Located in the heart of downtown Ridgeland in a historic Sinclair Service Station, the Morris Center for Lowcountry Heritage is a learning and exhibition center dedicated to preserving and nurturing the history, culture and spirit of Jasper County and its surrounding counties.
At the Morris Center you’ll find
- Dynamic Exhibits
- Interactive Learning Opportunities
- Cultural Offerings
- Storytelling and Other Art Forms
Morris Center for Lowcountry Heritage is a non-profit organization funded by the Morris Foundation Trust. Our mission is to cultivate community understanding through education, preservation and celebration of the region’s rich history and culture. It is a facility where a wide diversity of people can gather to explore and learn about the area’s distinctive sense of place.
In 1952, Daniel Ollin “Danny” Morris was born into the quaint Tillman community near Ridgeland, South Carolina. Even from a young age he was a visionary, seeing economic potential in downtown Ridgeland as well as business opportunities along the burgeoning I-95 corridor. When Morris was in his twenties he bought the Tillman School and established an antique refinishing business. Seven years later, he purchased the Floyd Brothers General Store next to the post office and converted it into the first Handy Dan’s convenience store and gas station. Over the years, his varied enterprises revitalized the area and impacted it economically, aesthetically and culturally. He enjoyed bringing new life to old things, even funding a new set of chimes to ring out in the Tillman church.
As much as Danny cared for the future of his community, preserving its past—especially the history and culture of the Lowcountry—was even closer to his heart. He was an active member of the Jasper County Historical Society and led the restoration of many of the county’s historical markers.
Morris died in 2005 at the age of 53. As part of his legacy he provided the funds for a foundation to capture the spirit of his community and nourish its soul. Today, the Morris Center for Lowcountry Heritage is dedicated to carrying out his dream of creating a place where history and culture, the past and the future, meet to inspire and uplift future generations.
ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS
Richard B. Allen is a partner in the law firm of Fraser & Allen, LLC and has been certified by the Supreme Court of the State of South Carolina as a Specialist in Estate Planning and Probate Law. Mr. Allen practices law in the areas of estate planning, probate, non-profit formation and operation, and taxation law. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1979 and a Juris Doctor degree in 1982 from the University of South Carolina and a Masters of Law in Taxation from Emory University in 1985.
Originally from York County, South Carolina, he now makes his home in the South Carolina Lowcountry with his wife and three children. He has served on the Session of Elders at Providence Presbyterian Church and on the Board of Directors of non-profits that include the Atlantic Housing Foundation and the Hilton Head Museum (now Costal Discovery Museum) on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina and Memory Matters (formerly Alzheimer’s Resource and Respite) in Beaufort County.
He is excited about serving as Trustee of The Morris Center for Lowcountry Heritage and pursuing the Trust founder, Danny Morris’, mission of preserving the history and heritage of the Lowcountry for future generations. The Morris Center has the opportunity to support the unity of the Lowcountry communities and to participate directly in the historical experience by the restoration of the 1930’s Sinclair Gas Station as the home of The Morris Center.
Dianne Morris Echols was born and raised in Jasper County. She is the daughter of the late Ollin Morris and Mary Floyd Morris Malphrus formerly of Tillman. Dianne continues to live in Tillman. She has 2 brothers. The late Daniel Morris and David Morris of Cumming, Ga. Dianne attended Tillman Grade School before it closed then transferred to Ridgeland Elementary.
She graduated from Thomas Heyward Academy in 1974. Dianne came to work for Handy Dan’s in 1982 when Danny Morris opened the Tillman convenience store. She began working for him full time in 1988. After his passing the businesses sold but Dianne continues to work for Handy Dan’s under new ownership. Dianne has 2 children, Marianne Hawkins and Matthew Echols and 1 grandchild, Harper Hawkins.
Dr. Earl Bostick, Sr. is a native of Jasper County. In 1967, he graduated from Jasper High School with honors. After graduation, he enlisted in the United States Army and served as a Medical Lab Technician and Medical Corpsman in the Vietnam Conflict. In 1970, he received an honorable discharge from the Army and in 1971, he enrolled at Savannah State College, majoring in Medical Technology. By 1974, he had received his Bachelor of Science Degree. Then in 1974-1976, Dr. Bostick worked as a Medical Laboratory Technologist for Memorial Medical Hospital, Savannah Georgia and the Beaufort Jasper Comprehensive Health Program.
