Thursday, March 10, 2005

ROOTS 1: Hartsville, SC

There and back again, all 1223 miles of my roots-finding journey! To make this easier to handle, I'm doing a separate post of each segment of the trip.

I started with Hartsville, SC (320 miles from home), named after 2 of my Hart relatives. First is Captain Thomas Edwards Hart, my great-great grandfather (1794-1842), who came from nearby Society Hill, SC, to build a farming plantation along with a general store, school and post office. He also served as the neighborhood doctor, justice of the peace and captain of a local militia company (thus the "Captain"). He "had a very genial, loveable disposition and soon gained the love and confidence of the people, and in this way wielded an influence that is felt to this day." I found this out at the Genealogical Research Library in the old train station.

The Hart House he built in 1817 now stands in Kalmia Gardens of Coker College outside of downtown Hartsville and is on the Nat'l Register of Historic Places. What a thrill to walk through the house and see the original wood floors, the fireplace mantels he carved by hand, and the oil paintings of him and his wife, Hannah. This is my history. My people! My land! (And also my photos! :) The day was spectacularly sunny and warm, in the mid-60's.

Captain Thomas married Hannah Lide in 1815 and had 8 children (just as did my own father!). Their 3rd child, John Lide Hart (1825-1864), my great uncle, purchased 400 acres of land in what is now downtown Hartsville. His Hart Cottage, also on the Nat'l Register of Historic Places, is the only remaining structure from his plantation. He essentially cleared the land where the town is now built. He died as a soldier in our American Civil War.

Another son of Captain Thomas was James Arthur Hart, my great-grandfather, who married Caroline Linton. Their son, Rev. Thomas W. Hart, was my grandfather. This Thomas was 70 when my dad was born in 1917, so it's not a stretch to see how it was possible for him to serve in the same Civil War as his uncle (John) as a water boy around age 14. Yes, my grandfather served in the American Civil War! (But becoming a father at 70 may be the greater miracle?!)

Alright then! This particular branch of my Family Tree looks like this (9 generations):
  • Arthur Hart and Elizabeth Irby (emigrated from England in 1766; he died in 1777)
  • James Hart and Sarah Edwards (1769-1805; 1774-1849)
  • Capt Thomas E. Hart and Hannah Lide (1794-1842; 1796-1875)
  • James Arthur Hart and Caroline Linton (1821-1847; -1847)
  • Rev. Thomas W. Hart and Elizabeth Hodges (????)
  • Carl Clarence Hart and Barbara Bennett (my dad and mom! 1917-1995; 1916-1997)
  • Virginia Louise Hart and Bill Tiffan (moi, 1945-; 1946-)
  • Amy Tiffan Grannan Tiffan and Nick Grannan (my daughter, 1972-; 1969-)
  • Nicholas Joseph Grannan (my grandson, 2000-)

I clearly have some more dates to round up but this is a start. My niece, Shari, has done considerable research from Hannah Lide's line (Captain Thomas' wife), going all the way back to Longshanks and William the Conquerer. Gotta get royalty in there somehow, of course!

One last tidbit: in 1996 (the year the Summer Olympic Games were in Atlanta!) Hartsville was named "All-American City." This honor is given to 10 municipalities in the USA each year and is the nation's most prestigious and most coveted civic award. That's royalty enough for me!


  1. Cool! Lots of good details. Thank you for the digging.


  2. My Mom's Family and therefore my family is also supposed to be descendants from those in Hartsville. My Mom's maiden name is Hart. She lived most of her childhood in Hollywood FL. There were 3 children, 2 boys and a girl. Does this help some? Interested in what else you have found. We did go to Hartsville in 2004. A whole lot has happened to us since. We are in the areas most hit by Hurricane Katrina. Do you know who the relative was (depicted in the Museum) that was the photographer.

    Naomi Schmidt