Happenings at Camp Jackson

The Fallen Horse

This gentleman was riding his horse down the road near Colonel’s Creek and John Wise’s store around 1917. You could hear in the background the thunder of the cannons and an occasional chatter of machine gun fire.

The army had secured the land for the new army camp and had begun

training. Many of the landowners were still on their land after have been given time to finish up their personal business.

All of a sudden the horse reared up and fell down. After examination of the horse a single bullet wound was found. One of the stray bullets had somehow gotten off range and struck the horse.




Incident At The Store


John Wise had turned his store over to his son Henry Wise to operate. On this day there were several men in the store. One gentleman, Mr. Shannon came in with his shotgun and told Wise he was going to kill him. As he pointed the gun at Wise another gentleman, a drummer (salesman), fell across the barrel of the gun forcing it down. The gun went off and struck Henry Wise in his hip area.

A mattress was placed into a wagon and Wise was transported into Columbia to the old Columbia Hospital, some 16 miles. Henry Wise survived but lockjaw set in. He had to be fed through a straw for several weeks. No motive ever was given for the attempted murder. Both men were brother in laws.



A Hunting Incident


John Wesley Wise was hunting one day around 1900. As he walked through the underbrush he fell into an old abandoned well. He always carried his gun crosswise his chest. This may have saved his life. As he fell both ends of the gun had caught the edges of the well preventing him from falling on down. He pulled himself up to hunt yet another day. He said later that if not for his rifle no one would ever have known what happened to him.


The Blackbirds Flew


Henry Wise said that blackbirds would sometime fly in a flock so thick that they would block out the sun as if on a cloudy day. On this particular day around 1890 a flock such as this came over. Henry fired once with his 12 ga. shotgun and picked up over sixty birds. This is hard to imagine but he swore this was true.


An Adoption Was Made

Around 1907 David Beauregard Wise was eating lunch at a Greek Restaurant on Main Street in Columbia. As he ate, this little Greek boy around four years of age stood by his table the entire time. Finishing his meal, Wise told the Greek restaurant operator that he might take this little fellow home with him. The Greek gentleman told him that was okay, that he had five more children home. With this Wise walked out of the restaurant with the little boy to be raised as his own. It is believed that this restaurant was the same as the Capitol Restaurant on the first block of Main Street from the state house.


The Civil War Volunteer


As the civil war was ongoing, John Wise decided to join the Confederacy. As he was walking down the driveway of his home near Cedar Creek he looked back to find his young son, Deril Wise, running after him. Deril was saying that he was going to fight those "Yankees" also. He was carrying his squirrel rifle.

Both returned home after the war but Deril was wounded in the leg. Blood poison set in and claimed his life. He is buried in the Andrew Patterson Graveyard.


The Horse & Train Incident


My grandfather, John Henry Wise would routinely travel to Columbia to purchase merchandise for his store on Colonel’s Creek. He bought most of his inventory from the old Lorick & Lowrance Wholesalers. Many times my mother, Myrtle, would travel with him in his one horse wagon. All of these trips would include stopping at the Quinine Hills Springs for water for traveler and beast. This was at the corner of today Beltline Blvd. and Forest Dr. In those days Forest Dr. was known as Old Camden Rd.

Traveling on down the Old Camden Rd. (Taylor St.) the horse froze on the railroad tracks after hearing the train whistle. This is one block past Harden St. toward Main St. As the train neared, the horse would not move and it was evident the train could not stop. John Wise stood up in the wagon and came down hard on the horse with his whip. The horse bolted out of the way as the train passed by.

