The Anchorage 1770, Beaufort, South Carolina

Coming Full Circle (Almost)FamilyBios

On June 22nd of last year, Amy and I packed up the family and moved from Atlanta (Decatur, GA) to Beaufort, SC. We started considering this move several months before, and a lot of family and friends were a bit surprised as we had created such a happy home and professional life in Decatur.

Where did such an idea come from? Move at age 46 with three kids settled in school and a wonderful life in Decatur?

To start with, Amy and I have been married 20 plus years. Being from Miami, there have been very few weeks that have gone by (especially in the winter) where Amy has not expressed the desire to move back home close to the water. At some point the kids joined in and started to ask if we could move there. To make matters worse, Amy and kids speak Spanish to each other all the time, Miami’s new native language. I try to join in by blurting out a random word like “conquistador!” or a phrase like “hola me amor.” As much as I wish I knew this beautiful language, I can’t roll my “R’s”, my slow southern drawl doesn’t mix well with speaking speedy spanish, and I see little hope in ever learning the language. Thus, while I have always enjoyed my visits to Miami, anyone who knows me knows a move close to the Miami water would make me a complete “fish out of water!”
While Miami was not in my plans, South Carolina has always tugged at my heart. In fact the very first Lesesne to call America home was a Huguenot from France named Isaac who landed in Charleston around 1700. Isaac ended up with a plantation on Daniel Island. His grandsons defended Charleston at Fort Sullivan under General Moultrie in 1776 and later fought under General Francis Marion

From Charleston, the Lesesnes moved to Williamsburg County and had a place called New Market. My great-great-grandfather was the first casualty in the Civil War from Williamsburg County. Thank goodness his wife became pregnant before he went off to war. They had one son, my great-grandfather, Nabor DeKalb Lesesne, Jr. My grandfather moved from Kingstree and eventually settled in Greenville, where both of my parents were born and raised.  Due to these moves, I have lots of cousins in Charleston and around the state. 

This family history has always been part of our annual gathering, the Lesesne Reunion (A.K.A. The Eat-a-thon) held every December. Over the years we have had this gathering on the Isle of Palms, in Mt. Pleasant, in Due West (at Erskine College) and in Spartanburg (at Wofford College). I grew up spending parts of my summers staying with my grandparents when they moved to Sunset, SC in Pickens County. I learned to fish for trout in the Eastatoe River which ran through my grandparents front yard, and was a camper at YMCA Camp Greenville for several years.

All of this family history and time spent in the state was part of the reason I settled on Wofford College. Amy and I met at Wofford as freshman almost 30 years ago. So while I really loved our life in Decatur, moving to Beaufort, SC was not too difficult to fathom. 

How did we decide on Beaufort?

We first came to Beaufort in August of 2011 to attend the funeral of one of my fraternity brothers. While it was a sad and somber occasion, the silver lining of that trip was that we were enamored with this small coastal southern town. After that trip Amy and I decided one day when the kids were gone and we were ready to retire, we would move to a place like that. So the insane part of all this is that we didn’t wait. We didn’t wait until our kids couldn’t enjoy this special place with us, and we didn’t wait until we were 65 years-old and might have difficulty making our way in and out of a fishing boat.

Any good marriage takes compromise and Beaufort is the perfect compromise for Amy and me. She didn’t make it full circle back to the tropical waters of Miami, and I didn’t make it full circle back to Daniel Island where Isaac started and somewhere in the back of my mind I thought we might end up. We didn’t wait, and we are insane, but we are having a lot of fun and we love Beaufort, SC!

Great post! All except for the "65 and too hard to get in a fishing boat":) We're looking forward to following you in this adventure which we know will be successful.

Posted by: Jerry Eickhoff | 7/26/2014

Excellent place to reside! Planning to be at Bennett's Point some in the Fall and will try to see you. By the way I was named for Stephen Elliott probably because of Uncle Tum's PHD dissertation regarding Stephen Elliott (the first) and the founding of the Bank of SC. Stephen Elliott Hendricks

Posted by: Stephen Hendricks | 7/26/2014

So wonderful to see your dreams come true.

Posted by: Lucy Fowler | 7/26/2014

Welcome to Beaufort! I think you made a great choice!

Posted by: Scott Hansen | 7/28/2014

wonderful story…and a lovely family to be our neighbors and friends…so glad you compromised and made beaufort "yours". crazy about the L crew!

Posted by: Ty Reichel | 8/9/2014

Hello. Was your grandparents Albert and Mary Aiken? If so, we bought their place in Eastatoe. If you are their grandson, please convey the message that we would LOVE for them to come visit. Tell Mary that I found her rocks that she wrote on "I'm going to miss this place" on the bank of the river and I will treasure them forever.

Posted by: Elizabeth Hendricks | 10/12/2014

Hi Elizabeth, Mary Ruth is my aunt (my dad's sister). The Eastatoe house was once owned by my grandparents (Mary Ruth's parents), Marion and Ruth Lesesne. We all love that place and it is very special. I'm so glad you are enjoying it. I will pass your message on to my aunt!

Posted by: Frank Lesesne | 10/15/2014