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.)

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South Carolina From A to Z
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"C" is for Cockfighting. Cockfighting is a blood sport that has existed in South Carolina from colonial times to the present—despite the fact that it was banned by the General Assembly in 1887 and carries a felony charge for participants and less severe penalties for spectators. Cockfighting remains popular in the state and the oldest continuously published magazine for cockers (as cockfighters style themselves), Grit and Steel, emanates from Gaffney. In a typical cockfight, long steel spikes are attached to the legs of the cocks.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"C" is for Cofitachiqui. Cofitachiqui is the name of a sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Native American chiefdom as well as one of the principal towns of the chiefdom. The town of Cofitachiqui was located on the bank of the Wateree River below the fall line near present-day Camden. Spanish accounts, from De Soto’s 1540 expedition, refer to the “Lady of Cofitachiqui” as the local ruler. According to her the province had suffered a great pestilence and she ruled following the death of a male relative.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"C" is for Coker, Elizabeth Boatwright (1909-1993). Writer. At Converse College, Coker was editor of the school’s literary magazine. Between 1950 and 1991, she published nine novels in the genre of the historical romance, allowing her to exploit her deep interest in all periods of the southern and South Carolina experience. Her first novel, Daughter of Strangers (1950), was a dramatic treatment of racial identity set in antebellum New Orleans and the South Carolina lowcountry. It remained on the New York Times best-seller list for six months.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"C" is for Coker, David Robert (1870-1938). Businessman, plant breeder, philanthropist. Following his graduation from the University of South Carolina, Coker managed the J.L. Coker and Company. Illness led him to withdraw from the business and to focus on his first experiments with plant breeding. He saw a need not only for better seed to provide more productive crops but also for a change in the attitude from traditional to more modern methods of farming. This dual focus led to the subsequent development of the Coker’s Pedigreed Seed Company in 1913 with Coker as president.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"C" is for Coker, Charles Westfield (1879-1931). Businessman, philanthropist, social reformer. At an early age, Coker became involved in his family’s various business enterprises. In 1899, when the Cokers organized the Southern Novelty Company in Hartsville, he became its first treasurer and chief salesman. In 1918 he became president of the company. It was Charles Coker who brought modern industrial and managerial practice to the family-controlled business, which changed its name to Sonoco Products Company.

Pardo, Jaun

Mar 15, 2019
South Carolina From A to Z
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"P" is for Pardo, Juan. Spanish soldier, explorer. In 1565, Pardo travelled to Spanish Florida as the captain of one of six military companies sent to reinforce the colony. His company was posted to Santa Elena, located on present-day Parris Island. He was ordered to explore for an overland route to the silver mines of Mexico—thought to be just several hundred miles inland. He never reached Mexico, but his two expeditions provided a valuable look at mid sixteenth century southeastern Indians. On his second expedition he built six forts, garrisoned with Spanish soldiers.

Palmetto Pigeon Plant

Mar 14, 2019
South Carolina From A to Z
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"P" is for Palmetto Pigeon Plant.  

Omar Ibn Sahid

Mar 13, 2019
South Carolina From A to Z
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"O" is for Omar Ibn Sahid.

Negro Seamen Acts

Mar 12, 2019
South Carolina From A to Z
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"N" is for the Negro Seamen Acts.  

