Stephanie Waldron grew up in Kenya on a farm in a house built by her father with no electricity. Later, her mother married Dr. Richard Dominick, who periodically visited Kenya. He was an avid hunter, hunting ducks on Long Island and big game in Kenya. During his visits to Africa they went on safaris, to photograph rather than to hunt. During his youth, Dominick traveled with his family to Coosawhatchie, SC, and developed a love for South Carolina. When he retired from his career as an ophthalmologist, he purchased the Wedge Plantation on the Santee Delta to pursue his lifelong passion of collecting moths. Waldron moved with her mother and siblings during her adolescence to the Wedge. Dominick supervised the renovation of the main house, and built a laboratory for his moth studies called the Bug House. This building also contained a darkroom for color photography development. A steady stream of visitors, scientists and collectors, came to the Wedge. The family had horses, and her stepbrother and stepsister rode often. The family bred thoroughbred racehorses, and Waldron worked with the horses. She reflected on times of the year when deerflies and mosquitoes were rampant. Dr. Dominick died in 1976, and her mother stayed at Wedge another ten years. She described the Wedge property, and recalled trips out to Cedar and Islands. The University of South Carolina purchased Wedge, and it became an institute for the study of mosquito-borne diseases. Waldron stayed on for a while before pursuing her career in film and landscaping. Students came to Wedge, and Waldron ran the kitchen and cooked on her assigned days. Waldron recalled childhood activities from Wedge with her step-siblings. Dr. Dominick had decided at age 40 to no longer hunt, and just observe wildlife. Waldron laughed about locals having trouble understanding her dialect (British). Waldron imagined the amount of labor, and the engineering required, to build all the rice fields in the Santee Delta. She recalled her first time catching shrimp with a seine net at Santee Coastal Reserve with Bill Mace. She expressed her good fortune to have lived for many years in the Santee Delta.
Mike Prevost grew up in Georgetown, SC, and his interest in the outdoors developed in his summers spent at Pawley’s Island. He became an avid duck hunter, and his experiences in rice fields inspired his career in coastal habitat ecology. Prevost received his BS from the University of Georgia (UGA) in 1973, and afterward was employed for three years with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the Georgia coast. He returned to UGA for a Masters, studying under Dr. Sydney Johnson, and did his thesis fieldwork at Kinloch Plantation in the Santee Delta on brackish marsh waterfowl foods. Prevost received mentoring from Kinloch’s manager, Kenny Williams, as well as from Phil Wilkinson. After completing his degree, he was employed by SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) working on mosquito control, particularly on understanding the ecology of the mosquito and source reduction. Prevost moved on to employment with SC Wildlife Marine Resources Department (SCMRD) with a focus on waterfowl habitat. The range of his work was from Savannah to Georgetown, and he spent much of his time in the Santee Delta. The work in the outdoors provided a number of challenges: biting insects, equipment issues, and the need to often improvise. Part of his time with SCMRD included working at Bear Island in Colleton County, and during that time the concept of the ACE Basin Project evolved. Prevost became a coordinator for the ACE Basin Task Force. After the ACE Basin Project he went to work full time for The Nature Conservancy as the project director for the Sewee To Santee landscape. In 2010, Prevost had the opportunity to go to work for White Oak Forestry Corporation, a subsidiary of Evening Post Industries. White Oak Forestry consists of 17,000 acres in the lower Santee Delta, and was established by Peter Manigault, a visionary conservationist who was the first landowner to place a conservation easement on private land in the Santee Delta. Prevost followed Duff Holbrook as president and manager of White Oak Forestry, and he told two stories about experiences with Holbrook out in the Delta at Six Mile Island. He reflected on the Delta from hundreds of years ago, the changes created by the development of rice culture, and by the Santee Cooper project that reduced the Santee River flow by 90 percent. Prevost recalled some notable people from the Delta, including William Garrett and Ben Willy Richardson. Of threats to the Delta he identified changing climate and sea level rise. Prevost discussed the high significance of the Santee Delta on a number of levels.
