I Remember S.I.I.,
Camp Hill

and

Family and Friends
(1945 - 1947 & Now)

By

GEORGE B. LEWIS('47)
Santee, S. C. - April 2001


IN REVIEW OF YOUR WEB PAGES AND LINKS IT SADLY LACKS STORIES OF THE OLD S.I.I. AND "THE SOUTHERN"AS IT WAS LATER CALLED. NO ONE SEEMED TO LIKE THE TERMS INDUSTRIAL OR INSTITUTION. IT COULD BE THAT NO ONE IS AROUND TO REMEMBER.

IT HAS BEEN FOREVER, YET IT SEEMS LIKE ONLY YESTERDAY. DECEMBER 1945 MY FATHER DIED. MOTHER AND I HAD TO MAKE A DECISION ON WHAT OUR FUTURE WOULD BE. WE HAD RELATIVES IN SOUTH CAROLINA AND ALABAMA, BUT MOTHER HAD FRIENDS AND HAD WORKED IN ALABAMA BEFORE SHE MARRIED MY FATHER. SHE HAD BEEN DR. WARD'S SECRETARY AT S.I.I. IN TM LATE 1920'S. SHE WAS LIKE A SECOND DAUGHTER AND WAS VERY CLOSE TO DR. WARD'S DAUGHTER MARY WARD ROSE. THEY EVEN TRAVELED UP NORTH AND I REMEMBER THE STORIES THEY TOLD. BUT, THAT IS ANOTHER PART TO THIS TALE.

MOTHER TALKED WITH AUNT MARY AND UNCLE SEMION SMITH (NO REAL KIN OF MINE), BUT UNCLE SEMION WORKED ON THE FARM AT S.l.I.) BUT THEY WERE KIN TO A FELLOW NAMED WESLEY PITTS SMITH, SHE ALSO TALKED WITH AUNT MARY LEE SMITH. FRIENDS BUT NO KIN. SW ALSO TALKED WITH A FRIEND IRMA GABBETT SHE WILL BE REMEMBERED AS DOROTHY GABBETT MOORE'S ('54) MOTHER. IT WAS DISCUSSED IN GREAT DETAIL WITH DR. WARD AND J. BRACKIN KIRKLAND, THEN PRESIDENT OF THE SCHOOL. NOW CALLED "THE SOUTHERN", SHORT FOR S.I.I. WE MOVED TO CAMP HILL IN 1946.

THIS WAS NEWS FOR ME. I HAD MET THE ABOVE REFERENCED PEOPLE IN VISITS TO CAMP HILL AND HAD ATTENDED DOROTHY'S FATHER'S FUNERAL. BUT LIVING IN A DORM WITH OTHER BOYS OLDER AND YOUNGER THAN MYSELF WAS A NEW EXPERIENCE WHICH TOOK TIME FOR ME TO ADJUST. WE HAD AN APARTMENT IN ALLEN HOUSE. MOTHER WAS ASSISTANT HOUSE MOTHER AND TEACHER. ACROSS THE HALL FROM MY ROOM LIVED "TOOTSE" INGRAM, AN OLDER FELLOW, AND HE HAD A RECORD PLAYER. HIS ROOMMATE WAS GENE FULLER. IN THE DORM WE HAD GUY SMITH ROOMING WITH PETE BROOKS. CHARLES SNIDER AND BRUCE BELL, OTHER NAMES ESCAPE ME FOR THE MOMENT, BUT THEY WILL COME BACK DURING THIS WRITING.

MRS. LIBBY WAS THE HOUSE MOTHER AND SHE HAD A BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTER NAMED JEANNE, BUT SHE HAD TO LIVE IN THE GIRLS DORM. SHE WENT ON TO NURSING SCHOOL IN BIRMINGHAM AND LATER MARRIED JACK JOHNSON. I HAVE VISITED WITH HER AND JACK ON THEIR WAY DOWN TO THEIR HOUSE IN FLORIDA.

NAMES COME BACK AS I ASSOCIATE PAIRS: JAMES ODOM AND CLEO SNOW, PETE KNIGHT LOVED A TOWN GIRL BUT DON'T THINK THEY MARRIED. BILLY WINN ALSO CAME FROM THE TOWN IN GEORGIA WHERE WE CAME FROM, THOMASTON. HE ALSO LOVED A TOWN GIRL. I HAD CRUSHES ON CYNTHIA SMITH AND BETTY KIRKLAND (NO RELATION TO J. BACKIN) KENNETH RUSSELL AND BROTHER, BILL ECHOLES. I HAVE SOME OLD PICTURES BUT I WILL HAVE TO GO BACK INTO BOXES TO SEE IF I CAN FIND THEM.

