Monday, July 28, 2014
In 1924, Hanno Lance bought a four-acre and an eight-and-a-half-acre parcel of land in the Dunbar community of Georgetown. Today, his family still owns the property.
Carriebell Harrell-Winns said her great-grandfather’s purchase has housed five family homes and seven generations of Lances.
She still has the deed from the original property sale, which was signed by the clerk of court in Georgetown County.
The family is a bit more spread out now, some relatives live as far as Alaska, but they all reunited in Georgetown over the Fourth of July holiday for a family reunion, which they hold once every two years.
Visiting the property was a key highlight for the reunion visitors, she said.
“I remember sitting on the back steps of that house, when it was my grandfather’s (Hesikiah Lance) house,” said Harrell-Winns. “He brought home his sandwich from work and we’d share it on the back steps. He worked all day, but he’d still have something to share.”
She recalled her grandmother, Anna H. Lance, was a community entrepreneur.
“She owned a convenience store. Everybody in the neighborhood came there. I had so much respect for her. Some people looked at her as being mean, but never to me. She was a strong business lady and she handled things that way.”
Hesikiah and Anna had four children: Rev. Thomas Lance, Regina Lance Beckett, Rev. Malachi Lance and Dec. Raymond Lance. Of the four, only Dec. Raymond is still living.
Rev. Thomas was Harrell-Winns’ father.
“Rev. Thomas always said to love a person before you meet that person, and after you meet them you will love them,” she said.
She said the family has always been close with their neighbors in the almost 100 years the Lances have lived on the property.
“As neighbors we’ve always gotten along together. Blacks, whites, we’ve never had trouble. Us, in our family, we’ve always had a thing for ‘love thy neighbor.’”
She said the family’s legacy on the property makes it more than just a piece of land. In particular, Harrell-Winns said she’s always been impressed her great-grandfather had enough money and courage to purchase the property as an African-American in the Jim Crow South of the 1920s. She doesn’t know what he did for a living or how he earned the money to purchase the property.
“It means a lot [to still have this property]. I can’t even begin to tell you in words how important it is to still have this property in the family.”
Continuing to raise generations of Lances on the land is the family’s biggest goal, she said.
“We’re going to continue to live there, as long as we can.”