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Author of book on ghost town of Hamburg says past holds lessons for future

Published: Apr. 1, 2021 at 10:35 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - One local author is taking a deep dive into the history of the town of Hamburg, S.C.

He says he wants to inform readers and connect missing historical gaps.

Hamburg is now a ghost town.

But underneath the crumbling bricks and broken glass is a story.

“I tried to tell it like a story,” said Michael Smith, the author of “The Lost Freedmen’s Town of Hamburg, South Carolina.”

“There is so much there that had not been said.”

He says he wrote this book to fill the historical gaps and tell the untold stories of Hamburg’s history.

“It was an event that had a beginning middle and an end,” he said.

He says that’s why firsthand documents were crucial for encountering misinformation.

They include government record, transcripts, court hearings and legislative proceedings.

He says the book has connections from past to present and contrasts to the history that exists on the other side of the river.

“Today as you can see some of the structure behind me and others in worse conditions in the woods continue to deteriorate,” he said. “However, grand monuments exists for folks who contributed greatly to Hamburg’s downfall, notably the Meriwether Monument.

“You’ve got golf course manicure grass and blooming azaleas and sprouting water fountains,” Smith said.

He says the goal of this book is to provide more context

“I want people to think,” he said.

And present them in a way that people can relate to.

“Develop a greater understanding of what happened in our past -- hopefully change our future,” he said.

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