William Garrett grew up on Blake Plantation, part of the Santee Gun Club. His parents were George and Celia Garrett; his father was a trunk minder. During his youth Garrett helped his family grow rice. He had four sisters and four brothers. The family did not have electricity so he cut wood for heating and cooking, and pumped water. Garrett told a story about swimming with his brother Moses toward a log in the South Santee River that turned out to be a large alligator. When he was a young guide for the Gun Club the manager allowed his brother and him to go over to Murphy Island to hunt cattle. He started working for the Santee Gun Club at age 18 or 19 for a salary of $2.50 per week. His main responsibility was to take care of the Santee Gun Club members he was guiding, and get them back safely after the day’s hunt. These hunts took place in blinds on the mainland (the Cape) and on Murphy and Cedar Islands. He recalled a young overconfident guide on his first day stating he could find his way back. When the young guide and his member were long overdue, the manager sent Garrett to find them. Garrett recalled going with his uncle to Murphy Island to get turtle eggs during his childhood. He recalled cattle lined up along the beach at night to get away from the mosquitoes. Garrett said he got used to the mosquitoes. He mentioned the names of some of the Gun Club members, and recalled taking Peter Matthiessen, the son of one of the members, goose hunting on Murphy one evening. Garrett was very worried about potential changes when the Gun Club was transferred to the state of South Carolina. He remembered walking four miles from his home on Blake Plantation to court his wife in South Santee. They were married in 1946. Part of his work for the Gun Club and the state was to build trunks, water control structures, and place them in the dikes. Garrett related his experience in South Santee during Hurricane Hugo. He shared three stories of accidental shootings at the Gun Club. Garrett mentioned changes in fishing after the Santee River was dammed and some of his fishing experiences. He also commented on race relations in the area.
Bill Mace grew up in Johnsonville, SC, and fished on the Lynches and Pee Dee Rivers. He learned to fish from his father, and to hunt from his grandfathers. On a fourteen-foot boat he and his brother continued to venture further on fishing, hunting, and camping trips down river to Sandy Island and Georgetown. During high school Mace worked at a wool mill, but wanted to find a job in the outdoors. After high school he went to school in Anderson for a year, considered transferring to Clemson for parks and recreation, but instead came back to Georgetown and went to work at a textile plant. Mace went to a meeting with the director of the South Carolina Game and Fish Division who encouraged him to get an associate degree in wildlife management. He attended Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Georgia, and was offered a job at Santee Coastal Reserve (SCR) by Tommy Strange in 1976. Among other tasks, Mace managed former rice fields. He took over as manager when Strange retired, and worked there for 21 years. Mace discussed brackish water management in the 24,000-acre SCR, and the constant work to repair and replace water-control structures. Mace imagined the Santee Delta before it was cleared for rice fields, and the enormous labor involved in building the rice field dikes, constructed by enslaved workers. Mace also discussed the hunts of the Santee Gun Club members, including many attempts to navigate in thick fog. Some of his work included law enforcement, and he talked about several episodes where people tried to steal old bricks from historic structures in SCR. In his 21 years at SCR there was only one episode of an accidental shooting on a hunt, and through a heroic effort by one of the guides the victim survived. SCR had significant damage from Hurricane Hugo (1989), and of many issues it took half a year to rebuild the dikes. Mace reviewed many of the conservation protections in place on the Delta’s public and private lands. He retired from the state in 2010, and went back to work as manager of Annandale Plantation, a tract of private lands (around 3500 acres) owned by Dan Ray on the north side of the Santee Rivers. He is doing similar work to what he did at SCR in managing rice fields for waterfowl. Mace lives nearby, and though he once thought of retiring to the North Carolina coast, he now can’t imagine living anywhere else. He also touched on the seasonal challenges of mosquitoes in the Delta.
When Pierre Manigault was a child, his grandfather Edward owned Rochelle Plantation. When his father Peter took over Rochelle’s management in Pierre’s high school years, Manigault was put to work cultivating a ten-acre rice field, giving him insight into the difficulties of this job. He recalled Herman “Duff” Holbrook, who went to work for his father as president of White Oak Forestry and manager of Rochelle. Holbrook was like another grandfather for Manigault, and a mentor with a vast fund of knowledge about wildlife and the Santee Delta. He worked with Holbrook for a number of summers and spring breaks. Manigault’s great-grandfather, Arthur, after discontinuing rice cultivation, purchased controlling interest in Charleston’s newspaper. His father Peter, when manager of the newspaper, invested in pine lands in the Delta for the raw materials necessary for newspaper, and set up White Oak Forestry, a subsidiary of Evening Post Industries. Conservation for wildlife habitat was a priority, and Peter Manigault’s conservation efforts including his leadership in establishing the first conservation easement in the Santee Delta by a private landowner. Manigault discussed the impact of the October 2015 floods on the Delta. He talked about his father’s good friend, Ted Turner, who purchased Kinloch Plantation next to Rochelle. They shared interests in media and yacht racing. Manigault reflected on the early Huguenot Manigaults who immigrated to America and the Santee Delta; he also imagined the transformation of the Delta from forest to rice fields. He considered the labor required for that massive undertaking, and the incredible craftsmanship of enslaved workers seen in such buildings as St. James Santee Church, and various Delta plantation houses. He described the significance of the Santee Delta as an internationally recognized conservation area. Manigault has followed in his father’s footsteps in working to conserve the Delta.
