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About Simon Drakeford Descendants
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The first Drakeford came to this country from England and settled in 
Virginia.  The Drakeford name in South Carolina originated with John Drakeford 
and his brother, Richard, who we believe moved from Fairfax County, Virginia 
to Kershaw County, South Carolina sometime around 1730.  They settled on Flat 
Rock Creek, in the upper part of Kershaw County about the middle of the 18th 
century.  Old land titles show John was in Kershaw County as early as 1754.  
With the end of the Civil War in March 1865, the slaves were freed and many 
remained in Flat Rock Township, Kershaw County.  As was the practice of many 
freed slaves, some took the name of the plantation slave master as their own 
surname.  What has turned out to be rather unique about the African-American 
Drakefords is that it appears all of them are descendant from Kershaw 
County, South Carolina.  So no matter what Drakeford family a person belongs 
to, the family in all probability originated in Kershaw County.  

The basic root of our family tree can be traced back to Simon and Sallie Drakeford.  
Simon and Sallie were born in the American colony and were enslaved by John 
Drakeford.  John Drakeford died about 1855 and the property inventory from the 
probated will identified the 33 enslaved belonging to the estate.  Among those listed 
were Simon, Sally and children (Elizabeth and Little Lewis), Alethia and 
child (Adline), Nancy and child (Becky), Thomas, and Maria and child Seaborn. 
Researching the Freeman Bank Records provided information about two more children,
James and Margaret.  James was living in Tuskegee, Macon County, Alabama, with his wife
and two children according to the Freeman Bank Record and the 1870 census.  I have been
unable to determine the status of Margaret, plus her children (Powell and Emily), and Elizabeth. 
Simon's taproot branches out to take in the Gaskin(s)(Nancy Drakeford) and Kirkland (Leitha (Alethia)
Drakeford) families.  Along with their brothers, James and Lewis, they make up the basic
Drakeford-Gaskin-Kirkland roots of our family.  


I began my quest of finding family members in 1986 after speaking with my uncle,
Donald Shields, and being told about the many cousins that lived in some of the
cities I visited while traveling for my job.  I met and spoke to many cousins,
and many of them expressed interest in having a family reunion.  The desire to
meet and bring this family together culminated in me hosting the first
Drakeford-Kirkland Family Reunion in Camden, South Carolina, in 1999.  The
reunion brought together over 150 descendants of two of Leitha Drakeford and
Jeremiah Kirkland children, Polly and Frank Kirkland.  Another child, Seaborn,
had one living descendant, Freddie Kirkland Davis, who was unable to attend the
reunion because of health reasons.  Freddie's unwavering support for the reunion
plus her insistence that the reunion be identified as the Drakeford-Kirkland
Family Reunion is a reflection of her pride in the family.  Family members and
guests came from Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New
Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington, DC.  The reunion
brought together many family members meeting each other for the first time.

In 2001, the Drakeford-Kirkland reunion was held in Richmond, VA at the Holiday
Inn Airport and marked the first time we had representatives from each of the
Drakeford-Gaskin-Kirkland family groups.  Eugene Kirkland hosted this reunion.   

The 2003 Drakeford-Kirkland reunion was in Atlanta, GA and hosted by Thomas
Kirkland.  This reunion represented the first time the majority of the
Drakeford-Gaskin-Kirkland family had been documented in writing.  The reunion
was held at the Embassy Suites Airport.

The 2005 reunion marked the first time the reunion was identified as the
Drakeford-Gaskin-Kirkland Family Reunion.  Initially, the host for this reunion was Harry
Payne, and the initial plan was to hold the reunion in Rochester, NY.  However,
in considering lodging options, it was decided to look at Buffalo and the Gaskin
relatives (Christine Gaskin and Cathleen Wright) were contacted for assistance.
As a result of this coordination and assistance, the Drakeford-Gaskin-Kirkland Family Reunion

On July 26-29, 2007, approximately 170 family members came together from
Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Georgia,
Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South
Carolina, Texas, and Virginia to participate in the 2007 Drakeford-Gaskin-Kirkland
Family Reunion.  The family had returned home to South Carolina for our largest family
reunion and it was an incredible experience. There were many reunion highlights.  One
was the attendance of so many of Lewis Drakeford descendants.  Another was the
attendance of Betty Sanders Cowan, Ione Sanders Holeman, Lavonne Sanders Walker, and
Wanda Sanders Bodeman, descendants of John Drakeford.  Lavonne wrote the book,
"Drakefords In America" which provides an excellent history on the Drakeford family in

July 23-26, 2009 brought the family together for the 2009 Drakeford-Gaskin-Kirkland
reunion at the Homewood Suites, 5996 Audubon Dr, Sandston, Virginia and hosted by Mary
Kirkland.  As the planning progressed the economic downturn resulted in canceling the reunion only
to revive it as some family members wanted to continue getting together.  Approximately 35 family
members came together from New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia to have a wonderful time
in Richmond.

The July 29-31, 2011 reunion was in Charleston, South Carolina at Homewood Suites.  65 family
members and guest came together to enjoy a wonderful reunion with plenty of activities.  Friday
activity started with the welcoming party at the hotel, followed with a full day of activities on
Saturday.  First was a tour of Drayton Hall Plantation followed by a bus tour of Charleston guided
by Alphonso Brown of Gullah Tours.  The day ended with a banquet at Gullah Cuisine.  Dress for the
banquet was West African to celebrate the countries of our earliest Drakeford ancestors, Simon (Kru
people of Liberia) and Sally (Djola people of Guinea-Bissau) Drakeford.  

The July 26-28, 2013 reunion was in Detroit, Michigan and hosted by the Detroit Kirkland
Team.  The hotel for the reunion was the Embassy Suites Detroit Metro Airport.

The July 17-19, 2015 Drakeford-Gaskin-Kirkland reunion was in Savannah, Georgia, and hosted by
Alicia and Robert Scott.  The hotel for the reunion and family dinners was the Wingate by Wyndham
Savannah Airport.

The 2017 reunion was held July 27-30, 2017 in Washington, DC.  The hotel for the reunion was the
Holiday Inn Rosslyn VA.  The highlight of the reunion was our visit to the National African American
History and Culture Museum on Friday, July 28th.  

The 2019 reunion will be held July 25-28, 2019 in Charlotte, NC.  The hotel for the reunion is the
Country Inn & Suites Charlotte University Place, 131 McCullough Drive, Charlotte, NC 28262. Call
704.549.8770 to make your reservation.  Further details will be forthcoming.
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The 2019 Drakeford-Gaskin-Kirkland Family Reunion will be held July 25-28, 2019 in Charlotte, NC.
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Getting Around
There are several ways to browse the family tree. The Tree View graphically shows the relationship of selected person to their kin. The Family View shows the person you have selected in the center, with his/her photo on the left and notes on the right. Above are the father and mother and below are the children. The Ancestor Chart shows the person you have selected in the left, with the photograph above and children below. On the right are the parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. The Descendant Chart shows the person you have selected in the left, with the photograph and parents below. On the right are the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Do you know who your second cousins are? Try the Kinship Relationships Tool. Your site can generate various Reports for each name in your family tree. You can select a name from the list on the top-right menu bar.

In addition to the charts and reports you have Photo Albums, the Events list and the Relationships tool. Family photographs are organized in the Photo Index. Each Album's photographs are accompanied by a caption. To enlarge a photograph just click on it. Keep up with the family birthdays and anniversaries in the Events list. Birthdays and Anniversaries of living persons are listed by month. Want to know how you are related to anybody ? Check out the Relationships tool.

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