Friday, October 4, 2013

Interview with Leo Redmond, Director of the Cayce Historical Museum

09 LeoPhotoFromMuseumLast Friday I was able to persuade Mr. Leo Redmond, Director of the Cayce Historical Museum, to sit still long enough to do an audio interview. Here is the result.


Mr. Redmond is a remarkable man. He was born and raised right in Cayce, and has lived there all his life. Click that button above to hear Mr. Redmond describe his origins.

Leo became interested in the history of his part of South Carolina not as a student, but as an adult. A busy adult. Never a man to do things by halves, he studied that history from the earliest period of human habitation down through the 19th and even 20th centuries.

He began with artifacts he found hunting with a metal detector. Those discoveries led him to library and archival research. That is, Leo began with the artifacts and then turned to written interpretation and analysis. Not the other way around, as is more common with academic careers. That, I believe, has made him a more interesting guide to the Cayce region.

12 museum today


I asked Leo to describe the origins of the museum in which we were recording this interview, beginning with the building. Above you see two views. On the left is the original building in its later days, and on the right the replica built by John Ellisor and his Committee, including Leo Redmond. Click the button to hear Leo tell this interesting story.

ClickToListenI asked Mr. Redmond what made the Cayce area so special. True to form, he began, James Michener style, with flora and fauna.


ClickToListenI then asked about early European settlers, expecting Mr. Redmond to describe the Town of Granby. That, however, would have short-circuited the story. Click here to learn about much earlier Spanish visitors to the area.

ClickToListenLeo proceeded from the Spanish to the Saxe Gotha settlement effort. An impressive idea, ideally located. But for reasons Leo gives here it never flourished. Click here for a more detailed description of the Saxe Gotha experiment. It’s from an excellent source, the “Carolana” website. No, that’s not a typo. Click the link above to find out why.

ClickToListenAt last, Leo reached the Town of Granby in his narrative of this region’s history. Even allowing for a certain amount of personal bias, Granby had to be a flourishing town by the mid-eighteenth century. I mean! Two hotels? And even a toy shop? This was a community prosperous and well established.

ClickToListenWhich brought up an important historical question. Once South Carolina developed inland to the point early settlers began to think about a more central location for their capital, why wasn’t Granby, a thriving town in the graphical center of the state, selected rather than Columbia? Leo explains here. Again, click the button to listen.

03 LeoLong-time readers of this blog may recall posts I’ve done on early Southeast American Indian archeological sites. Especially a tour of American Indian mounds in the Southeast in early 2010. I’m certainly no expert in this area. Just an interested observer. But none of the museums I visited during that trip have exhibits that compare with what you’ll find upstairs at the Cayce Historical Museum.

04 Leo

ClickToListenHere, Mr. Redmond explains the origins of pieces in that exhibit. Cayce was fortunate to receive the Watson family’s collection. But Leo himself contributed a significant amount of his own collection to complete the display. This single room of the museum alone is a must-see next time your travels take you near Cayce, South Carolina.

05 Leo and EmilyClickToListenIf that’s not enough to bring you to Cayce and this museum, have a look at the photo above. That’s a full-sized image of Emily Geiger, an important Patriot heroine of the Revolutionary War. Click the button to hear Leo describe this local event. Remarkable. Only eighteen years old at the time, Emily Geiger’s courage influenced the course of the Revolutionary War. It’s an inspiring story.

07 Geiger Monument

In the report on my first visit to this museum back in early September I mentioned a mystery table, and promised to describe it in a subsequent post.

06 Leo and TableClickToListenWell, here it is. And we have Museum Director Leo Redmond to describe it to us. A card table owned by General Cornwallis that he was forced to abandon.

Thanks to Museum Director Leo Redmond for his time and expertise. The Cayce Historical Museum is well worth a trip to Columbia – ‘er, Cayce – South Carolina.

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful presentation of the Museum! Very informative and simply fascinating. I'm a Columbia resident and wish we had such a wonderful historical museum like this in Columbia. Not only for those of out of town tourists but also it's well worth it for folks from Columbia to make a special visit to the museum just across the bridge. .