Pat Ferris was born in Greenwood Lake, NY, and lived in Virginia and New York until age nine when he moved to South Carolina. His grandmother had a modern house on South Island with electricity supplied by a generator. The family also had the old plantation house on Cat Island. His grandfather was William G. Ramsey, who worked for the DuPont Company. He became a senior engineer at DuPont, and his stock holdings became very valuable for the family. He came to South Carolina because of the Dupont’s interest in turpentine, and became aware of the excellent hunting opportunities. Living on Cat Island and South Island in his youth, Ferris felt it was “heaven”. He had a little dinghy he rowed around on Winyah Bay, and hunted ducks with a shotgun given to him at age 10 by his grandmother. She also gave him the job of killing snakes and alligators: the latter damaged the dikes. He received a nickel for each kill. Ferris learned to sail on a summer vacation to Nantucket Island. He and his brother would go along with a harbor pilot who guided ships into Georgetown. They signed on as cabin boys on a round trip from Brooklyn, NY, to Georgetown, SC, on the lumber schooner Annie C. Ross. Ferris also described a voyage with his brother and a friend in their teenage years in a catboat from Greenport, Long Island to South Carolina. Ferris went to boarding school, and would spend summers on South Island. Ferris attended the University of North Carolina (UNC) when WWII broke out, and he entered the Coast Guard. He patrolled first St. Helena Sound, and then off Charleston in private yachts. He helped a one-armed man pull a seine net on the edge of Winyah Bay. He knew Tom Yawkey, owner of the Boston Red Sox, and owner of the majority of Cat, South, and North Islands. He went on hunts with him on those properties and elsewhere. Cat Island Plantation continued to actively cultivate rice until 1941. With the damming of the Santee River by Santee Cooper, the influx of saltwater did considerable damage to the dikes, and the family received a $6000 settlement. Ferris described years of hunting on Cat island: deer, ducks, and turkeys. He described how Tom Yawkey set up the Yawkey Wildlife Center. Ferris returned to recounting his Coast Guard service, describing his transfer to the South Pacific after going through training at the Loran School. He was at Guam when the war ended, and returned to the US on the aircraft carrier Belleau Wood. He finished by telling a story when he and his brother were “bad boys’ during their childhood on Cat Island.
Gerald Alston was born at the Wedge Plantation, and at age four moved to Germantown. In his childhood, he, his brother, and friends would cut and split firewood, used for both cooking and heating. Like his father and grandfather, Gerald went to work for Herman “Duff” Holbrook, who taught him about plantation and wildlife habitat management. He recounted one incident when Holbrook had grabbed a rattlesnake by hand, and had Alston drive the truck while Holbrook held the rattlesnake and relocated it. Another memorable story was a canoe trip out to Six Mile, a property in the middle of the Delta. The trip took place the day before the arrival of Hurricane Hugo (1989). It was raining and rough on the water, and Holbrook wanted to protect the property by opening up a trunk. Alston was frightened, but successfully helped Holbrook with this mission; they arrived safely back on land. After Hugo there was extensive work to do on these lands. Holbrook purchased a backhoe that Alston ran for 25 years, operated now by his son. He recalled taking rides from Will Alston in a wagon trailed behind a tractor, going from Germantown to Hampton Plantation. Will Alston would stop by Gerald Alston’s grandmother, Ella Alston, and give him a ride back home. Alston also talked about visiting with Sue Alston in her later years. He remembered Archibald Rutledge as a friendly man. Alston recalled times when the mosquitoes and biting flies were “terrible”. He remembered a trip to Cat Island to purchase an old Pontiac just for the engine. He described an annual event put on by the South Santee community. Alston continues to enjoy his job with While Oak Forestry working for Mike Prevost, and having his sons, Errol and Gerald Jr., working with him.
