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Quick Family Reunion

The descendants of Addison Evans Quick and Lucy Ann Allman Quick held a reunion in Orangeburg on the July 4 weekend. For many, it was their first trip here.

In 1909, Addison Evans Quick and his wife, Lucy Ann Allman, moved to Orangeburg.

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He was to be the new minister at Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church. They brought their children with them. All of the children attended Claflin at some point during their educational process and most received their B.S. degree there.

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The Rev. Quick was very active in the Russell Street community, where he ultimately built a home. That community was known as Quicktown. He was one of the first residents there and was followed by the Sultons and later the Wilkinsons and Whaleys.

Their oldest child, Lessie Corrine Quick, became a teacher in the public schools in Orangeburg. Oliver Bernard Quick became an electrical engineer, then a minister in the Methodist Church after attending Gammon in Atlanta as his father had done.

Oliver and his wife, Bessie Whitted of Durham, North Carolina, had one child, Charles Whitted Quick, who graduated from Talladega and then got his law degree from Harvard. Charles was on the legal team that defended Angela Davis. He had also been on the legal team that worked with Thurgood Marshall when he appeared before the Supreme Court to win Brown vs. Board of Education.

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Oscar Simpson Quick Sr. married Louise Blanding of Hiton Head and sold insurance, then became a postal clerk on the railway. His son, Oscar Jr., taught electrical engineering technology at South Carolina State University. Oscar Sr.'s granddaughter is the internationally known singer, Cece Peniston, and of course, Kenneth I. Chenault, former CEO of American Express, who was in attendance, is the grandson of Oscar Sr. also.

Beulah Woodsteele Quick married Charles Wesley Caldwell, a young widower, and they raised their family in Orangeburg on Treadwell Street. Charles had been one of the first black men to be commissioned an officer in the Army during World War II. They had a large family that included Dr. Harlowe E. Caldwell, a local dentist, and Ruth Ella Caldwell Stewart, who became one of the first black women to be commissioned an officer in the Army during WWII.

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Annie Geneva Quick got her B.S. degree from Fisk and lived to be 104 years old. (Until she died, she was Fisk's oldest living graduate.) She was one of the first women to get her M.S. from Cornell University. She met and married Joseph F. Drake at Avery Institute in Charleston, where they were both teaching. He went on to become president of Alabama A&M University for more than 25 years. They had two children, Dr. Harold F Drake, who became the first black physician to practice in the hospitals of Huntsville, Ala., And Dr. Miriam Drake Weston, a psychologist, who has a daughter who is a nun in the Greek Orthodox Church, and a son who is an attorney. The youngest son, James Albert, became a tailor for the Merchant Marines in New York. Another daughter, Ruth Ella Quick, became affiliated with either Father Divine or Daddy Grace, and the family lost track of her. Mamie married Mortimer Moss Bowman of Bowman and they had five children. Their daughter, Ella Mae, graduated from Juilliard in piano and began her career by teaching at Spelman College in Atlanta.

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As you can see, they produced a wonderful family of overachievers and never looked back. This is the origin of the group that reunioned July 4th weekend in Orangeburg. The last remaining grandchildren of Addison and Lucy were present. They are Josephine Caldwell Howard of Georgetown, who is now 91, and Dr. Miriam Weston of Florida, who is now 95. Three more generations were in attendance with them.

For many, they were meeting for the first time. They came from far and wide and included Phyllis Caldwell Poget, granddaughter of Beulah Caldwell, and her daughter Joanna. They came from Switzerland, where Phyllis is a cellist. Others came from Rhode Island, California, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia and, of course, South Carolina.

The family talent night included a solo by Arthur Chenault, grandson of Oscar Quick Sr., a skit written by Melody Thompson, granddaughter of Mamie Quick Bowman, a video cello concert by Phyllis Poget and a violin solo featuring 8-year-old Amaya Contreras, great-great-granddaughter of Addison Evans Quick and granddaughter of George Quick.

Other activities included a visit to Cecil Williams' Civil Rights Museum, where they were treated to a personal narrative and tour that left an indelible impression on the visitors, many of whom had never been to Orangeburg or were unfamiliar with much of the civil rights activities during the '50s, '60s and '70s.

Then there was a family dinner on Friday night, which included a viewing of the PBS special ,"An Evening With Ken Chenault," and a family picnic on Saturday afternoon at Thee Matriarch, and, of course, a group picture that was supposed to be taken on the steps of the house on Russell Street but had to be relocated to Claflin's gym because of rain on Friday.

Many visited the Orangeburg Cemetery where Addison and Lucy are buried as well as some of their children and grandchildren. Others took self-conducted tours through the two college campuses and the city.

Orangeburg impressed the visitors with its hospitality, quaintness and beauty. I am sure many will return.

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