In 1976, Dr. Bostick was accepted to the Medical College of Georgia School of Dentistry in Augusta, and graduated in 1980. He is licensed to practice in Georgia and South Carolina, but chose to practice in his home town of Ridgeland. Dr. Bostick has been practicing dentistry in Ridgeland for over 35 years. He is a member of various professional and civic organizations and boards such as American Dental Association, Georgia Dental Association, South Carolina Dental Association, National Dental Association, Academy of General Dentistry, Coastal Dental Society, Palmetto Medical and Pharmaceutical Association, Advisor Board of South State Bank, Chairman of Jasper County Planning Commission, and Palmetto Electric Board.
Dr. Bostick is a Deacon of the Antioch Baptist Church where the Reverend Cleveland Stokes is his Pastor. Dr. Bostick is married to the Former Miss Josie Terry of Jasper County. They have two children: Earl Jr. and Kelvin. Dr. Bostick resides in the community of Tarboro, S.C.
Diane Punzel Sauls
Diane Punzel Sauls has a passion for serving her community as demonstrated by her commitment to assisting families make arrangements for passed loved ones. She is a leading, woman entrepreneur who has worked alongside her husband for 39 years.
Prior to co-owning the business, Diane worked as a hospitality professional for more than 14 years. In this role, she traveled throughout the United States coordinating the opening of properties for the Hilton Hotels Corporation.
After her marriage to L. Martin Sauls III, she joined the family business. It is there that she found her niche in facilitating difficult life transitions for her clients with the highest level of compassion and dignity.
Diane has served on several Jasper County Boards including the Jasper County Chamber of Commerce, and the Resource Foundation for Jasper County. She is a native of Hardeeville, SC (Levy Section) and one of three daughters of Lawrence F. and Jacqueline Punzel. She is a graduate of Hardeeville High School and Bolen-Draughton Business School of Savannah, GA.
Joanna Brailey is a native of Jasper County and has recently returned to the area as the owner of ForeignXChange. When she’s not globetrotting she enjoys assisting students strategically map out their life goals. Joanna is a graduate of Charleston Southern University where she obtained a BS of Psychology and an MBA. She has over five years of experience working with students and families. She has created opportunities for students both inside and outside of the classroom that has fostered growth, sparked new ideas and encouraged students to seek out their passions.
Brent Morris teaches, writes, and lectures on slavery and antislavery in America. He is Assistant Professor of History at the University of South Carolina Beaufort and Director of the NEH teachers’ institute “America’s Reconstruction: The Untold Story.” He received his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 2010, and has been awarded recent grants or fellowships from the Association for Documentary Editing, the University of South Carolina Institute for Southern Studies, the University of South Carolina Institute for African American Research, Cornell University, Oberlin College, the New York Humanities Council, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. His book Oberlin, Hotbed of Abolitionism: College, Community, and the Fight for Freedom and Equality in Antebellum America was published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2014. He is also the author of Yes Lord I Know the Road: A History of African Americans and South Carolina, 1526-2008, forthcoming from the University of South Carolina Press. He is the author of twenty articles, reviews, and encyclopedia entries that have appeared in the New York Times, Civil War History, the Journal of African American History, Southern Studies, the South Carolina Historical Magazine, The World of the Civil War: A Daily Life Encyclopedia, the Encyclopedia of Slavery in the Americas, and Encyclopedia of the Early Republic and Antebellum America. Brent was the 2010 recipient of the South Carolina Historical Society’s Malcolm C. Clark Award.
Annmarie Reiley-Kay is the Director of Programs and Exhibit at the Morris Center For Lowcountry Heritage. She came to the Lowcountry by way of Shelby, N.C., where she spent nearly six years at the Earl Scruggs Center: Music and Stories from the American South. During her tenure at the Earl Scruggs Center, Reiley-Kay was responsible for curating the Earl Scruggs family estate artifacts, managed 18,000 artifacts, assisted with daily operations, developed programs, created guides for docents and was responsible for temporary and traveling exhibits. She holds a master’s degree in museum studies from the University of Leicester in Leicester, United Kingdom, and a bachelor’s degree in history from Southern Wesleyan University in Central, S.C.