South Carolina from A to Z

Mon-Fri, throughout the day

From Hilton Head to Caesars Head, and from the Lords Proprietors to Hootie and the Blowfish, historian Walter Edgar mines the riches of the South Carolina Encyclopedia to bring you South Carolina from A to Z. (A production of South Carolina Public Radio.)

South Carolina from A to Z Archives (April 2011 to Sept 2014)

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"B" is for Bamberg County

"A" is for African Americans in the Revolutionary War

"A" is for African Americans in the Revolutionary War  

"K" is for Kershaw, Joseph Brevard [1822-1894]. Soldier, Jurist. Kershaw, a native of Camden, was a member of the General Assembly and of the Secession Convention. In April 1861 he was a colonel of the Second South Carolina Regiment which played an active role in the Confederate victory at First Manassas. The next year he was promoted to brigadier general and given command of the brigade that saw action at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg.

"J" is for Jakes, John

Sep 22, 2016

"J" is for Jakes, John [b. 1932]. Novelist. Born in Illinois, Jakes is a nationally known best-selling novelist and historian. For several decades, he maintained his primary residence on Hilton Head Island. After graduating from DePauw University, he spent a number of years working for pharmaceutical and advertising companies. Then, in 1973 he published the first of eight volumes of the Kent Family Chronicles—a series that depicted the American Revolution through the eyes of one fictional family.

"I" is for indigo

Sep 21, 2016

"I" is for indigo. Indigo, a plant that produces a blue dye was an important part of 18th century South Carolina's economy. It was grown commercially from 1747 till 1800 and was second only to rice in export value. Eliza Lucas Pinckney experimented with its cultivation in the 1730s and 1740s. In 1749 Parliament placed a bounty of six pence per pound on the dye. Indigo was grown on lands not suited to rice cultivation and thus fit nicely into the existing agricultural economy. By the eve of the Revolution, the colony exported more than one million pounds of dye.

"W" is for Wright, Mary Honor Farrow [1862-1946]. Educator. Born into slavery in Spartanburg County, Wright received her early education from northern teachers who came to South Carolina after the Civil War. In 1879, after graduating from Claflin University, she accepted her first teaching position in Inman, where she held classes in a brush arbor. She later organized schools and taught in mill villages and churches in Spartanburg and Saxon. In 1904 she organized a school in her home for black children who were to young to walk to the nearest black school.

"W" is for Wright, Louis Booker [1899-1984]. Historian, library administrator. After graduating from Wofford, Wright earned his Ph.D. in English literary history from UNC. For nearly two decades he was a member of the research staff at the Huntingdon Library in California. In 1948 he was appointed the director of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. During his twenty-year tenure at the Folger, he arranged major acquisitions of rare early imprints and the library became a world-class research institution.

"K" is for Kensington Plantation, located in lower Richland County. Rather than follow the Greek-revival style so favored by his fellow Southern planters, Matthew Richard Singleton chose to transform his simple upcountry farmhouse into a Renaissance-inspired mansion that recalled the country villas of northern Italy. Kensington is a frame house set on a raised basement. The domed central section is flanked by two gabled wings with arched colonnades and fronted by a porte cochere with Corinthian pilasters.

"J" is for Jackson, Mary [b. 1945]. Artist, basket maker. Born in Mount Pleasant, Jackson grew up in an African American community of basket makers and learned the craft as a child from her mother. In the mid-1970s she began creating baskets seriously and soon mastered a variety of shapes and types including the rice-winnowing tray called the “fanner,” grain storage baskets, and flower, market, and sewing baskets for domestic use. She had a solo exhibition at the Gibbes Museum of Art in 1984 that introduced her to the public.

"I" is for Indian Mounds. Along the state's rivers and streams are vestiges of South Carolina's prehistoric past. Indian mounds offer fragmentary evidence of the cultures that thrived before Europeans arrived. There are two distinct cultural groups associated with the mounds: Woodlands peoples and Mississippian Indians. Woodlands period mounds are located primarily along coastal rivers, while Mississippian mounds are found along inland rivers near the fall zone. Beaufort County has the largest number of identified mounds, followed by counties in the midlands. Built between C.E.

"H" is for the Hallelujah Singers, a nationally-recognized performance troupe offering unique cultural programming by preserving, performing, and celebrating the rich heritage of the Sea Island Gullah culture. Organized as a vocal ensemble by Marlena Smalls in 1990 and based in Beaufort, the group promotes Gullah culture through song, story, dance, and dramatic performance. The group has developed programs that combine storytelling and Gullah music—a music form steeped in a rich African American spiritual tradition.

"G" is for Gaffney

Sep 12, 2016

"G" is for Gaffney [Cherokee County; population 12,968]. In 1804 an Irish immigrant, Michael Gaffney bought land in the area and constructed a house, barns, a store, and a tavern. The property, variously known as Gaffney's Cross Roads or Gaffney's Old Field, became a local gathering place, but failed to compete with nearby Limestone Springs. In the early 1870s, Michael Gaffney’s widow, Mary, lured the Southern Railway to her property with the promise of free right-of-way from the Cross Roads to the Broad River.

