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)

Ways to Connect

  “M” is for McGowan, Clelia Peronneau [1865-1956]. Civil leader. After her husband’s death, McGowan became increasingly active in civic affairs. She was president of the League of Women Voters in Charleston and, when appointed to the State Board of Education, became the first woman appointed to public office in the state. She as the state chair of the Commission on Interracial Cooperation for decades. In 1923 she was elected an alderwoman of Ward One on Charleston’s City Council on the platform of “A free library for Charleston.” She envisioned a system of libraries in large towns and county seats and small, travelling libraries to serve rural areas. She helped secure funding for a library in Charleston from the Rosendale Fund and the Carnegie Corporation. Clelia Peronneau McGowan’s lasting monument is the Charleston Count Library, which opened its doors in 1931.

  “L” is for Little Mountain [Newberry County]. Little Mountain is a monadnock, as isolated, eroded ridge of bedrock that lies above the general level of the surrounding area. The rocks immediately surrounding Little Mountain eroded faster than the hard rock of which it is made, leaving a prominent ridge on the landscape. Situated 16 miles southeast of the town of Newberry, near the town of Little Mountain, it is 2.9 miles long and a half-mile wide, rising between 630 to 825 feet above sea level. Little Mountain is geologically interesting because it is highly mineralized. It is a complex, erosional remnant made up largely of mica schists and kyanite quartzite. It is thought to have formed in the early Paleozoic era as part of an island arc offshore from North America. Little Mountain is the highest point of land between Greenville and Charleston.

  “H” is for Heyward, James [1764-1796] and Heyward, Nathaniel; [1766-1851]. Rice planters. After the Revolution, the brothers began experimenting with the tidal irrigation method of rice cultivation. The process changed the social and geographic character of the lowcountry in South Carolina and Georgia. Increased production boosted profits, but the new techniques were expensive and labor intensive. James spent much of his life in England and Philadelphia as a factor for Heyward rice. Through marriage and inheritance, Nathaniel expanded his holdings to 35,000 acres and 2,000 slaves. By the time of his death he possessed a net worth of more than $2 million, making him by some estimates the wealthiest man in antebellum South Carolina. James Heyward and Nathaniel Heyward’s successful utilization of the tidal irrigation production of rice often yielded as much as 1,500 pounds of rice per acre.

“G” is for Goose Creek Men. The Goose Creek Men were primarily English Barbadians who immigrated to South Carolina in the 17th century seeking land and economic advancement. In order to advance their interests, they formed an opposition faction that for decades exerted considerable influence in Carolina affairs. In 1670 they settled north of Charleston around Goose Creek. They brought with them proven agricultural and exploration skills, slaves, the parish system, the Anglican Church, and a fierce sense of independence and self-confidence. Confrontations between the lords proprietors and the Goose Creek Men continued, with varying intensity, for more than forty years. The Revolution of 1719, guaranteed the supremacy of the Commons House—a long-cherished Goose Creek objective. It was symbolic of the struggle that a Goose Creek Man, James More, Jr., headed the transitional royal government from 1719 to 1721.

  “F” is for Freed, Arthur [1894-1973] Film producer, songwriter. The son of Hungarian immigrants, Freed was born in Charleston, but traveled extensively with his father—an art dealer. During World War I, as an army sergeant, he composed songs and put on shows to entertain servicemen. After the war he and Nacio Herb Brown purchased the Orange Grove Theater in Los Angeles where they produced musical shows. In 1929 the pair was invited to compose songs for MGM’s “Broadway Melody” which won the Oscar for best picture. Freed became best-known for his work with MGM in producing the studio’s popular musicals, including: Meet Me in St. Louis, Annie Get Your Gun, Singin’in the Rain, An American in Paris, and Gigi. The last two brought him Oscars. Arthur Freed served as president of the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences.

  “E” is for Erskine College. In 1836 the General Synod of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church organized an academy in Due West. A professor of divinity was added the next year and the institution was incorporated as Clark and Erskine Seminary. With more faculty added in 1839, it became the first four-year denominational college in the state. About 1843 the name was shortened to Erskine College and the theological seminary became an adjunct of the college. The school took its name from the 18th century Scottish theologian and reformer, Ebenezer Erskine. While women began attending the college in 1894, their numbers were significantly increased when the Due West Female College merged with Erskine in 1927. From its founding, Erskine College played an important role in nurturing the social and cultural cohesion of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in the American South.

