Elaine Martin, 74, of 102 Coleman St., passed away Monday, August 21, 2017, at Laurens County Memorial Hospital.

Born in Laurens, she was the daughter of the late Ellis F. Martin, Sr. and Sue Coleman Martin.  A graduate of Laurens High School, Anderson College, and East Tennessee State University, she was a lifelong member and Sunday School teacher at First United Methodist Church of Laurens.

Elaine was librarian at Laurens County Library for 57 years, where the Elaine Martin Local History Room was dedicated in her honor.  She was a member of the Red Hat Society, the Laurens County Genealogical Society, and was a founding member of the Laurens County Museum Board.


“Laurens County lost a valued and trusted public servant in late August with the death of Elaine Martin. Ms. Martin served for more than 50 years as a librarian in the Laurens County Library system. I attended her funeral on August 24 and the sense of loss among her extended family and dozens of her friends and colleagues was palpable.

Dedicated public servants perform many tasks in many ways. Law enforcement officers, fire personnel and emergency medical technicians risk their lives every day in public service and Laurens County is fortunate to have very qualified professionals in all of these areas. But Elaine Martin followed a different path. Her 50 plus years of public service were spent in the relatively quiet confines of a public library or behind the wheel of a bone-shaking Book Mobile, well beyond its anticipated use as a vehicle. But Ms. Martin and her colleagues packed that aging vehicle with books, periodicals and other information and hit the road daily to bring library services  to the more remote areas of the county where patrons  where important library services were not readily available.

Elaine Martin also served as an important county and regional resource for those seeking information on Laurens County history and records of ancestors, many from another century. Local historians marveled at her walking-around knowledge about local families and her uncanny ability to point out-of-state visitors to primary sources of information at the county library, the office of the Clerk of Court, the Probate Court and other locations in the county. During my years of service as a county employee, I received several calls, thanking me for the service and patience of the quiet lady at the Laurens County Library. I tried to explain on every such call that I had nothing to do with the very important service provided by Ms. Martin. But I certainly appreciated what she meant to literally thousands of families seeking their roots.

I really got to know Elaine Martin a lot better after I retired as a county employee. I count myself as the most amateur of historians but I joined the efforts of local historians and writers who have already produced two extensive volumes of Laurens County history and are working on the completion of a third. My assignment was the historic election of 1876, a time of strife and violence in Laurens County, South Carolina and throughout the South. Now, I had not done any formal scholastic research since I finished graduate school in 1974 and my task was formidable. I spent about two hours with Elaine in the Local History Room at the Laurens County Library. She pointed me to reliable secondary sources, old newspaper files and other records that I dove into with the abandon of someone much younger. With her help, I produced what I believe is a factually-sound accounting of that historic time in our county, complete with foot notes.

Following her retirement from county service, the Board of Directors and staff of the Laurens County Library named the Local History Room at the Library in her honor. The Elaine Martin Local History Room will continue as a repository for local history, family records and other information important to who we are as a county.  I can think of no honor Elaine would appreciate more.

So we must bid farewell to our friend Elaine Martin. She served her community and her profession well and she did it with quiet dignity. As a county and as a people, we are the better for her service and Laurens County, all of us, should be thankful for her time with us.”

Ernie Segars

Laurens, SC

Please join us!

Monthly board meetings are held the first Thursday of each month. Open to the public. Come early to sign up for comment time!

Celebration Reception In Honor of the Dr. Robert Crawford Native American Artifact Collection


We invite you and your friends to celebrate with us along with others involved in the preservation of Native American Artifacts and Laurens County History!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Drop in 5:30 -7:30 PM

Laurens County Museum

205 West Laurens Street

Laurens, SC 29360

The Dr. J. Robert Crawford Native American Artifact Collection Is now completely debt free and on display at the Laurens County Museum 205 West Laurens Street, Laurens, SC.

The new museum on the Square will be open for visitors to see renovation progress and where the museum collections will be housed as we move forward. If you have never been in the Laurens County Museum you will be amazed at the scope of artifacts from all areas of Laurens County history on display along with Native American Artifacts.

*For more information contact Debbie Vaughn (864) 683-3688 or Robby Bell (803)924-8787.

Please join us!

Monthly board meetings are held the first Thursday of each month. Open to the public. Come early to sign up for comment time!

Many thanks to Chris Rinehart at USC-Union, instructor and author Richard Fowler, and Sarah Jane Armstrong, historian and the person who knows who to call and helps organize more events than we will ever know.
The class will meet six (6) Mondays, May 15-June 19, from 5:30-6:45 PM, at the USC-Union Laurens location, with a field trip to the Laurens County Museum to be scheduled sometime during the class.  The museum will collect the $50 fee and give receipts.  Mr. Fowler and USC-Union have very generously offered to have all fees go to the museum.  The “Discovering Laurens County” book will be used as a guide for the class. Both School Districts 55 and 56 will offer professional development and re-certification credits to their teachers for taking the class.

Summer History Camp for Kids

July 17-21, 2017


Who:   Rising 5th-8th Graders

Where:   Laurens County Museum, Witherspoon Building on the Public Square in Laurens

Cost:   $25. Includes 5 days of instruction, admission to sites, transportation, snacks, t-shirt. Lunch will be provided free of cost each day beginning approximately 12:30 pm; provided by a school in District 55 as part of the school nutrition program

Time/Location:    Drop off at 8:30 am at the Witherspoon Building, pick up by parents at 1:00 pm at school TBD in Laurens District 55.

Transportation:    We will be using buses provided by Laurens District 55. Driver approved by school district.

Schedule for the Week

Days will begin at 8:30 am with brief presentation from Jeff Parks for students. From 8:45 to 9:15, students will use primary sources to explore the topic. At 9:15, students will board bus for site visit. Will return to Laurens for lunch at approximately 12:30 pm, parents will pick up at 1:00 pm from a Laurens District 55 school TBD. Tentative Schedule (subject to availability)

• 7/18 –  Trip to Simple Times Farm as part of Colonial America Unit

• 7/19 –  Trip to Musgrove Mill as part of Revolutionary America Unit

• 7/20 –  Trip to Rose Hill Plantation as part of Antebellum America Unit

• 7/21 –  Trip to Inman Mills in Enoree as part of Textile South Unit

• 7/22 –  Trip to Sanders Middle as part of Civil Rights Unit


*We will have a celebration at Sanders to celebrate the graduation with parents being invited. Schedule will be slightly different this day. We will order out pizza and have a celebration for students, parents, and Museum Board members will begin at around 11:15 am.


Meet Our Director Jeff Parks is a high school Social Studies teacher at Woodruff High School.  He is currently in this thirteenth year of teaching. During his career, Jeff has taught AP American Government, AP United States History, World History, and Economics.

One of the things that he enjoys about American history is how the lessons of our past help us to understand so much about our present and our future.




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