Looking Back, to look ahead
Laurens County historian Elaine Thorp is the recepient of the Patriot of the Year Award presented by the Cambridge and Gen. James Williams Chapters, SC Society of the National Society Sons of the American Revolution. The award was presented tonight (Feb. 23) during a dinner at Bermuda's at Stoney Point on Lake Greenwood. Director of the Clinton Museum and a history writer, Thorp was one of the authors of the new volume, "Vol. Two of the Combined History (1775-1840) of Areas of the Old 96 District."
Sara Jane Armstrong, of the Henry Laurens Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, gave a brief overview of the newly released book to an audience of about 100 at the SAR's annual dinner. Vol. 3 will look at Laurens County and the Old 96 District during the Mexican War, Spanish-American War, War Between the States and Reconstruction, she said. A book signing and sale for Vol. 2 was conducted Sunday at the Clinton Museum, and authors including Thorp and Armstrong are available to speak to groups interested in history.
Vol. 2 highlights the American Revolution battles fought in and around Laurens County and, Armstrong said, "the Patriots won most of them" - setting the stage for the birth of the United States of America.
Thorp expressed appreciation for the award, and said events to remember history are important - so much of American history is being lost and not retained these day, she said.
The Patriot Dinner celebrated the American Revolution, the birth of the United States, the 284th anniversary of the birth of George Washington, the 15th anniversary of the Cambridge Chapter revitalization, and the 8th birthday of the Gen. James Williams Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution. State President CMPT. Greg Greenwalt presented the main portion of the program, which included the role of the Battle of Musgrove Mill (now a state historic site near Clinton) in leading to Patriot victories at Kings Mountain and Cowpens. The Loyalists and British Army defeat at Kings Mountain prevented a British conquest of the North Carolina colony, and hastened the end of the war and surrender at Yorktown.
The executive director of the Clinton Museum and Historic Preservation Officer for the City of Clinton, Thorp is a Lander University graduate in history and political science. Her nomination says, "Her education and training have benefitted not only Clinton and Laurens County, but also the lineage societies in which she holds membership: the J.B. Kershaw Chapter of the UDC (United Daughters of the Confederacy), the Capt. William Farley Chapter of the Order of the Rose in Laurens, and the Henry Laurens Chapter of the DAR in Clinton where she serves as Chapter Vice Regent. ... her love for history embraces all eras of American history, with a special devotion to Revolutionary War history in 'the Backcountry' of South Carolina ... that war was won here in South Carolina."
Thorp volunteers at Musgrove Mill, and researches the soliders who fought there and the Musgrove family. Thorp also "promotes tourism in Laurens County, teaches geneology and family history courses to encourage others to study and preserve history and has preserved much of her research through her writing that appears in the 'Discover Laurens County' history series," the nomination says.
The Patriot Dinner was sponsored in association with The Piedmont Area Chapters of the South Carolina State Society, The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, Long Cane Chapter, Mt. Ariel Chapter, Henry Laurens Chapter, Sullivan Dunklin Chapter, Major John Bowie Chapter and Star Fort Chapter.