COMING SATURDAY: A former slave's fascinating journey

Priscilla, a former slave at Middleton Place, left the plantation in her 20s to become a nursemaid and nanny in the northeast. She is pictured with Carl (left) and Ann Schipper.

It is sometimes difficult to fathom the world from which our elders came.

Kim Drake, a program coordinator at the Vanderbilt Ingram Campus Center in Nashville, Tenn., has been hearing stories about the past for years, and some of those anecdotes included a character — Drake’s great-great-great grandmother — called “Gar.” That was her nickname, perhaps attached to her because of her gardening experience on a certain Southern plantation. Priscilla was her recorded name.

“There are a few pictures of Priscilla around the house, so I always knew who she was,” Drake said.

But three years ago, her respect for the past mixed with a sudden curiosity to know more, and that led to discoveries that linked Drake and her family to one of Charleston’s historic plantations, Middleton Place. Suddenly, history came alive.

It began, as it often does, with a death.

Read more in Saturday's print edition of The Post and Courier.