You are in the Memoriam Room. The dedications on this page were loved one's from in and around Waxhaw. May they rest in Peace .
I would like to dedicate this page to my cousin Nancy Crockett. She was a dear lady and cousin. I didn't know her long but she left a lasting impression on me. She taught me a lot about genealogy and our family. I am blessed to have known her and miss her dearly. She was a true southern belle. Rest in Peace Nancy, Love your cousin, Valeria
Nancy Louise Crockett (1913 - 2004)
Nancy Crockett - Historian of the Waxhaws
I first met Nancy in 1984 when I was collecting materials for a book, Pictorial History of Lancaster County, and going around the county with my photographer friend, Martha Bishop. People told me that Nancy had "lots of" information on the Waxhaws. How true that was! No one could have had more.
Nancy lived alone in a farmhouse on Riverside Road that had been built by her father. At that time Nancy was retired from a long career in education. She graduated from Winthrop College with honors in 1933 and her first employment was teaching French in a low-country South Carolina high school. I have no idea how long but think it was not too many years before she was back and teaching in Lancaster County. Her last position was as principal of Rice Elementary School.
Two things stand out in my memory that were wonderful events for which she was the driving force. One is that she wrote a play about the Waxhaws in the Revolutionary War era for her students to reenact. She was both author and director. An even larger project was an effort for years to commemorate Andrew Jackson's life. She was determined to furnish proof that Jackson was born in South Carolina so gathered information and helped any researcher who came to her door (Hendrick Booraem's biography, Young Hickory, is the best account yet).
When the Andrew Jackson State Park was created in Lancaster County, Nancy had a hand in it. She wrote Anna Hyatt Huntington, an eminent sculptress who had done the horse sculpture that is the largest in the world and located in the center of a plaza in downtown Madrid, Spain. Mrs. Huntington also had done a large number of pieces for Brookgreen Gardens near Georgetown, SC. Mrs. Huntington was in her 80s but consented to do a young Andy Jackson on a mule for the new park. And she did it for free. Because there would be further expenses in getting a base and installing it, Nancy started a project for school children to contribute nickels and dimes. They did and the Lancaster County provided trucks and prisoners from the jail to do the needed work to get the sculpture in place.
Miss Crockett wrote the inscription for the "Boy of the Waxhaws" scupture unveiled on March 15, 1967, two centuries to the day from Jackson's day of birth:
"We the children of Lancaster County, South Carolina, are interested in a youthful statue of Andrew Jackson because he was born among the red clay hills of our county and here he spent the formative years of his life, his first seventeen, riding horseback, wrestling, cock-fighting, and gaining the best education the frontier had to offer: instructions from the Presbyterian minister at the Waxhaw Meeting House."
It might be added that Nancy was descended from two of Andrew Jackson's aunts. Jackson himself always said and wrote that he was born in South Carolina. To North Carolina claims, Nancy said, "His own word is good enough for us."
Well, when we visited Nancy she was obviously very pleased that we were doing a book on Lancaster county. We planned to question her, and did, but also she impressed us by her sharp mind and insightful questions. Now, after many a time visiting and sipping tea with her, I realize that she was determined that her beloved Waxhaws would get its full share of attention in the book. It did because it has the richest history of the county, certainly before the Civil War, but also she was determined that we get every thing right that would prove it.
Over the years, she gradually revealed to me the contents of her six-room home. For the first time, when I was writing the book, The Waxhaws, published in 1993, nine years after I first met Nancy, I was taken to the attic. Up there were at least five old trunks. One had old quilts in it but the others had old books packed around various pieces of memorabilia. And shelves had been built around the walls and were filled with what looked like old magazines (many of them historical journals of both North and South Carolina) and old newspapers and other things that filled the full-sized attic.
Before getting to the attic I had been in a room simply designated as the "boy's room". The only furniture in the room was a card table and an old dresser both piled high with books. The walls had shelving from top to bottom with boxes of folders and the shelves couldn't hold all the boxes of papers she had collected so that there were more boxes on the floor, so many that one could barely have a foot path among them.
And once she showed me the real treasures she had put away in the dresser in the guest room. One drawer had Andrew Jackson things, another housed her William Richardson Davie materials and another held assorted treasures of other important Waxhaw folk. And in the sideboard of the dining room she stored pictures. I particularly remember looking at the fine pictures made by a New England tombstone society photographer who gave her copies of all those pictures of the old tombstones. She told me that the photographer had used strobe lights in many cases because the tombstones were in deep shade under the old oak trees. Those pictures are now in the South Caroliniana Library.
Nancy for many years was the guardian of the Old Waxhaw Presbyterian Cemetery. She knew all that anyone will most likely ever know about the people buried there. In 1969 Nancy and her cousin Mamie Gettys Atkinson read and copied every tombstone-every word on the stone. Not many copies were published and I prize the copy she gave me. That book was a labor of love. In her will she left money for the explicit purpose of supporting the needs of the cemetery. Before her death she gifted her alma mater, Winthrop University, with a scholarship to be awarded to future teachers.
One thing that her fellow historians learned about Nancy was that she demanded accuracy above everything else. She refused to lend her name to any work that did not carry an accompanying proof. An example of this: when I was writing the Waxhaws book we started with an agreed upon detailed outline and then Nancy would gather the background materials for each chapter. I would take what she gave me home and write the chapter and return the materials and a typescript of the chapter. We would discuss it and sometimes Nancy thought of something to add and several times she removed something or had me reword it so that it would not mislead a reader-in short, she was my editor.
She had already locked her house and moved to an assisted living place in Lancaster when she agreed with me that it was time to move all those valuables to a safer place. One nice summer day I picked her up in Lancaster and brought her back to the house. There I saw that Junior Ghent and his wife Sarah must have spent many days bringing her to the house and helping her sort and get her collection together for removal. The last day that I took her home was the day that Allen Heath Stokes came in a University of South Carolina van to pick up the treasures. Dr. Stokes is director of the South Caroliniana Library. He also knew more than most about the collection (himself a descendant of two large pioneer Waxhaws families, the Heath and Massey families). Nancy gave the South Caroliniana money sufficient for a capable graduate student to do the cataloging. Anyone interested can browse the collection on the net at www.sc.edu/library where the list of various USC libraries have sites. Choose South Caroliniana Library which will list the Crockett collection under "manuscripts."
Nancy died in 2004 in the Westminster Health Center, Rock Hill. When I last visited her a few days before she died there was a nurse present. I said to the nurse within Nancy's hearing, "Do you know that your patient is well-known as the Historian of the Waxhaws?" I was rewarded with a faint smile that I'll never forget.
Submitted by: --Louise Pettus, 2007
If you would like to send in a tribute please send me an email and I will add it to the page. Please feel free to send a picture also. Be advised it may be cropped like Nancy's above to just the head and shoulders.
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