(Corrected to note: The writer of the Historical Society's history book received a portion of proceeds from its sale, but he was not paid to write it.)
If just one thing could have been different, I really wish Pat Hardaway had lived to see Barbara Seaborn’s new book.
The longtime Columbia County probate judge, who died this summer, also served as president of the Columbia County Historical Society. She wasn’t a Columbia County native, but you’d never have known it from her deep, abiding love of this county, and her keen interest in its history.
There was some uncomfortable contentiousness between the society and Seaborn, the history of which doesn’t need reiteration. In essence, the society helped get funding for the early stages of Seaborn’s research, and then were impatient to see results. When they parted, less than amicably, the society found someone else to write a quickie history book that is woefully thin, both literally and figuratively.
Seaborn, meanwhile, kept plugging along. She shared with me news of her progress along the way, and acknowledged that the pace, and the research, was agonizingly slow. One of her mentors on the project, renowned local historian Ed Cashin, also died before it was complete. And several of the living-history subjects interviewed for a segment in the book also passed away before it was published.
But, at last, it’s here. Seaborn was excited to tell me about the book’s arrival, and flattered that Cooper Cliatt and his staffers at Augusta Telephone unloaded the books from the delivery truck and neatly stacked them inside his Martinez office for storage.
She brought a couple of boxes by our office where they’ve been selling at an admirable pace, one that is certain to pick up as the holidays get closer.
Meanwhile, I’m a dozen or so chapters into reading the book, hoping to devote more time to finishing it. It’s exceptionally well-written, as I knew it would be, and Seaborn does an outstanding job of grasping global history and gradually fine-tuning it toward the founding of Columbia County. The treatment provides a context for our county’s existence that goes far beyond a mere recitation of historical timeline or diagramming of family genealogies.
And, as a bonus, the book and its cover contains reprints of historical paintings by the wonderfully talented Lynell Widener, a living Columbia County treasure.
Time heals all wounds, as the saying goes. Hopefully, any lingering hard feelings are, well, history.
Congratulations, Barbara. Fine job.
Incidentally, the first of several book signings will be held 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday in the lobby of the library in Evans. If you aren’t able to make it there, or to one of the other upcoming signings, you also can purchase a signed copy at our office.
If you haven’t had a chance to visit our Web site (www.newstimesonline.com), you really should.
Our staff is learning the nuances of updating the content throughout each day. We’re well on our way to becoming a daily newspaper that prints twice a week.
And as of this past Thursday, we have another great leap: The News-Times has an iPad app!
Just download The Chronicle app in the iTunes store. Tap on the edition icon next to the calendar, and select The News-Times link. Then give us some feedback, will you?
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. Email barry.paschal@newstimes online.com, or call 706-863-6165, extension 106. Follow at twitter.com/