South Carolina from A to Z

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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.)

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"M" is for Mount Zion College. Established in 1777 by a group of men calling themselves the Mount Sion Society, the institution started in a small log building as an all-grades school in Winnsboro. In 1785, the General Assembly chartered three colleges—one of which was Mount Zion College. The all-male school flourished throughout the antebellum period as a strictly disciplined, academically challenging academy whose graduates were well prepared for admission to southern colleges. After the Civil War, the school was re-established as Mt.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"M" is for Mount Pleasant (Charleston County; 2010 population 67,843). Lying on the north side of Charleston harbor, Mount Pleasant occupies what was formerly Christ Church Parish. James Hibben laid out the village in 1803 on the site of the former Mount Pleasant plantation of Jacob Motte. The town of Mount Pleasant was incorporated in 1837. In 1883 the town became the county seat of Berkeley County, but was annexed back into Charleston County in 1895.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"M" is for Mount Dearborn Arsenal. Situated on an island in the Catawba River in Chester County, Mount Dearborn was initially conceived and selected by President George Washington to be one of the nation’s three national arsenal-armories. In 1802 Secretary of War Henry Dearborn purchased 523 acres and employed Eli Whitney to consult with the state’s engineer on the best location to build the facility. In 1804 construction began on the magazine and arsenal, but the armory was never constructed.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"M" is for Moultrie Flag. In January 1776, the South Carolina Council of Safety delivered twenty-three yards of blue cloth to Colonel William Moultrie, commander of the Second South Carolina Regiment.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"M" is for Moultrie, William (1730-1805). Soldier, governor. In 1752, Moultrie, a native Charlestonian, was elected to the Commons House of Assembly. And, over the next four decades he became a fixture in South Carolina government. When the Revolutionary War broke out, he was elected commander of the Second South Carolina Regiment of Foot. Moultrie became a national hero as commander of the troops that defeated the British at the Battle of Sullivan’s Island. After the war he was returned to the General Assembly and in 1785 was elected governor.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"M" is for Moultrie, John, Jr. (1729-1798). Physician, planter, political leader. A native Charlestonian, Moultrie was the first American to receive a medical degree from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. His dissertation on yellow fever attracted a great deal of attention in Europe, was translated into French and German. During the French and Indian War he served with James Grant, who later became Governor of British Florida. Grant appointed Moultrie to his council. Moultrie moved to Florida, became president of the council and in 1771 was named lieutenant governor.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"M" is for Moultrie, John (ca. 1699-1771). Physician. A native of Scotland, Moultrie studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh. He spent some time as a surgeon in the Royal Navy before coming to Charleston in 1728. He established a successful practice and served as physician to St. Philip’s Parish hospital (part of the city’s poorhouse) and as a quarantine officer for the province. Over time Moultrie’s practice emphasized male midwifery. He was apparently one of the first American physicians to specialize in obstetrics.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"C" is for Coogler, John Gordon (1865-1901). Poet. Coogler achieved notoriety in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as one of South Carolina’s, and the South’s, most famous and arguably worst poets. Through self-promotion, Coogler and his poetry garnered the attention of readers and reviewers from across the nation, who found his work entertaining if not aesthetic. In his disparaging review of southern literature, “Sahara of the Bozart,” literary critic H.L. Mencken began with the Cooglerian couplet: “Alas!

"C" is for Conway

Jan 10, 2019
South Carolina From A to Z
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"C" is for Conway (Horry County; 2010 population 17,410). Originally named Kingston, Conway was established in 1735 on a bluff of the Waccamaw River. In 1785 it became the seat of Kingston County. In 1801 the county was renamed Horry. And, the town’s name changed to Conwayborough—for Robert Conway, a popular local politician. For two hundred years the town’s fortunes were linked to the river. The arrival of the railroad and telegraph in 1897 linked Conway to the world. Better transportation and communications—coupled with the introduction of bright-leaf tobacco—brought prosperity.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"C" is for Convict Leasing. Convict leasing represents a specific type of prison labor that emerged in the post-Civil War South. Typically, leasing was an arrangement by which individuals convicted of felonies were hired out to private companies who worked inmates as they chose beyond the walls of the state prison. In 1877 the General Assembly passed a bill authorizing convict leasing. Larger companies hired between 50 and 100 inmates to work on railroads, phosphate mines, or labor as farm hands—but some contractors hired as few as ten.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"C" is for Converse College. Converse College was founded in 1889 by a group of Spartanburg leaders to provide for the education of young middle-class women. The college opened its doors in 1890. Unlike many southern women’s colleges, Converse offered students a course of study roughly equivalent to that offered by male colleges. In 1910 the college established a School of Music. In 1912 Converse was accepted into the Association of Colleges and Preparatory Schools of the Southern States.