Phil Wilkinson was born in Denver, Colorado, and his family moved around due to his father’s occupation as an army engineer. He moved to the Lowcountry early in his childhood, and at age 12 his family purchased Hopsewee Plantation on the North Santee River. Most of his childhood activities were in the woods or on the river. His father gave him a dory, and he and his older brother explored all around the Santee Delta including to Cedar Island for overnight stays. He learned to hunt and fish from an older black man, Daddy Ben, who lived in a cabin at Hopsewee. In his high school years he had a summer job building the new bridge over the North Santee River. Wilkinson went to USC for undergraduate studies, starting in engineering and shifting to business administration. After college he worked at Cat Island doing construction work, and the owner of the property, an ornithologist, suggested he consider a biological career. After a meeting with Jim Webb, director of the state wildlife department, he went on to get a masters degree from Auburn. Webb offered him a job at a newly acquired state property, Dirleton Plantation. During his time at Dirleton Wilkinson met Tom Yawkey, owner of South Island plantation. He recruited Wilkinson to work for him on his properties doing wildlife management, with a primary focus on waterfowl by managing impoundments and their plant ecology. He hunted quail often with Yawkey. Wilkinson imagined the Santee Delta when the virgin forest still existed, and considered the changes after the damming of the Santee River. Wilkinson gave his own perspective on dealing with biting insects. He told two stories of personal adventures in the Delta: the “Pine Top” story, and another about discovering alligator poachers. After his employment with Tom Yawkey ended, he worked for the state on endangered species, and began a long period of study of alligators, primarily on South Island. Wilkinson reflected on potential threats to the Santee Delta, and the significant conservation efforts. He compared the labor of transforming the Delta into rice fields to the building of several pyramids. He finished up by reading a poem he authored entitled “Daddy Ben”.
Kenny Williams was born December 20, 1942. He grew up in Georgetown, SC in a lower middle class family. He learned fishing, hunting, and wildlife ethics from his father and uncles. He received an undergraduate degree from Wofford College, and a masters degree in wildlife biology from Auburn. While at Auburn, he applied for employment at Kinloch Plantation, owned by the Dupont family, and began work there after graduation. He learned about plantation management from the manager, Richard Stanland, and replaced him as manager when Stanland retired. The work at Kinloch included farming, use of water control structures, and managing rice fields for migratory waterfowl. The labor, working with a few employess, was often hard and challenging. Kinloch had a clubhouse where the family entertained friends and guests during the winter season, and his related responsibilities were directing the daily duck hunts and other wildlife hunts. While manager he was married and had two sons who grew up there. Williams had a "great" cook, Irene Rivens, who worked and cooked for him. The Duponts decided to sell Kinloch, which was purchased by Ted Turner; Williams discussed this transition. The biting insects of the Santee Delta were seasonally a most difficult challenge, and he recounted dealing with the worst times. Williams imagined what the Santee Delta was like when it was a virgin gum and cypress forest, and the effort required to build the rice fields. He commented on changes for the Santee Delta’s black population. Speaking about the conservation of the Santee Delta, he discussed his work as a consultant in land management for wildlife, and a regional biologist for Ducks Unlimited. He recalled a summer job while still at Auburn as a biological technician in Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, and a close encounter with a cottonmouth on Bulls Island. Williams also reflected on changes in the Santee Delta as a result of the damming of the Santee River, and decreasing waterfowl populations. Williams discussed the significance of the Santee Delta.
Jane Wineglass was born in 1927, and grew up in the South Santee community at Collins Creek. She was the youngest of fifteen children, and a self-described tomboy. Her mother, Eve (maiden name Manigault) Green, was born on Murphy Island; her father was Sambo Green. Her mother worked as a cook at the Wedge Plantation, and walked to and from work. When her mother became disabled, Wineglass took over as cook and eventually worked for a new owner, Dr. Richard Dominick. He hosted an annual event in the South Santee community. Wineglass also played at the Wedge during her childhood: beside her mother working there she had a number of family members living there. The Dominicks had a home in London, and took Wineglass there for six weeks. She went along as cook, but for her it was a "glorious" vacation. After Dominick died and the Wedge was purchased by the University of South Carolina, she went to work for a while at the Santee Gun Club. Wineglass recalled her father and his work as a carpenter: repairing homes, building homes, building trunks for controlling water, and generally doing "neat" work. In dealing with mosquitoes, she would break off branches from a shrub to beat them off. Though Wineglass was raised in a large family, she had only one child, a son, who died from being "heartbroken". She still has grandchildren in NC who occasionally visit. Wineglass recalled her parents growing rice in a low spot on their property. Her father used a wagon to go to work, pulled by an oxen named Pete. The animal was given to the family by the government to use for plowing their garden. Since her childhood, Wineglass has attended the same church, Greater Mount Zion AME Church. She became one of their local ministers. She reflects on the tragedy at Mother Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston. She regularly attends Sunday school, Sunday service, an evening service at another church in Awendaw, and a Tuesday evening prayer meeting. Of her fourteen siblings, only one, William Green, is still alive. The most important aspect of the Santee Delta for Wineglass: it is home, and the best place for her to be.