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UNION — Join us Saturday, September 6, for our second annual “Labors” program. Through interactive exhibits, visitors will focus on the daily work of the enslaved African-Americans at Rose Hill, a large Upstate plantation in the 1800s. Come with us into the past us as we explore the world of Vardy Gist and Allen Gist and their families, people who lived at Rose Hill both as enslaved laborers and later as tenant farmers.


Born into slavery, Vardy was a blacksmith at Rose Hill. Following emancipation, Vardy, his wife Ritta and their children lived for many years as farmers on the Gist plantation. Allen Gist, born in 1834, was an enslaved carpenter at Rose Hill. After the Civil War, Gov. Gist appointed Allen as foreman for a group of farm workers. Allen and his family lived at Rose Hill until 1900.


With special performances by guest interpreters, visitors will be able to experience what life might have been like for Vardy and Allen. We will examine plantation daily life through duties that enslaved people would have carried out including: food preparation in the plantation kitchen, brick making, gardening and weaving.


Labors is ongoing from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. with activities at various locations on the park. Kitty Wilson-Evans, a well-known interpreter of slave life, will give a presentation at 11 a.m. In addition, Tyrie Rowell will present “Cato,” an enslaved brick maker, and Dontavius Williams will tell the story of “Adam.”


No registration is required. The park also offers gardens and a nature trail. A picnic shelter with several tables is available for those who would like to bring their lunch.


Extra option: Special tours (fee required) of the Gist mansion begin on the hour at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. These tours will emphasize the duties of enslaved African-Americans who worked in the mansion at Rose Hill.


For further information, contact Rose Hill Plantation State Historic Site at 2677 Sardis Road, Union, SC. Ph.: 864-427-5966 or E-mail: rosehill@scprt.com. Visit us at www.southcarolinaparks.com/rosehill.


Rose Hill Plantation State Historic Site is the antebellum home of South Carolina’s “secession governor,” William H. Gist. Visitors to the 44-acre park can learn about the lifestyle of a wealthy Upstate plantation family, Gist’s contributions to politics, and the importance of cotton in the South. Visitors also get an inside look at the role of enslaved African-Americans and tenant farmers in South Carolina’s history.


Normal hours of operation: Park grounds are open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. year round. The mansion home is only accessible by guided tour. Tours are held March-October, daily at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. Winter tours, from November-February are scheduled Thursday-Monday at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. The grounds at Rose Hill Plantation may be rented for weddings and other events. The park is located eight miles south of Union, SC.


The South Carolina State Park Service is a program of the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism, a state agency that serves as the leading marketing organization for South Carolina tourism. SCPRT also operates 47 state parks and administers federal and state grants for recreational development.


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