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KCHS program to look at history of Wateree River
Wateree canal by Lon Outen
Remains of the historic Wateree Canal, along wooded west banks of the Wateree, testify to early-nineteenth century efforts to maximize river transportation during varying water conditions. - photo by Lou Outen

“Back Before the Dams,” the topic of the Kershaw County Historical Society’s program Sunday, Feb. 21, at 3:00 p.m., is sure to evoke recent impressions of untamed powers of high waters those attending have themselves lately witnessed.

                With slides of old and recent views, speaker Lon D. Outen will enhance his discussion of historical research he has underway on the Wateree River. The meeting will be held at the South Building, Kershaw County School District Office, 2029 West DeKalb St., Camden, and is open to the public.

                Local history-writer Outen is presently at work on a new book on the Wateree, which had a tremendous impact on the development of Kershaw County. His talk will focus on Camden as a river port and on the Wateree Canal, years when the river coursed wild before the building of the dams on the Catawba-Wateree-Santee systems.

At the program Outen will be introduced by Joan Inabinet, co-author with Glen Inabinet of A History of Kershaw County, which threaded the river’s impact throughout its narrative and features its image on the cover.

                Outen is active in historical and genealogical societies. He serves the Kershaw County Historical Society as treasurer and Board member.

                His county roots run deep. A native of the Gatesford community, Outen married Donna Bradley of the Buffalo community. He graduated from Mt. Pisgah High School, then from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Science in Education and a minor in history.

                Outen retired from the S.C. Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services as Agent-In-Charge of Kershaw County. He has worked part-time with the Camden Archives and Museum for the past six years, where the public is often greeted by him at work at the front desk.

                His most recent book is Camden Police Department, SC, 1792-1969, and previously he authored a book on Kershaw County’s other river system, entitled A History of Lynches Forks and Extended Areas on Big and Little Lynches Rivers, S.C.

                Outen’s books and selected Historical Society titles will be available for purchase at the meeting. For convenience 2016 dues for current members and new memberships may also be paid at this time. Program attendees are invited to enjoy refreshments and conversation following the program.