Onethia Elliott Interview, July 2016


Onethia Elliott Interview, July 2016


Crawford, Eric (Interviewer);Liebee, Brooks (Interviewer);Yarborough, Haley (Interviewer)





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In this 2016 interview, Onethia Elliott is interviewed by Eric Crawford, Coastal Carolina University faculty researcher. She reviews photographs and discusses multiple topics related to her life on Sandy Island. Born on August 10, 1914, Elliott is the oldest resident on Sandy Island. Onethia remembers in the distant past a time without electricity on Sandy Island and living by kerosene lamplight. She also remembers Archie Huntington and his wife Anna, and the contributions they made to establish a school on the island. She specifically remembers Mr. Huntington being nice to her and the other children and wearing a big jacket with short pants. She recalls a male schoolteacher who lived on the island as well. Onethia touches on her memories of the agriculture and animals on the island. She describes parts of the "hard work" of the rice making process, including bundling, threshing, winnowing, and grinding the hull off using a mortar and pestle. She describes oxen being used on the island to carry wood and also during funeral times. She reflects on her relationship with those in the Pyatt family, including James Pyatt. She knew of him as a good-looking, tall man but didn't know him well because he went to the Methodist church and she went to the Baptist church, New Bethel. Although she no longer retains any of her quilts, she remembers gathering at "the center" to quilt with several friends. She recalls her involvement at the New Bethel Baptist Church. She remembers baptisms where the congregants would be taken down to the river and plunged under the water to be baptized, which was especially enjoyable to her when the tide was high. She mentions hopes for a pool to be built for baptisms at the church. She also discusses her recent attendance to a church event where she spoke publicly to honor the pastor and Reverend Weathers. Onethia emphasizes that she loves Sandy Island: "Because it's my home, I was born and raised here, and I love it."


Gullahs--South Carolina--Sandy Island--Interviews;Georgetown County (S.C.)--Economic conditions;Georgetown County (S.C.)--Race relations;Sandy Island (S.C.)--History;Sandy Island (S.C.)--Social life and customs;Rice farming--South Carolina--History;African American churches--South Carolina;Quilting--United States;African Americans--Education--South Carolina;Baptism--Southern Baptist Convention;Elliott, Onethia Washington, 1914-2019;Huntington, Archer M. (Archer Milton), 1870-1955;Sandy Island (S.C.);New Bethel Baptist Church (Sandy Island, S.C.)


This interview is protected by the copyright of the interviewee and The Athenaeum Press at Coastal Carolina University. Any form of alteration, reproduction or commercial use of the interviews or other material is prohibited without the written consent of both the interviewee and a representative of The Athenaeum Press. Citations for scholarly purposes must clearly acknowledge the name of the interviewee, the date and The Athenaeum Press at Coastal Carolina University.



Onethia Elliott Interview, July 2016