75 YEARS AGO - 1943
July 3 - July 9
- An exhibition of aircraft, including everything from a Cub to a Flying Fortress, will highlight Shaw Field's open house and air show. In celebration of Independence Day, Shaw Field will offer the people of South Carolina, especially the teenage boys of the state, the unprecendented opportunity of seeing first hand the planes that are now making history over Europe. A large display of bombers, pursuit ships, transports and observation planes will be assembled on the runways within the arm's reach of the visitors, many of whom have never seen these giants of the air on the ground.
- The army, an informed source said today, has agreed to turn over to hard-pressed civilian industry 10 percent of the approximately 13,000 to be relinquished. All would be students of engineering, since the army wants to hold on to its medical trainees and others in highly mechanical categories. The men released by the Army will not be selected until they have completed their courses.
- A formal military ball, featuring a grand march, a floor show and free long-distance calls, will be given by the Sumter USO club as a climax to Independence Day celebrations. The enlisted men and WACCS of Shaw Field have been invited to the affair which is scheduled to begin at 8:30 with a concert by the Shaw Field band, to be broadcast over radio station WFIG. At 9 o'clock the grand march, which is to be led by Mr. and Mrs. Henry Moses, will begin. Free long-distance calls to the men and the auxiliaries will be given immediately following the march.
- South Carolina's more than 1,000 penitentiary prisoners won't have to worry about food shortages and ration points - their larder is well stocked. Superintendent James S. Wilson said that the major portion of the food consumed by the inmates was being produced on part of the 5,000 acres of land in Richland, Kershaw and Sumter counties owned by the state.
- Gene Moses, playing par golf through the 15th hole, defeated Ryan Kennedy in the final match of the annual Sunset Country Club Coca Cola Handicap tournament Sunday afternoon, thereby gaining for himself possession of the Coca-Cola cup for one year. Kennedy, who was having an off day on the links, trailed his opponent almost throughout the match and was finally downed on the 15th hole, with Moses leading five up and only three to go.
- Two Sumter cadets at The Citadel have been appointed to cadet rank and have been assigned in orders recently issued by Col. C. M. McMurray, professor of military science and tactics. Cadet Ferd O. Lawson Jr., a member of the third (sophomore) class, has been appointed cadet platoon sergeant of Company D. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. F. O. Lawson and Cadet Charles Propst; a member of the third class also has been appointed cadet sergeant, also of company D. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. G. C. Propst.
- A crowd of 20,000 persons from Sumter and many sections of the state turned out for Shaw Field's biggest air show. Automobiles bearing spectators to the giant Independence Day celebration jammed U.S. 76 from Sumter to Shaw Field, and in the other direction from Columbia to the air base and parked cars whose occupants watched the spectacle from outside the gates lined the highway on both sides for miles in each direction. One local man traveling to Columbia reported that it took him one hour and 45 minutes to get from Myers' store to Shaw Field early in the afternoon.
50 YEARS AGO - 1968
March 3 - March 9
- The Sumter County Board of Adjustment granted Grant L. Swartz special permission to construct a private airstrip on his property near Jefferson Road and Camden Highway, provided certain limitations are observed. Use of the facility is restricted by a legal agreement between Swartz and the county, and the permit will be terminated when property adjacent to the airstrip is developed. The board prescribed that "developed" meant opening of a road for public use with lots adjacent to such road having been offered for sale to the public. The permit is also subject to review in five years by the board.
- The Housing Authority of the City of Sumter now has acquired or has option to purchase 76 percent of the property in the proposed Civic Center, according to Ramon Schwartz, chairman. The property acquired or under option represents 18 of the 26 individual parcels that the authority was authorized to purchase. Affected property owners were commended by Schwartz for their "spirit of cooperation" in the face of hardship in having to vacate the area that will become the Civic Center.
- SSgt. Harold J. Smith of the 4417th Combat Crew Training Squadron has been named Shaw's distinguished first term re-enlistee for 1967. Smith, a crew chief on the RB-66 Destroyer, gave several reasons why he chose a career in the Air Force. He said that most of all he liked his job and its responsibilities, and he also felt that there was more of a chance for advancement in the Air Force than in civilian life. A native of Gladwin, Michigan, Smith entered the Air Force in April 1962. He completed basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, and aircraft mechanics technical school at Amarillo Air Force Base, Texas.
- Construction in the Sumter metropolitan area rose by about $95,000 during February over a year ago, according to building permits issued for the two periods. February permits for the entire county totaled $449,538, of which $279,238 were issued in the city of Sumter, $123,850 in the three-mile area surrounding the city and $46,450 in the remainder of the county. The $39,600 enclosed-mall shopping center to be constructed across Broad Street from Wesmark Plaza was the most significant permit issued.
- Two key Ninth Air Force staff officers were retired from active duty at Shaw Air Force Base, ending distinguished military careers totaling nearly 56 years of service. Col. Benjamin F. Chapman, director of operations services, and Col. John P. Remaklus, director of airlift, were honored in a ceremony held at Ninth Air Force headquarters. Maj. Gen. Gordon M. Graham, Ninth Air Force commander, was on hand to present the veteran officers with Air Force Commendation Medals.
- A year ago, as the fans filed out of the Edmunds gym where they had watched the Optimist-sponsored boxing show, Sumter boxing coach Burke Watson stood in the emptying building and discussed the night's activities. "This was a good crowd," he said. "I hope, maybe, in the future we can stage a two-day tournament here instead of a one-day affair."