  “D” is for Donaldson Air Base. Early in World War II, the US Army Air Corps leased more than two thousand acres of land from the city and county of Greenville to construct what was then known as the Greenville Army Air Base, with barracks, hangers, and related buildings to train B-25 crews. The base was deactivated at the end of the war, but in 1946 was reconstituted as the headquarters of the nation’s Troop Carrier Command [later called the Military Air Transport Command]. Its planes played roles in the 1948 Berlin Airlift and during the crisis in the Belgian Congo a decade later. In 1951 the facility was named in honor of Greenville native John O. Donaldson, a World War I ace. Donaldson Air base was deactivated in 1961 and became the site of the Greenville Municipal Airport and an industrial park.

"C” is for Chapin, Sarah Flournoy Moore

Nov 17, 2015

  "C” is for Chapin, Sarah Flournoy Moore [ca. 1830-1896]. Temperance leader; social reformer. Known as Sallie F. Chapin, she became one of South Carolina’s most visible 19th century women leaders. During the Civil War, she served as president of the Soldier’s Relief Society and after the war as leader of the Ladies Christian Association. In 1880 she organized the first local chapter of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union in South Carolina in Charleston. Within two years Chapin had helped organize chapters in Columbia, Greenville, Spartanburg, Blackville, Orangeburg, Abbeville, and Union. In 1883 she spearheaded the organization of the South Carolina WCTU and it became the first state chapter of the organization in the South. From 1883 to 1889 she served as national superintendent of the WCTU’s Southern Department. Sarah Flournoy Moore Chapin was president of the South Carolina WCTU from 1883 until her death.

“B” is for Berkeley County

Nov 16, 2015

  “B” is for Berkeley County [1,098 sq. miles; population 142,651]. Created on May 10, 1682, Berkeley was one of South Carolina’s first three counties. It was named for two of the Lords Proprietors, Lord John Berkeley Sir William Berkeley. At that time Charleston served as the county’s seat of justice. Over the next two centuries the boundaries and organization of the Berkeley County area underwent several alterations. With the abolishment of the parish system in 1865, Berkeley became part of Charleston County. In 1882, the General Assembly re-created Berkeley County with Mount Pleasant as its county seat. Its area was reduced several times until in 1921 its current boundaries were established. In 1895, Moncks Corner became the county seat of Berkeley County. By the end of the 20th century Berkeley County had evolved from its agricultural past into a mecca for manufacturing.

  “E” is for Ebenezer Colony. Founded in 1734, Ebenezer was twenty-five miles up the Savannah River on the Georgia side. This unique settlement of Lutheran refugees from Salzburg, Austria, was included in the Lutheran Synod of South Carolina until 1860. Its early inhabitants caught the imagination of many on both sides of the Atlantic because of their courage under persecution, their industry, and their piety. The extensive diaries and correspondence of several Lutheran pastors associated with Ebenezer shed light on the nearby German settlements in South Carolina. The settlement's pastors regularly sent sermons and devotional literature to South Carolina Lutherans. The Salzburgers, however, criticized their Carolina neighbors for being more intent on economic gain than a life of pious discipleship. George Whitefield characterized the Ebenezer colony as the land of Goshen in the midst of Egypt.

  “D” is for Daniel, Charles Ezra [1895-1964]. Businessman. U.S. Senator. A native of Georgia, Daniel moved with his family to Anderson where he entered business and would become 20th century South Carolina’s most successful businessman. After service in World War I, he returned home and began building mill houses. In 1934, he established Daniel Construction Company. His firm had a reputation for cost and quality control that won building contracts first in South Carolina, then the South, and eventually around the world. He was instrumental in the creation of the State Development Board. In 1954 he was appointed U.S. senator, to fill the unexpired term of Burnet Maybank. Realizing that racial segregation was an impediment to economic progress, in 1961, Charles Ezra Daniel advised Carolinians to “forsake some of their old ways” to improve opportunities for blacks and whites.

  “C” is for Calhoun, John Caldwell [1782-1850]. Congressman, secretary of war, secretary of state, vice president of the United States, US senator. In 1810 Calhoun won a seat in Congress, thus beginning a long, distinguished, and controversial career in national politics. He was President Monroe's secretary of war and later was vice president under both John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson. Resigning from office, Calhoun was elected to the U.S. Senate where he became a national figure. He developed the doctrine of nullification as a constitutional mechanism that allowed individual states to assert their rights against the power of the federal government. Calhoun spent the remainder of his career as the leading strategist of an evolving southern sectionalism. John Caldwell Calhoun stands second only to James Madison as an original political thinker among practicing politicians in American life.

