Family news of Shared history participants


Mary Simms Oliphant Furman, matriarch of the Simms family at Woodlands Plantation in Midway, SC, died at her home in Greenville, SC on January 22, 2013.  She was 94.  Mrs Furman generously shared many of her stories of Woodlands and was an important resource in the masking of the PBS documentary film, Shared History.  Mrs Furman was friends with many of the individuals and  families connected to Woodlands especially descendants of the Rumphs, the Rowes, the LaBoards  and the Nimmons.  She especially enjoyed her friendship with Dorothy Manigault. She was an annual supporter of the Pilgrim Baptist Church, Midway, SC.

  •  The Govan Family of South Carolina is hosting their third annual family reunion August 12-14, 2011, in Alpharetta, GA, celebrating 190 years of their history.  Contact for more information.

One branch of the Govan family lived at Woodlands Plantation, the Simms place, before the Civil Was and many stayed in Bamberg and Orangeburg after the war.   Visit “Families” for further information about the Govans at Woodlands Plantation.

Tiffany Huggins, a recipient of the Woodlands Families Scholarship, returned to Orangeburg in June 2011 from a semester-long program in Europe sponored by the University of South Carolina, Aiken.


  • Aquarius Rowe, the first recipient of the Woodlands Families Scholarship, graduated from Limestone College in May 2009.  Limestone College is a small, private liberal arts college in Gaffney, SC.  Aquarius is featured in the documentary film Shared History.
  • Thomas Kendall Rumph, another scholarship recipient, graduated from the Savannah College of Art & Design in 2011.  Savannah College of Art and Design is a private school specializing in arts education.  The school was founded three decades ago and since has gained a national and international reputation for a top design school.
  • Others who have received the scholarship include:  Tiffany Huggins, attending the University of South Carolina, Aiken; Kaylyse Beckett, Winston-Salem State University, NC;  Samuel Sojouner, South Carolina State, Orangeburg, NC; Wilbur Glover, University of South Carolina and Benedict College, Columbia, SC; Rhennevor Johnson, University of South Carolina, Spartanburg; and LaShaye Glover, University of South Carolina, Aiken, SC.  For more information about the Woodlands Family Scholarship Fund, contact:

Central Carolina Community Foundation
2711 Middleburg Drive, Suite 213
Columbia, SC 29204

  •  On Saturday, November 24, 2009, two different branches of the Nimmons’ families held reunions in Bamberg County, SC, including the South Carolina Nimmons Family Circle and the Odem-Reed family.  Activities included tours to the Honeyford Church Cemetery, the Middle Place Community, and the Springtown Cemetery.  Both reunion members attended a tour of Simms Plantation (Woodlands Plantation) given by Charles Orr (Nimmons) and Felicia Furman (Simms).
  •  In 2011, the Shared History project website was updated and revised and now includes a Discussion Guide. The guide was developed by Frank Martin, South Carolina State University, Orangeburg, and Felicia Furman, Producer/Director of Shared History.
  • We are now on FACEBOOK and have YOUTUBE and VIMEO channels, which includes the bonus documentaries In the Beginning and Scholars at Woodlands.

In the Beginning is a 20 minute documentary on the making of Shared History and offers additional interviews with members of the Woodlands families who as children had known their formerly enslaved ancestors.

Scholars at Woodlands provides different views of the relationship between the black and white families at Woodlands with scholars Jualynne E. Dodson, Walter B. Edgar and Karen E. Fields.

The sites also include clips from additional trailers and Shared History video footage that did not make it into the film but includes important oral history interviews and cultural activities such as Junior Manigault continuing the Rumph family tradition of syrup making.

  • The re-authored DVD also includes the bonus documentaries, the trailer of Shared History and clips of three people featured in the film:  Rhonda Kearse, Charles Orr, and Dorothy Manigault.
  •  In February, 2009, Rhonda Kearse and Felicia Furman presented Shared History at Converse College in Spartanburg, SC.
  • Felicia Furman and Charles Orr were invited to participate in the Coming to the Table workshop August 15 – 17, 2008, entitled Extending the Table:  Healing the Legacy of Slavery in AmericaComing to the Table is a program whose members include “paired” descendants of enslaved and slave owner families–families that lived and worked on the same plantation.  The organization addresses the legacies of slavery in the United States.  Their website, includes  stories and information related to slavery’s legacies under the topics of  history, healing, connecting and action. You will also find resources, events, news and a community to join for connecting and sharing.
  • Recently we learned that the historic Middle School, which was established in the 19th century by the Nimmons family, was demolished in 2008 because of severe structural damage.  For more information about the Middle School project visit
  • There have been sad yet inevitable markers of the passing of time related to Shared History.  Honored below are those involved with the project who have died either during the making of the film or afterwards.  Their participation was invaluable in helping our families with the hard conversations are about long-term relationship.

Earthlee Rumph (1905 – 1993)

Lottie Mae Curry

Lou Edith George

Bessie Laboard Brown (1905 – 2000)

Elliott “Junior” Manigault (1925 – 2007)

George Rowe III (d. 2006)

Albert D. Oliphant III

Carl Edward Buck (1925 – 2006)

Please let us know if there have been other deaths of people associated with the making of the film by emailing

4 responses to “FAMILY NEWS

  1. Im trying to find some of my family in Bamberg, South Carolina

    • There are several Orrs around Bamberg. Have you read what I wrote about Issac Nimmons in the web site? He has descendants named Ott. You could sign up for and look up Orrs in the census. If you don’t know how I could help you. I am out of town for two weeks. I’ll look when I return.

      Where do you live? Do you have full names for some of your peopl from Bamberg?

      Felicia Furman

  2. t grand father named president nimmons( black american ) fathered one child named Dorthery, her mothers name was molsey who died in 1977 and lived to be 105 years old sand her sister at 113,. If anything rings any bells ,contact me at 2770lem@gmail .com. Have a blessed day! P S MY NAME IS David ,

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