Year In Review
Like the rest of the country, politics highlighted the 2016 news in Saluda County.
The races for sheriff and coroner dominated the news from March to November, but the incumbents, Sheriff John Perry and Coroner Keith Turner still came out winners.
Nor so fortunate were two incumbent County Council members, Jacob Schumpert and William Pugh were defeated Jones Butler and D.J. Miller, respectively. Schumpert and Pugh both had 12 years experience on Council.
Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton both won their presidential primaries in the county. In November, General Election, Trump was the big winner.
The biggest crime story was the murder of Nancy Caughman Lott. Ms. Lott was reported missing, then her body was discovered a few weeks later in a Ridge Spring recycling dumpster. A murder suspect was arrested in December.
The top sports news belonged to the football teams of Saluda and King Academy.
For the second year in a row, Saluda made it to the 2A Upper State Championship game, and for the second year in a row, the Tigers fell to eventual state champion Abbeville.
King Academy made it to the State Championship game in the 8-man division, and fell to Andrew Jackson.
Following are some highlights. The complete “Year in Review” can be found in the print edition:
Robert and Ann Bowles donated the old Henry’s Cleaners and adjacent car wash property to the Town of Saluda.
ConsumerAffairs.com analyzed FBI and Census Bureau data to create an interactive map displaying the safest cities in the United States, and Saluda was ranked number 7 in SC for lowest crime rate!
The Saluda County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from Town of Saluda Police Department, Aiken County Sheriff’s Office, and South Carolina Highway Patrol, charged Stephen Smith, 35 of Batesburg, with multiple charges after he led police and deputies on a 35 mile pursuit.
Like the majority of counties in South Carolina, Saluda County saw its Republican Presidential Primary ballot led by Donald Trump. Trump received 1248 of the 3431 ballots cast, or 36.4 percent. Ted Cruz was second in the county with 797 votes (23.2%), and Marco Rubio third, 553 (16.1%). Rounding out the balloting were Jeb Bush, 382 (11.1%); Ben Carson, 295 (8.6%) and John Kasich, 156 (4.5%).
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton claimed a decisive victory in Saluda County over Bernie Sanders in the S.C. Democratic Presidential Primary. Clinton received 1023 votes (83.73 percent) to Bernie Sanders’ 192 (15.71 percent). Statewide Clinton got 73.47 percent of the vote to Sanders’ 25.97.
After more than 45 years, Robert Bowles announced he would end his tenure as Administrator for Saluda Nursing & Rehab Center on June 30, 2016. Keith Paul of Seneca, was hired as the new administrator with his first day of work as March 15. With approximately 30 years of experience in long-term care, he brings experience from many perspectives and disciplines. He has been a licensed nursing home administrator since 1989.
On Monday, April 11 at approximately 4:30 PM three suspects entered The Top of the Ridge store on Main Street in Ridge Spring, and attempted to rob the store. During the altercation, an employee of the store was shot in the upper thigh. The victim was treated and released with non-life threatening injuries. Chief Mike Raffield, who was in close proximity, was able to apprehend one of the suspects. The suspect taken into custody by Chief Raffield, was identified as Marcus Clifford Cunningham, 22, of 336 West Crestwood in Greenwood.
At approximately 4PM on May 13th, deputies from the Saluda County Sheriff’s Office and the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department were attempting to serve an arrest warrant on a suspect on Old Lexington Road in Lexington County. The suspect attempted to flee, driving straight at officers. As the suspect attempted to escape, he struck a Saluda County vehicle driven by a Saluda deputy. At that point, deputies fired at the suspect, striking the suspect. One Saluda deputy and the suspect were treated at a local hospital.
Tues., June 14, was a bad Republican Primary day in Saluda County if you were an incumbent or former elected official.
House District 39 Representative Ralph Shealy Kennedy Jr. was defeated by political newcomer Cal Forrest, and 4th District County Councilman Jacob Schumpert lost to another political novice Jones Butler.