These are stories my mother relayed to me. She was born in 1900 and was a wealth of information on the old days. John J. Howell, 4/27/2008


Notice To Relocate

Sometime around 1917 the landowners received notices that they would have to sell their land and relocate. This had to be devastating. There were crops in the fields, mills operating; some had stores, and others were in the timber and forest business. Thoughts were on their neighbors, their churches, and schools. What would happen to them? Could they obtain new land in time for spring planting? Even though the army was giving them fair market price (according to them) it would be difficult and costly to start over. Our ancestors were patriotic people and knew their land was needed for this military post as war drums were heard in the distance and most likely the country would be drawn into a war. They accepted this life obstacle as they had others and looked to a higher Being for strength for survival. We must never forget their sacrifices. JH



Ft. Jackson Tank Hill

Tank Hill is a landmark at Ft. Jackson. Basic training units were on this sloaping hill with a water tank at the very top. This tank supplied water for the military post. During WW2 a man was seen climbing the tower toward the water tank. He appeared to have a burlap bag over his shoulder. After several orders to descend from the tower, orders were given to fire and the man fell to the ground. After examining it was found the bag contained poisonous chemicals. The man was a German spy. His mission was to poison the water supply. JH



Our Ancestors

I do know one thing about our family past, and this is something that is true of all our ancestors; they were survivors. We are all survivors and children of survivors. All of us are the products of countless chance meetings, unrequited loves, epidemics, wars, famines, great migrations, under served good fortune. We are the children of countless generations of birth, love and death which unroll across the centuries like one breathtakingly beautiful scroll. And our ancestors are still with us. They are still here, just waiting to be remembered, because we can no more cut ourselves off from our ancestors as we can cut off yesterday from today. Our ancestors are here, whether we know their names or not. Some we are related to by blood, others not; some have been chosen for us by history, others we choose for ourselves. Either way they are here, always part of us, though often unseen, just as the vast majority of any iceberg  lies beneath the surface of the water.
This was taken from a sermon by Aaron McEmrys, assistant pastor of the First Universalist Church of Denver Colorado, 2007. JH

 Why Does Genealogy Matter Anyway

Perhaps today it doesn't matter as much as it once did. Especially in this country where - according to legend and tradition - every person at birth gets to start fresh in America. He stands or falls on his own merits, without regard to his family status.

Historically speaking, genealogy was an essential study. After all, it was the method of determining inheritance - especially with the nobility. Imagine the need to discover the next heir in line to a throne if the king had no direct son or daughter to pass his rule down to. The compilation of detailed and accurate genealogical records was of the essence to ensure the proper individuals received the throne.

As you can expect, even with the utmost care, many times in history more than one genealogical record would suddenly appear....throwing the process of crowning the next heir into bedlam.

Genealogy even pops up in the Bible. In the New Testament book of Matthew, he spends pages on what many Sunday school students try to quickly gloss over, "the begats." "Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob" and so it went until you get to - some forty-two generations later - "And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary of whom was born Jesus..."

Genealogy plays an important role in the lives of many families today, even when no royalty is involved. The study of this timeless pursuit can help play a decisive role in bringing families torn apart by circumstances beyond their control back together. In the decades immediately following World War II, families found genealogy instrumental in tracing members displaced by the many tragic facets of the war.

There are other reasons families get separated, as well. Consider famines, where some members must flee the country in order to survive. A mother may move away with her children in order to keep them alive. Or perhaps, as in the events leading up to World War II (and beyond), members of families leave in order to save children or the elderly from undue social persecution...or assured death.

In these cases, genealogy plays a major role in making fractured families whole again...even if the current family members didn't know that they had members missing. Thirty some years ago, a novel based on a stunningly simple idea of genealogy gave many African-Americans a new common ancestor, Kunte Kinte, the main character of Alex Haley's book Roots.

Source, The Importance of Genealogy by Bill Turnbull.



Grist Mills

Although the terms "gristmill" or "corn mill" can refer to any mill that grinds grain, the terms were used historically for a local mill where farmers brought their own grain and received back ground meal or flour, minus a percentage called the "miller's toll."[7] Early mills were almost always built and supported by farming communities and the miller received the "miller's toll" in lieu of wages. Most towns and villages had their own mill so that local farmers could either easily transport their grain there to be milled. These communities were dependent on their local mill as bread was a staple part of the diet.

Classical mill designs are usually water powered, though some are powered by the wind or by livestock. In a watermill a sluice gate is opened to allow water to flow onto, or under, a water wheel to make it turn. In most watermills the water wheel was mounted vertically, i.e., edge-on, in the water, but in some cases horizontally (the tub wheel and so-called Norse wheel). Later designs incorporated horizontal steel or cast iron turbines and these were sometimes refitted into the old wheel mills.

