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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"C" is for Columbia Farms. Columbia Farms commenced operations in 1982. Initially the property consisted of a feed mill and hatchery in Leesville, a processing plant in Columbia, and a distribution center in Charleston. Its workforce of 250 processed 250,000 chickens a week. Within a decade, Columbia Farms employed more than 1,000 workers, acquired a feed company in Lavonia, Georgia, added distribution centers in Conway, Greenville, and Florence as well as two in North Carolina and another in Massachusetts—and shipped 1.2 million birds every seven days.

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"B" is for Byrnes, James Francis (1882-1972). Congressman, U.S. senator, U.S. Supreme Court justice, U.S. secretary of state, governor. Over his lifetime, Byrnes—a native of Charleston--held many public positions. As a U.S. Congressman (1911-1925), he helped establish the first national highway program. In the U.S. Senate (1930-1936), he was an influential advocate of New Deal programs. In 1941 he was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. He resigned sixteen months later to become director of the Office of Economic Stabilization.

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"B" is for Byars, Betsy Cromer (b. 1928). Writer. Byars began her writing career with magazine articles until dedicating herself to children’s literature. In 1962 her first book, Clementine, was published. It was the first of many books that she would create based upon her personal experiences. In total Byars has written more than fifty books including The Night Swimmers (1980) and Keeper of the Doves (2002). Several have been adapted for television.

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"B" is for Burroughs, Franklin Gorham, Jr. (b. 1942). Essayist. environmentalist, educator. After graduating from USC, Burroughs obtained his Ph.D. from Harvard. From 1968-2000, he taught at Bowdoin College in Maine. His essays appeared in Best American Essays in 1987 and 1989. In 1991, he published his own collection of essays, Billy Watson’s Croaker Sack. Burroughs’s work is often compared to that of New England poet, Henry David Thoreau.

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"B" is for Burroughs, Franklin Gorham (1837-1897). Manufacturer, merchant, land developer. A native of North Carolina, Burroughs disliked farming. In 1857 he moved to Conway and went to work with a cousin in a mercantile and turpentine business. On his own he won contracts to build a bridge and gallows for the town. He entered Confederate service in 1861 and served in the Army of the Tennessee. He was captured in 1864 and imprisoned near Chicago. Returning home, he expanded his turpentine and retail businesses.

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"B" is for Butler, Susan Dart (1888-1959). Librarian. Butler attended Avery Institute in Charleston, Atlanta University in Georgia, and McDowell Millinery School in Boston. For five years she pursued a career as a hat maker. In 1927, Butler opened a free library and reading room in Dart Hall, a building belonging to her father. Using his books, folding chairs, and two tables, Butler opened the reading room three afternoons a week. She acted as librarian and operated the facility with donations and often her own funds. In 1931, the Charleston Free Library established the Dart Hall Branch.

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"B" is for Butler, Pierce Mason (1798-1847). Soldier, governor. A native of Edgefield District, Butler graduated from the South Carolina College. From 1819-1829, he was an officer in the United States Army, serving on the western frontier. Returning to South Carolina, Butler purchased a plantation near Columbia. Shortly thereafter, he secured an executive position with the Bank of the State of South Carolina. A dedicated nullifier, he represented Richland District in the Nullification Convention and served on the committee that drafted the Ordinance of Nullification.

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"B" is for Butler, Pierce (1744-1822). Soldier, planter, statesman. A native of Ireland, Butler was a major in the British army. In 1766, his regiment was transferred to South Carolina. He sold his commission in 1773, married a Middleton heiress, and remained in South Carolina. He supported the patriot cause and served in uniform throughout the Revolutionary War. In 1787 the General Assembly elected Butler to the constitutional convention where he championed a strong central government and South Carolina’s interests. In 1789, he became the state’s first U.S. Senator.

"F" is for Freed, Arthur [1894-1973] Film producer, songwriter. The son of Hungarian immigrants, Freed was born in Charleston, but traveled extensively with his father—an art dealer. During World War I, as an army sergeant, he composed songs and put on shows to entertain servicemen. After the war he and Nacio Herb Brown purchased the Orange Grove Theater in Los Angeles where they produced musical shows. In 1929 the pair was invited to compose songs for MGM’s “Broadway Melody” which won the Oscar for best picture.

"E" is for Erskine College. In 1836 the General Synod of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church organized an academy in Due West. A professor of divinity was added the next year and the institution was incorporated as Clark and Erskine Seminary. With more faculty added in 1839, it became the first four-year denominational college in the state. About 1843 the name was shortened to Erskine College and the theological seminary became an adjunct of the college. The school took its name from the 18th century Scottish theologian and reformer, Ebenezer Erskine.

"D" is for Donaldson Air Base. Early in World War II, the US Army Air Corps leased more than two thousand acres of land from the city and county of Greenville to construct what was then known as the Greenville Army Air Base, with barracks, hangers, and related buildings to train B-25 crews. The base was deactivated at the end of the war, but in 1946 was reconstituted as the headquarters of the nation’s Troop Carrier Command [later called the Military Air Transport Command]. Its planes played roles in the 1948 Berlin Airlift and during the crisis in the Belgian Congo a decade later.

"C" is for Chapin, Sarah Flournoy Moore [ca. 1830-1896]. Temperance leader; social reformer. Known as Sallie F. Chapin, she became one of South Carolina's most visible 19th century women leaders. During the Civil War, she served as president of the Soldier’s Relief Society and after the war as leader of the Ladies Christian Association. In 1880 she organized the first local chapter of the Women's Christian Temperance Union in South Carolina in Charleston.

