The Independent Republic Quarterly
Vol. 19 Winter 1985
A PRICELESS HERITAGE
By Kelly Paul Joyner
Much has been written about Horry County and the low country of South Carolina, mostly dealing with specifics–dates and records of court proceedings from courthouse records. In this “Priceless Heritage” I would like to bring out the human element of the way it was for my family, and the countless others throughout this large, rural “Independent Republic of Horry”. I shall attempt to relate to you the lifestyle of the people of the time: how we worked and entertained ourselves, what we wore and what we ate, how we worshipped and how we mourned.
Let me quote from Deuteronomy, the eighth chapter and seventh verse: “For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks and water, of fountains and springs.” Ours is indeed a “priceless heritage”.
My life began at Bucksport, about fourteen miles from Conway on the Waccamaw River.
My family consisted of my parents, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Oneal Paul (Margaret Davis), brother Clarence, sisters Bertha and Aleen, and later brother Odell. At that time Bucksport was a thriving community. There were churches and schools, a shingle mill, a large general store, and there was also a doctor. He was Dr. John K. Stalvey. However, we had no dentist.
My father was foreman of the shingle mill, and later the mill wrjght for the Huntly-Richardson Lumber Company. The earliest memory I have is about the time my family moved from Bucksport to our new home on the Bucksville road. I can barely remember walking through our wide hall and bragging, “I am four years old.” My sister Aleen (Mrs. J.E. Harper) exclaimed, “Home sweet home.” Our family enjoyed our home on the farm where we had a big, shady yard with lots of trees, and large front and back porches. Aleen and I spent many hours during the summers on the high back-porch reading and playing with our paper-doll families.
This was the good life. We had many church and community activities in which to participate. Sunday was the Sabbath, and we were required to keep it. We dressed for Sunday school and church, and had to keep on our Sunday clothes all day, so as not to be tempted to play rough games.
We were not allowed to play rough games on Sunday, not even hop-scotch. We could, however, entertain ourselves by reading, practicing our music, or studying the catechism. We were, and still are, Presbyterians. We attended Waccamaw Presbyterian Church, which was erected in 1898. It not only still stands, services are still held there on the first and third Sundays of each month.
Then, as now, funerals were very sad. As a child, I remember seeing coffins made when someone died. I recently talked with Mr. Mac Goldfinch and learned that Goldfinch Funeral Home was started in 1905 by his grandfather, Mr. William T. Goldfinch, and his uncle, Mr. Albert Godlfinch. Mr. William M. Goldfinch joined his father and brother in the business shortly thereafter. In the beginning they started a furniture business, the Kingston Furniture Company, and carried as part of their merchandise coffin shells.
They also sold the handles, padding, pillows and the linings. Kingston Furniture Company was located on Main Street, next to the Jerry Cox Company. Soon Kingston Furniture Company began providing the coffin already fitted with handles and pillows, already lined and ready for the funeral. Soon Mr. William T. Goldfinch and his sons began to offer delivery, as well as transporting the body to the church. Mr.
William M. Goldfinch took an embalming course in Raleigh, N. c., and further committed the family to the funeral business. They continued to operate on Main Street until 1938, when Mr. William M. Goldfinch moved the business to his home on Beaty Street, and it became Goldfinch Funeral Parlor. It is still in business today with the third and fourth generations, Mr. Heyward Goldfinch and his son, George Heyward, and Mr.
William M. Goldfinch, Jr., and his son, W. M. Goldfinch, III.