Ninety Six Historical Society 

non-profit  501 3 (c)

Historical Figures and Notable Persons

SC Senator CATLET CONNER-
1778- April 25,1832. Born in Virginia in 1778, Catlet came to Ninety Six along with his mother and Uncle Reverend John Waller in 1793 at the age of 15. Catlet settled near Cambridge on Hwy 248s, in what today is known as the Kinard House (formerly Paysinger House) on the corner of current day Paysinger Road, on the old Martin Town road.
Catlet operated a blacksmith shop on the property and is said to have owned the first cotton gin in the area, (possibly the Old Murray cotton gin located on Hwy 178, owned by the Kinards). From 1818 to1824 Catlett Connor represented the former Edgefield District section of Ninety Six, nicknamed "The Learned Blacksmith". In 1826 Connor ran for the SC State Senate against Eldred Simkins, a wealthy Edgefield attorney and won. State Senator Connor passed away in 1832 and is interned at the John Waller grave site off Scotch Cross Rd, Ninety Six.

US Senator SAMPSON HALE BUTLER -
January 03, 1803 to March 16, 1848. Born in Ninety Six, in the former Edgefield County, SC, Sampson attended local schools, studying law at Columbia (now the University of South Carolina). He was admitted to the bar in 1825 and practiced law in the Town of  Edgefield, SC. He then moved to Barnwell, SC where he became Sheriff from 1832-1839. He was a member of the SC State House of Representatives from 1832-1835, District 4 and a member of the US House of Representatives as a Democrat in the 26th, 27th and 28th Congresses from March 04 1832-- until September 27,1842 when he resign. Upon his resignation he moved to Tallahassee, Florida until his death on March 16, 1848. Interment is at the Old Oakland Cemetery, Madison County, Florida.

US Senator PRESTON SMITH BROOKS -  August 06, 1819 to January 27, 1857. Born at Roselands, the Brooks Plantation, located on Hwy 246 S, in the former Edgefield County part of Ninety Six. Preston attended the Willington Academy and later South Carolina College. He was elected to the SC Legislature in 1844, but in 1846 he left, serving as a Captain in the Palmetto Regiment of the Mexican War. On March 04, 1853 he won his seat as a "States Rights Democrat" in the US House of Representatives, 4th District of South Carolina. Preston and his wife resided at "Leaside" plantation in Ninety Six, SC. Senator Preston Brooks is most famous for his attack on Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts on May 22, 1856 on the Senate floor,  where he severely beat Senator Sumner with his cane after a speech labeled "The Crimes Against Kansas" by Senator Sumner. During the speech, a kinsmen of Preston Brooks, Senator Andrews Pickens Butler, who was not at the Senate at the time due to poor health, was the subject of insulting remarks as well as the deplorable condemnation of all of the residents of the state of South Carolina for their views on slavery. Senator  Brooks was fined $300.00 resigned his seat after the incident. On October 3, 1856 a large festival with over 10,000 people, including the NY Times, who published about the festival on the first 2 pages on October 8th, 1856,  the was held at the 96 Train Depot honoring Preston Brooks for defending the South. There he was presented with a gold cane by the State of Virginia, wagons full of canes from Texas, Florida, and Georgia. He was honored by speakers from various southern states. He was immediately re-elected to his seat in the US House of Representatives were he served only a few months, then died due to a sudden illness.

GORDAN BLAINE HANCOCK-June 23, 1884 to July 24, 1970. Born in Ninety Six, SC, the son of former slaves Robert and Anna Hancock. He attended Benedict College and received his Masters degree from Harvard University. A Baptist Minister, he preached at the Moore Street Baptist Church in Virginia. He wrote for the Associated Negro Press, the Durham Manifesto and invented the term "Double Duty Dollar" which meant blacks should help assist other blacks build employment opportunities and patronize other black establishments. This philosophy still exists today and the Black Yellow Pages in an example of such. He helped organize the Southern Conference on Race Relations and the Southern Regional Council and was a key player in the push for Civil rights prior to the Civil Rights Movement.

Dr. BENJAMIN ELIJAH MAYS- August 01,1894 to March 28,1984. Born in Ninety Six (Epworth), SC. He attended the high school at South Carolina State College in Orangeburg, graduating as class Valedictorian. After receiving his Bachelors Degree he became Pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church of Atlanta, which was close to Morehouse College where he taught Mathematics until 1924. In 1925 he received his Masters Degree from the University of Chicago. From 1930 to 1932 he studied Negro churches at the Institute of Social and Religious Research in New York, where he co-wrote The Negro's Church. He became Dean of Howard University School of Religion in 1934. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1935. He became President of the Morehouse College in 1940. In December 1944 he was elected vice-president of the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America, the first member of his race to hold that office. Following his 27 year Morehouse presidency he was President of the Atlanta School Board and presided over the desegregation of the Atlanta Public Schools. He published nine books in his lifetime. Dr. Mays was a mentor of Martin Luther King Jr and the orator of the eulogy at Dr. King's funeral. See www.mayshousemuseum.org.

