HONORING OUR NAMESAKE

City celebrates 285th birthday of Gen. Sumter

Community gathers for celebration at courthouse to keep his history alive

BY SHELBIE GOULDING
shelbie@theitem.com
Posted 8/15/19

Outside the Sumter County Courthouse, community members surrounded Gen. Thomas Sumter's statue as balloons were tied around its hand to celebrate his 285th birthday on Wednesday morning.

The celebration opened with Mayor Joe McElveen and Jim …

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HONORING OUR NAMESAKE

City celebrates 285th birthday of Gen. Sumter

Community gathers for celebration at courthouse to keep his history alive

Posted

Outside the Sumter County Courthouse, community members surrounded Gen. Thomas Sumter's statue as balloons were tied around its hand to celebrate his 285th birthday on Wednesday morning.

The celebration opened with Mayor Joe McElveen and Jim McCain, chairman of Sumter County Council, talking about the history of Gen. Sumter and how the city of Sumter is rich in history.

Born in Virginia on Aug. 14, 1734, Thomas Sumter was a family man. He married a wealthy widow, Mary Cantey Jameson, and had a son, Thomas Sumter Jr.

Sumter commanded South Carolina militia in many battles in the American Revolution, including the battles of Hanging Rock, Fishing Creek, Fishdam Ford and Blackstock's Plantation.

He was a statesman, serving eight terms in the General Assembly between 1776 and 1790. Elected by the Camden District to the U.S. House of Representatives, he served five terms in Congress between 1789 and 1801. Sumter then served in the U.S. Senate until 1810.

Local historian and The Sumter Item's archivist, Sammy Way, shared history about the University of South Carolina's mascot, Cocky, a gamecock (fighting rooster), and its relations to Sumter.

Community members dressed in early 1800s fashion to celebrate the history of the area and the era of Sumter, who died on 1832.

At the event, a descendant of Sumter attended and also dressed in the early 1800s fashion.

"I'm related to him through his great-grandson, who had a relationship with an African woman," said Tiffany Bucci of Dalzell. "It's really significant because we believe it was a relationship based on love, and he took care of his children."

Bucci said she found out her family's legacy through a cut-out her grandmother sent to her mother from the 250th anniversary of Gen. Sumter's birth. Her grandmother wrote that her mother was an eighth descendant, and Bucci was a ninth descendant. She has admired her family's history ever since.

Bucci said she felt nothing but joy, pride and thankfulness about the legacy her family has and continuing that legacy with her own children, a daughter and son, to let them know where they came from.