- The Lyceum Committee and Morris College Choral Society will present the concert choir of the University of South Carolina on Sunday evening in White Hall Auditorium. The concert choir is open by audition to anyone registered at the university. It consists at the present time of 48 music majors and nine non-music majors. The choir rehearses three hours and 40 minutes each week. Performances are frequent and include formal and informal concerts, radio and television appearances and an annual tour of South Carolina. The choir has received 80 invitations to perform at high schools this year.
- John Marion Evans of Sumter has been named executive director of the South Carolina Republican Party. The State GOP Executive Committee unanimously approved Evans' selection on recommendation of state chairman Harry S. Dent. He will succeed Ray Harris of Darlington who resigned to be a candidate for Congress from the 6th District. Evans was a businessman in Sumter until Dec. 1 when he joined the staff of the State Republican Party as director of the organization. He has been active in Republican work for several years, serving as state executive committeeman and county chairman from Sumter County.
25 YEARS AGO - 1992
Dec. 4 - 10
- The rumble of National Guard vehicles and the roar of a state helicopter were about the only sounds heard in Sumter on Friday night, as two days of undercover drug arrests left little for nearly 100 law enforcement agents and Guardsmen to do. More than 65 people were arrested on drug charges in two days of undercover arrests in preparation for this weekend's joint exercise with local, state and federal law enforcement officers and volunteers from the local National Guard and State Guard units.
- If nothing else, assessors will quickly tell you that they have little to do with the amount of taxes you pay on your property. So, put away the shotgun. Of course, the entire process of determining how much your property is worth starts in the Sumter County Assessor's Office, which is during a four-year reassessment program.
- Some eighth-graders in Sumter are mapping out their careers as butchers, bakers, candlestick makers, occupational therapists, computer programmers, college professors and bank loan officers. Bates Middle School and Ebenezer Junior High School are two of 96 South Carolina schools participating this year in a new career-planning program. Next year, the program will be implemented statewide.
- All of the fun, food and sounds of the season will be at the Commons area of Sumter High School. The annual District 17 Christmas Extravaganza will be held from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and feature all the excitement of years past. In addition to the activities in the Commons area, basketball games featuring District 17 and area schools will be held in the gymnasium all day long.
- Sumter High head coach Tom Lewis had trouble pinpointing all of the factors which contributed to the Gamecocks' 27-24 overtime loss to Gaffney in the 4A Division I state championship game. "This is probably one of the most difficult losses I've ever had," said Lewis, who has led the Gamecocks to three consecutive state championship appearances "We have been here the last three years, but we have only won one; it is disappointing."
- The annual Morris College Thanksgiving Day Rally raised about $750,000 for the college. The college's fundraising goal for the academic year is one million dollars, which should be achieved by its annual Mid-Winter Banquet Rally held in February. The members of the college's faculty and staff raised more than $20,000 while the student body, which consists of 792 students, raised the tremendous amount of $9,000. For a small, independent college like Morris college, these amounts are spectacular.
- One of the neat things about traveling all over this great country of ours is that, regardless of where you go, something took place there that shaped our nation into what it is today. History is everywhere. It is in the North and the South, the West and the Midwest, but nowhere is it recorded more than right here in South Carolina. Even though the Palmetto State is among the smallest of the 50, a lot has happened here over the course of its history. From its founding by the English in the late 1600s to the present, many of the recorded deeds of this nation can be traced or found in South Carolina.
- When Allen Johnson stepped on the field as the head coach of the Clarendon Hall Saints in their season opener against Hudgens, he was preparing to watch his first independent school football game in its entirety. The Saints defeated Hudgens 12-6 to start a season that would have them go undefeated until losing in the SCISAA 2A state championship game to Patrick Henry. Because of his role in that 12-1 season, Johnson has been named The Item All-Independent Coach of the Year.
- State and local officials will study the success of a drug sweep staged in Sumter by a half-dozen agencies to see if such a crackdown can be used in other cities. Sumter Police Chief Harold Johnson was so pleased with the smooth operation with more than 80 arrests, he is planning the next one already. But Johnson said this morning the public will not hear about the next one in advance.
- Commemorations planned for the anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor are low key, almost as quiet as the Sunday morning 51 years ago before the sound of airplanes broke the tropical stillness. They "came down the ramp where we parked the planes. The first one strafed the cockpits with incendiaries. They burned out the middle of the planes. They had it planned well." The attack came without warning or a declaration of war, killed 2,403 Americans and wounded 1,178 and plunged the United States into World War II.
- Sumter County officials hope their five-year wait for a landfill permit will soon be over. Eddie Newman, the county's public works director, told Sumter County Council that he hopes to get a final list of requirements from the state Department of Health and Environmental Control. The Sumter County Landfill, which opened more than 20 years ago, is located on U.S. 76 East near Brewington Road, and the county has been trying for the past five years to expand the facility by more than 80 acres.
- The Sumter County Museum staff needs help from area residents to find artifacts, photographs and information for an upcoming exhibit. In celebration of Black History Month during February, the museum will feature a display illustrating the accomplishments of African-American dentists and medical doctors who once practiced in the area but have now retired or died. The museum needs items relating to these medical professionals for the exhibit.
Reach Sumter Item Archivist Sammy Way at firstname.lastname@example.org or (803) 774-1294.