Wlliam Gilmore Simms
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Page 39

Scholarship | 2006


County museum to celebrate

birthday of forgotten author

Staff Writer

William Gilmore Simms,
the native son shared by
Barnwell and Bamberg coun
ties, turns 200 this year.
Even though Simms him-
self won't be around to blow
out his candles --- .he died.
1870 — the Barnwell County
Museum and Historical Soci-
ety and the Historical Society
of Bamberg County are mark-
ing the bicentennial of the au-
thor's birth with a three-day
celebration June 8-10.
"He's a native writer who
had such an illustrious past
that has been forgotten by so
many people," said Jennings
Owens, a co-chair of the event.
Perhaps best known for his
1835 novel "The Yemassee: A
Romance of Carolina," Simms
spent much of his time at an
estate called the Woodlands,
a plantation that at its height
of prominence was within the
Barnwell County limits.
The house was burned by
Gen. Sherman's troops. in
1865. The land where it once
sat is now in Bamberg Coun-
The bicentennial celebra-
tion, will give attendees the
chance to walk where Simms
walked, from the Woodlands
plantation to Barnwell's Col-
lins Park — the former house
site for one of Simms's chil-
dren, a son, and the final des
tination for the ultimate trib-
At 9:45 a.m. June 10, a bust
of Simms will be unveiled and
indedicated — the only event
during the three days open to
the public.
The bronze statue was
sculpted by artist Zan Lee
Wells, the Greenville artist
responsible for the children
statues surrounding the sun-
dial on the Circle in Barnwell.
The bust was supposed to be
unveiled in 2004, but organiz-
ers decided to delay it two
years to coincide with the bi-
The draw of Simms had peo-
ple as far as Russia and Chi-
na inquiring about the cele-
bration, which is co-sponsored
by the William Gilmore
Simms Society.
So far, 23 fans of Simms
have paid the $90 registration
fee which includes admission
to a reception, banquet and
other meals.
For more information, call
the Barnwell County Museum
at (8.03) 259-1916.

People-Sentinel • Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Barnwell 39