- The Truesdale family association with Sullivan’s Island goes back to the early 1800’s when David Truesdell immigrated from New York and started what became the island’s major oyster growing industry. Jeanie and Jerry recount the history of that extensive business until it was lost due to taxes. Their grandfather, Wyatt Aiken Truesdell, owned a sawmill and was killed when a saw blade flew off. Prior to that Wyatt Aiken had also been the ancestor who officially had the family name changed from Truesdell to Truesdale. Jeanie and Jerry describe their father, Cecil Wyatt Truesdale, as an extremely talented man, a jack of all trades, who could do just about anything including dance. However, his life was jolted when he developed a tumor that required extensive treatment and rehabilitation. Even though he never recovered fully, their father went on to be the bridge keeper of the new Ben Sawyer Bridge, built to connect Sullivan’s Island to Mt. Pleasant in 1945. Other family trials included a brother who developed polio and Jerry’s near drowning. The pair describe their Mother, Vernie Cooper Truesdale, and her many talents. She was the lunchroom manager at Sullivan’s Island Elementary School and was known widely as being an outstanding cook. Growing up on the Island is described as fun and relaxed. Jerry, one of a set of twins, describes his and his brother’s career. The family was intimately involved in the founding of Sullivan’s Island Baptist Church and relate much of its history. According to this brother and sister, the smell of the marsh, the roar of the sea, the friendly, easy going lifestyle are why “Fiddlers”, a name for Sullivan’s Island natives, will always remember this as the best place in the world to grow up.
- The Pringle family started coming to Sullivan’s Island for summers as far back as 1911. Peggy’s earliest memories stem from when she was three and a half years old and her youngest sister was born while the family was on the island. Peggy details all the enjoyable summer activities common to those summertime visits. She recalls the group of nuns who spent summer R&R in the Loretto Cottage. Other activities included time on the neighbor’s trampoline, skating at the old Army recreation center, and taking in movies at the old post theater. Peggy recalls enjoying horses when they were on the island. There was one episode when Peggy’s sister helped save a victim from drowning. The new lighthouse was turned on in 1962. Peggy relates the impact that never ending bright light had on islanders. Peggy then moved on to the second phase of life on the island, married to Topper Schachte and raising a family at 2501 Ion Avenue. The third phase of life was when she married Hal Currey and moved to “Bunker Hill”, one of the many structures left on the island by the Army. She recounts in detail the effects of Hurricane Hugo, her attempts to get back on the island, and an encounter with the National Guard. She also has memories of LaBrasca’s, both the restaurant and the fire that engulfed their house. Peggy ends by noting the changes in the island as well as the traffic that has always been part of living on Sullivan’s Island.
- Born in Horry County, South Carolina, Bryan Rowell came to Sullivan’s Island after World War II. He reminisces about life on the island in the late 1950’s. Rowell soon became active in the political life of the island, serving on the Township Commission for 12 years from 1963 to 1975. While on the Commission he served as Civil Defense Chairman and helped prepare the island for a potential nuclear attack during the Cuban missile crisis. He also recounts the reenactment of the Battle of Sullivan’s Island that was staged in 1966, including a mishap with gunpowder that led to the death of a local teenager. Despite his best efforts to create reasonable ways to keep horses as part of the island ambiance, horses were banned during Rowell’s tenure on the Commission. Bryan Rowell is remembered by many as the member of the Exchange Club who was in charge of the skating rink at the old recreation hall that no longer exists. Rowell also operated a “Variety Store” on the island that sold everything from food to clothing. His other passion has been as a member of the local Baptist Church. Rowell recounts other memories, including conflict with the DOT over access to the Isle of Palms, the local theater productions, and the accretion of land with development of the maritime forest.