Deep roots

Annual Reunion of Upcountry Families

set for March 12-14

CENTRAL — The public is invited to the Reunion of Upcountry Families on March 12-14.

The free event will include cemetery tours, workshops devoted to family history and a large display of photos and other items from local families of the Old Pendleton District, which became present-day Anderson, Oconee and Pickens counties.

Families whose heritage goes back at least a century in the Old Pendleton District are urged to participate in the March 14 reunion display at Southern Wesleyan University by buying a table and displaying family photos, old family Bibles and other historical memorabilia. To reserve a table, contact Kenny Blakeney at (864) 898-0840, email or email Judy Long at There is a $20 cost to reserve a table, payable to the Central Heritage Society, 416 Church St., Central, SC 29630.

Group tables are also available to organizations who will enhance or contribute to genealogical research or information in the Upcountry. Examples of groups include Pickens County Library, Pickens County Genealogical Society, SAR, DAR, UDC, SCV, etc. For details or to reserve a group table, contact Brenda Meyer at

The event kicks off at 1:30 p.m., Thursday, March 12, at Captain Kimberly Hampton Memorial Library in Easley with a computer class on genealogy, a kid-friendly genealogy class and a 7 p.m. presentation titled “Bad Boys of the Upcountry,” about local legends Lewis Redmond and Manse Jolly. Admission will be $10 for the program.

On Friday, March 13, there will be a tour of various Upcountry cemeteries, including the historical Old Stone Church Cemetery and the Roberts Presbyterian Cemetery. Also planned is a tour of the Anderson County Genealogical Library and a tour and dinner at Collins Ole Towne in Central. Cost for the meal is $18. Following the dinner, local outdoorsman Dennis Chastain will give a free presentation titled “Early Trails and Roads of the Upcountry.”

From 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday, March 14, Southern Wesleyan University will host historic displays from area families as well as local genealogical and historical associations in The Founders, located on the lower level of the University Dining Commons building. There will be presentations about “Chronicling the America Newspaper Project” and “Using DNA to Supplement your Family History Research.”

Reunion visitors are also invited to Pickens Cemetery Sunday, March 15, 3 p.m., for a dedication of Confederate graves, along with identification of Revolutionary graves.

The Reunion of Upcountry Families is being sponsored by the Birchwood Center for Arts and Folklife, along with Southern Wesleyan University, the Faith Clayton Genealogy Center, the Old Pendleton District Genealogical Society, the Pickens County Historical Society, the Pickens County Museum of Art and History, Anderson Genealogical Society, the Central Heritage Society, the Pendleton District Commission and Pickens County Accommodation Tax Grant.

For details, contact the Birchwood Center at (864) 898-0840 or email Also, more information can be found online at or on the Reunion’s Facebook page,