Discover Your Heritage

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The Stanly County Historical Society, Stanly County Genealogical Society, Yadkin River Patriots Chapter DAR, and Colson’s Mill Chapter of SAR are sponsoring a free “Discover Your Heritage” workshop. The workshop will be held on Saturday, February 24 from 9 am-12:30 pm in the Fellowship Center of First Baptist Church in Albemarle – 202 North Second Street. There is parking at the back of the building.

Four workshop sessions will be conducted during the morning to be followed by entertainment planned by Martha Sue Hall. Members of the sponsoring groups will provide refreshments beginning at 9 o’clock.

To register for the Saturday, February 24 “Discover Your Heritage” workshop, call the Stanly County History Center at 704-986-3777, or go online to  Select the registration tab at the top of the page to enter your information. Be sure to click Submit to complete the online registration.

“Genealogy Tips and Tools”

Wanda Gantt

The presenter for this workshop session will be Wanda Gantt.  She has been helping people trace their roots for years.   Gantt is a trained DAR volunteer genealogist.  She has established over 50 new families in DAR from Stanly County and the adjoining counties.  In addition, she has worked to establish 50 new “child of an established soldier or patriot of the American Revolutionary War.”  In 2013 and 2015 she was selected as the outstanding DAR volunteer genealogist of the Southeast and is one of only eight in the United States.

Both new genealogists and those who have spent years doing research will benefit from the hints provided during the “Genealogy Tips and Tools” workshop session.   Gantt will start with basic genealogy by explaining the differences between primary and secondary sources.  She will move quickly to more advanced topics with hints along the way to help make the researcher’s experience more successful.  The importance of migration patterns will be discussed as well as helpful resources.  Gantt will emphasize how important it is to interview family members, check family Bibles, and public records.  Documenting what you learn is a necessary part of the process.  Ideas for ways to do this will be explained

“Living in the Shadow of Naked Mountain: The Old Homesteads of Morrow Mountain State Park”

The special presenter for this workshop will be Jeff Michael who is Director of the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, where he oversees research addressing the economic, environmental and social issues impacting the Charlotte region.  His familiarity with the Charlotte region began in Stanly County, where he was raised in the Valley Drive/Stony Hill community near Morrow Mountain State Park.  Jeff Michael is a descendent of some of the early families that settled in that part of Stanly County – including the Kirks, Hinsons and Swaringens – and for over three decades has worked as both an amateur historian and genealogist to document the families who once lived in what is now Morrow Mountain State Park.  He will share some of the information he and his fellow collaborators have collected on those families, including historic photographs and maps documenting the location of their homesites within and near today’s state park boundaries.  He will also reflect on how the emergence of Albemarle, Badin and the creation of the state park itself led to the eventual decline of what was once an important political and cultural center during Stanly County’s antebellum period. He will also discuss how technology and “crowd-sourcing” today are enhancing our ability to piece together the histories of forgotten communities such as the one that once existed in the “shadow of Naked (Morrow) Mountain.”

A planner and attorney by training, Jeff Michael’s professional experience includes extensive work around land use, sustainable development and land conservation issues.  Prior to coming to the Institute in 2003, he served as Director of the Wildacres Leadership Initiative and the William C. Friday Fellowship for Human Relations, one of North Carolina’s premier leadership programs.

Jeff Michael is a native of Albemarle and currently lives with his wife and 4 children in the Town of Davidson.  He is often called upon by the media and policy makers to share his professional and personal knowledge of the region, and to provide commentary on the economic, environmental and social issues confronting its communities.  He was named a William C. Friday Fellow in 1997 and an American Marshall Memorial Fellow in 2005 and has served on the boards of numerous statewide and regional organizations.

He is well-qualified for his many roles having earned the JD at the University of North Carolina School of Law, a Master of Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a BS in Business Administration also from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Stanly County History Center Resources

and other Research Options

Pat Bramlett

Pat Bramlett, a member of the Stanly County Historical Society Board, Chairman of the Historical Society’s Education Committee, and a volunteer at the Stanly County History Center, will share information about some of the resources available at the Stanly County History Center and online.  

According to Bramlett, “One of our best resources is Paul Morrison, manager of the Heritage Room at the Stanly County History Center.” Morrison is familiar with the material located in the Heritage Room and what can be accessed online through sites available to patrons who come to the History Center to do research.  Handouts listing some research suggestions will be available for workshop attendees.

Stanly County History Center’s Historic Houses:

The Snuggs House & The Mark’s House

Janice Hearne Mitchener

Janice Hearne Mitchener is a descendant of some of the early founders of Albemarle and Stanly County.  She is a faithful volunteer at the Stanly County History Center and a member of the Stanly County Historical Society Board.  Mitchener will share information about the Stanly County History Center’s two historic houses.  The Snuggs House and the Marks House both played important roles in the early history of Stanly County. Mitchener will share information about the history of the houses and the people who lived in them. She will also discuss how to arrange a visit to the historic houses by calling the Stanly County History Center at 704-986-3777.

Old Time Music

Martha Sue Hall

The workshop will conclude with Bluegrass and Gospel Music by the newly formed band, “Mountain Creek Connection.”  Members of “Mountain Creek Connection” are Charles David Harris, guitar; Tasker Fleming, mandolin; Jimmy Vanhoy, banjo; Stephen Moss, guitar; and Martha Sue Hall, bass fiddle.  Some members of the group have played together for over twenty years, some are related, and others have joined in the “music making” in the last several months. 

We are pleased to showcase this talented group of musicians.

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