Lunch #6: Stitching a Family Legacy

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Ben Gately Williams and I had the privilege of visiting Airy Hall Plantation yesterday, which is about forty miles south of Charleston, in Colleton County, and magnificently situated on the Ashepoo River. The property originally was purchased by Frederick Gilbert “Commodore” Bourne, an early President of the Singer Sewing Machine Company. Bourne earned his nickname as the former head of the New York Yacht Club, and he was an early member of the Jekyll Island Club, or the “Millionaire’s Club”, back in the late nineteenth century. The Limehouse family has owned it since 1978. The house is a stately Georgian brick structure, which Frankie Limehouse has decorated beautifully, and leading up to it is an alley of old Live Oak trees strewn with Spanish Moss.

Ben and I were visiting Airy Hall for our forthcoming book, Charleston, a Good Life, and to profile three generations of the Limehouse family in business and public service. I particularly like the picture of Buck and granddaughter, Eliza Limehouse (daughter of Chip and Sue); she with the purple hair and the “wrist party” going on. Lize has a successful jewelry business, and recently launched Plantation Candles. I kidded with Buck and Chip, that she will probably make more money than both of them; dad and granddad are noticeably proud.

After the photo shoot, Buck and I sat in his library, winter fire ablaze, to talk business, politics and Charleston history. Early in Buck’s career, he gave up his successful insurance business in Florida to move to Washington, D.C., and take a top position in the Republican National Committee. It was a pivotal decision, putting him in contact with key players in his party, which would eventually help him in business, and lead to top positions in public service for South Carolina and Georgia. Even today in powerful Washington circles, if you mention Buck Limehouse and South Carolina, the response is universally the same: Buck is the “real deal” and can “walk the talk.”

Awhile back, Chip Limehouse and I sat down for lunch at SNOB , to discuss his post political career. Chip wanted to take a break from politics, but I definitely believe he will continue to be involved in public service. And he should; he did a remarkable job as head of the Charleston Airport Authority, luring Southwest, and planning the airport expansion.

While Buck Limehouse walked me to my car yesterday, I asked him if he saw a future for granddaughter Eliza in politics? Buck smiled and said, “Governor; she’s a take charge kinda gal.”

Ps. A very happy forthcoming 55th wedding anniversary to Buck and Frankie. Congratulations!

Also seen at SNOB the day Chip and I had lunch: Mims Roberts, Chris Price, Judy Cassatt, Judy Tarleton, Angela Mack, Pat & Jim Lombard and Dick Elliott.

Charleston, A Good Life, co-authored by photographer, Ben Gately Williams, and writer/editor, Ned Brown, is a book profiling “interesting Charlestonians (old and newer), doing interesting things in a wonderful place.” The book will be released in latter 2016. Charleston, A Good Life,  will tell the story of why Charleston is a special place through over 50 environmental portraits of individuals; the first book about Charleston of its kind. What we are doing with the Charleston, A Good Life blog is telling you a bit about the people we are profiling, and other Charleston topics of interest.

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