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Pon Pon Chapel of Ease

You don’t have to spend much time around here to figure out I have an interest in history. People don’t change much, do they? We complain about the salaciousness of today’s news media, but our third President, Thomas Jefferson, actually purchased entire news outlets to spew venom at his political enemies, all hidden behind the quills of reporters who repackaged his words as their own.

Whenever I visit Pon Pon Chapel of Ease, I feel closer to our flawed Founders. John Wesley‘s fiery sermons echo between the bricks, though the place was wood when he preached a revival there in 1737. During the Revolutionary War, British General Banastre Tarleton chased Rebel General Francis Marion through the swamps around the place. President George Washington saw Pon Pon on his 1791 Southern tour, a grand march through bugs and vermin.

I timed my Independence Weekend Pon Pon visit to bask in soupy heat. To run through walls of no-see-ums. To encounter a snake or several. I wanted to experience the place as our Forebears knew it.

Instead, I found mown grass and quiet. A few beer cans. Whispered memories woven through a place of perfect peace.

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Pon Pon Chapel of Ease is located in Colleton County, South Carolina, near Jacksonboro on Parkers Ferry Road. It is open from daylight to dusk. Though the gate is almost always closed, a person can slip between gate and fence to gain admission.

To view photos from Pon Pon  Chapel of Ease, click here: Andra Watkins Tumblr

What’s your favorite historical site, Dear Reader? Why do you like it?

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rotary logoA busy week of events in Cootchie-Land. On Wednesday, I’m speaking at the Lake Murray-Irmo Rotary Club, followed Thursday morning with an appearance at the Rotary Club of Chapin-Sunrise. If you’re in the Columbia, South Carolina area, you can get your Cootchie on by visiting either club. Learn about Rotary, and meet the Cootchie herself. Appearance times and directions are included in my Event Calendar to your right.

I love to yammer on in public, and I’m told I put on a good show. If you need a speaker for an event (and I don’t care where you are), contact me at readme(at)andrawatkins(dot)com. I have talks suitable for high school and college history classes, Boy and Girl Scout groups, outdoor adventure groups, history clubs, retirement communities, service clubs and more.

Oh, and did I mention that I LOVE to talk in public??

The book that started all this continues to garner rave reviews from people I don’t know (including an upcoming BIG endorsement….stay tuned.) If you’ve taken time to write a review on Amazon and Goodreads, THANK YOU. If you’ve been meaning to do it, you can rate/review the book by following the Amazon Kindle link below. To get your very own copy of To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewisfollow the links and get reading!

amazon.kindle.barnesnook.ibookstore.kobo

36 Comments Post a comment
  1. Glad no snakes fell on your head!

    July 7, 2014
  2. You needed a breather before getting going on your week’s tour. Sure they will enjoy hearing about your protagonist and his trials and how he helped Em and himself.

    July 7, 2014
    • This week’s talks focus more on the importance of literacy initiatives and the transformative power of reading. The library talk was somewhat different, in that I could really focus on the book more.

      July 7, 2014
  3. Thanks for another history lesson, Andra. You make history so interesting! I would have to say my favorite historical spot is Washington DC…the monuments, Arlington cemetary, all of the memorabilia in the Smithsonian, the Capitol. I can’t wait to get back there again.

    July 7, 2014
    • Ah, Arlington. I go there every time I visit DC. Hope you get to visit soon, Mary.

      July 7, 2014
  4. I think my favorite historical site is Little Big Horn. When I walk that ground I am in another world.

    July 7, 2014
    • I’ve never been there, Jim. That place has got to be haunted by all manner of things.

      July 7, 2014
  5. Ooo! Glad you gained a big endorsement! Can’t wait to find out from who!
    Thomas Jefferson continues to be interesting.
    It’s cool that you love to talk in public! You should have your own segment in the news or on morning talk shows who have revolving correspondents.

    July 7, 2014
    • Hope to have it this week. Very excited.

