Voters send new faces to
Williamston voters sent a clear message Tuesday as they voted to seat two new members to town council in the runoff election
Newcomer Greg Cole defeated veteran council member Harold Mackey for the Ward 1 seat. Cecil Cothran assumes the Ward 2 seat formerly occupied by Jimmy Rogers.
Cole stated that he thanks the people for their support and promises to do what he can to work with the mayor to move the town forward. His goal is to keep government open and the public informed.
The people have shown that they want a change, Cothran emphasized. Its time now to work together, forget the past and move forward.
Official counts revealed the following for Ward 1: Mill Precinct: Cole - 135, Mackey - 30; Town Precinct: Cole - 237, Mackey - 119; Absentee ballots: Cole - 5, Mackey - 11. Total : Cole - 377, Mackey - 160.
Votes in the Ward 2 race showed: Mill Precinct: Cothran - 121, Rogers - 44: Town Precinct: Cothran - 210, Rogers - 142; Absentee ballots: Cothran - 5, Rogers - 11. Total : Cothran - 336, Rogers - 197.
Cole, elected to the Ward One seat held by Dr. Mackey for 26 years, campaigned on more open government in Williamston, with more citizen input. He also said he would like to see citizens be more involved in the decision making of the mayor and council.
Cecil Cothran, elected to the Ward Two seat, retired from a position in management with Milliken Cushman Plant, said he feels that it is time for a change and for fresh ideas in Williamstons city government.
He said his training in management and cost control would be an asset to the council position. He thanked voters for their support during the election.
Rogers has held the Town Council Ward 2 seat for 24 years.
Williamston Town Council members serve four-year staggered terms, with two seats coming up for reelection every two years. The two four-year terms will run from Jan. 1, 2003 to Dec. 31, 2006.
The new councilmen will be sworn in January 6 at the first council meeting of the new year.
The legend states that West Allen Williams was travelling across his property and stopped to rest. After dreaming of a spring with medicinal value, he awoke and discovered a trickle of water from a spring, around which a town eventually grew.
Williamstons founding father is now in a final resting place near that very spring located in the center of the town he is credited with founding.
Approximately 200 persons attended the historical reinterment service of the founding father Sunday.
Williams remains were reinterred, along with the remains of the three family members, in Williamstons Mineral Spring Park.
A group of about 30 persons walked behind a horse drawn caisson along a 3 mile processional route from Big Creek Baptist Church to the memorial gravesite located in the park.
The procession began in a light rain with a prayer by Rev. Mitch Gambrell, pastor of Big Creek Baptist Church.
The church is just outside Williamston and only a few miles from the original Williams family gravesite across the Saluda River in Southern Greenville County.
Williams wife and brother are buried in the Big Creek Church cemetery.
The caisson, built to the specifications of the one used in Arlington, Virginia, was pulled by two Belgium Cross horses. The driver dressed in black, wore a black stove pipe hat.
The procession passed a house on Hamilton St. in which Williams once lived, and continued down Main St.
After entering the park, Town of Williamston employees ushered the wooden coffin, drapped with a Town flag, to the burial site. The procession culminated with a graveside service performed by Dale Harper.
Williamston Mayor Phillip Clardy thanked everyone for being there. This is a part of history, he said.
Embraced by the gratitude of an entire community and held in the love and admonition of a descended family, here rest the earthen tabernacles of our beloved founder, West Allen Williams, and family, Clardy said during the service.
Reverently moved from a forgotten cemetery a few miles hence, they are laid here in honor and absolute respect. Within the sound of our childrens play, and in the shadow of our fellowship and recreation, we consecrate this sacred ground. At this place, we are reacquainted with our history as a community and renewed to a devotion of perpetual care by a grateful family, Clardy said.
To these, and to all who may come, may we forever remember that unselfish giving made Williamston a community, and this giving will continue a legacy for time and memorials, Clardy said.
Generations of descendants including Betty Welch, a great, great granddaughter who resides in Texas, and her daughter attended the ceremony.
Welch said she was glad to see the family gravesite relocated to the township, where it will be properly cared for.
Also in attendance were Wes Allen Williams, 7, a 5th generation nephew of Williams, along with his parents William Allen Williams, III, and Lori Fletcher Williams, and his sister Laney, age 3, of Lexington.
Connie Barnwell, a great, great, great, great niece of West Allen Williams, a local descendant, was presented the town flag which was drapped over the coffin. Connie Randall of Greer was also among family in attendance.
Family members dropped roses onto the coffin, and Wes Allen Williams shoveled the first earth onto his forefathers grave.
A Town sponsored reception was held at the Municipal Center following the service during which family members shared photo albums and history of the Williams family.
Family members said after the service that the event had brought them together and there was talk of a future family reunion.
Also participating in the historical event were the following:
Cooper Funeral Home in Dillon, S. C. provided the caisson. It was also used for a reinterment service for 13 confederate soldier in Charleston, according to owner Benny Cooper. Teddy Holden of Mullins provided the Belgium Cross horses used to pull the caisson, and was the driver.
Larry Strom of Gray Mortuary provided his services as funeral director.
Gray Mortuary provided the wooden casket in which Williams was buried, as well as vehicles for family members who did not walk in the funeral procession.
Wilbert Vault Co. in Greenville provided the vault used
Though damaged by vandals, the original marble and rock mausoleums were renovated and reassembled with the graves spaced as they were originally in the family grave plot on Holland Ford Road in South Greenville County.
