Saturday the Anderson County Museum celebrated its 25th anniversary with special Civil War displays, the sound and fury of battle re-enactments and plates of BBQ served to enthusiastic crowds gathered to enjoy the event.

Historic letters from the family of Anderson native Manse Jolly, a regimental flag from the famous Orr Rifles and a ceremonial sword that was presented to Civil War general Gen Barnard E Bee were on display.

The Manse Jolly letters collection was of particular interest to many who were on hand.

Manson Jolly, of Anderson said his great, great grandfather was Manse Jolly’s brother. He said he had seen the letters several times during his life before they were donated to the SC State Museum in Columbia

“I do not think Manse was a bad man. I have gone back and read newspaper accounts of the period and they do not portray him as someone who was a brutal killer. I do not think it can be substantiated that him killed as many people as they think he did,” Jolly said.

“My family’s history indicates that Manse came home from war to a home and crops that had been burned and learned that all five of his brothers had been killed in that war. Northerners were in charge of everything. That sort of thing is bound to work on you and make you a certain way,” he said.

The ceremonial sword that once belonged to Bee is one that was awarded for his valor in the Mexican-American War, where he was wounded in battle. On loan from the SC State Museum, it looked a bit like Excalibur, to some museum goers, the piece being heavily engraved and covered with inlays of silver and brass.

Bee fought in the Civil War and was killed shortly after exclaiming the line that gave General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson his well-known nickname. Bee reportedly said, “There is Jackson standing like a stone wall” to rally his troops during fierce fighting during the battle of Bull Run in 1861, according to historians. He is buried at St Paul’s cemetery in Pendleton.

Margaret Herndon and Mildred Thackson were on hand to enjoy the displays and the BBQ. Their friend Dorothy Buice said, “I recommend that everyone come and see the Anderson Museum. It is very much worth the visit.

Reporting from Anderson, Vince Jackson



  1. The museum exhibits are well worth seeing.

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