Descendants of Paris and Andrew Simkins gathered at Macedonia Baptist Church in Edgefield for the Fall Meeting of the Edgefield County Historical Society, October 16, 2021:
Front Row, left to right: Leonard Simkins; Tayari Thompson; Christa Thompson; Mary Simkins Wright; Traci Sowell; Henry Fountain (not a descendent – husband of Lisa Fountain);
2nd row: Sharon Simkins Woods; Lisa Fountain; Virgil Murray; Willie Simkins, Jr.; Patricia Lowther.
3rd row: Frederica Simkins Richardson; Octavia Simkins Wiseman; Avis Simkins Davis; Adria Simkins;
Top row: Judge Eric T. Washington; La Vonne Thompson; Kevin Simkins.
Judge Washington, Ms. La Vonne Thompson and Ms. Patricia Lowther are all descendants of Andrew Simkins. The remainder of the group are all descendants of Paris Simkins’s son, Edwin “Booth” Simkins.
At the Fall Meeting of the Edgefield County Historical Society held on Saturday, October 16, 2021, Macedonia Baptist Church and the Edgefield Academy were celebrated. About 150 persons were in attendance, with some coming from as far away as London, England and New York City.
Dr. Valinda Littlefield, Associate Professor of History at the University of South Carolina, delivered the keynote address, giving special interest to the subjects of “Rosenwald Schools” of which the Edgefield Academy was one, and “Jeanes Teachers” who also taught at the Edgefield Academy.
Rev. J. R. Clark, pastor of Macedonia Church, opened the meeting with an invocation and welcome from Macedonia Church. Bettis Rainsford, Historian of the Edgefield County Historical Society, gave the welcome from the Society and introduced the speaker.
Following the keynote address, a number of alumni of the Edgefield Academy, including Mrs. Frances Morina, Mr. Willie Bright, Mr. Herbert Morgan and Mr. Willie Bacon, gave their reflections on the Church, the neighborhood and the Academy.
The meeting then moved to the street in front of the Church where a South Carolina Historical Marker was unveiled. One side of the marker is dedicated to Macedonia Church and the other side is dedicated to the Edgefield Academy.
After this unveiling, five historical markers were then unveiled in the Courtyard in front of the Church celebrating individuals who had played a part in the church and the academy. Those markers were for Paris Simkins, Lawrence Cain, Andrew Simkins, Rev. Frank Augustus Weaver and the Edgefield Academy Leaders, Robert Green and W. E. Parker.
For the occasion, a program book was printed which includes detailed histories of “The First Half-Century of Macedonia Baptist Church,” “The Story of the Edgefield Academy,” and “The Paris and Andrew Simkins Families of Edgefield, South Carolina.” Copies of this Program Book can be obtained from the Edgefield County Historical Society.
Following the ceremony, a reception was held.
Submitted by Bettis Rainsford.