"B" is for Bragg, Laura [1881-1978]. Museum administrator, educator. A native of Massachusetts, Bragg earned a degree in library science. Her first professional positions were in Maine and at the New York City Library. In 1909 she was hired to be the librarian at the Charleston Museum where she soon was promoted to curator of books and public instruction. She used her position to cross both racial and class lines with her education program—the first in a southern museum.

  "W" is for Wright, Jonathan Jasper [1840-1885]. Attorney, legislator, jurist. Born in Pennsylvania, Wright became the first black attorney in that state. He came to South Carolina in 1867 as an attorney with the Freeman’s Bureau. He served as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1868 where he was a vocal and successful advocate for public education. He was elected to the South Carolina Senate in 1868. In 1870, when a vacancy occurred on the state’s supreme court, Wright found broad support for his candidacy across party lines.

A Boykin Spaniel
jetsonphoto, via Wikimedia Commons

  "B" is for Boykin Spaniel. The Boykin spaniel was originally bred in South Carolina before the 1920s. This amiable, small, dark brown retriever is a superb hunter and loving family pet. It was bred to provide an ideal hunting dog for hunting fowl in the Wateree River swamps. A sturdy, compact dog built for boat travel and capable of retrieving on land or water was required. Lemuel Whitaker “Whit” Boykin, a planter and sportsman from the Boykin community near Camden tested many dogs to answer these needs.

"J"is for Jackson, Joseph Jefferson Wofford "Shoeless" [1888-1951]. Baseball Player. “Shoeless Joe” Jackson was reared in the mill villages of Pelzer and Greenville. He never attended school and could neither read nor write. At thirteen he began to work full-time in the mill and also to play for the mill's baseball team. In 1908 he turned pro and during the season landed in the majors with the Philadelphia Athletics. In 1915 he was traded to the Chicago White Sox and led the team to a World Series title in 1917 and a pennant in 1919.

"H" is for Hagood, Johnson [1829-1898]. Soldier. Governor. A native of Barnwell District, he graduated with distinction from the Citadel in 1847 and then studied law. With the outbreak of the Civil War, he was elected colonel of the first South Carolina Regiment of Volunteers. Hagood saw action continuously from the bombardment of Fort Sumter in April 1861 to the Battle of Bentonville in March 1865. His gallantry under fire led to his promotion to brigadier general.

"G" is for the Gadsden Flag, a bright yellow banner with a gray, coiled rattlesnake at its center with the words “Don't Tread on Me” inscribed beneath. Although there had been similar flags since the French and Indian War, this particular flag can be traced to Christopher Gadsden, one of the state's delegates to the First Continental Congress. The rattlesnake in a variety of poses was used to reflect colonial anger and defiance.

"F" is for the Farmer's Alliance. Founded in the 1870s in Texas, the National Farmers' Alliance and its segregated counterpart the Colored Farmers' National Alliance addressed the issues of debt and depressed commodity prices that most rural Americans faced. The first county alliance in South Carolina was founded in Marion in 1887 and within a year there was a statewide alliance.

"J" is for Johnson, Harriet Catherine Frazier [1889-1972]. Legislator, state 4-H Club leader. After graduating from Winthrop, Johnson was hired by Spartanburg County as an extension agent. From 1922 to1944 she was the head of the state 4-H girls’ clubs headquartered at Winthrop. In February 1945 she won a special election in York County and became the first woman elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives. Her bill to provide schoolbooks for children in York County was so popular that the General Assembly amended it to apply to all high schools in the state.

"I" is for Izard, Ralph [1742-1804]. Diplomat, congressman, legislator, U.S. Senator. After attending Christ College, Cambridge, Izard married Alice DeLancey and the couple decided to live in England. With the coming of the Revolution, they moved to France and the Continental Congress appointed him as its representative to Tuscany. He remained in Paris until 1780 when he returned to South Carolina and was elected to the Continental Congress. After the war he and his sons-in-law-- William Loughton Smith and Gabriel Manigault—formed a powerful political faction.

  "H" is for Harby, Isaac [1788-1828]. Journalist, playwright, educator, religious reformer. After attending the College of Charleston and studying for the law, Harby opened a private school. Harby’s Academy provided him with an income while he attempted various literary pursuits. For several years he owned and edited a Charleston newspaper, the Southern Patriot and Commercial Advertiser. He later edited the Charleston City Gazette and was a frequent contributor to the Charleston Mercury. Harby wrote at least three plays and was a respected drama critic.

"G" is for the German Friendly Society. Oldest of all the German male social organizations in Charleston, the German Friendly Society was founded by Michael Kalteisen and Daniel Strobel in 1766. Originally it was a social and mutual-aid society to pay sick and death benefits, and allow members to borrow funds at low interest rates. Within a few years, German ethnicity was no longer a requirement for membership.

"F" is for Florence County [800 square miles; population 125,761]. Created in 1888, Florence County lies between the Great Pee Dee and Lynches Rivers in the eastern part of the state. In the late antebellum period, three railroads intersected in the area and the town of Florence developed. With the creation of the county, the town became the county seat. Railroads and agriculture would be the economic mainstays of the county until well into the 20th century.