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“H” is for Happyville

“H” is for Happyville. Happyville was a short-lived agricultural colony settled in 1905 near Montmorenci in Aiken County by Jewish immigrants from Russia. The venture was encouraged by the state’s new immigration bureau. In response to the state’s advertising, two New Yorkers purchased 2,200 acres in Aiken County along with livestock, implements and buildings. By 1906, some ten families were in residence. A cold rainy winter ruined the colony’s crops the first year, but the second year was a bit better despite the settlers’ lack of farming experience. Financial miscalculations, internal dissension, and another harsh winter undermined prospects for the settlement. In 1908 residents auctioned off their equipment and livestock and sold their land. By the end of the year most of Happyville’s residents had left Aiken—most returning to New York and New Jersey.

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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.