  “B” is for Baldwin, William Plews, III [born 1944]. Novelist. Born in McClellandville, Baldwin was reared in the Carolina lowcountry. He is a “would-be” architect with two degrees from Clemson—one in history and the other in English. After college, he returned to McClellanville where he has made a living by crabbing, oystering, shrimping, serving as a magistrate, writing screenplays for Hollywood, and writing fiction. His first novel, The Hard to Catch Mercy [1993] was universally well-received,l won the Lillian Smith Prize for fiction, and was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection. In addition to his novels and four non-fiction books, William Plews Baldwin, III, has collaborated on several delightful oral histories: Mrs. Whaley's Garden with Mrs. Emily Whaley of Charleston and Heaven is a Beautiful Place with Mrs. Sister Peterkin of Murrell's Inlet.

  “A” is for Adams, Mattie Jean [1873-1974]. Educator. In 1896, Adams, a native of Utopia in Newberry County, entered the junior class at South Carolina College. Two years later, in 1898, she was awarded a B.A. degree—the first woman to graduate from what is now the University of South Carolina. Adams established herself as a leader in the field of education. For eighteen years she served as the head of the Department of English at Meridian College in Mississippi. From 1900 to 1903 she took a leave of absence from Meridian to serve as organizer for the South Carolina Women's Christian Temperance Union. She traveled extensively throughout Europe and contributed articles on her travels to The State newspaper.  Mattie Jean Adams later did graduate work at Oxford University in England and Columbia University in New York.

“G” is for the Greenville County Museum of Art

Nov 6, 2015

  Located on Heritage Green in downtown Greenville, the Greenville County Museum of Art [GCMA] collects and exhibits American Art. In 1963 the South Carolina General Assembly established the Greenville County Museum Commission. In 1974 GCMA moved from the historic Gassaway Mansion into its modernist building, accommodating almost ninety thousand square feet for spacious exhibition galleries, a museum shop, auditorium, and classrooms for art instruction.

“H” is for Hoechst

Nov 6, 2015

  Höchst Aktiengesellschaft, a German chemical company from Frankfurt am Main was established in 1951. In 1965, Hoechst came to Spartanburg in a joint venture with American Hercules Company. The company chose Spartanburg County because it had calculated that nearly eighty percent of American textile mills were located within a 250-mile radius of Spartanburg. The venture was created to provide polyester fiber for local textile producers. Soon Hoechst acquired the entire operation. Over the years the Spartanburg factory expanded and improved its polyester-based manufacturing line to include large-scale plastic recycling operations and polyester resin production. In 1987, as a result of Hoechst’s acquisition of Celanese Corporation, the company’s North American operations were renamed Hoechst Celanese Corporation. In 1998 Hoechst sold the Spartanburg plant to a US-Mexican joint venture named KoSa.

“B” is for Blue Ridge

Nov 6, 2015

  “B” is for Blue Ridge. The Blue Ridge in South Carolina forms the smallest of the state’s geological provinces. There are commonly two understandings of the Blue Ridge. The first is the geologic Blue Ridge, which is found only in Oconee County, bounded on the west by the Chatooga River, and on the east by the Brevard Fault. The second is the geographic Blue Ridge located in Oconee, Pickens, and Greenville Counties and contains some of the most scenic highlands and mountains in the state. It includes both the Blue Ridge Mountains and inner Piedmont mountains such as Table Rock, Pinnacle, and the highest mountain in the state, Sassafras. The geologic Blue Ridge refers to the rocks of the region and their histories and the geographic Blue Ridge refers to the shape of the land.

"C” is for Charter Schools

Nov 6, 2015

  South Carolina law defines a charter school as a “public, non-sectarian, non-religious, non-home-based, nonprofit corporation forming a school which operated within a public school district.” Charter schools are semi-autonomous public schools that operate under a contract with local school boards for a charter of three years. In 1996 South Carolina became the 25th state to authorize charter schools.

“B” is for Blenheim Ginger Ale

Nov 6, 2015

  Blenheim ginger ale originated in the Marlboro County town of Blenheim. In the 1890s Dr. C.R. May began adding Jamaican ginger to mineral water gathered from a local artesian spring and prescribing the concoction as a digestive aid. He later joined forces with A.J. Matheson to bottle the nonalcoholic beverage. Though the company developed different flavor combinations over the years—the spicy, ginger-flavored soft drink known as Old Number Three has remained the primary product.

