‘It’s a legacy’: Stepping into past with new historical marker

Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 5:34 PM EDT
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PLUM BRANCH, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - After getting multiple questions about a historical set of stairs at Hamilton Branch State Park, South Carolina Parks unveiled a historical marker.

The marker has information about the house those stairs led to and the families there.

Hamilton Branch State Park wasn’t always a park.

Over 100 years ago, what’s now trees and campgrounds used to be the home to multiple black families.

The set of steps is one of the only historical markers left for one of those families.

It was 1899 when James Robertson and his brother bought 362 acres of farmland for $2,000 and eventually built a house where he and his wife raised their children.

“James and Frances Robertson, they lived here up until the late ‘40s when the government acquired the property,” said Claude Gilchrist, a family member.

They left high expectations for the rest of the family.

Oren Robertson Jr. is another family member. He said, “He left a legacy for his children and his grandchildren.”

What we now know as Lake Thurmond is the home of a legacy for the Robertson family, where they come every four years to keep the legacy alive.

Kennetta Robertson is also a family member. She said: “Knowing that during that time they acquired 362 acres is phenomenal. So from a legacy standpoint, it leads us to say, why can’t we do more.”

They say their story is similar to many other families, and hope you’ll see the historical marker of their family as an inspiration for yours.

“It’s a legacy not only for the Robertson family. There are a lot of families like us that have the story to tell and they may not just have the marker. They may not just have the steps to reflect on. I hope they can take that as an inspiration, too, to build from generation to generation,” said Kennetta.

So take a look at your family history. You never know what you’ll find out or how you could lead your family history.

The family hopes their historical marker is only the first of many more to come.