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“C” is for camp meetings

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

“C” is for Camp meetings. These outdoor services of worship held for a week or longer were characterized by the encampment of the participants, often near an established church. The meetings were sometimes accompanied by emotional outbursts and resulted in dramatic conversion experiences. Eventually a brush arbor, wagons and tents were replaced by a central tabernacle and wooden structures for family groups (still known as “tents”). While only a few camp meetings continue to be held annually in South Carolina, they flourished during the first half of the nineteenth century and are associated with the religious revival known as the Second Great Awakening. Initially Presbyterians, Baptists and Methodists conducted camp meetings cooperatively, but by 1800 the field belonged solely to the Methodists. Indian Field and Shady Grove near St. George are still active Camp Meetings.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.