South Carolina From A to Z
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"M" is for Manigault, Judith Giton.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"C" is for Cooper River bridges. In 1927, a group of Charleston businessmen formed the Cooper River Bridge Company to promote the construction of a span linking Charleston with Mount Pleasant. With financing from northern investors, the bridge was completed in 1929. At the time, it was the longest span of its type in the world—2.7 miles long and 20 feet wide. In 1943 it was named for former Charleston mayor John P. Grace. Tolls did not cover construction costs, so in 1944 the City of Charleston purchased the bridge and eventually abolished tolls.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"C" is for Cooper River. The Cooper River and its tributaries drain much of the central portion of the lowcountry. The river flows out of Lake Moultrie, which is in turn fed by Lake Marion. The river combines with the Ashley to form Charleston harbor. English colonists named both rivers in honor of one of the Lords Proprietors, Lord Anthony Ashley Cooper. Prior to 1865 the Cooper boasted some of the finest rice plantations in the state. There has been no bigger single developer on the river that the U.S. Navy.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"C" is for Cooper, Thomas (1759-1839). Educator, scientist. A native of England, Cooper immigrated to Pennsylvania in 1794 where he was active in politics and taught chemistry at several schools. In 1820 he accepted a position as the second president of South Carolina College. He also taught courses in chemistry mineralogy, and political economy. In 1824 he wrote his first major pamphlet that espoused states’ rights philosophy, and he later became a strong supporter of nullification.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"C" is for Cooper, Robert Archer (1874-1953). Governor. A native of Laurens, Cooper received a law degree from a school in Puerto Rico. In 1898 he opened a law practice in Laurens. Two years later he was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives. He served two terms and then was elected solicitor of the Eighth Judicial Circuit. In 1918 he won the Democratic Party’s nomination for governor and was elected.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"C" is for Cooper, Anthony Ashley (1621-1683). Lord Proprietor. Ashley Cooper was initially a royalist during the English Civil War but twice changed sides. King Charles II rewarded Cooper, by raising him to the peerage, naming him Chancellor of the Exchequer, and granting him (and seven others) the joint proprietorship of Carolina. With John Locke, Lord Ashley wrote the Fundamental Constitutions for the colony and oversaw arrangements for the expedition that brought the first permanent English settlers to South Carolina.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"C" is for Cook Mountain (Richland County). Cook Mountain is a twelve-hundred-acre hill located near Eastover. It stands four hundred feet above sea level and has both ecological and geological significance. The mountain is composed of sediments that form the eroded remnants of the Aiken Plateau, which runs from Aiken County through portion of Lexington, Richland, Lee and Sumter Counties. The sediments that form Cook Mountain are largely composed of clays, clayey sands, marls, and sands capped by ironstone.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"C" is for Cooke, William Wilson (1871-1949). Architect. A native of Greenville, Cooke worked as a carpenter’s apprentice until he entered the Literary and Industrial Department of Claflin College. After graduating from Claflin, he studied architecture at M.I. T. and art history at Columbia University. Between 1902 and 1907 he practiced architecture in South Carolina. In 1907 he qualified for a civil service position with the supervising architect of the U.S. Treasury Department.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"C" is for Coram, Thomas (ca. 1757-1811). Engraver, painter. Coram immigrated to South Carolina in 1769. By 1781 Coram, a largely self-taught artist was advertising himself as an engraver. Among the few surviving examples of his engravings is a seal for the Charleston Library Society. In 1784 he opened a drawing school and among his students was the artist Chartist Fraser. The first known professional landscape artist in South Carolina, Coram derived his initial style and approach from studying and copying picturesque English books and engravers.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"C" is for Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Organized in 1992, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) is affiliated with the national body (headquartered in Atlanta) by the same name—a group founded in 1991 in response to dissatisfaction with denominational leadership. Of particular concern to the CBF is the maintenance of “distinctive Baptist principles, such as the priesthood of the believer, the separation of church and state, and the autonomy of the local church.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"C" is for Cooperationists. In South Carolina the secessionist crisis of 1850-1851 saw the state divide into three factions. A small coterie of Unionists opposed secession outright. Cooperationists, did not oppose disunion, but believed that the state should secede only if other states joined with her. Separate secessionists argued for immediate secession even if South Carolina had to go it alone. Cooperationists invoked the experience of nullification when the state was without a single ally in an impending armed confrontation with the federal government.

