Eunice was born in Tugaloo, SC to Nola Ellen Dillard and Richard Carlton Lord. Her relationship to her father and her mother has been confirmed through DNA. Her birth certificate, which was delayed, lists her birthplace as Tugaloo, which was the township in which Westminster, SC lay. In a 1983 interview, Eunice states she was born in Westminster, SC.
Her birth may not have been recorded because at this time many births took place at home. In this case, the birth was in the home of her Grandmother. Her birth record was made official when she applied for her Social Security Card.
In 1910 she and her family lived in Varennes, Anderson, South Carolina. Her father, Rich, is listed in the Census as being a Weaver in a cotton mill. Of course, no occupation is listed for Nola, but Eunice talks about her caring for the family.
At some point after the birth of Otis, the youngest, the family split and Nola and the children move to Hapeville, Fulton County, Georgia.
Eunice, Mama as we called her, rarely talked about her nuclear family other than to mention she had a sister in Asheville named Grace; that Grace and her husband hosted and officiated her wedding. She did, however, talk about her roots. She knew every minute fact about the Dillards of Rabun County, GA. She had pictures, scrapbooks, and antiques from her Dillard family. The Lords were often spoken of as "the cousins from Commerce." She would sit and answer my questions about her family, point to this picture or that, and tell stories about the people who were her people.
When my grandfather, Eunice's husband Clee, died in 1986, an unexpected visitor appeared at the door of their apartment. When the door was answered, we discovered Beatrice Lord Smith, her sister. Beatrice had driven up from Columbia to offer her condolences. Eunice got upset and told us not to let her in - ask her to leave. "What on earth?" When I asked her why she had sent her away, Mama said that she and Beatrice just didn't agree on things.
In 1983, while I was in college in Columbia, SC, my grandparents took me out to the restaurant of my choice. The restaurant I chose was in an old house in downtown Columbia. We got to the restaurant, got settled, and ordered. Then my grandmother began saying the strangest things. I was very confused when she made a comment about a garden we could see from our table, "I used to watch the kids playing in the garden there...and I played the Piano in the parlor here when people came to pick out the child they wanted." I didn't pursue the comment because my grandfather changed the subject. More wierdness that day but I never revisited it with my grandparents.
Years after Eunice passed away, my sister gave my brother and me a wonderful CD set with interviews she did with both Eunice and Clee. In Eunice's CD, along with the sounds of the creaking kitchen table, the clicking Register clock, and birds chirping through the screen door, I heard the truth. Or, the truth according to Eunice.
She said that her father, Rich, was a wanderer and a drinker (a Lord cousin has told me Rich worked for the railroad). He would disappear for days, weeks, and months. When he was home he "loved us, kids". One day while he was gone "riding the rails" Nola received a letter from a woman telling Nola that Rich was married to her. The Family split and she and her siblings were sent to live with relatives because her mother couldn't look after them and work at the mill to support them all.
When we moved my grandparents out of the house my father designed for them (his first Architectural job) in Laurens, SC and into Martha Franks Retirement Center, she gave me all of her photos and papers and a few of the antiques. Once she passed I cleaned out her room and carted the last of her things to my house. I let it sit for a while, then, needing to clean out, I went through her papers. In them, I found a notebook dated 1923 where she had written her name as "Eunice Lloyd". I read through the notebook which was, I believe, her "discovery" of her birth family. According to the 1920 Census she had been living with her family in Hapeville. So to say she was discovering them a little less than three years later isn't about her "discovering them" but rather the beginning of her genealogical discovery of them. Names, dates, lists of connections and practice writing her name, spelled correctly at the end, Lord.
I realized that while she was living with her "Aunt" in Columbia she may have had little contact with her family. While looking through her papers, U understood why she was obsessive about being connected to them.
