Some of Fort Mill’s newest residents sat down with some of the town’s most experienced ones last week, listening to tales predating any of them.
“We’re trying to present the history of our town, because it has a very rich and long history,” said former seventh and eighth grade teacher Charlotte Adkins, one of three Fort Mill History Museum presenters Sept. 18 at Doby’s Bridge Elementary School.
How long? Long enough that presenter Anne Evans came in speaking Catawba. Thursday’s history trunk show focused on the earliest known residents in the area, members of the Catawba native American tribe.
“Right where Doby’s Bridge Road school is, on these fields, they hunted,” Evans said. “In these ponds, they fished.”
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Evans, Adkins and museum Deputy Director Kira Ferris talked pottery, religion, smallpox. They discussed relations between the Catawba and Cherokee, farming and sacred activities. Information presented meets state standards for history. Museum volunteers hope to present it in other district schools. Last week’s program was their first time presenting.
“Our purpose is to bring the local history to the students,” Evans said.
The connection to Doby’s Bridge came when a second grade teacher asked librarian Kim Nees for help.
“There’s not a lot of books really,” she said. “I started researching Fort Mill history, and I came across the Fort Mill History Museum.”
Doby’s Bridge is one of two elementary schools that opened for the current school year. The area surrounding it has several new or coming residential developments, meaning many new residents who may not be familiar with Fort Mill history. The school also has new staff.
“I’m excited to learn about Fort Mill,” Nees said. “I just moved here.”
The museum hopes to prepare similar trunk shows or history lessons. Volunteers already are working on a Revolutionary War unit.