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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"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 that played an active role in the Confederate victory at First Manassas. He was promoted to brigadier general and commanded the brigade that saw action at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg.

"J" is for Jakes, John [born 1932]. Novelist. Born in Illinois, Jakes is a nationally known best-selling novelist and historian. For the past several decades he has maintained his primary residence on Hilton Head Island. After graduating from college, he spent a number of years working for pharmaceutical and advertising companies.

"I" Is for Indigo

Mar 20, 2017

"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.

"H" is for Hamburg

Mar 17, 2017

"H" is for Hamburg. Founded in 1821 and located on the Savannah River in what is now Aiken County, the town of Hamburg was one of antebellum South Carolina's primary interior market towns. The new town grew rapidly as merchants tapped the cotton trade of the upper Savannah River valley.

"G" is for Gallivants Ferry Stump Meeting. The Gallivants Ferry Stump Meeting, a Democratic Party tradition since the 1880s, originated during Wade Hampton's 1876 gubernatorial campaign. Starting in a place called the Thicket, they matured into a tradition under the guidance of the Holliday family. The "stump" referred to a time when politicians promoted their candidacy by allegedly giving speeches while standing on tree stumps to be seen and heard above the assembled throng.

"F" is for Farrow, Samuel [1759-1824]. Congressman, legislator, reformer. A Revolutionary War veteran, Farrow was elected lieutenant governor in 1810 and a member of Congress in 1812. In 1816 the residents of Spartanburg District elected him to the General Assembly where he pursued a goal of creating a state lunatic asylum.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly
Peter Miller via Flickr

"E" is for the Eastern tiger swallowtail. State butterfly. In 1994, by act of the General Assembly, the tiger swallowtail became South Carolina's official butterfly. The legislature acted at the behest of the Garden Club of South Carolina which selected the butterfly because it can be seen in deciduous woods, along streams, rivers, and wooded swamps, and in towns and cities throughout South Carolina.

Beth Daniel, captain of the USA Solheim Cup Team, after announcement of Solheim Cup teams, which followed final round of the 2009 Ricoh Women's British Open held at Royal Lytham & St Annes on August 2, 2009, Lytham St Annes, England.
Wojciech Migda (wmigda) (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

"D" is for Daniel, Beth [born 1956]. Professional golfer. In 1975 while a student at Furman, Daniel won the United States Women's Amateur golf championship—a feat she repeated three more times. In 1979 she turned professional and won Rookie of the Year honors. The following year, with four victories on the pro tour she was named Player of the Year, an award she received again in 1990 and 1994.

"C" is for Cainhoy Riot. The Cainhoy Riot was one of the many deadly frays involving white gun clubs and African American militiamen that erupted during the 1876 gubernatorial campaign. A Republican political meeting was scheduled for October 16th at Brick House some thirty miles up the Cooper River from Charleston. Based upon previous disturbances, African Americans came to the meeting armed. Soon whites from Charleston arrived by steamboat and tried to disrupt the proceedings.

"B" is for Baha'i

Mar 9, 2017

"B" is for Baha'i. Founded in the nineteenth century, the Baha'i faith is one of the world's youngest religions.  Among its principles are the oneness of humankind; the common foundation of all religions; religion and science as integral parts of the truth; the equality of men and women; and the elimination of prejudice of all kinds. Louis G. Gregory, the son of a slave and a native of Charleston, introduced Baha'i teachings into South Carolina. 

"A" is for Adams, James Hopkins [1777-1858]. Governor. Born in lower Richland County and educated at Yale, Adams was a successful and wealthy cotton planter. He represented Richland County in both the South Carolina house and senate. In 1854, the General Assembly elected him governor. Although the state's voters had repudiated secession in 1850, he belonged to the radical faction that advocated immediate secession from the union.

"Y" is for Yellow Jessamine. State flower. In 1924, the General Assembly chose the yellow, or Carolina, jessamine [Gelsemium sempervirens] as the state flower. Among the reasons cited were its being indigenous to every nook and corner of the state and its perpetual return out of the dead of winter suggests the lesson of constancy in, loyalty to, and patriotism in the service of the State.

"W" is for Walker, William [1809-1875]

Mar 6, 2017

"W" is for Walker, William [1809-1875]. Teacher, composer, author. In 1835, the man known as "Singing Billy" Walker published Southern Harmony, a shaped-note hymnal using a four-shape [fa-so-la] system. The shaped-note style is a simplified musical notation-- developed to make it easier for untrained congregations to sing in harmony without instrumental accompaniment.

"L" is for Lakes

Feb 24, 2017

"L" is for Lakes. All the large lakes in South Carolina were created during the 20th century when energy companies built dams on nearly all of the major river systems in the state to produce hydroelectric power. Lake Wateree was the first of the state's large lakes—formed in 1919 when Duke Power built a dam on the Wateree River.

"K" is for Kershaw, Joseph [ca. 1727-1791]. Merchant. Kershaw was born in Yorkshire and immigrated to South Carolina in the 1750s. He eventually settled in Pine Tree Hill on the Wateree River. There, he established himself as the successful agent for a major Charleston mercantile firm. His own businesses included a flour and gristmill, indigo works, warehouse, brewery, and distillery.

"J" is for the Jacksonborough Assembly. In January and February 1782—after a two year hiatus caused by the Revolutionary War, the General Assembly met at Jacksonborough--a small town on the Edisto River, about thirty miles south of British-occupied Charleston. The Assembly's most important work was its decision to confiscate the property of individuals who had supported the British occupation.  

