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.)

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

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South Carolina From A to Z
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"G" is for Grosvenor, Vertamae (1938-2016). Writer, culinary anthropologist. A native of Allendale County, Grosvenor moved with her family to Philadelphia when she was ten. After high school she lived in Paris and traveled throughout Europe. During her travels she became interested in the African diaspora and how African foods and recipes traveled and changed as a result of it. Her first book, Vibration Cooking or the Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl was published in 1970. It is a unique combination of recipes, reminiscences, and stories from family and friends.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"S" is for Slave religion. Enslaved Africans brought their traditional belief systems with them and little effort was made to evangelize them until the 1820s—because some slaveholder thought conversion required emancipation. For all their differences, traditional African beliefs and Christianity had important points of convergence. A creator God was present in both, and the Christian Trinity and angels were suggestive of a multiplicity of deities. Also the story of death and resurrection was familiar to West and South Central Africans who believed in reincarnation.

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"S" is for Slave patrols. Slave patrols were a crucial mechanism of slave control in colonial and antebellum South Carolina. Like the state’s earliest slave codes, the earliest slave patrol systems were based on Barbadian models. Following the Stono Rebellion in 1739, the Assembly passed the Negro Act of 1740, which provided for regular, constant patrols. In South Carolina all plantation owners were called upon to serve in patrols. Patrol beats were not large; most ranged between ten and fifteen miles.

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"P" is for Pratt, Nathaniel Alpheus (1834-1906). Chemist, engineer, inventor. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Pratt, a native Georgian was named assistant chief of the Confederate States Nitre and Mining Bureau at Augusta. He was responsible for securing domestic supplies of raw materials for the manufacturing of gunpowder. He moved to Charleston after the war. In his wartime search for minerals, he realized that the rocky nodules he had discovered around Charleston Neck were phosphate of lime.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"P" is for Praise houses. “Praise houses” (sometimes called “prayer houses”) functioned on antebellum South Carolina plantations as both the epitome of slave culture and symbols of resistance to slaveholders’ oppressive version of Christianity. Generally simple, clapboard structures built by the slaves themselves, praise houses were erected with the knowledge of the master class. Meetings in the praise house usually occurred on weeknights, rather than Sunday mornings. The simple architecture of the praise house mirrored the style of slave religion.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"M" is for Montgomery, John Henry (1833-1902). Manufacturer, merchant. In the late 1850s Montgomery farmed and entered into general merchandising business. After service in the Civil War, he continued his farming and mercantile activities. In 1874 he moved to Spartanburg joined a firm that was largest cotton buyer in the county. He and his partners organized the Pacolet Manufacturing Company that began operations in 1884. Montgomery was president and treasurer of the company. Under his leadership, the company expanded to three mills.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"M" is for Montagu, Lord Charles Greville (1741-1784). Governor. In 1766 Montagu was appointed governor of South Carolina. During the first three years he managed to settle differences between backcountry settlers and coastal residents—and supporting an act that established circuit courts throughout the colony. In 1769 he sailed to England and did not return until 1771. He was embroiled in a controversy with the Commons House over its control of funding the colony’s budget. His attempt to relocate the capital to Beaufort created a furor.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"B" is for Busbee, Cyril B. (1908-2001). Educator. In his early years Busbee was a teacher, coach, and administrator in various schools in Georgia and South Carolina. In 1943 he moved to Brookland-Cayce Schools (later Lexington District Two), where he rose to superintendent. After service in World War II he returned to the district where he remained as superintendent for twenty-one years. As an administrator, he was considered quite teacher-oriented. In 1966, he was elected state Superintendent of Education and was twice re-elected—serving until 1979.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"B" is for Burton, Edward Milby (1898-1977). Museum director, naturalist, historian. As a young man Burton had an avid interest in hunting and fishing that led to an interest in natural history. In 1930 he joined the board of the Charleston Museum and two years later was appointed its director. He set out to enlarge the museum’s collections of freshwater fish (personally adding 3,156 specimens). During the late 1930s he secured the historic Joseph Manigault House for the museum, thereby saving it from destruction. During World War II, he served in the U.S.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"B" is for Burt, Armistead (1802-1883). Congressman. After attending Pendleton Academy, Burt married John C. Calhoun’s niece and became his protégé. He supported Calhoun’s opposition to the Tariff of 1828 and was the secretary of the 1832 Nullification Convention. He sat in Congress for ten years (1843-1853). Burt was an accepted spokesman in the House for Calhoun’s prosouthern policy, particularly preserving states’ rights, reducing tariffs, and maintaining the balance between free and slave states in the Senate.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"P" is for Powder Magazine (Charleston). In 1703 the colonial assembly authorized the construction of a storehouse for gunpowder as part of the defenses of Charleston. The Powder Magazine was built on the northern edge of the walled city in 1713. The one-story brick structure has a pyramidal tile roof with cross gables and a single room measuring approximately twenty-seven feet square. The walls are thirty-six inches thick. The National Society of the Colonial Dames in South Carolina purchased the building in 1902 to save it from demolition—and turned it into a museum.