In most wheel-driven mills, a large gear-wheel called the pit wheel is mounted on the same axle as the water wheel and this drives a smaller gear-wheel, the wallower, on a main driveshaft running vertically from the bottom to the top of the building. This system of gearing ensures that the main shaft turns faster than the water wheel, which typically rotates at around 10 rpm.

The millstones themselves turn at around 120 rpm. They are laid one on top of the other. The bottom stone, called the bed, is fixed to the floor, while the top stone, the runner, is mounted on a separate spindle, driven by the main shaft. A wheel called the stone nut connects the runner's spindle to the main shaft, and this can be moved out of the way to disconnect the stone and stop it turning, leaving the main shaft turning to drive other machinery. This might include driving a mechanical sieve to refine the flour, or turning a wooden drum to wind up a chain used to hoist sacks of grain to the top of the mill house. The distance between the stones can be varied to produce the grade of flour required; moving the stones closer together produces finer flour.

The grain is lifted in sacks onto the sack floor at the top of the mill on the hoist. The sacks are then emptied into bins, where the grain falls down through a hopper to the millstones on the stone floor below. The flow of grain is regulated by shaking it in a gently sloping trough (the slipper) from which it falls into a hole in the center of the runner stone. The milled grain (flour) is collected as it emerges through the grooves in the runner stone from the outer rim of the stones and is fed down a chute to be collected in sacks on the ground or meal floor. A similar process is used for grains such as wheat and kamut to make flour, and for maize to make corn meal.

In order to prevent the vibrations of the mill machinery from shaking the building apart, a gristmill will often have at least two separate foundations.

American inventor Oliver Evans revolutionized this labor-intensive process at the end of the eighteenth century when he patented and promoted a fully automated mill design  Source Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.


Schools of The Land

The following is a list of the schools that served the land now Ft. Jackson.

Messer, Reedy Point, Rock Hill, Silver Dune, Spears Creek, Mt. Pleasant, Veals, Bethel, Carlisle, Fairlawn, Gallman, Long's, Lykesland, Mill Creek, & Moore.

This information from Richland County Historical Schools. JH




People of The Land

Settlers from around the state as well as from NC and other lands settled the land we know now as Ft. Jackson. I have followed several from Fairfield County and the Big Pee Dee area. Fairfield in the old days was known as the Camden District as was the land now Ft. Jackson. Before the Camden District it was Craven County. The Big Pee Dee area was also known as Craven County and later broken up into Sumter, Marion, and Clarendon Counties. The Wages & Shannon families came from Fairfield and Chester Counties. It is believed the Stricklands (Stricklings) came from the coastal area near Beaufort. I have seen Cobbs and Fetners in the Pee Dee & the 96th District areas also. Colonel Henry Fox came into Charleston and on into Richland County, settling on the creek named later for him, Colonel’s Creek. Col. Fox received land on Second Creek, perhaps the name before Colonel’s Creek. It is believed the Futrels & Medlins came from NC.

The settlers arrived with great determination to start a new life. Their first task was to clear the land so they could plant their crops. Most scheduled their arrival in the wintertime so they could clear the land for spring planting. At the same time they constructed lean to type buildings for their homes. Some had no windows and all had dirt floors. Fireplaces provided heat and cooking of meals. As the crops started coming in work was done on the houses, adding another room and improving the roofs. Some early roofs consisted of logs with mud between to keep most of the rain out. The Germans were given the credit of bringing knowledge to this country on squaring & notching the round logs so they could be set in place more securely. All of the early settlers depended on the creeks and streams for water. Digging a well was a down the line priority.

Stories of the wife making sure her husband had three good meals daily even if it meant for her to go without have been told more than once. The man had to have strength to plow the fields and do the other back breaking tasks that had to be done. Some children were adopted out because the family could not feed them. Some were hired out as laborers. Children at home worked from sun up to dark in the fields and caring for the livestock.

