Local News

Women of Clarendon County: past, present, and future


For Women’s History Month, we are celebrating women who have influenced, led, and cared for Clarendon County. This the first story in a three-part series, highlighting a “past” favorite: Peggy Parish.

Margeret Cecile Parish, better known as Peggy Parish, was a beloved author of children’s books. She was born on July 14, 1927, in Manning, South Carolina. As a child, Parish was often sick, and her family would read her stories in hopes that it would make her feel better. Parish began writing at a very young age, showing an interest in the world of stories written on paper. Her passion for writing grew more and more every day.

After graduating from the University of South Carolina, Parish began her career as a teacher in Texhoma, Texas for four years. Later, Parish moved to New York where she taught third grade at Dalton School in Manhattan. While teaching, she realized that she loved to tell her students stories and imaginative tales. As her teaching career flourished, Parish continued to write in her spare time, honing her craft and developing her unique storytelling skills.

Eventually, her passion for writing children’s stories led her to create the beloved character of Amelia Bedelia, a funny and lovable housekeeper who takes instructions a little too literally. Parish got this idea for this character from her students, who sometimes made mistakes with their vocabulary, leading to comedic outcomes. 

Through her charming and humorous stories, Parish captured the hearts of children and adults alike. Regarding how she and her beloved storybook character were similar, Parish once said, “I guess I love mischief as much as Amelia Bedelia. I simply enjoy laughing at life.”

Parish died on November 19, 1988, in her hometown of Manning. Her legacy continues to inspire writers and entertain readers to this day. Parish’s unique storytelling and amusing characters have left a lasting impact on the literary world.

The Harvin Clarendon County Library proudly showcases Parish’s books and a statue of Amelia Bedelia, ensuring that her legacy lives on for years to come.