Sweet home Monte Verde film is streaming on PBS

The story of this filmmaking venture begins in 2013 when Bill Adler and his family were living in Monteverde, Costa Rica. Bill had a passion to preserve the history of the community’s original founders, a group of Quakers from Fairhope, Alabama, so he began the task of interviewing the elders and crafting a film. Along the way, there were some starts and stops (these often happen with independent film projects), and in 2017, Robin Truesdale joined Bill to direct and edit the hour-long documentary. The film was finished in February 2020 just weeks before the Covid pandemic began erupting around the world. 
Covid threw us for a loop, canceling the theatrical premiere and plans for a film tour at festivals and conferences. But virtual connections came to the rescue. We’ve been able to screen the film for virtual groups and film festivals and take part in online Q&A discussions. 
We want to express our thanks to all the film’s supporters – from the early days, through the production years, and during our pandemic release! Also, we’re extremely grateful to the individuals and families who shared their stories, both on and off camera. Their actions continue to impact our world. 
Please enjoy watching this amazing story of courage, conviction, and kindness! https://video.rmpbs.org/video/sweet-home-monteverde-dh7gzy/
Best wishes for 2022, Robin Truesdale and Bill Adler
Mission Statement: Through documentary storytelling, we strive to expand our understanding of the human experience and foster an informed, connected, and compassionate world.

Robin Truesdale and Bill Adler

Please follow the link above for more details of the film’s web home.

Quaker Historical Resources

A good place to start are the main repositories for genealogical information on the web.  In addition, The University of South Carolina has a small library of genealogies that were done before the internet.

all rights belong to the owner of this picture: https://www.swarthmore.edu/

MyHeritage – can search British christenings, US census.  This is free through my public library.  Warning: Much of the census information was conveyed orally to the census taker.  Standard spelling was not in place.  You will need to search for every conceivable spelling and abbreviation.  And then the information was transcribed to allow internet searches.  The transcriptions can sometimes be quite creative.

Ancestry(charge) – good for wills, marriages, old business directories, church records 

FamilySearch – good for estate inventories. I think it’s free.


It can be a little haphazard what you might find on these sites.  I have found good stuff on all of them.  As it is generated by amateurs, take what you find with a great deal of skepticism.

A good place to go to next is the South Carolina Department of  Archives.   The search facility is not intuitively obvious but quite powerful once you figure it out:


Some of the material is online.  Some of it is on microfilm.  The online info will tell you where to find the microfilmed material or you can pay the state a minimal amount to do it for you.  Be warned – generally any person or place mentioned in a document will be indexed but people and places do get missed.

You might want to then look at deed information.  Most of my research has been confined to the colonial to Civil War period.  And centered on Dorchester County, upper Berkeley County, and the part of Colleton County along the Edisto. 

Property transactions where land exchanged hands usually shows up in the Charleston Register of Deeds office.  They have a special section for older transactions under the Archives heading.  It can be a little tricky to navigate.  


Once you locate the book the deed is located in, you then search using the book identifier (B11) and a page number of 001.  It’s goofy and they do have people who will help you over the phone.  

If you have access to these books and your deed falls within the colonial/revolutionary war time period, you can shortcut the process by using 4 volumes of deed abstracts prepared by Clara Langley of the WPA and updated by Brent Holcomb.

But initial land grants are usually found in the South Carolina Department of Archives.


David Rumsey map collection includes Mills Atlas maps of South Carolina counties in the 1820’s.

For example


Mouzon map of 1775 of the Carolinas can be helpful


Colton’s 1854 map of Charleston and Colleton counties (and other SC counties)


1897 map of Dorchester County


Message boards can also be helpful.  Again you need to be skeptical. 

Ancestry message boards

For example: 

Our Hughes family – 3 brothers, and how they work out




Local historical societies and libraries can also be helpful.  The Charleston public library has a really good genealogy section.  And they also have microfilmed copies of old newspapers.  Ridgeville has a nice historical museum.

Among books, if you are doing Quaker genealogy, you might want to start with the Encyclopedia of American Genealogy by William Wade Hinshaw.


William Medlin has a helpful, maybe more user friendly South Carolina Quaker genealogy source: 

Medlin, William, Quaker Families of South Carolina and Georgia

Once you know the meeting your relative was connected with, you can usually locate the meeting minutes online.  Sometimes they read like print; sometimes they are illegible, at least online.  

Meeting minutes from Bush River


Sometimes the minutes are pro forma and sometimes they give you a good hint as to what’s going on in a meeting.  Also a good source for weddings and funerals.

Here are some books that I found helpful:

The 13 volume Friends Library published around 1830 contains the journals of several traveling Friends who visited South Carolina.  You can do an online search for Carolina to see where South Carolina is mentioned or search on particular persons.


Other Quaker resources:

southern quakers and slavery


Carroll, Kenneth, The Irish Community at Camden 

The Book of John Howell and his Descendants – the journal of a traveling Friend that was published independently. Carroll mentions several others that don’t make it into the Friends Library.

