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Lancaster County’s historical and educational communities are mourning the loss of two influential residents, Walter Craig Sr. and James Moreland Sr., both from Kershaw. Those who knew the men say their impact on Lancaster County was significant and will live on for years to come.
Walter Craig Sr.
Walter Craig, 68, died March 2, at Hospice House in Rock Hill after a battle with leukemia.
A retired railroad engineer for the L&C Railroad, Craig, along with his wife, Melody, was instrumental in furthering Lancaster County’s historical heritage.
Craig, a Flat Creek resident, is said to have picked up his love of history as a young man while serving a special U.S. Navy tour of duty in Boston aboard the historic U.S.S. Constitution, also known as “Old Ironsides.”
Building on his talent for history, Craig later helped establish the Friends of Andrew Jackson State Park and served on the Lancaster County Historical Commission and the regional Olde English District board.
He was also a member of the Lancaster County Transportation Commission.
“He was just an all-around great guy,” local historian and friend Lindsay Pettus said of Craig. “He would come by and visit and the subject would inevitably come around to some facet of Lancaster County history.
“He was always seeking the best for the county,” he said. “Lancaster County is fortunate that we all knew him.”
In addition to his role in its establishment, Craig went on to volunteer extensively with the Friends of Andrew Jackson State Park.
Park interpreter Laura Ledford said Craig “did everything from lobbying politicians to frying fish to dressing up,” as a historical Revolutionary war re-enactor.
“He was instrumental in the revitalization of the park when we went back to having a history focus, renovation of the museum and the 225th anniversary of the Revolution in Lancaster County,” Ledford said. “Because of the Friends group, in hard times we have support and are able to move forward with projects, unlike some other parks.
“(Lancaster County) has lost a big advocate for history in the county and someone who cared about a lot of people and was always willing to help,” she said.
Craig was also one of Lancaster County’s best genealogists, friend and historical commission advisory member Christina Williams said.
Williams said Craig worked closely with the Lancaster County Historical Museum in the historic courthouse and was instrumental in the return to Lancaster County of a Confederate battle flag that once led the Lancaster Invincibles.
The flag, captured during a battle with Ohio troops, was later returned to South Carolina, but languished in the State History Museum until the mid-1940s, Williams said.
Williams said getting the flag back to Lancaster County was one of Craig’s “main passions.”
“He learned about the flag sometime in the, I would say, 1980s, and he said, ‘That flag needs to be in Lancaster and not stuck away somewhere,’” Williams said. “It was in the possession of the (Waxhaw) Daughters of the American Revolution, and they gave permission for it to be returned to Lancaster. We had it restored and just went to pick it up in January.”
Williams said Craig’s interest in local history and making it come alive extended even to his careful care of Lancaster County’s historical markers, a specialized task he took on as a responsibility for several years.
“He really wanted people to know about Lancaster County and he wanted to educate people about its history,” Williams said. “He left a legacy of love everywhere.”
In addition to his wife of 47 years, Craig is survived by a son, Walter H. Craig Jr., daughter, Tracey Craig, and three grandchildren.
His funeral was Tuesday, March 5, with burial at Kershaw City Cemetery.
James ‘Jimmy’ Moreland Sr.
Jimmy Moreland made his mark on Lancaster and Chesterfield counties’ youth through his many years as an educator and community leader.
Moreland died Feb. 13 at Springs Memorial Hospital in Lancaster after suffering a massive heart attack.
Moreland’s career carried him from Kershaw High School graduate to teacher, Boy Scout leader and Lancaster County school board member.
According to his wife, Frances, Moreland began his career in education in the 1960s as a teacher at Camden Middle School. Moreland returned to teaching after serving in Vietnam and retired from Pageland’s Central High School after nearly three decades teaching English and Spanish.
Even after retirement, Moreland couldn’t bring himself to leave the education arena for good and served another four years at Andrew Jackson High School. He was a teacher at York Technical College’s Kershaw Campus up until his death.
“Jimmy was a teacher and if he knew something, he wanted to share it,” Frances Moreland said. “He was a life learner and he was also a lifelong teacher.
“He didn’t meet a stranger and he was quite humble, but very talented,” she said. “He believed in giving back, and that was one thing he wanted young people to do. He’d tell them, ‘If someone helps you, you should give back.’”
For many years, Moreland taught the lesson of giving back to members of Kershaw’s Boy Scout and Cub Scout Troop 74.
Troop 74 Scout Master David Shores said Moreland believed in the Boy Scouts and, as a member of the troop’s board of directors, was a tireless champion for the program.
“The Scout Oath says “I will do my duty to God and my country,” Shores said. “He was in the Army and was very active in the Presbyterian Church in Kershaw and Second Baptist Church in Kershaw.
“So he lived by the Scout Oath and always kept himself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight,” he said. “He was very kind and helpful and courteous, and he’d do anything for you that he could.”
In addition to teaching in the classroom, Moreland was a CPR instructor for the American Heart Association. He also taught many of the area’s youth to swim, first as shore director at the Boy Scout’s Camp Palmetto (now Camp Bob Hardin) and later at Troop 74, helping boys earn their swimming and lifesaving merit badges.
For many years, Moreland served as director of the Leroy Springs Recreation Department, where he not only carried on his swim lessons, but coached several championship swim teams.
Moreland was awarded the Kershaw Citizen of the Year Award shortly after the city of Kershaw took over the recreation department, Frances Moreland said.
Moreland also helped shape education countywide, serving two terms between 1996 and 2004 as the District 6 representative on Lancaster County School District’s Board of Trustees.
Former school board chairman Robert Folks served with Moreland and said his strength on the board started with his background and love of education, but was compounded by his personality and “good common sense.”
“He could ferret out the truth, even from the best politicians,” Folks said. “I told his wife, Frances, that Jimmy was my go-to guy. If I wanted to know what the board thought about something, I’d go to Jimmy; they’d tell him, but maybe not me.”
Folks said many of the improvements undertaken by the school board in the mid- to late 2000s were built on projects the board undertook during Moreland’s tenure.
He said in Moreland’s death, the community lost a great example and a resource that is hard to replace.
“Now that he’s not here, we only have our memories of him to live on,” Folks said. “He was a great man. I’m grateful for the years we had him.”
Contact reporter Reece Murphy at (803) 283-1151