Reunion of Upcountry Families planned this week

Local author and veteran journalist Dot Jackson, left, chats with visitors at last year’s Reunion of Upcountry Families. This year’s reunion is scheduled for March 12-14, with family history workshops, cemetery tours and historic displays.

CENTRAL — Many are unaware that the area encompassing modern-day Anderson, Oconee and Pickens counties was once known as the Pendleton District.

This area has a rich family history that deserves to be captured and preserved for future generations. A free event takes place each year that highlights this history, and the public is invited.

During the Reunion of Upcountry Families, history comes alive through photos, memorabilia and stories told by members of Upstate families who settled in the area a century or more ago. This event, which takes place March 12-14, will include cemetery tours, workshops devoted to family history and a large display of items from local families of the Old Pendleton District.

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. Also planned that afternoon is “Beginning Genealogy for Children,” a kid-friendly presentation geared toward third- through sixth-graders. At 5 p.m. there will be an open house in the library’s Mary Oates Gregorie Historical Room. At 7 p.m. there will be a presentation titled “Lewis Redmond and Manse Jolly: Upcountry Bad Boys.” Admission is $10 for this 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 on Friday is planned a tour of the Anderson County Genealogical Library. At 5 p.m. there will be a tour and dinner at Collins Cole Towne, 228 Lawton Road in Central. Cost for the meal is $18. Following the dinner, Dennis Chastain, local outdoorsman, will give a free presentation titled “Early Trails and Roads of the Upcountry.

From 9 a.m.-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. Blue Hill Coffee & Tea Co. will be open 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. for coffee and snacks. At 2 p.m., Virginia Pierce will give a presentation titled “Chronicling the America Newspaper Project,” and at 3 p.m., Jan Alpert, former president of the National Genealogical Society, will present “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,