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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"S" is for Smith, Benjamin (1717-1779). Merchant, politician, planter. A native Carolinian, Smith inherited a two thousand acre plantation at the age of eighteen. His real interest, however, was in trade. In 1735 he began a twenty-seven year mercantile career. By mid-century, his involvement in the lucrative slave and fur trades made him one of the wealthiest merchants in the colony. In 1746 St. Philip’s elected him to the Commons House where he served almost continuously until his death. Smith was an influential member and was Speaker of the House (1755-1763).

South Carolina From A to Z
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"S" is for Smith, Arthur (1921-2014). Musician. Thanks to the widespread popularity of his instrumental hit “Guitar Boogie,” Arthur Smith became one of the better-known guitarists in country music. Like many other South Carolina musicians, he was a product of the textile mills. He started at Spartanburg’s WSPA, but in the 1940s transferred his radio base to WBT in Charlotte. Smith made his first recording of “Guitar Boogie” about 1945 with the Tennessee Ramblers.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"S" is for Smith, Alice Ravenel Huger (1876-1958). Artist. Although largely self-taught, Smith emerged as the leading artist of the Charleston Renaissance. Through her writings and art she helped to disseminate the history and charm of her native lowcountry to a national audience. In 1917 she began the study of Japanese color wood-block prints. Synthesizing the methods of the Japanese with lowcountry imagery, Smith invented a visual language that would remain with her for the rest of her life.  By the late 1920s she had abandoned prints and concentrated on watercolor.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"P" is for Purvis, Melvin Horace, Jr. (1903-1960). Federal agent. Purvis, a Timmonsville native, gained national fame during the 1930s as the nation’s “ace G-man,” credited with gunning down the notorious outlaws John Dillinger and Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd—.  After graduating from USC law school he joined the Justice Department’s Bureau of Investigation (later the FBI). In 1932, as senior agent in the bureau’s Chicago office, his team took down Dillinger. Three months later, Purvis led the team of federal agents that tracked down and killed Floyd.

"P" is for Purrysburg

May 24, 2019
South Carolina From A to Z
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"P" is for Purrysburg (Jasper County). The town of Purrysburg, located on the Savannah River was named for its founder, Jean-Pierre Purry, a native of Switzerland. The Carolina township plan, initiated in 1731, encouraged the immigration of Protestant settlers—who, it was hoped would develop the lucrative production of silk, wine, and indigo. In 1732 and 1733, possibly three hundred French-Swiss and German –Swiss colonists—under Purry’s guidance— settled the 18,000 acres township promised by the colonial government.

"P" is for Punches

May 23, 2019
South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"P" is for punches. Punches have been prominent at South Carolina social gatherings from the state’s beginnings. When Eliza Lucas Pinckney recorded her favorite receipts in 1756, she included one for the Duke of Norfolk Punch, made with twelve pounds of sugar, thirty oranges plus five and one-half quarts juice, thirty lemons pus three and one-half quarts of juice, and a gallon of rum. Punches were made to serve a crowd, and individual recipes were named for particular social clubs. There are recipes for punches designed to serve literally hundreds.

"P" is for PTL Club

May 22, 2019
South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"P" is for PTL Club. Based first in Charlotte, North Carolina, and then in Fort Mill, South Carolina, the PTL Club was one of the most successful ventures in televangelism for much of the 1970s and 1980s. PTL stood for both “Praise the Lord” and “People That Love.” Jim Baaker and his wife Tammy Faye Baaker used the popular program as a springboard to develop a Pentecostally oriented resort, theme park, shopping mall, cable network, and entertainment center called Heritage USA in Fort Mill.

"P" is for Provincials

May 21, 2019
South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"P" is for Provincials. During the Revolution, in addition to regular British soldiers and German mercenaries, British officials organized loyal Americans into conventional fighting units commonly referred to as provincials. A provincial soldier was a volunteer subject to the same control, benefits, and hardships of a British soldier.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"P" is for Promised Land (Greenwood and Abbeville Counties; 2010 population 510). Located just off S.C. Highway 10 south of Greenwood, this rural African American community was created by freed slaves in the 1870s. The South Carolina Land Commission purchased the 2,742-acre Marshall plantation in 1869 and divided it into fifty lots of approximately fifty acres each—and then sold them to freed African Americans. The name derived from their “promise” to pay the commission for the land.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"P" is for Progressive Movement. South Carolina progressives, like reformers throughout the United States, emerged primarily from the town-based middle class.  These progressives pushed for economic and social improvements in their state from roughly 1900 through the 1920s. Fundamentally, progressives deemed an educated population to be essential to all other reform efforts.  Moreover, they focused on strengthening the economy with improved agriculture by helping South Carolina diversify its agriculture and encourage scientific agricultural methods. During Richard I.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"P" is for Progressive Democratic Party. Aware that many white Democrats in South Carolina opposed President Franklin Roosevelt’s reelection to a fourth term in 1944, African American activists sought to demonstrate their loyalty to the national party by mobilizing black support for the president. Within a few months, a statewide club movement (“Fourth Term for Roosevelt Democratic Clubs”) morphed into the Progressive Democratic Party (PDP). In 1944, the PDP nominated Osceola E. McKaine to run against Olin D. Johnson for the U.S. Senate.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"P" is for prisons and penitentiaries. The first significant jail in South Carolina, a twelve-foot square designed to accommodate sixteen prisoners, was built in Charleston in 1769. Prior to the Civil War, fines and corporal punishment—rather than incarceration—were the most popular forms of punishment. In 1868, the state’s first penitentiary opened in Columbia. Later renamed the Central Correctional Institution (CCI), it became the state’s most notorious prison—and Cell Bock One was still in use when CCI closed in 1994.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"P" is for Pringle, Robert (1702-1776). Merchant, planter, legislator, jurist. A native of Scotland, Pringle immigrated to South Carolina in 1725. Initially, he was a factor for London and New England merchants, but eventually went into business for himself. By 1750 he was one of the most prosperous merchants in Charleston. Pringle built two elegant town houses on Tradd Street that still stand. He served as the church warden for both St. Philip’s and St. Michael’s parishes.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"P" is for Pringle, Elizabeth Waties Allston (1845-1921). Rice planter, author. Allston was born to wealth and privilege, but the Civil War destroyed the family’s wealth. Widowed, she successfully managed two plantations—Chicora Wood and White House--producing rice crops that paid taxes and mortgages. With the decline of rice prices in the 1890s, Pringle was desperate for funds. She convinced the editor of the New York Sun to buy weekly articles she wrote about being a female rice-plantation owner.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"P" is for Prince William’s Parish. In 1754 the Commons House of Assembly created Prince William’s Parish. The parish was named for William Duke of Cumberland (the son of King George II) and encompassed the mainland region between the Combahee and Cossawhatchie Rivers, located in modern Beaufort and Jasper Counties. Previously, part of St. Helena’s Parish, the new parish was created because the increasingly prosperous rice planters in the region found travelling to Beaufort to be too difficult. The parish church was completed near William Bull’s Sheldon Plantation in 1753.

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