The Heyward Family Association’s 2019 reunion took place May 4 at Cockfield Plantation, about 14 miles south of Walterboro, SC and less than a mile from last year’s reunion site at Combahee Plantation.
The Association is grateful to Susie O’Brien, who made her beautiful place available for our annual event.
Weather was beautiful as families began arriving and checking in around 11 am. Check-in, handled by Robin Rawl, included an inquiry about interest in reprinting two out-of-print Heyward family books: Heyward by James Barnwell Heyward and Ancestors and Descendants of Nathaniel Heyward by Thomas DeSaussure Furman. (Both of these books are described as recommended reading on this website.) Jane Brown of the HFA board reported there were many positive responses and she will continue to explore the feasibility and costs associated with this effort.
By noon the delicious food, beverages and desserts brought in by family members were ready for serving and two lines formed accordingly.
After the dining, HFA president Leslie Smodic introduced three speakers for the occasion. First up was Bob FitzSimons, who told the assembled Heywards the story of the short and not-very-happy lives of the two oldest sons of Nathaniel Heyward (1766 – 1851), the South’s greatest rice planter. Those two sons, William Manigault Heyward and Nathaniel Heyward, Jr, are no doubt in the ancestry of many of the Heywards at the reunion.
Next up was Fran Heyward Bollin, who brought to our attention the need for some maintenance work at the Old House Plantation in Jasper County. Old House is the burial site of Thomas Heyward, Jr, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and several of his relatives. It is on the National Register of Historical Places. The HFA board is now looking into ways the Association might work with the Jasper County Parks and Recreation staff, the Daughters of the American Revolution and possibly others to get this maintenance done.
Third up was Cabell Heyward, who’d come to the reunion from Virginia. He spoke of Duncan Clinch Heyward: businessman, planter, governor of South Carolina 1903 – 1907 and author of a memoir entitled Seed From Madagascar. Also, Cabell Heyward brought with him and passed around a framed photograph of assembled Heywards taken in 1936 or 37. A photo of his photo is shown below. Recognize anyone?
The opportunity for socializing after the three speakers was cut short by the arrival of rain showers. A few of us remained behind, under shelter, to discuss HFA business but by 3 pm everyone had left for home. The event is now a fond memory.