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A banner at the entrance to Oakley Park Museum welcomed the family of the Garys, all descendants of the Martin Witherspoon Gary family who once owned Oakley Park, in the years following the Civil War. Cannons were heard over the town of Edgefield as they were set off by a group of Civil War Re-enactors, all welcoming the family as they arrived.
It was a very rainy, cool day, but inside all was warm with welcomes as family members connected. Out back was a tent with early refreshments, all to ready folks for the real meal, a catered barbecue lunch served from the banquet table in the dining room. Large round tables were set inside where the warmth of the rather recent central heating — one of many steps toward bringing the 1835 house into the comforts of the 21st century.
Bill Gary of Augusta, joined by his wife Judy, was greeting folks as they came up the steps onto the porch where many were gathered, not minding the rain. Also present were Tom Pope and Gary Pope, and their sister Waties Kennedy, who were there with spouses. They are the children of the late Tom Pope, attorney of Newberry, and also a student of history.
At the appropriate time, Albert Gary III stood on the inside stairway leading up to the second floor, very near to a refurbished flag of the War, and gave remarks of welcome to all who came to enjoy the first of what must be many more gatherings at the “old homeplace.”