"P" is for Port Royal

Feb 22, 2019
South Carolina From A to Z
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"P" is for Port Royal (Beaufort County; population 3,950). In 1869 Stephen Caldwell Miller began construction of the Port Royal Railroad between Augusta, Georgia, and Battery Point on the southern end of Port Royal Island. The town, railroad, and harbor facilities followed and Port Royal was incorporated in 1874. The town soon surpassed Beaufort in both shipping and commercial activities. Nearby phosphate deposits brought a boom and regular railroad connections with inland cities. Passenger ship service was established to New York, Liverpool, and Bremen.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"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.

"S" is for Smallpox

Feb 20, 2019
South Carolina From A to Z
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"S" is for Smallpox. An acute, highly contagious disease, smallpox was a major threat in South Carolina for centuries. In the 1700s an extremely virulent form of smallpox (variola major) developed in Europe and gradually spread to the New World. It was one of the world’s most feared diseases, not only because it often killed upward of twenty percent of the infected, but also because it often left survivors scarred with facial “pock marks” and sometimes blinded them.

"S" is for Slavery

Feb 19, 2019
South Carolina From A to Z
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"S" is for Slavery. Africans were present at the founding of South Carolina and within several decades became a majority of the population. By 1740, only 15,000 of the 45,000 people in South Carolina were white. Although the demographics were not as extreme as in the West Indies, the disequilibrium was more than sufficient to make the colony unique in North America. Reacting to the Stono Rebellion of 1740, the colony passed it most comprehensive slave law. The 1740 slave code was the basis for all slave laws subsequently enacted in South Carolina until 1865.

"S" is for Slave Trade

Feb 18, 2019
South Carolina From A to Z
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"S" is for Slave Trade. The Atlantic slave trade was one of the most important demographic, social, and economic events of the modern era. Eighteenth century South Carolina was the continent’s leading importer of slaves, importing approximately 100,000 Africans. Crowded and unsanitary conditions, poor food, inadequate water, epidemic diseases, and long voyages made slave ships legendary for their foul smell and high death rates. European profits per slave ship ranged from a low of three percent to as high as fifty-seven percent in the eighteenth century.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"P" is for Presbyterian Church in America. The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) organized in 1973 when 215 churches withdrew from the Southern Presbyterian Church (Presbyterian Church, U.S. [PCUS]), charging that Southern Presbyterians “denied the inerrancy and authority of Scripture.” While large and historic congregations joined the PCA in other southern states, none did in South Carolina. No congregation in the lowcountry (Charleston Presbytery) joined.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"P" is for Prehistoric South Carolina. During the last Ice Age human groups may have made their way to what became South Carolina as early as 18,000 years ago—but a time frame of 13,000 years ago is widely accepted by archaeologists. After the Ice Age there were successive waves of cultural development. The Early Archaic period (10,000-8,000 B.C.E.) saw a population explosion. During the Middle Archaic period (8,000-5,000 B.C.E.) stone tools and spear points developed.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"P" is for Pottersville. Pottersville originated in Edgefield District between 1819 and 1820 around the stoneware factory of Abner Landrum a mile and a half north of the town of Edgefield. Landrum’s was the first significant stoneware factory in the district. The owner established the community for the factory’s free tradesmen and enslaved workers, but other craftsmen whose trades supported the wares manufacture and transportation lived in the village. By the 1830s, the settlement had a population of 150 persons.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"P" is for Potter’s Raid (April 5-21, 1865). General Edward E. Potter’s raid into the lowcountry and central South Carolina was neither massive nor particularly crucial to Union victory. In March 1865, while the rest of Sherman’s army marched into North Carolina, a detachment of Union soldiers drove toward Darlington in hopes of breaking the area’s railroad connections. Meeting resistance, they fell back. The failure irked Sherman who ordered that as much force as necessary be used to accomplish the mission.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"P" is for Post and Courier (2010 circulation: 86,084 daily and 94,940 Sunday). Published in Charleston, the Post and Courier is the oldest daily newspaper in South Carolina. The publication’s lineage can be traced through three newspapers.  The Charleston Courier  (1803) and the Charleston Daily News (1865) merged in 1873 and became the News and Courier. The third newspaper, the Evening Post began publication in 1894.

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