David Branson to speak at Sumter Genealogical Society meeting


David Branson likes to visit cemeteries and discover the stories of those who are long forgotten. He says it is a way of keeping their memory alive. Some are famous; others were infamous. He records and shares his stories as part of his YouTube channel, Cemetery Plots, Adventures and Vlogs by Fat Puppy.

Branson will be the speaker at the next membership meeting of the Sumter County Genealogical Society at 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 16, in the fellowship hall of Swan Lake Presybterian Church, 912 Haynsworth St., Sumter.

Among the topics Branson will present will be the story of 15-year-old Raymond Bland, son of H.C. Bland, owner of swampland north of Liberty Street that eventually became Swan Lake Iris Gardens. Raymond died in a plane crash on July 24, 1935.

Young Raymond and three other adventurous teenagers met with a young pilot from Camden, who was to take them for a short ride in his airplane. First up was Raymond. As the plane circled the airport at about 300 feet, it rolled and nose-dived to the ground.

The society meets monthly from September through May. Visitors are welcome to attend. Admission is free to the public. Interested persons can join the society. Membership includes four newsletters during the year and free use of the Sumter County Genealogical Society Research Center. Annual dues are $30 for an individual membership and $35 for family. For additional information, call the society's Research Center at (803) 774-3901.