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"C" is for Converse, Dexter Edgar. Industrialist. A native of Vermont, Converse worked in textile mills in New York before moving to Spartanburg District in 1855. He was manager of the Bivingsville Cotton Factory and within a year was a member of the firm. After the Civil War, the mill made a quick recovery and in 1868 Converse and his brother-in-law purchased the mill. Two years later they changed the name of the company to D.E. Converse and Company. In 1880 Converse bought Hurricane Shoals on the Pacolet River and organized the Clifton Manufacturing Company.

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"P" is for Port Royal Naval Station. The Union fleet’s conquest of the Sea Islands in 1861 was the beginning of more than a century of U.S. naval involvement with Port Royal Sound. With nearly thirty feet of water above the bar at all tides, Port Royal Sound is the deepest natural harbor on the Atlantic seaboard south of New York. In 1876 many of the capital ships of the U.S. Navy’s Atlantic Fleet spent the winter at Port Royal to avoid ice in northern ports. During the Spanish American War, the Port Royal Station was one of the principal support stations for U.S.

South Carolina From A to Z
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'M" is for Milliken & Company. In 1865 Seth Milliken and his business partner William Deering became successful jobbers of woolen textiles in Portland, Maine. Deering left the partnership in 1869, but the company’s name remained Deering Milliken until 1976 when it became Milliken & Company. By 1920, the company had an interest in forty-two South Carolina textile mills and was the selling agent for southern textile mills. Roger Milliken, the grandson of the founder moved to Spartanburg in 1954.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"M" is for Milliken, Roger (1915-2010). Businessman, political activist. During his long career Milliken built his family’s textile business into a burgeoning textile corporation known for its innovative management and technological prowess. He also played a major role in South Carolina’s transition to Republican dominance, supporting conservative issues and candidates around the state. When Milliken obtained control of the family business, he moved to Spartanburg in 1954 and also started to concentrate the company’s operations in the South Carolina Piedmont.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"M" is for Miller, Thomas Ezekiel (1849-1938). Political leader, college president. A native of Beaufort, Miller graduated from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. Returning to South Carolina he opened a law practice in 1875. Miller served in the South Carolina House (1874-1880) and Senate (1880-1882). In 1888 he won a contested election to the U.S. House. In 1895 he represented Beaufort in the Constitutional Convention where he eloquently, but unsuccessfully fought the efforts to disenfranchise thousands of African Americans.

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"M" is for Miller, Stephen Decatur (1787-1838). Congressman, governor, U.S. Senator. Miller was elected to Congress in 1816. From 1822 to 1828 he was a member of the South Carolina Senate where he was an early leader in the nullification movement. In 1824 he offered resolutions setting forth the strict states’-rights constructionist argument and declared federal internal improvements and protective tariffs unconstitutional. The Senate passed the “Miller Resolutions, “ but the House did not.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"L" is for Lyttelton, William Henry (1724-1808). Governor. Lyttelton began his career as a colonial administrator when he was appointed governor of South Carolina in 1755. He arrived in Charleston in June 1756. Lyttelton’s tenure was marked by frontier warfare with the Cherokee Indians and by political and constitutional conflicts with the Commons House of Assembly. In 1759, he negotiated a treaty with the Cherokees at Fort Prince George.

"L" is for Lynching

Dec 27, 2018
South Carolina From A to Z
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"L" is for Lynching. The origin of the word “lynching” has several explanations. One is that the term derives from Lynches Creek, South Carolina. Lynches Creek was known as a meeting site for the Regulators, a group of vigilantes who used violence against their opponents. This definition and one about a Virginia justice of the peace refer to forms of frontier vigilantism.