SOME OLD STORIES COME TO MIND, COL. WESLEY SMITH YOUR EX PRESIDENT AND I USE TO SLIP BEHIND TALLAPOOSA HALL LATE IN THE EVENINGS TO STEAL WATERMELONS FROM THE PATCH OF ONE O THE BLACK FAMILIES THAT LIVED THERE.

ONE EVENING, THE FACULTY AND EMPLOYEES OF THE SOUTHERN WERE INVITED TO THE KIRKLAND'S HOME. THEY LEFT SOME OF THE OLDER STUDENTS IN CHARGE OF THE DORMS. WELL SOME OF THE BOYS AND GIRLS SLIPPED OUT AND MET IN THE BOILER ROOM OF THE GIRL'S DORM AND IN THE DARK, THERE WAS A LOT OF HUGGING AND KISSING GOING ON. THEY WERE CAUGHT AND WERE SENTENCED TO 30 DAYS HARD LABOR AND ISOLATION FROM THE REST OF THE STUDENTS. TWO NAMES STAND OUT, JAMES ODOM AND BILL ECHOLES.

IN THE SPRING, ONE OF MY JOBS WAS TO HELP CLEAN AND SCRUB DOWN THE POOL THE KIRKLAND BOYS WERE ALWAYS AT HOME AND WERE LIFEGUARDS AND SUPERVISED THE POOL AREA. DICK AND BILL WERE THERE, I BELIEVE JOE WAS IN THE NAVY OR AWAY AT COLLEGE.

I WORKED ON THE FARM AND IN THE SHOP. I WAS WITH THE GROUP THAT BUILT THE BARN, HAULED ROCKS, BUILT THE FORMS AND MADE AND POURED THE CONCRETE. THE MEN IN CHARGE WERE MR. JONES AND MR. TRIMBLE. WE ALSO DUG THE DRAINAGE DITCH BEHIND THE BARN WITH DYNAMITE. WE CUT DOWN PINE TREES, SKINNED THEM, SOAKED THEM IN CREOSOTE, DUG THE HOLES AND LAID THE FENCE AROUND THE FARM. WE ALSO CUT THE FIREWOOD IN THE SAWMILL BEHIND THE DINNING HALL. WE NEVER SEEMED TO HAVE ENOUGH FIRE WOOD TO KEEP THE STOVES COOKING THE FOOD FOR THE STUDENTS. MRS. REMETT (PHONETICALLY SPELLED) WAS IN CHARGE OF THE KITCHEN AND PREPARING THE MEALS. I CAN'T REMEMBER ANY OF THE MEALS, BUT I DO REMEMBER WE SAT A TABLES OF EIGHT AND WE ALWAYS SEEMED TO HAVE ENOUGH TO EAT.

THE FACULTY IS REMEMBERED AS MISS ROSS, THE TINY LADY IN THE LIBRARY. MISS RODGERS TAUGHT ENGLISH, MR. COX, THE PRINCIPAL, TAUGHT THE SCIENCES. MRS. SULLIVAN TAUGHT DRAMA AND WAS IN CHARGE OF THE PLAYS. "SEVEN KEYS TO BALPAIR" WAS PRESENTED THE YEAR I REMEMBER MOST, BECAUSE I WAS CAST IN ONE OF THE ROLES. THERE WAS ALSO A SHAKESPEAREAN PLAY, "THE MERCHANT OF VENICE", PRESENTED. WHY CAN'T REMEMBER THE LADY WHO TAUGHT SOCIAL STUDIES AND HISTORY. IT JUST CAME BACK VERNA VICKERY.

MANY OF THE TOWN PEOPLE CAME TO "THE SOUTHERN", I REMEMBER THE AARON GIRLS, ROSCOE PRAYER '47 SON OF THE UNIVERSALIST CHURCH'S PREACHER, PAUL LARUE MILLIRONS '46. THERE WAS A STORY THAT I HEARD, WESLEY AND ROSCOE WOULD TAKE PAUL'S LUNCH AND EAT IT ON THE WAY TO SCHOOL. PAUL STARTED LIFTING WEIGHTS AND LEARNED TO TAKE CARE OF HIMSELF AND THE LUNCH TAKING STOPPED.