Additional acknowledgement and memorial of the Williams family and their contribution to the township will also be placed at the gravesite, according to Clardy.
District 7 Council Member Cindy Wilson took center stage in presenting the Saluda River Valley Trail proposal to Anderson County Council in its regular meeting Nov. 19. The proposal involves approximately 20 miles of trails connecting Williamston, Pelzer, West Pelzer, Belton and Honea Path.
Wilson introduced Yon Lambert of the Palmetto Conservation Foundation who outlined the trail project and its benefits. He referenced the Palmetto Trail and illustrated how the new project could develop and benefit Anderson County.
Williamstons Mayor Phillip Clardy spoke as a representative of the municipalities involved. He described the trails as a continuum to bring the municipalities together with support from towns, councils, and communities. According to Clardy, each municipality has pledged $500 to asssist in the cost of the study of the project.
Dr. Tommy Martin, Honea Path Merchants Association, said that he felt the project would enhance the quality of life as well as help many people rediscover small town values.
Bob Chambers of the Electric City Cycling Club said the current road system is not designed for safe cycling. The project would include widening some shoulders four feet to accommodate cyclers.
Rebecca Jimeneze of Anderson College said the trails would provide equestrians opportunities that current trails do not afford, allowing riders to ride side by side instead of in a line.
Rod Cowan and Bill Cavedo of Anderson Roadrunners spoke to the needs of runners. The trails would be an asset to cross country teams for training and for meets. Most runners currently use Midway Road which is not really adequate for distance running according to Cavedo. Cowan said he could envision the trails attracting national attention for competitions. Cavedo pledged financial assistance and volunteers to support the effort.
Council members posed questions regarding property concerns, alternative routes, and funding for the project. Lambert said he felt the initial study would answer all questions sufficiently.
Moving to its business session, the council unanimously approved the third reading of an ordinance creating the Thornwood Acres Special Tax District.
The second reading of an ordinance to enlarge the Industrial/Business Park of Anderson and Greenville counties was also unanimously approved.
After much discussion and an amendment proposed by Council Member Clint Wright, the council approved the accommodations tax distribution by a 5 to 1 vote. Wilson cast the only opposing vote expressing concerns about reduced funds for two projects in Honea Path. Council Member Gracie Floyd excused herself from the process due to a conflict of interest.
Council Member Fred Tolly received unanimous approval for a $5000 appropriation to the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club. Council Member Bill Dees received unanimous approval for $14,000 to repair the West Church Bridge. Wilson received the councils unanimous approval for $5000 to fund the Saluda River Valley Trail study. Wright and Floyd enthusiastically added $1000 from each of their districts bringing the total funding to $7000.
After scheduling a Land Use Regulation Workshop for Dec. 5 at 10:00 a.m., the council adjourned.
The Town of Pelzer recently installed an automated billing and record system for its utility customers. Previously, the town has billed and acounted for its water, sewer and trash services using a time-consuming manual system for over 600 customers.
The automation project was carried out under the Appalachian Council of Governments Small Towns Technical Assistance Progam. Using the Microsoft Access platform, ACOG developed an easy-to-use, menu-driven program that automates much of the utility administration, provides for extensive reporting and creates a more detailed bill for customers.
Skip Watkins, Pelzer Town Clerk, said the first billing under the new system went successfully. Bills are issued every two months with the average charge per bill around $60 according to Watkins.
Watkins also stated that the Western Carolina sewer line proposal package is now in Spartanburg for review. It will be sent on to Columbia and then to a regional attorney for additional reviews. Watkins expects the reviews to be completed some time after the first of the year.
An untimely accident and an alert passerby led to the arrest of a Pelzer woman by the Anderson County Sheriffs Department. Deputies identified and charged Sherry Colette Sullivan, 36, of 406A Old River Road, Pelzer, with armed robbery of one convenience store and eventually linked her to several area robberies.
On Nov. 5, a female matching Sullivans description entered the Lil Cricket at 7001 Highway 29N, Williamston, demanded the stores money and made threats of shooting the clerk while motioning that a weapon was concealed under her jacket.
A short time later, deputies learned that a vehicle matching the description of the one used in the robbery had run in a ditch on Highway 8 and Brickyard Road. Witnesses were able to identify Sullivan and her vehicle along with a roll of money she had in her possession at the time of the accident.
On Nov. 8, investigators were able to connect Sullivan to a string of attempted and actual robberies in Anderson and Greenville counties, according to Captain Dale McCard of the Anderson County Sheriffs Department.
Sullivan was charged with armed robbery and assault and battery with intent to kill involving a robbery at Little General, 220 East Shockley Ferry Road in Anderson on April 13, 2002. McCard said that during this robbery, Sullivan, who was armed with a boxcutter, cut the clerk across the neck and fled with the cash register.
Anderson investigators also charged Sullivan with the attempted armed robbery of Teams Texaco, 2501 River Road, Piedmont on Dec. 11, 2001. She made two other attempts in Greenville County on that same day according to McCard. Arrest warrants are pending on those charges.
Sullivan is also charged with two armed robberies inside the city of Anderson in December 2001. City detectives served arrest warrants for robberies at the Stop & Shop at 404 Highway 29 Bypass and the Conoco at 2206 North Main Street.