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African American Lives 2 -- Hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
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Sharing Stories: One Family's Story
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STORYTELLER LOCATION YEAR TOOK PLACE TELLER'S PLACE OF ORIGIN HOW YOU HEARD
Grandfather Marion and Georgetown county South Carolina 1700s Marion County South Carolina Family history

This story takes place in the late 1700s to the present. This is the family history of my Grandfather on my father's side: my father's father. My Grandfather first told me this story when I was 10 or 12 years old. I never though much about the story until my wife and I started investigating the story at the Marion County Court House and found the deeds that verified some of my grandfather 's story.

My grandfather's great grandfather came to Georgetown County in the late 1700s. His name was Homus Ginwright. It is unknown how he made his money or where he had come from but he had aquired money . He went to Georgetown County and purchased over 1,500 arces of land in Marion County. This land is Located in the Britton's Neck area of Marion County. The land stretched from the Little Pee Dee River to the Big Pee Dee River. He had to go to Georgetown County to purchase the land because Marion County did not have County Seat (Court House) at that time. It was unclear who Homus's wife was. (Possibley Native American). My Grandfather states that Homus was also possibly of African and Native American descent as well. Homus had four son's Frank, Wade, Eli, and Henry Ginwright. Eli Ginwright was my grandfather's grandfather.

When Homus died which was under "questionable circumstance" his land passed to his sons. The largest portions of land was given to the older sons. Eli was given over some 500 hundred arces. Eli had several duaghters and two prized sons. The first of the siblings born was Florence Ginwright about 1880. She is my grandfather's mother. The Ginwright's has a thriving community. They had a community school and a store. As time passed Eli's brothers began to die off. Eventually Florence married George Gerald and began to start a family. Eli Ginwright gave my Grandfather's father 250 arces. When Eli Ginwright died that's when all hell broke loose. Eli's two sons where murdered. One was shot while hunting and the other was drowned. Sarah, Eli 's widow took my grandfather's mother down to Ocilia, Georgia. She left all of the Ginwright's land.

I first took her for a coward. But I came to realize that she could not read like her husband. She obviously was not business savy. She was just trying to stay alive. The Goldbolds were killing off all of the Ginwrights who owned land. My grandfather's father eventually went down to Georgia with the sheriff and retrieved his wife. This is very important because my grandfather was not conceived until his parents where reunited. This did create a large riff between the two families because George Gerald did not have the money to support Florence in a way that was pleasing to Florence's mother. And her mother was right. Florence Ginwright soon died after returning to South Carolina. She had a sister who eventually can back to check on my grandfather and his bothers after their father died. The 250 acres that was given as a dowery was dwindled down to 40. And the emense property of of Homus was slowly stolen by the Goldbolds which was documented with "Love and Affection."

My wife and I researched this story about 8 years ago in the Marion County Court house. And to our surprise we found the large tracts that where deeded to the Ginwrights (Eli, Wade, Frank). And even parts of the old Homus Tract. We were getting help from one of the clerks until he found out I was a descendant, then the help stopped. We photo copied what we found and gave it to my grandfather. When he saw the copies he said "Boy I told you we come from something"

This story is long and I have shortened it for the sake of time. I will say this. In spite of having his land taken from him, my grandfather still managed to go to college and get his degree as well as his masters degree. He became principal of one of the famed Rosenwald schools located in the south to educated negro students. He has passed this story to me and I will pass it to my childern. So they will know that "WE COME FROM SOMETHING."

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