Hear Me Roar
February 2019 Issue
Photo provided by Iva Welton
Iva Roberts Welton
Hometown: Eden, NC
Family: Son David Welton Jr., (Jupiter, FL) and daughters, Kym and Catherine (Ontario, Canada) Four fabulous grandchildren: Gray, Morgan, Jack, and Emma.
As a lover of Lowcountry history, you have championed two National Register of Historic places crusades. Tell us a little about these journeys.
Rose Hill Plantation changed my life. It literally took my breath away when I first saw the house reflected in the pond on the long driveway leading in, and even more so when I walked through the front door. The magnificence of the architectural details was overwhelming. I knew immediately this house was special, and I was curious to find out everything I could about it. Over the next three years, I immersed myself in the history of Rose Hill Plantation and gothic revival architecture. I worked with the National Register of Historic places, a long and interesting journey that took me to Columbia, SC, Washington, New York City, and England. In May 1984 the house was honored with a National Register designation. The Rose Hill designation will always be special to me because I met so many special people through my research, and it sparked a passion for my interest and continuous learning about the history of the Lowcountry, which led to my next crusade for the Zion Chapel of Ease and the Baynard Mausoleum, the oldest building on Hilton Head Island. Through the Heritage Library, and with the support of Lou Benafante, this site was designated as a Historic Site under the National Register of Historic Places late last year.
Picture This: May 28, 1984—Iva with a painting of James Kirk that was presented to her during the National Register dedication for Rose Hill Plantation. Ironically, there is a monument to James Kirk and his wife Mary in the Zion Chapel of Ease Cemetery that Iva found years later. In the main photo to the left, Iva is researching at the Baynard Mausoleum in 2018.
How and when did you fall in love with the South Carolina Lowcountry?
I fell in love with the South Carolina Lowcountry in the mid 1970s, the first time I visited Hilton Head Island. My husband David was a developer in Toronto, and together with his partner and brother John Welton, they purchased Rose Hill Plantation in 1980 and Belfair Plantation shortly thereafter.
Would you consider yourself a Lifetime Learner?
What are the benefits to you?
I would definitely consider myself a life-long learner. Learning keeps us engaged in new and exciting discoveries. It helps us stay in touch with each other, the world, and its happenings. It helps us keep our minds alive.
There’s a photo on your Facebook page of you sitting high in a tree. Tell us the story that goes with the photo.
It was a spur of the moment idea of my friend, Pamela, who came to my house with a set of angel wings and beautiful wand that she made. She asked me to climb on the tree limb while she took a photo for my Christmas card. It was a really fun day!
Fashion appears to be one of your passions; you are always fabulously attired. Do you have a particular style?
Thank you. Fashion is definitely fun. My uncle George Halley is an American fashion designer in New York City, and he won a Cody Award in 1968. Uncle George has been a great influence on me as he designs fabulous and sometimes outrageous outfits for women of all ages.
Our theme for February is #FollowYourHeart.
Is this something you do?
I like to think I have always followed my heart, and luckily I haven’t gotten into too much trouble! My heart has taken me places that have enriched my life in ways that staying in one place cannot, and it’s always open for old and new friends and my family.
Do you have a “most romantic moment in my life” memory?
I don’t think I can pinpoint the most romantic moment in my life. Maybe the best is still yet to come!
What are you Roaring about these days?
I’m not really one to roar, but I am a strong believer in the value of the arts and culture of the Lowcountry. The Baynard Mausoleum is the oldest structure on Hilton Head Island, and under the direction of the Heritage Library, the site is currently undergoing restoration and preservation. We are in need of funds to complete this project and maintain the integrity of the site. This is my Roar: I founded the Arts and Cultural Council of Hilton Head several years ago with only 12 members. We now have over 40 organizations that include the arts, history, literature and music. I believe we must continue to attract young people to our community who want to live and work in the Lowcountry.