      Ha. I don’t think I do very well on camera, Linda. I’ve been recording my speaking engagements of late, and I can’t stand to watch myself. I need to do it to learn how to fix some of my presentational ticks, but it’s very uncomfortable viewing.

      July 7, 2014
  6. Andra, looks like a peaceful place. You mention Thomas Jefferson using the media to run down opponents…have you read “Scandalmonger” by William Safire? It’s fictional but based on a lot of facts and there is a lot in the book about how Jefferson and other Founding Father’s used the media. I think it might give you some food for thought…

    July 7, 2014
    • I haven’t read that one. Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll definitely look it up.

      July 7, 2014
  7. Thomas Jefferson, purveyor of propaganda…who knew!

    July 7, 2014
    • I studied how he degraded one specific person in the media, but there may be others. The focus of my research wasn’t to write about him.

      July 7, 2014
      • Not so unlike current election campaign slagging these days (and any days inbetween Jefferson and today..)

        July 7, 2014
      • I think, more than anything, studying this stuff gives me hope. We’ve always been screwed up. Yet we’ve made it this far.

        July 7, 2014
      • What a great way to look at it, Andra. Love that positive interpretation.

        July 7, 2014
  8. I am enjoying watching your journey continue, Andra. Wonderful to know of your speaking engagements, and, yes, I was aware of what Tom Jefferson was up to way back when. Practically the inventor of “whisper campaigns”.

    July 7, 2014
    • I lost so much respect for him in the process of writing my novel (because I started researching possible sequel materials while writing the novel.)

      July 7, 2014
  9. I’ve never heard of the Pon Pon Chapel of Ease so thank you for bringing it into my radar. I adore off-the-beaten track historical places such as this one. Sorry it wasn’t as authentic as you wanted, but the photo is nice. Perhaps the founding fathers, given the choice, would approve of the manicured chapel lawn?

    July 7, 2014
    • However I find it when I go there, I decide it’s what I was meant to see.

      July 7, 2014
  10. tarakianwarrior #

    Wallowa, where Chief Joseph led Howard around and around. While camping there at Ice Lake (way up in the Wallowa Mountains) you can almost see and hear them.

    July 7, 2014
    • I’ll bet that’s a mythic place, Lori.

      July 7, 2014
      • tarakianwarrior #

        I failed to mention Bannack, Montana. First capital of Montana. I’ve visited it a couple of times this year and really enjoyed the stories. Of course it helps that my Dad and Mom grew up in this area and all the way there, and all the way back, I heard, “I shot an elk over on that hill, your Uncle Ed held off some ranchers when they came to kill him and his sheep over on that ridge over there….” Such lovely history.

        July 9, 2014
  11. I don’t know which is worse, snakes on the head or spiders on the legs? Great Post!

    July 7, 2014
  12. Very nice chapel, Andra. I also love your list of Cootchie-Land events. One of my favorite sites I am actually going to blog about this week. I just visited it yesterday while on a beautiful Sunday drive with Mr. B. Ancient Glacier Pot Holes! 🙂

    July 7, 2014
  13. wow, interesting backstory, so propaganda news with personal agendas is nothing new, eh? best of luck on your latest round of talks )

    July 7, 2014
  14. Extraordinary place….the name Pon Pon is even stranger. It’s as though it has a French origin in the Cajun tradition.

    July 8, 2014
  15. Lance #

    After all of your travels on foot, I can’t believe you didn’t just take a month and put your feet up. I admire that you didn’t.

    July 8, 2014
    • I’m not exercising as much as I should be. My feet are up right now.

      July 8, 2014
  16. I wasn’t familiar with Pon Pon, Andra, so I am so glad to read this. Very interesting. I hope your talk tomorrow is as successful as the previous ones you’ve been enjoying and I’m so glad you are energized by speaking in public. It’s not for everyone, and you have certainly been putting your heart and soul into your engagements. I can’t wait to hear your big announcement! I’m on the edge of my seat. 🙂

    July 9, 2014

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