"I" is for Indian trade. Trade between the colony of South Carolina and neighboring Indian tribes officially began in 1674 when the Proprietors directed Dr. Henry Woodward to establish peaceful relations and regular trade with the Westos. Very quickly, the deerskin trade became a source of wealth for some early colonists. It also became a contentious issue in terms of relationships with the Indians and damaging to native cultures.

"H" is for Halsey, William Melton [1915-1999]. Artist. In 1928 Halsey became a youthful protégé of Charleston Renaissance artist Elizabeth O'Neill Verner. He received his artistic training at the University of South Carolina and the Boston Museum School. After further study in Mexico, he returned to his native Charleston in 1945. Halsey supported himself by teaching art classes and later as artist-in-residence at the College of Charleston where the William Halsey Gallery at the Simons Art Center is named for him.

"B" is for Bratton, William [ca. 1742-1815]. Soldier, legislator. Bratton was born in county Antrim, Northern Ireland and immigrated with his family to America not long afterward. Beginning in 1765, an extended family of Brattons moved into present-day York County as part of a larger Scots-Irish migration into the Carolina Piedmont. In 1766, Bratton purchased 200 acres on Fishing Creek and built a two-story log house that is still standing today. During the Revolutionary War, he serve din the militia and rose to the rank of colonel and commanded a regiment in Thomas Sumter’s Brigade.

"B" is for Black River

Feb 16, 2017

"B" is for Black River. The Black River takes its name from its tea-colored waters. The river begins in the Sandhills of Lee County, and is joined at Rocky Bluff Swamp near Sumter. The Pocotaligo River flows into the Black between Manning and Kingstree.  In some places the river is swamp like, while in others it is swift moving with a sandy bottom. After travelling over 150 miles through four counties, the Black River becomes part of the Great Pee Dee River near Georgetown.

"B" is for Brawley, Benjamin Griffith [1882-1939]. Educator, author, editor, clergyman. A native of Columbia, Brawley was a gifted and enthusiastic student—earning degrees form the University of Chicago and Harvard. In 1921 he was ordained a Baptist minister. Between 1902 and 1939, he taught English at various predominantly black colleges in the South and East—including Atlanta Baptist College [now Moorehouse], Shaw University in Raleigh, and Howard University in Washington.

"B" is for Brattonsville. Brattonsville is the site of a large eighteenth and nineteenth-century plantation in southern York County situated on the south fork of Fishing Creek. The settlement began in 1766 as the two hundred acre farm of Colonel William Bratton. John Simpson Bratton inherited the bulk of his father’s estate and constructed the large two-story Georgian mansion known as the Homestead.

"C" is for the Charleston Mercury. Although begun as a literary journal, the Charleston Mercury developed into one of the state’s most radical and combative newspapers. In 1821 a local bookseller established the paper, but in 1823 sold it to Henry Laurens Pinckney who transformed it into a partisan organ for John C. Calhoun. By 1830, the Mercury had become a strong proponent of nullification. Although its ownership changed several times in the 1840s and 1850s, its editorial tone remained aggressive.

"P" is for Porcher, Francis Peyre [1824-1895]. Physician, botanist. In 1844 Porcher graduated with honors from the South Carolina College and entered the Medical College of the State of South Carolina in Charleston. After completing his studies he became co-editor of the Charleston Medical Journal and Review. In 1855 he and a colleague established a hospital for African Americans in Charleston. He was also on the staff of the Marine Hospital.

"C" is for Clemson Blue Cheese. In 1940, a Clemson College dairy professor wondered if he could cure blue mold cheese in the dark, damp interior of Stumphouse Mountain Tunnel near Walhalla in Oconee County. He hoped that the product would be similar to French Roquefort cheese. His goal also was to use surplus milk from local cows, including Clemson’s own herd.

"B" is for Brawley, Edward McKnight (1851-1923). Missionary, educator. Born in Charleston, a free person of color, Brawley was educated in Philadelphia and studied theology at Howard University. He graduated from Bucknell College and was ordained a Baptist minister.

"W" is for World War II (1941-1945). Prior to the entry of the US into World War II, the federal government constructed or expanded military installations, including Camp Jackson (Columbia), Camp Croft (Spartanburg), the Navy Yard (Charleston), and several smaller bases. At least 900,000 men received military training in South Carolina. More than 180,000 Carolinians (including 2,500 women) served in the armed forces. Thousands more wanted to serve, but 41% of those examined were rejected for mental or physical problems.

"W" is for World War I (1917-1918). When Congress declared war on Germany in April 1917, part of South Carolina was already on a war footing. More than 65,000 South Carolinians served in the armed forces. Eight men from the state were awarded the Medal of Honor. At home civilians supported the war effort through liberty bond drives, home gardens, and meatless and wheatless days. Patriotism cut across racial boundaries in broad support for bond drives and the Red Cross.

"A" is for African Methodist Episcopal Church. The African Episcopal Church [AME] is the oldest African American denomination in the country. In 1817, after white Methodists in Charleston tried to control their worship, 4,000 black Methodists  organized themselves into an AME congregation—the second-largest in the denomination and its southernmost branch. Following the Denmark Vesey conspiracy, the church was demolished and its membership dispersed. In 1863 the denomination returned to South Carolina and became a major presence in the state.

"J" is for Jackson, Joseph Jefferson Wofford [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.