  “B” is for Bolden, Charles Frank, Jr. [b. 1946]. Soldier, astronaut, Director of NASA. After graduating from the US Naval Academy, Bolden became a naval aviator and flew more than one hundred combat missions in Vietnam. In 1980 he was selected by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration [NASA] for training and in 1981 became an astronaut. Bolden is a veteran of four space shuttle flights—serving as a member of the crew of the Columbia [1986], pilot of the Discovery [1990], and commander of the Atlantis [1992] and the Discovery [1994]. After logging more than 680 hours in space, Bolden left NASA to return to operational duty with the U.S. Marine Corps. He retired from the Corps after 34 years service as a two star general. In 2009, Charles Frank Bolden, Jr., was confirmed by Congress as Director of NASA.

  “B” is for Boineau, Charles Evans, Jr. [1923-2005]. Legislator. Boineau was the first Republican elected to the South Carolina General Assembly in the 20th century. After serving as a navy fighter pilot in World War II, Boineau returned home and joined the family’s trucking business in Columbia. From 1956 to 1958 he was director of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce. In 1960, following his involvement in the group South Carolina Democrats for Nixon, he affiliated with the fledgling Republican Party. In early 1961 a vacancy occurred in Richland County’s S.C. House of Representatives delegation—requiring a special off-year election to fill the unexpired term In the August 8th election, he won handily with 55% of the vote. In victory Charles Evans Boineau, Jr., said that he had “proved that ‘Republican’ is not a bad word” in South Carolina.

  “B” is for Bob Jones University Museum and Gallery. In 1965, the collection of the Bob Jones University Museum and Gallery opened to the public on Thanksgiving Day. Its collections contain around four hundred representative works of Flemish, Dutch, German, French, Italian, and Spanish paintings from the 14th through the 19th centuries. Among them are outstanding examples from the brushes of Tintoretto, Titian, Veronese, Botticelli, Rubens, and Van Dyck. The museum also houses a collection of Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Roman, and Hebrew antiquities—representing 37 centuries of past cultures. In addition, it contains an unusual collection of Russian icons with representative works from the 14th through early 20th centuries. As a visual library and valuable resource, Bob Jones University Museum and Gallery presents a record of the culture, religion, and history of ages past.

  “B” is for Bob Jones University. Bob Jones University [BJU] is a private institution founded in 1927 by the evangelist Bob Jones, Sr., at College Point, Florida. During the Depression the school relocated to Cleveland, Tennessee, in 1933 and later, in 1947, to Greenville, South Carolina. Since the 1980s, enrollment in some 150 undergraduate and graduate majors has remained around five thousand. Wary of any secular standards of education, BJU eschews accreditation by external agencies, although it is state-certified to offer degrees from the bachelor’s level through the Ph.D. The university has strict codes of conduct governing relations between the sexes and leisure behavior. Although highly critical of popular culture, Bob Jones University has developed strong academic programs in communications media, ranging from music to cinema, and is noted for the high quality of its operatic and theatrical productions.

  “B” is for Board of Public Works. In 1819, the national trend toward improving waterways and other public facilities, led South Carolina to create the Board of Public Works. The five-member board included two paid commissioners. One was responsible for Roads, Rivers and Canals and the other for Public Buildings. Robert Mills chastised the General Assembly for selecting low bids for projects without regard to the “permanency” of the project. In addition, he advocated a new system of awarding contracts. In 1822, the legislature abolished the board. Abram Blanding became superintendent of public works and Robert Mills superintendent of public buildings. During its short lifespan the Board of Public Works effected an enviable record for construction, with at least eleven courthouse projects begun or completed and several more completed after it went out of existence.

  “W” is Woodward, Henry [ca. 1646-ca. 1686]. Physician, Indian agent. Woodward was one of the earliest English settlers of South Carolina. In 1666 he was a part of Robert Sandford’s expedition that explored the Port Royal area. When Sandford left, Woodward remained among the tribes there, studying their cultures and languages. He was captured by the Spaniards and imprisoned in St. Augustine but escaped during an English privateer’s raid. In 1670, he returned to South Carolina where the proprietors valued him as a highly useful agent, Indian trader, and diplomat. He helped negotiate support from surrounding Indians against a possible conflict with the Spanish. Henry Woodward undertook a secret mission at the behest of Lord Ashley Cooper and Governor Sir John Yeamans to explore the frontier for precious metals and potential Indian trading partners.