In the interview, Eunice says she was sent away to live with the Dick family in Columbia. She says she was "school-aged", whatever that means. But it was at some point after the 1920 Census when Eunice would have been 14 (Unless she was enumerated while on a visit home to Hepville, where she was enumerated - she does not appear in the 1920 Census of the Dick house). Eunice lived with the Dicks and another "aunt" in Columbia. The other aunt lived on Sumter Street in a duplex they shared with the president of the college (Univ, of SC). This aunt's name is Margaret ____ and her husband was the Dean of English at USC - Unfortunately, Mama played with the mic when she was talking about this. Apparently, she called all of the dick ladies "Aunt" despite their age, relationship to each other, and/or lack of relationship to herself.
She describes living in a strict religious home and taking piano lessons from Mrs. Emily Dick. She talks about the relationships within the house with the daughters and various people from the University of SC as well as the cook (Eunice's friend), Rena George. The description of the business the "Aunts" ran is akin to a grey or black market adoption scheme. The Aunts would find people who had kids they couldn't care for, for whatever reason, alcoholism, or extreme poverty, in the Mill Villages, and connect the children with new families. The comment about playing with the children or playing happy music refers to the times when the children were at the house to be picked up by their new parents. She also speaks of trips to the Eliada Home in Asheville and mentions visiting the Florence Crittendon Home in Charleston (not in the interview) which were both homes for unwed mothers.
A few years ago I found a cousin, the granddaughter of Eunice's mother's sister Goolie. I asked my cousin about the family being split up after the divorce from Rich Carlton Lord and she said the children were not split up. Eunice was the only one sent away. She said she was in the room at Nola's once when Nola told her mother that Eunice wasn't her child and that she found her on the front porch in a basket. My grandmother, who taught herself her family history in 1923, and then obsessed about being a part of that family, was in a basket on the front porch. I asked my cousin if she thought it was the truth, you know how people say a "queer" child was not their own...She said she didn't know the answer to that. I don't know the whole story, but I hope they were doing good charitable Christian work, though with the grey and black market adoption schemes of the time they could have created a way to make money.
Well, DNA testing has confirmed that Eunice was indeed the child of Nola Dillard and Rich Lord. This, aside from the incredible family likeness to her sister Beatrice, and brother Otis. A fellow genealogist recently found Otis after years of my looking for a man Named Otis D. Lord, who was found dead, according to Eunice, by some railroad tracks in Kansas during a heatwave. Turns out he too worked for the railroad and went by the surname Loyd. I think I have found him possibly living in Ohio as a youngster which makes me think his story may be very similar to Eunice's.
She states in her interview that she skipped three years of School, one in grammar, one in secondary, and one while she was in college. She attended Chicora College in Columbia at some point (reached out to the school for info. no information available) and graduated in 1927 from Columbia Bible College, now Columbia International University. She was the only person in her family to get a college degree. She would not have had that possibility had she stayed in Hapeville.
The Census information for Emily Dick's (the "Aunt") household in 1920. No children are listed for the Dick household.
1906 - Westminster, SC
|Head||Richard C Lord||M||25||Georgia|
|Wife||Nola E Lord||F||26||Georgia|
|Daughter||Grace B Lord||F||6||South Carolina|
|Daughter||Eunice D Lord||F||4||South Carolina|
|Daughter||Beatrice L Lord||F||2||South Carolina |
1910 - Toxaway Mills Village, Varennes, Anderson County, South Carolina
1921-? - Attended Chicora College
1935 - Greenville, South Carolina
April 10, 1940 - 501 Fifth Street, Ward 3, Easley, School District 13 Easley, Pickens County, South Carolina
Find A Grave: Memorial #81273345
Eunice speaks of Rena George who was the Cook for the Dick family while she lived there. Rena was one of the enslaved by the Dick family in Williamsburg. Eunice says she is named for "Uncle" George Dick a Dentist in Sumter. The Dick family is well known for its Plantation work and were Slaveholders In Williamsburg, SC. Rena, most probably born in 1850 took his name when she was freed, or "her family gave it to her", Eunice.
This is Rena Image Yes. Penn was in Williamsburg County.
I need to add a profile for Rena George.
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