to return for another posting; after all, David Tooms, the diarist of this blog, was dead.

However, nostalgia (or lunacy) has prompted me to return one last (?) time. I'd like to revisit some of the places mentioned in Tooms' diary to show what they look like today, along with a few that he would just as soon never have seen had he lived.

On the left is Fyler's Store and the Post Office is on the right. Tooms purchased some supplies at Fyler's before departing Beaufort to to an army training camp in Columbia.

There was an incident that Tooms witnessed at the Post Office. A young wag, not in the army, received a package from some unnamed ladies which contained a petticoat and a note suggesting that trousers were for men and the petticoat was more his style. Tooms wrote about this in his diary, which he bought at Fyler's.

The Lipsitz Store, built in 1883 on the site of Fyler's store and the Post Office, served the city for decades until finally going out of business early this century. At present, it is mostly unoccupied.

This is the St. Helena Episcopal Church. Tooms leased his property to the rector,  Reverend Walker, before leaving for Columbia.

St. Helena Episcopal Church as it appears today.

Tooms and several other fresh fish attended a ball at the Verdier House in their honor the night before they left Beaufort for training. It is said that the Marquis de Lafayette addressed a throng of citizens from the second story balcony. The image is from 1863 and the figures in the photo are Union troops. Beaufort was occupied by the North in November of 1861 and remained that way for the rest of the war.

The Verdier House is currently operated by the Historic Beaufort Foundation as a museum.

In more peaceful times, before the war, Tooms would visit the John Haberham House for a meal. Tooms would have not have seen it in this usage, a commissary for Union troops.

When I moved to Beaufort some years ago, the bottom story was a very nice book store, now out of business. Today, there's a high-end antique shop there. I have never seen any activity on the second story.

This is the W.C. Danner & Co. store. When Tooms needed a new shirt or pair of trousers, this is where he purchased them. In this wartime image, the pier sign referred to Saxton Pier No. 2. The pier was named after Rufus Saxton, the Union military commander of Beaufort. The pier was one of several along the Beaufort River waterfront.

In this image, the Danner store is currently on the right of the Bay Street Trading Co. Its' third story has been replaced by an overhang extending from the Trading Co. The large opening in the center of the ground floor still leads to the waterfront.

According to the New South newspaper of May 20, 1865, Tooms body was found, shot in the head, on the Charleston Road where it crosses the Combahee River. The river is pronounced Cumbee.  If Worchester, Massachusetts can be pronounced Wooster, than Combahee is Cumbee.

This is where Tooms was found by a passing patrol of the 4th Massachusetts Cavalry.

The area today. Where Tooms crossed the Combahee is where now is the...

In 1863, Harriet Tubman was a participant in a Union raid up the Combahee from Beaufort. The affair is described on the signage below.

Harriet Tubman worked in Beaufort and the surrounding areas with "contrabands", as newly-freed slaves were called. She assisted them to make the leap from slaves to free people.

These slaves might have been helped by Tubman. This was taken at the James Joyner Smith plantation in Beaufort.

I am very glad that my first excursion into the blogosphere, Greyback Diary, has concluded. It was a long four years. The amount of time and research that went into this effort was beyond description, but that was absolutely necessary if this was to have any credibility. Those of you who have to do research as part of your jobs will know what I'm talking about.

And yet, in a way, I miss it.There were many thrills of discovery as I uncovered some OMG fact that just turned me around in a different direction. There were some "Holy s--t" moments, too. It's all good. Sometimes, I return and read some of my postings and wish I would have changed...

Will I ever do another blog after the work I put into the last one? Well, the centennial of America's entry in the Great War is just next year. I should know better but history is my life's-blood.

When this blog was ongoing, each diary entry began with a wartime photograph. I'll end this the same way. This image speaks for itself.