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"L" is for Lynches River. Originating at the confluence of two nameless streams in North Carolina, the Lynches River crosses the state line in the Piedmont and flows nearly its entire 175-mile length through South Carolina. From a relatively straight path in the pine forests it becomes a slower, braided waterway as it meanders through wetlands fed by a number of tributaries. At the end of its course it is joined by the waters of the Great Sparrow Swamp and then empties into the Pee Dee River.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"H" is for Huguenot Church (Charleston). Located at 140 Church Street, the French Protestant (Huguenot) Church was the first Gothic Revival ecclesiastical building erected in Charleston. Construction began in 1844. It was designed by Edward B. White and is built of brick finished in stucco. In color and scale it blends harmoniously with the city’s built environment. The church was damaged in 1864 during the siege of Charleston and nearly destroyed during the 1886 earthquake.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"H" is for Huger, Isaac (1743-1797). Soldier. Huger began his military career as an officer in the South Carolina expedition against the Cherokees. With the onset of the Revolution he was appointed a lieutenant colonel in the South Carolina militia. Huger was promoted to colonel and later commanded the First and Fifth South Carolina Regiments. In 1779, he was promoted to brigadier general in the Continental army. He fought and was wounded at the Battle of Stono Ferry and commanded the South Carolina and Georgia militia at the siege of Savannah.

"C" is for Contrabands

Dec 21, 2018
South Carolina From A to Z
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"C" is for Contrabands. Contrabands were slaves who fled to or were taken behind Northern lines during the Civil War—prior to the Emancipation Proclamation. Union general Benjamin Butler claimed to be the first to apply the term “Contraband” to escaped slaves in Virginia. After refusing to return them to Confederate authorities, he used them to construct fortifications, but gave them rations and pay. Other Northern officers quickly followed Butler’s example.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"C" is for Continental Shelf. The continental shelf that lies off South Carolina’s coast is part of a larger continental shelf that runs from Canada to Mexico. It is formed, in part, by a continuation of the sediments of the coastal plain that are covered by seawater. This continental shelf has been exposed as much as one hundred miles off the present coast during the geologic history of the state. This was due to ancient sea levels rising and falling many times over millions of years.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"C" is for Continental Regiments. In June 1775, the Continental Congress created the Continental Army. In November, it resolved to fund three regiments for the defense of South Carolina. Continental regiments were units authorized for use by the Continental Congress and were distinct from state militia units. Initially, South Carolina raised two infantry regiments to defend the lowcountry and a third regiment of rangers to defend the backcountry. Later an artillery regiment and two more infantry regiments were created. By 1779, there were six continental regiments in the state.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"C" is for Constitutions. The Fundamental Constitutions of the Lords Proprietors were abandoned in 1698. During the colonial period, the dominance of legislative control developed and has continued into the twenty-first century. South Carolina adopted its first state constitution in 1776. Since then it has adopted six more: in 1778, 1790, 1861, 1865, 1868, and 1895.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"C" is for Conservative Party. The term “Conservative Party” has a distinct meaning in southern history in general and in South Carolina history in particular. It refers to the organization that led to the overthrow of Republican Reconstruction and dominated southern politics until the agrarian revolt of the 1890s. In South Carolina it began specifically with the election of Confederate hero Wade Hampton III as governor in 1876 and ending with the election of Benjamin R. Tillman in 1890. South Carolina Conservatives saw themselves as redeeming their state from alien forces.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"M" is for Morris College. Morris College is a private historically black college located in Sumter. It was founded in 1908 by the Baptist Education and Missionary Convention in South Carolina. The institution initially offered a curriculum for grammar school, a normal college for training teachers, a theology course, music, dressmaking, truck farming, and domestic science. Morris graduated is first students in 1911. By 1920, enrollment exceeded 1,200. In 1930, in arrangement with Benedict College, Benedict transferred its high school courses and students to Morris.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"M" is for Morning News. A morning newspaper published daily and Sunday in Florence, the Morning News was established as a daily in 1922. Jack O’Dowd, the publisher’s son, became editor in 1951 for a short-lived stay. A moderate on racial issues, he endorsed the U.S. Supreme Court’s desegregation decision, angered Klansmen and other conservatives; and was forced to flee the state. After the publisher died in 1970, a committee and then a board of directors ran the newspaper. In 1981, the Morning News was sold to Thomson Newspapers.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"M" is for Mordecai, Moses Cohen (1804-1888). Merchant, ship owner, legislator, civic leader. Mordecai was antebellum Charleston’s most prominent Jewish citizen. His firm, Mordecai & Company, was among the city’s most successful importers and ship owners, conducting an extensive trade in fruit, sugar, coffee, and tobacco from the West Indies. He later operated a steamship line between Charleston and Havana. Mordecai represented Charleston in both houses of the South Carolina General Assembly.

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