'Sinker log' recovery topic at Sumter Genealogical Society

BY IVY MOORE
Special to The Sumter Item
Posted 3/13/18

Underwater explorer and furniture maker Alec Blalock will be the speaker at the Monday, March 19, meeting of the Sumter County Genealogical Society. He has discovered - and recovered - numerous fossils and artifacts and makes custom-designed …

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'Sinker log' recovery topic at Sumter Genealogical Society

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Underwater explorer and furniture maker Alec Blalock will be the speaker at the Monday, March 19, meeting of the Sumter County Genealogical Society. He has discovered - and recovered - numerous fossils and artifacts and makes custom-designed furniture from "sinker" logs recovered from South Carolina waters.

His furniture and smaller items made from the cypress sunk more than a century ago can be seen at his gallery, The Swamp Log Artisans Gallery in Bishopville, along with items made by more than three dozen artists and craftsmen.

Blalock's presentation will cover his own diving discoveries with his Virgin Heart Sinker Cypress log recovery business, products made from the sinker logs and other items in his gallery. Collectibles include rare fossils, shark and dinosaur teeth and centuries-old hand woodworking tools.

Blalock has described the Swamp Log Artisans Gallery as having "walls covered with paintings, photography and several unique forms of art, such as pyrography and picture frames. 'Old Growth' lumber cut from logs we have recovered from the dark, muddy bottom of South Carolina rivers and swamps - logs that produced some of the finest lumber ever seen, that men risked their lives and limbs to harvest over 125 years ago and then lost to black, forbidding waters."

Blalock's presentation will cover his diving discoveries, the sinker log recovery process, historical information and descriptions of items in his artisans gallery. He will speak at 7:30 p.m. at Swan Lake Presbyterian Church, 912 Haynsworth St. Admission is free.

The Swamp Log Artisans Gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday at 229 N. Main St., Bishopville. More information can be found at www.swamplogartisans.com.

The Sumter County Genealogical Society meets monthly from September through May. Visitors are welcome and encouraged to attend. Refreshments will be served following the presentation. Those interested can join the society following presentations. Membership includes nine monthly newsletters during the year and free use of the Sumter County Genealogical Society Research Center. Annual dues are $30 for an individual membership and $35 for a family. For more information, call the Society's Research Center at (803) 774-3901.