WHSAA History

Florence Chapter

It is known that Wilson Alumni started meeting in 1972. That year a dance was held along with other weekend activities. The dance was held in the gymnasium of WHS on North Irby Street.

We have very little information about the meeting, but we have confirmed these officers:
  • President – John Wesley Miller
  • Secretary – Bettye Law Hennigan

    The Organization (WHSAA-FC) began with a meeting called “All Wilsonians” at Williams Jr. high in 1978. The officers elected were:
  • President – Saul Jones
  • Vice President – Lawrence A. Hawkins
  • Recording Secretary – Mary Singleton
  • Corresponding Secretary – Mary Hines Taylor
  • Treasurer – Albert B. Hines, Jr.

    A planning committee was also created.

    In 1979, the first reunion was held at the Landmark Resort Hotel in Myrtle Beach, SC on July 6-8th. The speaker was the late Rev. Dr. Wescott A. Johnson. We give credit to this reunion to the late Collins Swinney and Saul Jones. Returning to Florence, we closed with a “BLAST” at Ace’s.

    The Florence Chapter was really moving. There was “No Stopping Us Now”! The next affair was held at Myrtle Beach on July 24-26, 1983 (again at the Landmark Resort Hotel). Officers were:

  • President – Saul Jones
  • Vice-President – Henry Earl Moses
  • Recording Secretary – Lawretta Redden McFadden
  • Treasurer – Ernest “Motto” James
  • Planning Committee Chairperson – Lawrence A. Hawkins

    During 1979 – 1983, there was much growth in membership. The speaker in 1983 was Dr. Martha Jean Adams Heggins. It was during this time that we fondly remembered one of us, the late Collins Swinney. We closed out the weekend in Florence by celebrating at Jack’s on West Sumter Street. New officers were elected after the 1983 reunion.

    To plan for the 1987 reunion, the members put their organization in the hands of the following:
  • President – Lawrence A. Hawkins
  • Vice-President – Andrew ‘Neboy’ Thompson
  • Recording Secretary – Annette Martien (Carol Greene)
  • Financial Secretary – Bettye Law Hennigan
  • Treasurer – Miriam Thomas Downs
  • Co-Business Managers - Larry A. Johnson & Leroy McClain

    Our speaker in 1987 was Rev. Hezekiah B. Johnson, Jr. The reunion didn’t end until we returned to Florence and left our footprints at Jack’s.

    This was a new day with new officers, and our membership was growing.

    Our president, Lawrence Hawkins, secured the charter for the Wilson High School Alumni Association on June 30, 2987.

    We had a very successful Gospel Extravaganza at WHS. It was spear-headed by Terry Law.

    The year 1991 was here and we were again hosting at the Landmark Resort Hotel, Myrtle Beach SC. The dates were July 12-14th. Our speaker was Rev. Dr. John W. Heyward, who was introduced by his sister Peggy Heyward Farmer.

    Officers for the 1991 reunion were:
  • President – Lawrence A. Hawkins
  • V. President – Andrew ‘Neboy’ Thompson
  • Recording Secretary – Carol Greene (Ruth Carson)
  • Financial Secretary – Bettye L. Hennigan
  • Treasurer – Miriam T. Downs
  • Chaplin – Henry E. Moses

    The reunion in Myrtle Beach in 1991 has everybody talking. We had mesmerized the Wilsonians and others with a dynamic play, “The Trip” – a comedy in one act by Crystal V. Rhodes. The cast was dynamic. Each person matched the part they played and did a terrific job. The cast consisted of Bertha Hines Wilson, Ruth Carson, Lawretta McFadden, and Annette Martien. The director was Maggie Wallace Glover and the assistant director was Ava Martein Greene. What a reunion! A Good time was had by all. We closed the weekend in Florence at the Universe on Palmetto Street.

    The reunion officers for 1991 led us up to 1995. Our speaker was Senator Maggie Wallace Glover. Little did we know that this would be our last gathering as Wilsonians at the Landmark. But somewhere a little voice was whispering, and we heard the sound as this was the year we started Sunday Morning service, on the beach. Our first speaker was Dr. John “Jack” Heyward. We ended in Florence with a ‘romp’ at Bentley’s, formerly ‘Jacks’ on W. Sumter Street.

    We elected new officers in August, 1995. To carry us through the new millennium, we elected:
  • President – Larry A. Johnson
  • Vice President – Marion Johnson
  • Recording Secretary – Ruth D. Carson
  • Financial Secretary – Lawretta R. McFadden
  • Tresurer – Elizabeth Muldrow Thomas
  • Chaplin – Helen Johnson
  • President Emeritus – Lawrence A. Hawkins
  • Chairperson of Correspondence – Annette J. Martien

    The slate of officers have been busy, also the committees. We started meeting monthly, every 1st Sunday.

    Since 1995 our membership has more than tripled. We started celebrating Wilson Homecoming annually, with a weekend that has been very successful, an annual “Tiny Tots Extravaganza & baby Contest” that has showcased the talents of our children.

    Our Homecoming weekend consists of attending the Homecoming game, where the first year (1996) attendance exceeded 7000 persons, the largest crowd ever, and has increase every year since.
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