Capturing the History of Edisto Island: Oral History Interview with Nick Lindsey

Nick Lindsay


Nick Lindsey is a resident of Edisto Island since 1955, he is a poet, teacher, carpenter, bricklayer and boat builder.  He is the author of the book “And I’m Glad – An Oral History of Edisto Island.” 

Nicolas Lindsay was born in 1927 at the Hotel Davenport of Spokane, Washington. He was the son of renowned American poet Vachel Lindsay and poet Elizabeth (Lisa) Connor Lindsay of St. Louis. His father killed himself when Nick was four; he and his sister were raised by their mother thereafter. The family moved across the country: to Illinois, California, Alabama, Maryland, and to New York, where he attended boarding schools. Nick did not graduate from high school, but went to work in a steel mill instead, where he helped organize Steel Workers of America, CIO. Later he attended college in Connecticut and got a scholarship to UNC, where he met his future wife, Frances Easley DuBose (DuBose). They raised 10 children and have been married for 70 years. DuBose, a South Carolinian, had visited Edisto as a child, a connection that led to the young Lindsay family’s moving to the Island in 1955. Before arriving on Edisto, Nick worked briefly for the Atomic Energy Commission, which was building what came to be known the Savannah River Project. After the family moved to Edisto, Nick worked as a teacher for a time; but he needed to make more money, so he took on carpentry work, building houses and boats, among other things, including the steeple on the Episcopal Church, which he and his wife did together. The two of them also got involved in efforts to help the black residents of Hollywood and Edisto register to vote—a dangerous business at the time. Because of intimidation by armed white men at the registration center, ‘Nobody got out of the car. I turned around; we came home.’ He continued: ‘We were troublemakers,’ citing the history of the white Presbyterian Church he was asked to write, but which the Church subsequently declined to publish. Nick referred to another book he wrote, And I’m Glad, an oral history mostly narrated by Edisto Islander Sam Gadsden. He discussed a number of renowned Edisto Islanders throughout its history, including April Frasier (on whom, he noted, the title character from Here Come Joe Mungen was based); slavery-era plantation owners Townsend Mikell and his father, Isaac Jenkins Mikell; the ‘King of Edisto,’ Johnny Thorne, who established the freedmen’s village of Shago; and Jim Hutchinson (‘the founding father of the Republican party’) and his son, Henry.

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