Winnsboro will be hosting a professor, pastor, and author this week Bob Uzzel who will be in town conducting interviews for a book he is writing.
A resident of east Texas, Uzzel is from the town of Fairfield which he has learned shares connections with South Carolina’s Fairfield County.
It is those connections to the ancestors of his wife, Debra, that have led him across the country.
Pastor Uzzel is currently working on a book entitled The Durhams of Fairfield: An African American Genealogy.
In his manuscript, Fairfield refers to Fairfield County and also to the community of Fairfield, the county seat of Freestone County, Texas.
This is his fourth book and he has been working on it for over 30 years.
This trip has been 30 years in the making but had been postponed for one reason or another.
Over the years he kept up faithful correspondence with Pelham Lyles and the staff at the Fairfield County Museum, who have aided him from afar with his research.
Through his extensive research he has traced his African American wife’s family back to the Durhams of Fairfield County.
He would like to interview anyone of any age — white or black — who may have information on the Durham and also the Woodward families.
He is interested in slave narratives in particular.
“Evidence indicates that Gobi, the patriarch of the Durham family, along with his wife and five older sons, were slaves in this county and that this was the site of Gobi’s brutal murder,” Uzzel said.
Isaac Durham was born and where his five brothers had settled by 1870.
They appear to have come with their masters to DeSoto Parish, La. and joined the mother and brother in Texas shortly after emancipation.
The six Durham brothers—Belton, Allen, Minor, Christopher, Anderson, and Isaac—lived east of Fairfield in the Butler community of Freestone County.
In the Butler community, Durham is a common name.
Some descendants of those brothers farm land in the area.
Uzzel’s research indicates that the Durham family is descended from the slaves owned by the family of Robert Winfield Durham, who died in Fairfield County, S.C. in 1852.
Durham’s widow and three sons brought their slaves with them to DeSoto Parish, La.
Another black family that is prominent in the Butler community and is closely related to the Durhams is the Woodard family. Uzzel believes that persons knowing the history of Woodards and Woodwards will both be helpful in his research.
He will be in Winnsboro from Wednesday until Friday.
On Thursday he will be in the Fairfield County Museum but he said he would make appointments to meet people at other locations if needed.
Interested persons may call Uzzel at 469-285-0927.