Reunion of Upcountry Families planned around Pickens County

By Lynda Abegg
For the Courier

SENECA — Want to find out if there are any skeletons hiding in the closet? Mildred Brewer not only knows how to find out, she provides instructions on how to start the quest.

As a certified Daughters of the American Revolution genealogist, Brewer considers it her mission to help people find their Revolutionary War ancestors.

“Of course, you may run into all sorts of interesting relatives along the way,” Brewer said.

brewerHer presentation is part of the Reunion of Upcountry Families. In its sixth year, the three-day event is for families whose heritage goes back to the Old Pendleton District, which is comprised of the present-day counties of Anderson, Oconee and Pickens.

The free event will include genealogy workshops and cemetery tours. The final day, Saturday, will be devoted to family history, with a large display of family photos, old family Bibles and other items from local families at Southern Wesleyan University in Central.

The event will kick off on March 10 at the Captain Kimberly Hampton Memorial Library in Easley. Brewer will present a seminar entitled “Finding your Revolutionary War Ancestor with DAR Resources.”

“The DAR Library has one of the best collections of genealogical records, and there is so much history in this area,” Brewer said.

Brewer will explain how to use pension records, birth certificates and the census to locate ancestors. To register for Brewer’s seminar, call (864) 850-7077, ext. 112.

The DAR Library collection contains more than 225,000 books, 10,000 research files, thousands of manuscript items and special collections of African American, Native American and women’s history, genealogy and culture.


In its sixth year, the Reunion of Upcountry Families helps folks explore their heritage through a genealogical journey.

Nearly 40,000 family histories and genealogies comprise a major portion of the book collection, many of which are rare or available in only a few libraries in the country.

As part of the Reunion of Upcountry Families, Quientell Walker will conduct a seminar entitled “Heritage Quest and Revolutionary War Records.” Walker has a master’s degree in library science and is in charge of the historical room at the Captain Kimberly Hampton Memorial Library.

He has been interested in genealogy since he was a kid and takes pride in the historical room that contains more than 3,000 books, church histories, family histories and 1,500 rolls of microfilm from local newspapers. To register for Walker’s seminar, call (864) 850-7077, ext. 112.

“The thing I like most about my job is that I get to spend my time doing historical research, and history has always fascinated me,” Walker said.

Walker located the deed dated 1888 for land in Oconee County that was given to his ancestor, a former slave, as payment for his labor.

“That land is still being passed down by my family,” Walker added.

The Friday session will begin with a tour of the Eastatoe Valley.

“We will meet at McKinney Chapel and tour the Anderson and Nimmons cemeteries, as well as the Old Pickens Church and cemetery, ending with dinner at Collins Ole Town in Central,” event co-chair Anne Sheriff said.

Sheriff is also curator of the Clayton Genealogical Room at SWU, as well as curator of the Central History Museum.

The Saturday session will be held at SWU, with historic displays from area families and local genealogical and historical associations.

“That’s when people set up tables to display the old family Bibles and photographs and maps,” Sheriff said.

According to SWU assistant director of communications Ed Welch, Sheriff is a dedicated local historian and has been a guiding force, not only for the Clayton room, but with making the Reunion of Upcountry families the success it is today.

For information on any of the specific events, contact Kenny Blakeney at (864) 898-0840 or