In this interview, Father Lawrence McInerny relates his family tree, starting with Michael McInerny from County Clare, Ireland, the first family member to come to Sullivan’s Island in 1840. Married to Julia Lillis, Michael McInerny bought property but had trouble retaining it. He owned a bakery that was destroyed by arson. In 1884, he died in a horse and buggy accident. His son, John Francis McInerny, was born on the island in 1842. John Francis became a brick mason and later operated a lumber business. John Francis briefly served as marshal of Moultrieville. His brother, James, died in Confederate service during the American Civil War. The hard times of Reconstruction forced John Francis to move to Brooklyn, New York, where he married. He moved back to the island in about 1875. In 1876, during the last great yellow fever epidemic, two of his children died. In 1889, he bought Centennial Hall which he renovated but sold soon after renovations were completed. John Francis died in 1914. His son, Joseph P. McInerny, was a merchant on the island and was instrumental in starting the local elementary school. Joseph’s son, Edward Reynolds McInerny, was born in 1910 and ran a successful laundry business. Reynolds, as he was called, was the Father Lawrence McInerny’s father. Father McInerny reflects on his and his family’s recollections of many aspects of island life including the presence of many more children, a significantly larger African American population, an easy-going lifestyle focused on boats and bicycles, the storms that have hit the island, prohibition, the ferries once needed to bring people to the area, and the businesses that used to dot the island. Closing on a personal note, Father McInerny talks about his summer work with the National Park Service and his call into the priesthood.
Caption: 'The Siege of Charleston--bombardment of Fort Moultrie by the iron-clads, September 8, 1863.--sketched by Mr. Theodore R. Davis.--[see page 621.] Also identified in the image: Moultrieville, Fort Moultrie and Moultrie House. [full date September 26, 1863.]
Roy Williams’ family association with Sullivan’s Island goes back to about 1815. This interview focuses on Williams’ recollections of life on the island during World War II. He describes the leisurely pace of life on the island before the war. Williams was in first grade when World War II started. He was aware of the attack on Pearl Harbor, but it seemed very far away to him. The family moved to Charlotte, North Carolina when Williams was in the second grade. Life there was a contrast with life on Sullivan’s Island. There was much more awareness of the war. Williams describes scrap metal and paper drives that took place in Charlotte. By the summer following second grade, Williams’ father had left to become an engineer on a hospital ship making runs from New York to Liverpool, England. His mother took the family to the North Carolina beach for the summer where Williams collected debris from the frequent U-Boat attacks. His mother brought the children back to Sullivan’s Island by the time Williams entered third grade. The island was now in full military mode and populated by many people from other parts of the country. Williams describes the rationing that took place for everything from shoes to beef. The war economy provided his family with money, but there was nothing to buy. Williams talks about the fear of being bombed by the Germans. He recalls that relationship between the islanders and the military Fort Moultrie was good. For Williams, the fort felt like a protective umbrella that provided services such as fighting fires and providing hurricane shelter. Still, Williams could tell the nation was at war. Soldiers marched down Middle Street. There were practice amphibious landings around Station 9. At the northeast end of the island was Battery Marshall, which was fenced off. Williams described how there were stories of prisoners of war being held at that facility. Williams relates how the war became personal to the Williams family on a couple of occasions. He recalls the joy at the end of the war, especially VJ Day, a jubilant time because friends and family were coming home.
[Color image.] Caption (in French): 'Evenements des Etats-Unis: Charleston et ses fortifications. [Events of the United States: Charleston and its fortifications.] 1--Charleston. 2--Riviere Ashley [Ashley River]. 3--Chemin de fer de Savannah [Savannah Railway]. 4--Riviere Cooper [Cooper River]. 5--Riviere Wando [Wando River]. 6--Fort Pinkney [Castle Pinckney]. 7--Fort Ripley. 8--Fort Johnson (ile James) [James Island]. 9--Riviere Stone [Stono River]. 10--Fort Sumter. 11--Fort Moultrie. 12--Batterie Gregg (pointe de Gumming) [Battery Gregg (Cummings Point)]. 13--Fort Wagner. 14--Batteries rasantes du general Gilmore [grazed batteries of General Gilmore]. 15--Ouvrages pris par les federaux. [Works undertaken by the Federals]. 16--Phare Inlet [Lighthouse inlet]. 17--Batteries federales (ile Folly) [Federal Batteries (Folly Island)]. 18--Canonnieres et vaisseaux cuirasses [gunboats and ironclads]. 19--Hotel. 20--Ile et batteries Sullivan [Sullivan Island and Batteries]. 21--Moultrie. 22--Mont Pleasant [Mount Pleasant]. 23--Breach Inlet. 24--Shem Creek. 25--Batteries construite par les confederes sur l'ile James, dans le voisinage du fort Johnson [Batteries built by the Confederates on James Island, in the vicinity of Fort Johnson].