Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 11: No 2) >> ''Woodlands'' — 2003 >> Page 28

image of pageExplore Inside

Page 28

Secondary Scholarship | 2003
Transcription "Woodlands" - 2003

Betty Jane Miller



Could William Gilmore Simms have appeared at the 197th Anniversary
of his birth, celebrated on the East lawn of his Barnwell District home
"Woodlands," on Wednesday afternoon, l 6 April, 2003, he would have
immensely enjoyed and would have immediately joined in the conviviality
and cordiality of the affair.
Hospitality and gracious living were always hallmarks of
"Woodlands." A wine and cheese reception began at six o'clock.
Those who witnessed the program, arranged by Ms. Nancy Foster,
President of the Historical Society of Bamberg County; Professor Jonathan
Walsh, President of the Bamberg Arts Council; Mrs. Kay Maxwell, President
of the Bamberg County Heritage Corridor; and Mr. Ronnie Maxwell,
President of the Bamberg County Chamber of Commerce, were seated facing
the East Front of the house. The patio was tastefully decorated with moss-
draped, fern-bearing urns. Paintings by local watercolor artist Joe Jones of
"Woodlands" and "The Study" added even greater appreciation to the gala
site.
At six-thirty the Reverend Albert Middleton, pastor of Mt. Carmel
United Methodist Church of Bamberg, offered the invocation and led the
Pledge of Allegiance.
Warm words of welcome were given by Mayor Alton McCollum of
the City of Bamberg and Mr. Johnny Williamson, Vice Chairman of the
Bamberg County Council.
A medley of patriotic songs was rendered by Mr. Joe Jones.
Those who had planned the occasion in turn offered remarks. Ms.
Foster gave a brief summary of William Gilmore Simms's contribution to
American literature. As historian, novelist, poet, critic, biographer, short
fiction writer, and dramatist his place is securely set in Antebellum and
Postbellum America.
Professor Jonathan Walsh, instructor at S.C. State University in
Orangeburg, gave a reading and explanation of the "Grapevine Swing" by
Simms.
Mrs. Kay Maxwell spoke on the importance of this commemoration as
a fitting contribution to pointing out the rich historical heritage of Bamberg
county.
Mr. Ronnie Maxwell of the Chamber of Commerce said this event was
an excellent way to tell others about Bamberg County.
Mrs. Betty Jane Miller, member of the William Gilmore Simms
Society and the Historical Society of Bamberg County, was attired in period
dress to give her readings from Simms's poetry. The first selection was "The
26