Books I haven’t really used but look like they would be useful for upcountry Friends:

Willard Heiss – Quakers in South Carolina Backcountry

Silas Emmett Lucas, Jr., Quakers in South Carolina

Summer, G. Leland,  /

Folklore of South Carolina : including Central and Dutch Fork sections of the state, and much data on the early Quaker and Convenanter customs, etc

A book that I found helpful for the part of South Carolina I have been researching:

McCurry, Stephanie, Masters of Small Worlds: Yeoman Households, Gender Relations, & the Political Culture of the Antebellum South Carolina Low Country.

In reading parts of Quaker journals dealing with South Carolina, you become aware that South Carolina was in the midst of the Second Great Awakening and the Methodist revival.  To understand what’s going on, you probably need some background in that.  

For example, these are the books that are on my reading list:

A Cautious Enthusiasm: Mystical Piety and Evangelicalism in Colonial South Carolina  – January 23, 2013

by Samuel C. Smith

A Place to Worship: African American Camp Meetings in the Carolinas by Minuette Floyd

The Origins of Southern Evangelicalism: Religious Revivalism in the South Carolina Lowcountry, 1670–1760 by Thomas J. Little

And then to understand the current culture:

Hallowed Ground: Primitive Camp Meetings of the South Carolina Lowcountry, Part I: Cattle Creek and Cypress Camp Meetings

Finally, two women that I came across in doing this research whose works I want to read:

Mary Shackleton Leadbeater – the Shackletons ran a Quaker boarding school near Timahoe in Ireland where many of the Camden Friends came from.  This is the famous explorer’s family.  Edmund Burke attended school there and corresponded with Mary Shackleton Leadbeater.  Not your usual Quaker journal.  

Annals of Ballitore, 

And  Biographical Notices of Members of the Society of Friends: Who Were Resident in Ireland

And a South Carolina woman I thought I might be related to for one day – Eliza Lucas Pinckney, who was the mother of the South Carolina Senator and Presidential candidate Charles Cotesworth Pinckney and who was a key player in the development of indigo as a cash crop.  Her journal brings home how difficult it was to survive sickness in the 18th century in South Carolina.

indigo girl by natasha boyd

Eliza Lucas Pinckney: An Independent Woman in the Age of Revolution

Women Of Colonial And Revolutionary Times: Eliza Pinckney; Journal And Letters Of Eliza Lucas Hardcover – September 10, 2010

by Harriott H. Ravenel (Author), Eliza Lucas (Author)

One other book to understand the pressures Friends were under in a deeply divided society during the Revolutionary War:

World of Trouble: A Philadelphia Quaker Family’s Journey through the American Revolution by Richard Godbeer 

This is about Henry Drinker who owned a ship that my Limehouse ancestor was captain of.

Friends Kayaking

As the last bit of summer warmth comes to an end, and we prepare for a winter 2021 only a South Carolina resident could understand. Friends of Columbia decided to come together for one last hoorah with Mother Nature for the season. The pumpkin spice is brewing and the eggnog is on the way. Tis the season while some went kayaking others visited with members of the Horry Branch of Friends at the meeting house.

Bruce Pearson obituary

Addendum to Obituary for Bruce Pearson

While it would be challenging to honor all of the Quaker Faith and Practice of Bruce Pearson, this effort is to add detail.


 Bruce has been described as the “backbone” of Columbia Friends Meeting, and was clerk there.  His thoughtful and forthright clerking style navigated the meeting through Quaker process and service.  Bruce led Columbia Friends to work on upkeep of the Bush River Cemetery, once also the location of a thriving Quaker community. His efforts helped preserve this historic location where up to hundreds of Friends once gathered for quarterly meeting. Bruce’s ancestry included early Quaker settlers in South Carolina, who eventually joined the migration and left for parts north and west, including his home state of Indiana in the run up to the Civil War.  

As an advocate against the death penalty, Bruce was active in Amnesty, International.  He was the SC State Death Penalty Abolition Coordinator and a regular prison visitor.  With others, Bruce was arrested when they attempted to block a delivery truck entering the Broad River Correctional facility.  He organized execution vigils and edited the book The Death Penalty in SC: Outlook for the 80’s.  He and his wife Julie adopted a man on death row.  He created the first anti-death penalty group in SC.  He worked with the Progressive Network, producing pamphlets and receiving the Thunder and Lightning Award, in recognition of leadership and commitment to human and civil rights in the mid-1990’s for his death penalty work.

 He was a signer on the first statewide gathering of Quakers in modern times, the Palmetto Friends Gathering that met in Myrtle Beach at the Christian  Retreat Center the weekend of January 12-14, 1990.  He helped to plan PFG annual weekends and served as clerk for the 5th and 6th annual Gatherings.

 Bruce was a skilled mentor, and worked closely with Rebecca Rogers as she seasoned her clerking skills.  He is remembered fondly by Ron Caz who took over the Amnesty role in 1991, for his training and support.

In 2004 Bruce and Julie affiliated with the Salem-Black River Friends meeting for a short time before moving to Indiana.

 Recollections provided by: Ron Caz, Grace Gifford, Sallie Prugh, Becci Robbins, Harry Rogers and Anna Shockley