The first missionaries came to South Carolina as early as 1839-40, but most of their early converts emigrated west to gather with the saints. Missionary work in the South then lagged during the difficult decades that followed. In the 1880s, however, when missionary work resumed, additional families were converted and many of their children, grandchildren and later generations have remained faithful and established branches that are now wards and stakes.
In the latter half of the 19th century, a stonemason from Vermont, Frances Orlando Somes, came to the South and eventually settled in Barnwell County, where he changed his name to Black. His son, William Burley Black, and wife, Mary Elizabeth Joiner Black, joined the Church. Their descendants have remained faithful in the Church.
A grandson is Clyde E. Black of the Windsor Lake Ward, Columbia South Carolina Stake, a sealer in the Columbia South Carolina Temple. One of Brother Black's sons is Elder C. Elmer Black of Clinton, Miss., an Area Seventy.
On a recent evening, Clyde E. Black was performing sealings in the Columbia South Carolina Temple. Another of his sons, Talbert J. Black, was filling an assignment as an ordinance worker. At the same time, Talbert Black's son, Talbert J. Black II, came to the temple as a priesthood leader bringing a youth group to perform baptisms for the dead. In the youth group was his son, Talbert J. Black III. On that evening, temple work was spread across four generations of the Black family in the Columbia South Carolina Temple.
So routine is such faithfulness in the family that "I didn't even think about it until after the fact," said the senior Black. Since then, remembering that evening "is a special feeling," he said. — Robert D. Collier