Former Sheriff Jason Booth’s attempt to regain his old position was thwarted by Saluda Police Captain Robin Freeman.
On July 10th the Saluda Police Department was notified by a citizen of a possible credit card skimmer located on the ATM at the First Citizens Bank at on Main St., Saluda. Officers arrived and confirmed the device to be a skimmer and also located a camera attached to the ATM. Thanks to the observant citizen, officers were able to conduct surveillance on the bank and detain three suspects when they returned to retrieve the skimmer and camera. The case was turned over to SLED.
On Friday, August 12 , the Saluda County Sheriff’s Office was called by the Edgefield County Sheriff’s Office in reference to an unidentified body in their county. Upon arrival in Edgefield County, it was explained to the officers that the Tri-county trash truck that had the unidentified body in it had picked up trash from a location in Saluda County. The Edgefield County Sheriff’s Office, Saluda County Sheriff’s Office, and Aiken County Sheriff’s Office all have missing persons from their jurisdiction assisted in this investigation.
On Friday September 2, 2016, the Saluda County Sheriff’s Office and Saluda County Coroner’s Office were notified by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) that the unidentified body found in Edgefield County was Saluda County’s missing person Nancy Caughman Lott. Mrs. Lott was reported missing and was last seen on June 17, 2016 in the Ridge Spring area of Saluda County.
Saluda County School District One aHall of Fame Class of 2016 was inductedfon Oct. 14. The inductees were: Molly Spearman ; William “Bill” Whitfield; Gloria Caldwell; Diedra “Didi” Clark Rankin ; Jonell Bosket; Tommy Hite.
Despite a high Republican vote in most races, two incumbent Saluda County Democrats won re-election Tues., Nov. 8, in the General Election.
Sheriff John Perry was elected to his second term, earning 5147 votes to Republican Robin Freeman’s 3307. Coroner Keith Turner, in office since 1993, defeated Republican challenger Randall Maffett 4620 to 3822.
William Pugh became the second Saluda County Council member to be defeated this year. Republican political newcomer D.J.Miller took a narrow win the County Council District 2 race, 812-379. Jones Butler defeated Jacob Schumpert in the June Republican Primary for District 4.
After six month long murder investigation, Saluda County investigators along with SLED have made an arrest in the murder of a Saluda County woman. Back in June of this year it was reported that Nancy Caughman Lott was missing. It was not until two months later that her remains were recovered in the Edgefield County landfill. Investigators along with deputies have worked tirelessly trying to get some sort of solid lead into the case. Friday, December 16, 2016, a warrant was issued and served on Kincaid Bobby Mitchell, age 46, of Ridge Spring. He is charged with the murder of Ms. Lott and in connection with her disappearance.
BIG SURPRISE! - Jacob New got a big surprise on Christmas Eve. Wayne Grice made his day when he gave Jacob the gun Wayne won in a benefit 3½-years ago to raise money for Jacob’s battle with cancer. Wayne has kept the gun since he won it and it has never been shot. He also bought a case for the gun and he gave it to Jacob, who is an avid hunter. The family thanks Wayne and everyone who has been so good to Jacob during during his fight against cancer, and they wish all a Happy New Year.
Saluda County Farm Bureau
Receives Women’s Award
Myrtle Beach, SC – Wanda Mitchell (left), Saluda County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee Chair, received a special achievement award on behalf of Saluda County from SCFB State Women’s Leadership Committee Chair Frances Price during the organization’s 73rd Annual Meeting held recently in Myrtle Beach. Saluda was recognized for having one of the top Farm Bureau women’s programs in the state during 2016.South Carolina Farm Bureau is a grassroots, non-profit organization celebrating and supporting family farmers, locally grown food, and our rural lands through legislative advocacy, education, and community outreach. By connecting farmers to the larger community, Farm Bureau cultivates understanding about agriculture’s importance to South Carolina’s local economies. To learn more, log on to scfb.org.
Suspect Arrested in
Lott Murder Case
After six month long murder investigation, Saluda County investigators along with SLED have made an arrest in the murder of a Saluda County woman.
