Professor and pastor Bob Uzzell relied upon local connections to aid his historical book research and those efforts paid off in several ways.
On Thursday morning, he met with Johnny Harrison, who grew up in the Lake Wateree area. Harrison, like Uzzell, is a member of the masons and they used that connection as a means of contact.
When Harrison heard Uzzell would be in the area researching the Durhams he knew he had to go see him.
Harrison said he knew of a Will Durham, a well-respected family man in the Blackstock community with whom he was related.
Uzzell knew of a Will Durham from his research but that branch of the Durhams was a white group from Northern Va., not the black Will Durham was the man who married Harrison’s grandfather’s first cousin.
Thanks to their meeting, however, Uzzell set up a meeting with Harrison’s uncle who also is a Prince Hall Mason.
Harrison was quite interested as to whether his cousins were connected to Uzzell’s extensive research.
Uzzell was thankful to have found a brother mason and also that his journey from Texas resulted in a few story leads on his very first day of interviewing locals.
An amateur historian, Harrison volunteered to help Uzzell try and locate the Durhams, especially South Carolina to Louisiana connections.
He is thankful for the assistance the Fairfield County Historical Society and Fairifield County Musuem gave to help reclaim and share a piece of local history that can be used as a teaching tool for future generations.
Uzzell also interviewed Boykin Durham and his sister Katherine Durham Polk in the Ridgeway area.
He also visited White Oak and Good Hope church cemeteries with quite a few Durhams buried there.
He is thankful to all the locals who helped him with his research especially information at the Fairfield County Museum.
Uzzell said he had avery positive impression of the area and how helpful the people he met were.
He hopes that the town of Fairfield, Texas and the county of Fairfield can build on the connection he has made with his book research.