A PATHWAY TO DANIEL ISLAND-by Bob Tuten
My father’s packing shed and pier complex for Bard Farm was located on Bellinger Island and on the south side of Beresford Creek. Directly across the creek was a platform and a wooden pathway that extended over the marsh for several hundred feet north to the mainland. The platform was approximately 8 x 10 feet with a ladder on the creek side. The pathway consisted of 2 posts about 2 ½ feet apart and at intervals of about 8 feet. Each set of 2 posts was connected with a 2 x 6 inch board nailed to both sides of the posts at a height above the marsh grass and the expected flood tide levels. 2 X 10 inch boards by 10 feet long were laid between the post and were laid parallel to each other for about a foot where they met. This eliminated a tripping hazard had the boards been laid on top of each other. The boards were nailed to the 2 x 6 inch braces between the posts. I call this the pathway to Daniel Island because there were no reasons for residents of Daniel Island to go to the main land.
Three to 4 miles to the north was a general store operated by Mr Harold and family (in an earlier story I told about me and two other students from the island and Mr Harold’s 2 children being transported by Mr. Harold to Cain Hoy to get a school bus to Berkeley High school in Moncks Corner). His store could have been the post office for the local residents as I saw no mail boxes along the way. The locals on the southern tip used the pathway to work on the island during potato harvesting time but mainly as a way to go to Charleston. A small row boat, provided by the Island, was kept tied up at my father’s pier. When someone wanted to cross over to the island they called out and either the man (lot man) who attended the barnyard and animals and took care of house chores of the farm manager, or someone from the 2 residents on Bellinger Island, would take the row boat over. The boat was easy to handle. There was a half moon groove cut in the top of the transom. By placing one oar in the groove and with one hand moving the blade back and forth from side to side while tilting the blade 60 degrees one way then the other the boat was propelled. This left the other hand free to hold the line for tie up. This method of propulsion in known as sculling It was very easy for me to do even as a young boy.
Walking distance from the pier to Mitchell or Pole Grove was under two miles.The mail boat EUCLA stopped at Mitchell 6 days a week. On Saturdays the VIKING, a much faster boat and preferred by the laborers, would also make the trip. Both boats would pull in to Pole Grove at the wave of a handkerchief.
One day my brother Rick and my buddy Isaac and I went to my father’s pier to go swimming. Rick and I didn’t have our bathing suits with us (and Isaac didn’t own one) so we improvised; there usually were old damaged burlap potato bags in the packing shed. We would either cut off the corners of the bag for leg holes or fold a flat piece into a diaper shape then pin around our waist with rusty nails. Rick had learned how to scamper up on a high piling and he would dive off into the creek. He would bring up a handful of sand to prove he went to the bottom.
It must have been late in the afternoon that day as a man from the mainland was returning from a trip to Charleston, dressed in his best clothes; white shirt and tie. He appeared to be a little tipsy when the lot man ferried him across the creek and he stumbled climbing the ladder to the platform. That is when we began to watch him as he attempted to walk the 10 inch planks of the pathway. He would walk for a few sections then fall off into the marsh and mud. He would climb back up and try again for a few more sections. Needless to say his shirt was not dry or white when he reached dry land at the end of the pathway.
P.S. While writing this story I began to wonder when the pathway was constructed and who financed it. If in the 1920s it was probably financed by Berkeley County. Daniel Island would have had very little interest if any. If built in the early 1930s then maybe by one of President Roosevelt’s projects; the WPA.