A citizen of Hopkins who was born in Eastover, has lived in Lower Richland all her life. She served in the Hopkins Post Office for 23 years. Who better than Virginia Hook McCracken to put together a pictorial history of Hopkins, along with her granddaughter Ann Drayton Lister?
Arcadia Publishing of Charleston has published their joint creation, a compilation of historic photographs of the people and places that make up rural Hopkins. "It was a labor of love," says McCracken. "I know the people here, and something of their history, and Ann Drayton followed through with organizing their pictures and documenting the story. We have thoroughly enjoyed digging into all the information about this historic area."
Their new book is a treasure house of photographs and reminiscences of the families who built Hopkins into a productive farming community.
Suburbia has moved into the area, but for the most part Hopkins still sports agricultural spreads and open land, along with historic houses, dating back 150 to 200 years or more.
In 1762, John Hopkins and his wife Sarah received a grant of 250 acres from the king of England. Before dying at the young age of 36, John Hopkins eventually amassed a spread of more than 3,000 acres. Land grants from the king were discontinued in 1776, and much of that original Hopkins land remains in the hands of his descendants today.
The Barber house, built in 1872, is a prime example of a freed slave becoming a landowner. Samuel Barber bought the house and 42.5 acres of land in 1872, and when his wife Harriett, also a former slave, finished the payments, it became the Harriett Barber house. It has remained in the Barber family and in 1006 qualified for a grant from the Richland County Conservation Commission for $25,000, with another $37,500 added later, for restoration and preservation. Celebrations and festivals are held there often.
Another signal Hopkins property is the Congaree National Park, 26,000 acres of floodplain forest. The swamp has been used as a hiding place for runaway slaves, escaped convicts, moonshine whiskey stills, and family valuables during the Civil War.
Wildlife and rare birds abound in the old- growth hardwood forest said to be the oldest in the U.S. and with some champion trees in age and size.
The churches of Hopkins have played an important part in family life ever since the 1700s. Their histories are encapsuled with photographs in the new book.
McCracken's and Lister's new book is part of the Images of America series published by Arcadia Publishing.
Virginia McCracken and Ann Drayton Lister will sign copies of their book
Hopkins on Saturday, August 29 at Perkin' Beans coffee shop, 9701 Garners Ferry Road, from 10 to 12 pm.