In spite of the hardships, sacrifices did not go without rewards. How comforting it must have been to bring in a good crop. This meant abundant food and trading or selling their goods for other needs. Down the road churches and schools were started and life took a turn for the better. I believe the sacrifices of our ancestors along with their faith in God made this the greatest country in the world. It is up to us to remember the old folks and do our part in passing down to future generations the price that was paid. JH


Visiting My Ancestor's Land

The tombstone reads, “ Died 1836, About 68 Years of Age”. While standing there I couldn’t help that my mind wandered. I could see the people standing around while the minister was reading from his Bible. The women adorned in their black mourning dresses, the men in their dark suits as they stood around the grave site on this slightly rising hill. I looked around wondering where the old home place stood as well as the out buildings. As I looked toward the surrounding trees I could imagine that this patch of forest were fields producing crops to sustain the family. I also saw the wagons and buggies that would take these friends and family back to their homes to continue their lives. As the service ended the people went in different directions. The next day they would be about their normal routine. Most were farmers. I saw their departure as continuation of carrying on and producing new lives that would descend down to me and my family. There would be many hardships and mourning as others would depart this life. Happiness would also be a part of their lives, children being born, weddings, good harvests, and many family gatherings that would be cherished. Most of these folks depended on the word of God on Sunday to get them through week after week so that we future descendants would one day take their place and become ancestors to be searched for as our descendants will surely do.

JJH 3/09/10




Come Home, Come Home, It's Suppertime

Oh how those words have remained in my mind all these years. Myself, brother and two sisters were raised on a farm in the deep south. I can still see my mother standing at the edge of the field with her hands holding her apron as she called out these words. Father would usually be plowing or harvesting as we children were usually planting or weeding. Upon mother’s plea we would head for the barn. The livestock had to be fed and the chickens penned before we could eat.

Washing up on the porch from the wash stand we would enter the kitchen, seeing the long table with the benches on each side. Mother sat in one chair and father the other at the ends of the table. A typical vision would be the bowls of stewed potatoes, string beans, corn on the cob, fresh cabbage, a large platter of pork chops, and biscuits so large it would be a challenge to just eat one. On the table near the stove were three pies cooling, most often apple or peach. The coffee was still perking on the stove, a pitcher of milk in the center of the table.

Before any serving was made father led in a prayer that gave thanks to the many blessings this family had received. After supper we would gather on the long porch that crossed the front of the house. We would sit and reflect on the day’s accomplishments and tomorrows work day keeping in mind of us children who were in school. Usually we would sit through the sun setting and sometimes until the moon came over the trees. How wonderful were those days. Today it is hard to imagine that happiness in those days could be a hard day’s work just to have the necessary needs in life. Luxury could be measured in a new pair of shoes or some type of home made toy at Christmas time along with cakes, pies, and desserts that would be cooked the week before.

Visiting the old home place recently the old house was now a storage place for hay. The window panes were gone and the chimney crumbling. I walked toward the spot where mother would usually stand and looked out over the fields which now were barren but where we children and our father toiled away in the heat of the day. The saddest part was the vision of mother standing here calling out, “Come home, come home, it’s suppertime”.

JJH 8/30/2010


1918 Memory of The Land


The mocking bird is singing merrily.

The moon is like a gold coin.

The flowers are beautiful, azaleas, roses, violets, and lilies.

There is many bright stars in the sky.

A beautiful spring Sunday May 18th 1918. We were at the Colonel creek in Richland County with friends and enjoying everything. It was a delightful day and we were all young and felt good. We had many wonderful happy times together. The wind sighing in the beautiful pine trees, the honeysuckles, jasmine and crabapaple. Flowers were beautiful and a lovely scent was everywhere in the breeze.

We had to enjoy everything except the parting of our loved ones as they went to the army and war of World War 1. That was sad for all of us, but a joyful time when the war ended and loved ones were back together with again.


This memory was found after my mother, Myrtle Minerva Wise, died in 1997. I tried to transcribe as she had written. One of her last wishes was to be buried on the land now Ft. Jackson. She is resting by her parents John H. Wise and Mary Jane Roberts Wise at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church Cemetery on our ancestors’ land.

John J. Howell-10/25/2011



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