More than 200 years of Columbia County’s past took 13 years for historian Barbara Seaborn to compile into a literary work.
The New England native spent more than the past decade researching and writing As Long as the Rivers Run: Highlights from Columbia County’s Past. The book, which she finished two years ago, was recently published and copies arrived this past week.
“It’s phenomenal the things that can be traced to Columbia County,” said Seaborn, who said she spent 6,000 hours researching and writing the book.
The 300-page book chronicles Columbia County before and after it was established as a county in 1790.
Seaborn, a columnist for The Columbia County News-Times who moved to the county in the 1970s, covers the Colonial Era, the Civil War and Reconstruction. She also provides an overview of the 20th century and into the 21st century.
A section of the book is devoted to black history during the Civil War.
Seaborn accumulated information from hundreds of sources, including news articles, books and people, who added personal accounts to the story.
The author said her three goals for the book were to make it factual, easy to read and interesting.
“I can remember reading history in school and it wasn’t my favorite thing to do,” she said.
“Now I feel thrilled to know what I’ve learned about the past.”
In the book, Seaborn gives readers glimpses into the lives of significant people from the county, such as combat submarine inventor David Bushnell and U.S. Constitution signers Abraham Baldwin and William Few.
Also something Seaborn found interesting through her research was the high level of education that existed in the county dating back from when it was founded.
Seaborn said she plans to donate a copy of her work to middle and high schools in the county.
“I want this book to outlive me,” she said. “It’s not something you read once and put on the shelf. It’s a reference.”
The book’s front cover, an image of the Savannah River at the Augusta Canal headgates, was illustrated by Columbia County artist Lynell Widener.
Other illustrations by Widener are included inside the pages.
Seaborn will hold one of several book signings from 5:30-7 p.m. Nov. 3 at the Columbia County Library. Paperback editions cost $18 and hardcover editions cost $28.
Copies are available for purchase at The Columbia County News-Times office in the Publix shopping center, 4272 Washington Road, Evans.