"P" is for Poultry

Aug 13, 2018
South Carolina From A to Z
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"P" is for Poultry. The humble chicken has risen from the obscurity of the barnyard to the summit of South Carolina agriculture. In the late twentieth century the poultry industry (broilers, turkeys, and eggs) became the state’s leading agribusiness, contributing $500 million annually to the state’s economy. Before chickens and turkeys were cash crops, they were a part of the culture. Native Americans raised turkeys long before settlers came to South Carolina—and chickens arrived with the first settlers.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"M" is for Monck’s Corner (Berkeley County, 2010 population 7,755). The village of Monck’s Corner in St. John’s Berkeley Parish derived its name from Thomas Monck’s eighteenth century plantation. A small commercial community grew up near the plantation, located at a fork where the Charleston Road intersected with the Cherokee Path. During the siege of Charleston in 1780, it became a point of strategic importance and the scene of a major British victory. After the Revolution, the completion of the State Road and the Santee Canal caused the village to decline.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"M" is for Molloy, Robert [1906-1977]. Novelist, editor, critic. Malloy was born in Charleston, but at the age of twelve his family moved to Philadelphia. He began his literary career as a publisher’s reader, translator, and book reviewer. Eventually he became the literary editor of the New York Sun and began writing short stories that appeared in national magazines. In 1945 he published his first novel, Pride’s Way—an engaging social comedy of a large Charleston Catholic family.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"M" is for Moïse, Penina (1787-1880). Educator, poet, hymn writer, activist. In 1819, Moïse published her first poem in Charleston. Her poems subsequently appeared in newspapers throughout the country and in national magazines such as Godey’s Ladies Book and the American Jewish Advocate. Demonstrating a cosmopolitan world-view, she addressed anti-Semitism, politics and history—and included her personal insights on society. Her poems contained romantic, sentimental, and classical themes, as well as emotional and non-denominational religious topics.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"H" is for Hume, Sophia Wigington (ca. 1702-1774). Minister, writer. A native Charlestonian, Hume was reared an Anglican, but embraced the Quakerism of her grandparents in the 1740s. Re-examining her faith and her life of luxury she moved to London; embraced a life of simplicity; and joined the Society of Friends. She returned to Charleston in late 1747, convinced of the need to warn her neighbors and others of their erring ways. Hume spent the rest of her life inspiring others through her religious writings and dedication to the Quaker faith.

"H" is for Huguenots

Aug 6, 2018
South Carolina From A to Z
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"H" is for Huguenots. Huguenots are French Calvinists. The French Reformed church was formally founded in 1559. Because of intense religious strife in France, Jean Ribaut sponsored the short-lived (1562-1563) Huguenot settlement at Charlesfort on Parris Island. The Edict of Nantes, guaranteeing religious freedom, was revoked in 1695 and individuals had the choice of renouncing their faith or fleeing France. The Huguenot migration to South Carolina is part of a larger diaspora, traditionally known as le Refuge—some 2,500 migrated to North America, about 500 to South Carolina.

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"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. He converted his parents’ old log house into the Brattonsville Female Academy. His widow built a second large dwelling, Brick House.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"C" is for Coker, James Lide, Sr. (1837-1918). Businessman, entrepreneur, philanthropist. Coker was educated at St. David’s Academy, the Citadel, and Harvard. During the Civil War he was a major in the Ninth South Carolina Infantry and seriously wounded at Lookout Mountain. It took him nearly a year to recover. In 1865 he opened J.L. Coker and Company, a general merchandise store, in Hartsville. Later, he founded a cotton mill, a cotton gin, and a cottonseed-oil mill. With his son James Jr.