WILLIAM SYMMES (BILL) VOISELLE- January 29, 1919 to January 31, 2005. Born in Greenwood, SC he grew up in the Ninety Six Mill Village, where he played on the Ninety Six High School baseball team and the Ninety Six Cotton Mill League team until he was recruited as a starting pitcher in Major League Baseball. Bill wore the number "96" to memorialize his hometown. He requested and received special permission from the MBL, and was the only player to wear a number that high until 2003.  He is pictured in that numbered jersey here. Bill started his career with the New York Giants on September 01, 1942 and played with them until 1947 he then went to the Boston Braves from 1947 to 1949, pitching in the world Series in 1948, and ended his career with the Chicago Cubs on July 08, 1950. Bill pitched in 2 World Series. He is buried at  the Elmwood Cemetery, located in Ninety Six, South Carolina.

SC State Senator JOHN W. DRUMMOND- September 29, 1919 to September 03, 2016. Born in Ninety Six,  and a graduate of Ninety Six High School. John successfully started two local companies, Drummond Oil and Greenwood Petroleum before joining the Air Force. He served as a captain in the 405th Fighter Bomber Group in World War II. He supplied close air support during Normandy battle of D-Day. He flew 47 missions and was shot down over France, where he was taken as a Prisoner of War for 10 months during the end of the war. Senator Drummond was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, two Purple Hearts and a Presidential Citation. Elected to the South Carolina State House in 1965 thru 1966. In 1967 he was elected to the South Carolina Senate as a Democrat representing the 10th District. SC Senator Drummond served ten consecutive terms serving the residents of Ninety Six and Greenwood County.

ROBERT "BOBBY" ROSEL WILLIAMS- November 1932 to present. Born in Ninety Six, SC. Bobby played for the Ninety Six Blue Jays Mill League baseball team.  Rosel signed on with the Negro League's Birmingham Black Barons in 1954. The Birmingham Black Barons team was known for such players as Willie Mays and Hank Aaron. Mr. Williams played Short Stop, but was drafted into the Army in 1958 where suffered a broken ankle while in the military service. Upon coming out of the military, he played with the Cincinnati Reds team however, they were reluctant to sign him due to the previous ankle injury. Today Mr. Williams plays an active role in the local community as a mentor to many young children.

See www.negroleaguebaseball.com for additional photographs and information on the team.

 

ODEAN POPE - October 24, 1938 to present. Born in Ninety Six, SC, Odean was taught to love music in the local southern Baptist church. he once stated he remembers sitting in the straight-backed wooden pews listening to gospel music and wondering how it would sound on the saxophone. The family moved to Philadelphia, Pa when Odean was just ten years old. Here, he was exposed to many jazz greats. His talent increased as he studied jazz  at the Graniff School of Music, and played in and under notable groups such as Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and Max Roach. He studied at the Paris Conservatory for Music were he received his Certificate for Arrangement, Orchestration, Modern Harmony, African Rhythm and Be-Bop Art forms.  Today he is a highly regarded saxophone tenor jazz player and part of the Philadelphia jazz history, but will always remain another great Ninety Six native.
Ann Williams & The Williams Ensemble- Ann Williams  - a gospel singer from Ninety Six, SC is known for writing the famous gospel song ” You Been So Good To Me”.  She wrote the song while sitting at the table in Ninety Six looking out the window depressed. She has performed this song, (later recorded with Hoyt Sullivan, see the YouTube link ), for  United States Presidents Jimmy Carter, who specifically mentions Ann in his autobiography on p.88, where she sang "The Peanut Man", and for President Ronald Reagan. Ann was invited to the inauguration ceremony of President Bill Clinton, and sang for Congress. She has also sang for SC Senator John Drummond in Ninety Six on the square during a rally. 

Ann began with a local small chorus church group in Ninety Six. The group was  known as Ann Williams and the Williams Ensemble. They recorded one album. Ann later when to Nashville where she recorded the single hit. Her song has been recorded by multiple famous gospel singers and groups.  To listen to her album copy the YouTube link  https://youtu.be/YiXN2iQ432A.