My Ancestors Lived Here

Where my mother lived and where Auntie Betty was born

G. Jane Graham 1925-2003

Rutledge Avenue and Calhoun Street       Charleston, South Carolina

For years, when in Charleston, South Carolina, I have driven past the site where my mother lived as a child. It’s now a gas station. They even have a “Beer Cave” inside.

My mother came to Charleston to find her house back in the early 1980’s.  She was shocked to discover that it was no longer standing.  It was like a part of her was no longer there. That part of her history was being denied. She felt like she couldn’t prove that any of it really happened. She searched high and low in the surrounding neighborhoods asking anyone and everyone  if they remembered the house. No one did. Everyone said that it was a gas station for as long as they could remember – it was never a house.

She couldn’t believe that no one remembered the Charleston single house where her picture was taken on the piazza as a child. It was the place where her sister Baby Ann was born in an upstairs bedroom on an early April day.  No one in Charleston remembered that there was at a corner house with a traffic light installed  that would “DING!” when it changed.  The sound set my grandmother crazy.

Instead, my mother found a gas station and held a handful of memories and stories that no one else shared except for her mother, who had died almost a quarter century before. And, her daughter, the next keeper of the family stories. So, I remember. And I share – what is appropriate.

This is the first entry and the origin of this idea in this blog. It seems only fitting to start with this picture and launch the site as I’m attending the National Genealogical Society Annual Conference in Charleston. And on the anniversary of my mother’s death.

I plan to continue with pictures of places that may or may not be standing and a brief story from one of the lives lived there, at least for a time, at that location. Some of the stories I will have learned first hand, others pieced together from newspapers, some from official documents, and still others from those sharing an interest in preserving and sharing stories of family.

So, beginning in Charleston, South Carolina, I will share my journey. I will tell the stories as I know them, and as I learn them. I begin this trip with hope, memories, and a full tank of gas.