I LEFT THAT SUMMER OF 1947 TO GO TO COLUMBIA MILITARY ACADEMY IN COLUMBIA, TENNESSEE. I WILL ALWAYS BE THANKFUL TO "THE SOUTHERN" FOR TEACHING ME HOW TO WORK WITH MY HANDS, HOW TO LIVE IN A REGIMENTED LIFE AND HOW TO LIVE WITHIN A MILITARY ENVIRONMENT. I GRADUATED FROM COLUMBIA IN 1949. WENT TO GEORGIA TECH FOR A YEAR THEN WENT INTO THE AM FORCE TO BENEFIT FROM THE G. I. BILL SO THAT I COULD CONTINUE MY COLLEGE EDUCATION.

WE CONTINUED TO LIVE IN CAMP HILL AND CALL IT HOME. I WENT TO JACKSONVILLE STATE TEACHERS COLLEGE (GUY JENNINGS AND DOROTHY GABBETT MOORE), AUBURN WITH HARRY DANIEL, NANCY CHESTER, THE MAYTON GIRLS, AND TOMMY PRUITT. I MARRIED A SOUTH CAROLINA GIRL THAT I MET WHILE IN CHARLES SULLIVAN'S (MRS. SULLIVAN'S SON WHO TAUGHT DRAMA AT "THE SOUTHERN") WEDDING. SHE WAS TEACHING AT HUNTINGDON COLLEGE IN MONTGOMERY. I GRADUATED IN 1957. WE HAD 3 CHILDREN AND CONTINUED TO CALL CAMP HILL HOME. WE MOVED TO SOUTH CAROLINA IN 1967, MOTHER DIED IN 1968. BUT I CONTINUED M KEEP IN TOUCH WITH THE CAMP HILL PEOPLE. I WAS IN THE WEDDINGS OF TOMMY PRATT, GUY JENNINGS, AND TOM MALONE.

AFTER MOTHER DIED AND WE HAD MOVED TO SOUM CAROLINA, I WENT INTO THE FIELD OF EDUCATION, I HAD WORKED IN THE PROPERTY AND CASUALTY FIELD OF INSURANCE UP UNTIL THIS TIME. SEVERAL THINGS THAT I AM PROUD OF, I WAS THE FIRST WHITE TO WORK IN THE ALL BLACK SCHOOLS IN THE DISTRICT WHERE WE LIVED, I HELPED TO WRITE THE DESECRATION PLAN FOR THE DISTRICT THAT WAS ACCEPTED BY THE FEDERAL COURTS, I WAS ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL IN THE ALL BLACK HIGH SCHOOL, PRINCIPAL IN THE FIRST INTEGRATED MIDDLE SCHOOL IN THE DISTRICT. BUT IN 1970, I WAS DIVORCED AND CAME BACK TO ALABAMA.

I LEARNED THAT JAMES ODOM WAS THE FIRE CHIEF IN MONTGOMERY AND PETE KNIGHT WORKED FOR ONE OF THE LOCAL BANKS. I DID NOT GET TO SEE ANY OF THESE GUYS. I BECAME FRIENDS WITH TOMMY BLAKE, AN ALUMNI OF THE OLD S.l.l. AND KNEW HIS WIFE FROM CAMP HELL, MAUDE GREENE.

MAUDE KELLY BLAKE IS NOW LIVING IN COLUMBIA SOUTH CAROLINA, ALONG WITH TWO OF HER CHILDREN. SHE IS IN A RETIREMENT HOME.

I REMARRIED IN 1974 AND MOVED TO JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA WHERE MY THIRD SON MICHAEL WAS BORN. I RETIRED FROM ELECTRONIC DATA SYSTEMS IN 1989. THIS WAS THE COMPANY THAT ROSS PEROE FOUNDED AND LATER SOLD TO GENERAL MOTORS FOR TWO AND ONE HALF BILLION DOLLARS. I MOVED BACK TO SOUTH CAROLINA WHERE MY OTHER FAMILY LIVES. I HAVE THREE SONS, ONE DAUGHTER AND THREE GRANDSONS AND GRANDDAUGHTERS. WE ALL LIVE WITHIN TEN MILES OF EACH OTHER.

