Beaufort News

Capt. William Hilton celebration kicks off Sunday

The Heritage Library Foundation will host an open house, reception and lecture next week in honor of Hilton Head Island's name-sake explorer and discoverer.

Mayor Drew Laughlin proclaimed the last week of September Capt. William Hilton Weekend to encourage island residents, organizations, businesses and schools to observe and celebrate Hilton's "historical service and achievement."

He sailed from Barbados in 1663 on the ship Adventure to explore lands granted by King Charles II to the eight Lord Proprietors.

The island takes its name from the headland -- or mariners' landmark -- first seen, explored and named by Capt. Hilton after claiming the land on Sept. 28, leading to the first permanent English settlement in South Carolina.

In 1963, the Hilton Head Island Historical Society -- now the Heritage Library Foundation -- installed a S.C. Department of Archives and History historical marker at the headland at the northeastern corner of the island in Port Royal Plantation.

The foundation will kick off the week with a reception from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday at the library, 852 William Hilton Parkway. Dwayne Pickett, co-author of "The European Struggle to Settle North America," will discuss his book and sign copies.

At 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at the library, Bill Altstaetter will present an overview of the geography and peoples living in the Lowcountry, South Carolina and the South Atlantic Sea Islands before the arrival of Europeans in 1492.

On Friday, Sept. 30, the foundation will host an open house at the library. Volunteers will be on hand for short talks about history and geneaology.

The Heritage Library is a private reference library and research center which is open to the public at a $10 daily fee for non-members.

The library is a certified branch facility of the Family History Library operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

For more information, go to www.heritagelib.org.

Follow reporter Tom Barton at twitter.com/EyeOnHiltonHead.

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