Back in June of this year it was reported that Nancy Caughman Lott was missing. It was not until two months later that her remains were recovered in the Edgefield County landfill.
Investigators along with deputies have worked tirelessly trying to get some sort of solid lead into the case. Friday, December 16, 2016, a warrant was issued and served on Kincaid Bobby Mitchell, age 46, of Ridge Spring. He is charged with the murder of Ms. Lott and in connection with her disappearance.
Sheriff Perry stated that many man hours went into this complex investigation. He further stated
that he would like to thank Saluda County Coroner’s Office along with Edgefield Sheriff’s Office and SLED for being of great assistance in this case.
GRAND MARSHALS - Two legendary Saluda High School teachers, Dr. Bela Herlong and Gloria Caldwell, served as Grand Marshals for the Saluda Christmas Parade on Sat., Dec. 17. Both are members of the Saluda County School District Hall of Fame and have collaborated in writing and directing many Saluda County historical dramas. (Standard-Sentinel photos)
SHERIFF’S OFFICE DONATION - Thank you so much to our wonderful Saluda County Sheriff’s Office for their generous donations to help out our Hollywood community. Sheriff John Perry and several members of his staff delivered gifts to HES on Monday, December 12. Thanks to their donations several families will be blessed by their kindness this holiday season.
Tour of Homes Sunday
The Ridge Spring Christmas Tour of Homes will be held on Sun., Dec. 11, from 2-5 p.m.
The homes are: Jack and Sarah Schwarz (171 Joes Trail, Monetta), Dean and Amy Derrick (217 Burton Drive, Monetta), and Rudy & Diane Stoddard (2698 Hwy. 23, Ridge Spring). Also on the tour are Ridge Spring Baptist Church (108 Cjhurch Circle, Main Street), and primitive Immanuel Lutheran Church (206 Boatwright Street).
Cake and spiced cider will be served at Ridge Spring Baptist Church Fellowshio Hall. Tickets are $10 and may be puchased at all homes and the Baptist church. Thei occasion is sponsored by the Green Thumb Garden Club and assisted by the Ridge Garden Club.
HOME OF DEAN AND AMY DERRICK
217 Burton Drive, Monetta
As the story goes a much older house, across the road here in Monetta, is where the Burtons lived before this house was built, around 1904. One of the Sr Burtons was reluctant to leave the older home, but when supper -time came, he relented and came to the new home to eat on Burton. The house was built with the trees on the property. The house has had very little structural change over the years. A back porch was enclosed to become part of the living area. The house was wrapped in vinyl siding in the 80’s and the original wooden window shutters were taken down. Somewhere back in the 1970’s .loe and Pat Burton inherited his home and brought up two daughters. They did some interior work. When they decided to sell, no one in the Burton family would buy the house so it was sold outside of the family. This location and the surrounding area was deeded to Nathanial Burton by the King of England well over 200 years ago. Also, across the road is the Burton family cemetery along with faint evidences of a slave cemetery that is further in the pines.
The Dean Derricks purchased the House in 1998 and brought their four boys to live and enjoy this wonderful place. This home has been full of family and friends enjoying life together for the past 18 years!! lt warms our heart that we have been blessed with this home!!
HOME OF RUDY AND DIANE STODDARD
2698 Hwy 23, Ridge Spring
Beneath the stucco exterior of this simple Plantation Style home lay the bricks which through the years have given it the name “Brick House Jones“. These bricks once made up the basement of an elegant 3-story West Indian country house with about 18 rooms at this location. This spectacular and very richly fmnished plantation home was owned by James Bolivar Jones at the time it tragically burned in 1892. The present house built by James B. with the brick of the old house was originally a Pennsylvania Farm House type, with red brick, a wide first and second floor porch and white trim. Later the bricks were covered with stucco to protect them as they aged. Originally there was a rear wing of tive rooms and a cellar which were torn away. Family members remember a farm bell which could be rung iiom the kitchen doorway.
