Voices of the Santee Delta: Oral history interview with Pat Ferris
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Title:Voices of the Santee Delta: Oral history interview with Pat Ferris
Interviewer:Raynor, Robert, 1951- Interviewee:Ferris, Pat Date:2015-11-06
Description:Pat Ferris was born in Greenwood Lake, NY, and lived in Virginia and New York until age nine when he moved to South Carolina. His grandmother had a modern house on South Island with electricity supplied by a generator. The family also had the old plantation house on Cat Island. His grandfather was William G. Ramsey, who worked for the DuPont Company. He became a senior engineer at DuPont, and his stock holdings became very valuable for the family. He came to South Carolina because of the Dupont’s interest in turpentine, and became aware of the excellent hunting opportunities. Living on Cat Island and South Island in his youth, Ferris felt it was “heaven”. He had a little dinghy he rowed around on Winyah Bay, and hunted ducks with a shotgun given to him at age 10 by his grandmother. She also gave him the job of killing snakes and alligators: the latter damaged the dikes. He received a nickel for each kill. Ferris learned to sail on a summer vacation to Nantucket Island. He and his brother would go along with a harbor pilot who guided ships into Georgetown. They signed on as cabin boys on a round trip from Brooklyn, NY, to Georgetown, SC, on the lumber schooner Annie C. Ross. Ferris also described a voyage with his brother and a friend in their teenage years in a catboat from Greenport, Long Island to South Carolina. Ferris went to boarding school, and would spend summers on South Island. Ferris attended the University of North Carolina (UNC) when WWII broke out, and he entered the Coast Guard. He patrolled first St. Helena Sound, and then off Charleston in private yachts. He helped a one-armed man pull a seine net on the edge of Winyah Bay. He knew Tom Yawkey, owner of the Boston Red Sox, and owner of the majority of Cat, South, and North Islands. He went on hunts with him on those properties and elsewhere. Cat Island Plantation continued to actively cultivate rice until 1941. With the damming of the Santee River by Santee Cooper, the influx of saltwater did considerable damage to the dikes, and the family received a $6000 settlement. Ferris described years of hunting on Cat island: deer, ducks, and turkeys. He described how Tom Yawkey set up the Yawkey Wildlife Center. Ferris returned to recounting his Coast Guard service, describing his transfer to the South Pacific after going through training at the Loran School. He was at Guam when the war ended, and returned to the US on the aircraft carrier Belleau Wood. He finished by telling a story when he and his brother were “bad boys’ during their childhood on Cat Island.
Collection:Voices of the Santee Delta Oral History Project
Contributing Institution:South Carolina Historical Society
Media Type:Oral Histories
Geographic Subject:Santee River Delta (S.C.), Santee River Region (S.C.)–History, Santee River Region (S.C.)–Social life and customs
S.C. County:Charleston County (S.C.), Georgetown
Internet Media Type:audio/mpeg
Digitization Specifications:Mp3 derivative audio created with Audacity software. Archival masters are wav files.
Copyright Status Statement:Copyright © South Carolina Historical Society.
Access Statement:All rights reserved.
Access Information:For more information contact the South Carolina Historical Society, Charleston, SC.
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