MY HEALTH HAS BEEN GOOD IN SPITE OF A RIGHT KNEE REPLACEMENT AND OPEN HEART SURGERY. I CONTINUE TO WORK WHEN I CAN AND WILL DO SO AS LONG AS I AM ABLE.

WE LIVE IN SANTEE, SOUTH CAROLINA ON LAKE MARION. WE ARE ON INTERSTATE 1-95, COME BY TO SEE US.

SINCERELY,

GEORGE B. LEWIS

GBLEWISJR@TRI-COUNTYELECTRIC.NET


GEORGE LEWIS' CONTINUED COMMENTS ON S.I.I.

I REMEMBER HAVING SUNDAY DINNERS WITH THE WARDS WHEN THEIR DAUGHTER MARY WARD ROSE CAME FOR A VISIT. MOTHER AND MARY WARD WERE CLOSE WHEN SHE LIVED IN CAMP HILL AND BEFORE HER MARRIAGE TO CAWFORD ROSE SR. AND MOVED TO LOUISIANA.

MARY WARD ROSE AND CRAWFORD HAD TWO CHILDREN, CRAWFORD, JR. AND MARY. MARY WAS NAMED FOR HER MOTHER, GRANDMOTHER, AND THE EVER FAITHFUL MARY WHO WAS COOK AND HOUSEKEEPER AND COMPANION TO THE WARDS FOR YEARS.

CRAWFORD, JR AND I WERE ABOUT THE SAME AGE AND I REMEMBER QUITE WELL WHEN HE CAME FOR A VISIT IN THE LATE 40'S, WE WOULD DRIVE ABOUT THE CAMPUS AND LOCAL AREAS IN DR. WARD'S STUDEBAKER SEDAN.

I THINK CRAWFORD ROSE CAN BE REACHED IN LA, (phone # deleted by the editor). MY LAST MEETING WITH HIM AND HIS FAMILY WAS IN THE EARLY 60'S WHEN I WENT TO NEW ORLEANS ON SOME FLOOD CLAIMS, CALLED CRAWFORD AND HAD A NICE MEAL WITH HIM AND HIS FAMILY.

I AM SURE HIS MOTHER HAS PASSED, AND HAVE NO IDEA ABOUT YOUNG MARY, THE DAUGHTER.

I AM SURE CRAWFORD, JR. COULD WRITE SOME INTERESTING STORMS ABOUT HIS GRANDPARENTS.

IN REVIEWING THE STORIES AND WRITINGS, I HAVE YET TO FIND AN AUTOBIO OF DR. WARD. MAYBE I HAVE MISSED IT SOME WHERE.

FOLLOWING DR. WARD WAS J. BRACKIN KIRKLAND. I KNEW MOST OF HIS SONS AND DAUGHTER MAINLY DICK AND JOE FOR THEY WERE YOUNG ADULTS WHEN I WAS A YOUNGER ADULT.

DICK ALWAYS KEPT THE POOL AND ACTED AS LIFEGUARD. HE MARRIED A LOCAL CAMP HILL GIRL, AND TIM LAST I HEARD WAS WITH TOE ORPHANS IN SELMA, ALABAMA. I HAVEN'T HEARD ABOUT JOE, THE OTHER BROTHER AND THE DAUGHTER.

ARE THERE STORES ABOUT THESE YOUNG PEOPLE?

I WILL TRY TO REMEMBER THE NAMES OF SOME OF THE STUDENTS AT S.I.I. WHEN I WAS THERE:

BROTHER AND SISTER, JEAN AND JIMMY ROGERS, BIRMINGHAM.
ED SNOW, WHO I BELIEVE LOST A LEG IN A WAR.
JIMMY BROOKS, WHO LOST HIS LIFE WHILE IN USAF PILOT TRAINING AT SELMA, AL.
     (Editor's note -The LWMA indoor rifle range and a scholarship fund are named for him.)
VIRGINIA GILBERT CYNTHIA SMITH
BETTY KIRKLAND AND BROTHER (?)
DONALD MAULDIN, BIRMINGHAM, COUSIN TO JEANNE LIBBY.
JACK "CAT BRAINS" MARION
GRACIA JANSIK, FROM FLORIDA
CLEO SNOW
(PETE) LESLEY WILKINS BROOKS, A CAREER ARMY PERSON, STOPPED BY FOR A VISIT WITH MOTHER AND I IN THE 50'S.
GUY SMITH
EARL SMITH



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