"S" is for Smalls, Robert (1839-1915)

Feb 21, 2019

Credit SC Public Radio

"S" is for Smalls, Robert (1839-1915). Legislator, congressman. Born a slave in Beaufort, Small’s master hired him out as a laborer in Charleston where he was a sailor on coastal vessels. In 1861 Smalls was a pilot on the cotton steamer Planter, which was in Confederate service. In 1862, he led the takeover of the Planter, sailed past harbor’s defenses, and surrendered the to Federal forces. The deed made Smalls famous and in 1863 he was named captain of the vessel. After was war, he settled in Beaufort, was one of the founders of the state Republican Party, a delegate to the 1868 state constitutional convention, and a state senator. In 1874 he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Robert Smalls was reelected to the following Congress and served intermittently until 1886.