Citizens owe Williams ‘debt of gratitude’

Dear Editor,

It was with great sadness that I read of the retirement of Pickens Williams Jr. as Barnwell County Administrator.

Pickens has been a fixture of the Barnwell County Courthouse for decades and has been a shining example of everything a county official should be. He was the consummate paragon of efficiency and productivity while also exuding friendliness and personal warmth. Pickens transformed a visit to the courthouse from the routine drudgery of attending to mundane business to the feeling of visiting a friend.

The citizens of Barnwell County owe Pickens a debt of gratitude for his years of outstanding service. The retirement of Pickens Williams marks the end of an era, and his name will go down in history with Horace Crouch, Verna Owens Schumpert (Tisdale), William Manning, Irma Moore, William Gilmore Simms Jr., Nancy Davis, John K. Snelling, Tarlton Brown, and Orsamas D. Allen as among the greatest Barnwell County officials.

This retirement, like the assassinations of Emperor Maximillian and Czar Alexander II, brings to mind the old quote - “The saddest words are what might have been.”

It is a great tragedy in the history of Barnwell County that there has been such a lack of vision and general ability on the county council during Pickens’s tenure as County Administrator. One cannot help but ponder what might have been accomplished if there had been leaders such as Ann Loadholt, Robert O. Collins, and Billy Moore on the council at the same time that there was an administrator as capable as Pickens.

Instead of great things, the hospital has been given away, the county museum (the Fuller House) is falling to pieces, and most industries of any note have fled the county.

I fear for the future of Barnwell County.

Jennings Rountree,