Today we meet Mr. John White, the newly appointed Park Manager and Interpretive Ranger at Rivers Bridge State Historic Site, South Carolina.
I first met Mr. White at Lake Wateree State Park, where he served for many years as a Park Ranger. Only a few years ago I learned of his training as an historian and archeologist, when he helped me plan a visit to pre-history American Indian mounds in the Southeastern United States.
As usual, we began our conversation with details of Mr. White’s personal life. Quite a story! Click on this button to learn about his background. Graduate degrees in archeology are quite rare in the Park Service. And, just as relevant to Mr. White’s current position, is his long academic interest in military history.
We then turned to Mr. White’s career in the Park Service, and the significance of Rivers Bridge State Historic Site. Mr. White came to the Park Service as a frequent camper! At Lake Wateree State Park. Gradually working up to a regular ranger position.
When asked about Rivers Bridge State Historic Site, Mr. White gave his initial impressions of this remarkable place. Now, I’ve yet to meet a South Carolina Park Manager who didn’t think his or her Park was the most beautiful, and most important, in the Statewide system.
But Mr. White here makes a good argument for his Park. An argument he supports with his rich knowledge of the Civil War, and especially Civil War battles. Including that fought at Rivers Bridge, near the very end of the War. He seems to know the name of most officers involved, on both sides, as well as their strengths and weaknesses. Mr. White also described the flora and fauna of this beautiful part of South Carolina.
It really is a remarkably beautiful place. As we drove over to the battlefield site, ten or so wild turkeys paraded across the road, not far from the front of the car. Deer, fox squirrels, armadillos, and other animals are everyday sights on the Park.
I asked Mr. White about the part of South Carolina that surrounds Rivers Bridge. And, about the early American Indian sites in the area. Straight away he mentioned the nearby Topper Site, in Allendale County. Where he’s worked as a volunteer on Dr. Goodrich’s excavating teams over the years.
Time was running short. I’d already taken much of Park Manager White’s Sunday. So we closed with his explanation of the opportunity to learn more about the Civil War here at one of the State’s very few preserved battlefield sites. Having just taken a tour under Mr. White’s direction, I can enthusiastically recommend it to you. Drop by for a visit the next time you’re anywhere near Rivers Bridge State Historic Site. You won’t be disappointed.