James Bolivar Jones, whose house burned was the grandson of pioneer settlers of Ridge Spring, Col. Matthias Jones and his wife Clara Perry Jones. James B. was bequeathed his grandparents elegant home (as described above) by his Aunt Elizabeth Jones Watson. His Grandfather, Col. Matthias Jones, a large scale planter and merchant, had nearly 2000 acres of land at Ridge Spring.
The house was occupied for many years by the late Imants A. Ceips, Sr., M.D. and his wife, Sigrid. To accommodate their 5 children, they enclosed the back porch to make a hallway and added Z bedrooms and a bathroom. They also added closets and a bathroom upstairs. Dr. Ceips’ office is located in the side yard.
Since the Stoddards purchased the house in 1986 they have added a laundry room and a low country bank porch. The house contains many pieces of itiimiture and other items which were in Mr. Stoddard’s family.
HOME OF JACK AND SARAH SCHWARZ
171 Joes Trail, Monetta
White Oaks, home of Mr. and Mrs. Jack Schwarz of Monetta, was built in the early 1840’s by John D. Watson. The house was home to generations of Watsons, including John’s grandson, Dr. W.G. Watson of Augusta, the obstetrician who delivered Sarah and her two daughters, Nancy and Emily.
The home has been known as the Cora Watson House to all in the surrounding community. Cora was the daughter of John D. Watson, and spent her whole like there since she never married.
In 1996, the Schwarz purchased the home from a descendant of the Watson family. The house was then moved to the north east side of Monetta. It now resides on 128 acres of farm land and pasture and overlooks at stocked pond.
Upon arrival at its new location, the home was “reversed” so that the grand front porch could overlook the pond and was screened for enjoyment during any season. The rear of the house was redesigned to compliment the original front, for the look of a traditional southern farmhouse.
As you enter the home, you will notice the large cut of the heart-of-pine planks used in construction. All lumber was original and some remilled for use in the reconstruction. Doorways were not moved, just widened to allow easier movement while entertaining in the home. The basic layout of the home is still a main four-room structure with center hall and wing rooms, topped by two large upstairs rooms. All downstairs room open unto the wrap around back porch.
Yons Purchase Watson Farms
Orchard, And The Nut House
Yon Family Farms has purchased the Watson Farms Orchard and the Nut House in Ridge Spring, upon the retirement of the 93-year-old owner, Joe Cal Watson.
Yon Family Farms is a family owned business that began in 1996 when the family moved to Ridge Spring with 100 cows and three children under the age of five. All three are now Clemson agriculture graduates and have returned to the Ridge to the family business.
The young adult children have really taken the reins of the pecan harvest, marketing, and running of the Nut House.
Joe Cal Watson devoted countless hours in his family pecan business
In 1926 on eight acres of land. Mr. Watson’s father planted a pecan orchard. Mr. Watson remembers watching dynamite create holes in the stiff clay soil to plant the trees. Mr. Watson grew up working with these trees until he graduated from high school and continued on to Clemson College. Mr. Watson attended Clemson College for three years before serving in the army during and after World War II.
During Mr. Watson’s service, he spent time in The Battle of The Bulge, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, and Germany.
Mr. Watson returned to Ridge Spring in 1950 and continued to work in the pecan orchards. As technology evolved and equipment was more readily available, Mr. Watson had outgrown his small orchard. He was able to purchase 80 acres of land and leased additional space in a peach orchard.
With so many trees, Mr. Watson opened a harvesting and cleaning plant, which then in 1997 evolved to include the kitchen and retail space that was named The Nut House.
The Nut House and Country Market is located on Main Street in Ridge Spring. In addition to tasty pecans, pecan pies, and homemade candies, you can also purchase locally grown Yon Angus Beef, Hickory Hill Milk, and Clemson Blue Cheese!
Stay tuned for more local product additions and “like” the new Facebook page to see special offers and news from The Nut House & Country Market. The Yons’ hope is to continue to support the local community and offer exceptional products from the Ridge. Come see us!! (Or you can order online at www.nuthouseand countrymarket.com)