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
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"R" is for Robert, Henry Martyn [1837-1923]. Engineer, author. Born in South Carolina, Robert’s family moved to Ohio in 1851. After graduating from West Point in 1857, he began a forty-four year career with the Corps of Engineers, culminating as a brigadier general and chief of engineers, U.S. Army. He crossed the country working on federal construction and improvement projects involving river systems in Oregon, lighthouses on the Great Lakes, dams and locks on the Tennessee River, and the famous seawall constructed in Galveston after the great Hurricane of 1900.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"P" is for Pinckney Island Wildlife Refuge. Pinckney Island Wildlife Refuge is in Beaufort County, between Skull Creek and Mackay Creek. The Refuge was established in 1975 and opened in 1985. It is comprised of four islands: Corn, Little Harry, Big Harry, and Pinckney. The largest island, Pinckney, is the only one open to the public. From 1736 to 1936 the refuge was owned by the family and descendants of Charles Cotesworth Pinckney and was a cotton plantation. From 1937 until 1975, the island was managed as a game preserve.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"M" is for Medal of Honor Recipients. Approved by Congress in 1862, the Medal of Honor is America's highest award for military valor. The first native son to receive the award was Ernest A. Garlington of Newberry for "distinguished gallantry" at the Battle of Wounded Knee in 1892. Eight South Carolinians were awarded the medal during World War I. During World War II, five Carolinians were awarded the medal. During the Korean War, three of the four men were presented the honor posthumously.

South Carolina From A to Z
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“H” is for Hipp, Francis Moffett [1911-1995]. Insurance executive.  After graduating from Furman, Hipp joined his father’s company, Liberty Life Insurance. The Greenville-based firm also owned radio stations in Columbia and Charleston. When Hipp’s father died in 1943, the company’s directors elected him president and chairman of the board. An energetic leader, Hipp expanded the company into the Southeast through its own agents and nationally through financial institutions.

  "L" is for Longstreet, James Peter [1821-1904]. Soldier. Born in Edgefield District, Longstreet spent his formative years in Georgia and Alabama. After graduating from West Point, he had a successful army career, serving with distinction in the Mexican war and achieving the rank of major. In 1861, he resigned his US Army commission and joined the Confederate Army as a brigadier general. He distinguished himself as a superb military tactician and in 1862 Robert E. Lee made him his second in command.

"H" is for Huguenots

Jul 31, 2020
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.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"Z" is for Zubly, John Joachim (1724-1781). Minister. A native of Switzerland, Zubly was ordained in London’s German Reformed Church in 1744. He was in South Carolina in the 1740s where he traveled among German communities in the lowcountry and among the German Lutheran community in Orangeburg. Known for his erudition, Zubly occasionally lectured at the Independent Meeting House in Charleston. In 1760, he moved to Savannah. He represented Georgia in the Continental Congress. Although he appreciated colonial opposition to British imperial policy, he opposed moves toward independence.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"Y" is for Yamassee War (1715-1718). The Yamassee War was a major eighteenth-century conflict between the colony of Carolina and its trade partners the Yamassee.  Unscrupulous Indian traders cheated and mistreated the Native Americans. On Good Friday 1715, the Yamassees struck. They killed the traders in their midst and launched attacks against coastal plantations. Despite its name, the Yamassee War also involved the Cherokees, the Creeks, the Choctaws, the Santees, and the Waccamaws in a far-ranging rebellion from the Savannah River to Charleston.

"X" is for XYZ Affair

Jul 28, 2020
South Carolina From A to Z
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"X" is for XYZ Affair. Charles Cotesworth Pinckney was one of three Americans sent to France to try to improve diplomatic relations. The French foreign minister was originally cordial to the three men, but refused to negotiate with them in any official capacity. Instead, he sent unofficial envoys to meet with the Americans. They made it perfectly clear that the French government expected a bribe in return for improved relations. Pinckney is claimed to have responded to the bribery demands with “No! No!

South Carolina From A to Z
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“W” is for Waccamaw River. The Waccamaw River, named for the Waccamaw Indian nation, begins in North Carolina. The river runs parallel to the coast through Horry and Georgetown Counties—never straying more than fifteen miles from the Atlantic Ocean. In Horry County the river runs through the county seat of Conway. The Waccamaw is navigable from Georgetown to Conway, but the upper reaches become shallow and swampy.

"F" is for the Farmer's Alliance. Founded in the 1870s in Texas, the National Farmers' Alliance and Industrial Union and its segregated counterpart the Colored Farmers' National Alliance addressed the issues of debt and depressed commodity prices that most rural Americans faced. The first county alliance in South Carolina was founded in Marion in 1887 and within a year there was a statewide alliance. 

South Carolina From A to Z
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"D" is for Dabbs, James McBride (1896-1970). Writer, teacher, theologian, civil rights leader. Dabbs, a Sumter County native, was a USC graduate.  After serving in World War I, he taught English at Carolina and then served as head of the English Department at Coker College. By the early 1930s he had earned a reputation as an essayist as his work appeared in the country’s leading journals. Among the themes he addressed were the distinctiveness of the South, the mixed blessings of industrialization, education, the African American presence and identity, and southern religion.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"C" is for Caesars Head State Park. Located in Greenville County near to the border with North Carolina, Caesars Head State Park was established in 1979. In 1996 the park became part of the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area, which was also includes Jones Gap State Park and Wildcat Wayside. Formed more than 409 million years ago, Caesars Head rises 3,266 feet above sea level on the southern edge of the Blue Ridge Escarpment. It is a granite gneiss formation protruding from the valley as a prominent monadnock.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"B" is for Babcock, James Woods (1856-1922). Psychiatrist, mental hospital superintendent. A native of Chester, Babcock was educated at Harvard and studied mental diseases in Europe. In 1891 he became superintendent of the South Carolina Lunatic Asylum in Columbia. He arrived eager to modernize and improve the institution, but insufficient state funding was a perennial problem. Part of the problem was Babcock’s personality. He did, however, get the legislature to change the institution’s name to South Carolina State Hospital for the Insane.

"B" is for Bragg, Laura [1881-1978]. Museum administrator, educator. A native of Massachusetts, Bragg earned a degree in library science. Her first professional positions were in Maine and at the New York City Library. In 1909 she was hired to be the librarian at the Charleston Museum where she soon was promoted to curator of books and public instruction. She used her position to cross both racial and class lines with her education program—the first in a southern museum.

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