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"C" is for Coker, James Lide, Jr. (1863-1931). Entrepreneur, engineer, industrialist. After graduating from Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey, Coker returned to South Carolina. At Stevens, Coker had studied the process of making paper from wood pulp and conceived of the idea of substituting cheap and readily available southern pine for the hardwoods then in general use. He built an experimental pulp mill in Hartsville and with his father formed the Carolina Fiber Company. His mill had a significant influence on the future development of the southern pulp mill industry.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"B" is for Brown, Thomas (1750-1825). Soldier. Brown was among the most notorious Loyalist commanders in the South during the American Revolution. He immigrated to Georgia in 1774, established a large plantation, and became embroiled in local politics—particularly expressing his opposition to the revolutionary movement. In 1775 a committee of the local Sons of Liberty captured and tortured him when he refused to renounce his allegiance to the king. He later fled to British St. Augustine and was commissioned a lieutenant colonel and authorized to raise a regiment of mounted rangers.

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"B" is for Brown, Morris (1770-1849). Clergyman. Brown, a free mulatto, was born in Charleston. He received a license to preach as a Methodist lay preacher and organized an African congregation in Charleston. The parish became popular with slave and free persons of color—initially drawing 1,400 members. However, after white Methodist officials reduced the control that black Methodists could have over their own church, Brown led most of his congregation out of the denomination.

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"B" is for Burroughs & Chapin. Burroughs & Chapin Company, Inc., was formed in 1990 when the century-old Burroughs & Collins Company of Conway merged with Myrtle Beach Farms Company. Headquartered in Myrtle Beach and holding tens of thousands of acres throughout Horry County, Burroughs & Chapin is dedicated to coastal economic development and attracting new businesses to Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand. The firm is the linear descendant of the business partnership formed in 1895 by Franklin Burroughs and B.G. Collins. In 1912 Simeon B.

"B" is for Burnettown

Jul 26, 2018
South Carolina From A to Z
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"B" is for Burnettown (Aiken County; 2010 population 2,673). Incorporated in 1941, Burnettown is located in the Horses Creek Valley of Aiken County. In 1890 Daniel Burnette purchased land along a dirt road and sold a few lots. When a trolley line opened in 1902, people realized that there was no name for this stop. Passengers boarding or departing the trolley at this point decided to call the site Burnette Town.

"G" is for Grits

Jul 25, 2018
South Carolina From A to Z
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"G" is for Grits. Grits is (or are) the coarse-to-fine ground product of a milling process whereby the hull of the dried corn kernel is popped open and the fleshy part is milled into tiny particles. Mill stones carved with grooves radiating outward from the center were set by the miller to grind the dried corn into course, medium, and fine grits as well as corn meal. Purists avow that today’s steel-roller grits don’t taste the same. Grits, like rice, is a base for other foods and flavorings.

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"G" is for Grimké, Sarah Moore and Angelina Emily Grimké. Although members of the upper echelon of South Carolina society, the Grimké sisters rejected a privileged lifestyle rooted in a slave economy and became nationally known abolitionists. Both were members of the Ladies Benevolent Society and visited the homes of poor whites and free blacks in the city. By 1830, both sisters had moved to Philadelphia.

"S" is for Slave Labor

Jul 23, 2018
South Carolina From A to Z
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"S" is for Slave Labor. Slavery was work, and for most slaves it was monotonous and relatively undifferentiated labor. Lowcountry South Carolina plantations were distinguished by the use of the task system rather than gang labor. Under this system a slave cultivated a certain measure of land—normally a quarter of an acre—and had the rest of the day to him- or herself when the task was completed. Fifty miles inland the choice between tasking or gang labor depended largely on the size of the estate. Small farmers with few slaves usually could not afford the task system.

"S" is for Slave Codes

Jul 20, 2018
South Carolina From A to Z
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"S" is for Slave Codes. South Carolina’s earliest formal code of law regarding slaves, established in 1690,borrowed heavily from the statutes governing slavery in Barbados. It codified the institution of chattel slavery in South Carolina. Although disallowed by the Lords Proprietors, a similar code was enacted in 1696 and revised in 1712. The enforcement of the revised code was difficult and frequently haphazard.

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"P" is for Porter-Gaud School. Located in Charleston, Porter-Gaud had its beginning just after the Civil War. In 1867 the Reverend Anthony Toomer Porter launched the Episcopal Holy Communion Church Institute, a school for white boys. Called Porter Academy after 1882, the school added a military department in 1887. At Porter’s death in 1902, drills in military tactics and football were part of the curriculum along with Latin, modern languages, science, and mathematics. In the 1950s the school faced declining enrollment.

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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.

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