"B" is for Berkeley County [1,098 sq. miles; population 142,651]. Created on May 10, 1682, Berkeley was one of South Carolina's first three counties. It was named for two of the Lords Proprietors, Lord John Berkeley Sir William Berkeley. At that time Charleston served as the county’s seat of justice. Over the next two centuries the boundaries and organization of the Berkeley County area underwent several alterations. With the abolishment of the parish system in 1865, Berkeley became part of Charleston County.

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"M" is for Moise, Edwin Warren (1832-1902). Lawyer, soldier, adjutant general. A native of Charleston, Moise began his career working for his uncle in Columbus, Georgia. Although he was a vocal opponent of secession, when war came he organized a cavalry company in Columbus—called the Moise Rangers. Moise saw a great deal of action in late 1864 and early 1865, including the defense of Petersburg during the Bermuda Hundred Campaign and the “Great Beefsteak Raid” under General Wade Hampton. After the war Moise practiced law in Sumter.

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"M" is for Mills, Robert (1781-1855). Architect, engineer, author. A native of Charleston, Mills studied architecture with James Hoban, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Latrobe. Settling in Philadelphia and later Baltimore, his designs for churches and public buildings won him acclaim. In 1820 he returned to South Carolina where he is remembered for designing sixteen courthouses, twelve jails, and the Fireproof Building in Charleston. While in South Carolina, he published an Atlas of South Carolina and Statistics of South Carolina.

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"C" is for Columbia College. Chartered in 1854 by the South Carolina Methodist Conference, Columbia College is the eleventh-oldest women’s college in the United States. Initially called Columbia Female College, its first students entered in 1859 in a new facility on Plain (now Hampton) Street. Closed after the Civil War, it reopened in 1873. The college dropped the “female” from its official name in 1904. In 1905 the institution relocated to a new campus in the Eau Claire neighborhood north of the city. It was accredited in 1938. Under the presidency of R.

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"C" is for Columbia Canal. Completed in 1824, the Columbia Canal—originally three miles long--was located on the east bank of the Congaree River, near the junction of the Broad and Saluda Rivers. It was one of several canals constructed by the state of South Carolina to improve transportation links between the upstate and Charleston. The Confederate government used the canal to run powder works. While its usefulness as a transportation source declined (because of the railroad), the canal had excellent prospects for generating power.

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"C" is for Columbia Army Air Base. In 1940 Columbia Army Air Base began as one of 250 sites where federal funds would be used to construct an airfield. It was originally designated Lexington County Airport to be owned and operated by the county. After Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Army Air Force took control. Flyers known as the “Doolittle Raiders” arrived in February 1942 to train for their daring attack on Japan two months later. The base’s main role was to train newly commissioned pilots, bombardiers, and navigators in flying B-25 bombers.

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"H" is for Hyer, Helen von Kolonitz (1896-1983). Poet, writer. While still in her teens, Hyer published her first poems. She joined the Poetry Society in 1920. Her first poetry collection, Santee Songs was published in 1923—followed by Wine Dark Sea in 1935. Frequent topics of Hyer’s verse included Confederate heroes, South Carolina history, and southern romance. Her more serious compositions were balanced with playful poems.

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"H" is for Hutty, Alfred Heber (1877-1954). Artist. A native of Michigan, Hutty attended the Art Student League in Woodstock, New York. In 1919, in pursuit of a warmer place to spend winters, he discovered Charleston—and for decades divided his time between Charleston and Woodstock. In 1923 he became one of the founders of Charleston’s Etchers’ Club. Hutty’s oil painting of Charleston streetscapes and lowcountry gardens are impressionistic. However, he earned greater fame for his etchings and drypoints.

"H" is for Hurricanes

Sep 26, 2018
South Carolina From A to Z
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"H" is for Hurricanes. The term “hurricane” comes from the West Indian word “hurrican,” which means “big wind.” Hurricanes are classified into five categories using the Saffir-Simpson scale based on maximum sustained winds, minimal central pressure, storm surge, and damage. Since 1900, fifteen hurricanes have hit South Carolina directly, but only three have reached major hurricane status. In 1954 Hazel moved inland near Little River with winds of 130 mph and a seventeen-foot storm surge. Five years later Gracie hit Beaufort with 125 mph winds.

"H" is for Hunting

Sep 25, 2018
South Carolina From A to Z
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"H" is for Hunting. Hunting has long been an important component of the Palmetto State’s culture. Indians hunted a wide assortment of game for food from as early as 13,000 B.C.E. Colonists also depended upon game for food. By the time of the Revolution, Carolinians recognized the detrimental effects of unrestricted hunting and enacted laws to restrict night hunting and to establish seasons for different game animals. In the 1920s wealthy northerners purchased lowcountry plantations as game preserves. Locals—white and black—created formal and informal hunting clubs.

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"H" is for Hunter-Gault, Charlayne (b. 1942). Journalist, civil rights activist. Hunter-Gault attended Wayne State University in Detroit before a judge allowed her to desegregate the University of Georgia. After graduating in 1963, she was a reporter and news anchor for WRC-TV in Washington, D.C. For five years she was the “Talk of the Town” reporter for the New Yorker magazine.

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"H" is for Hunter, John (d. 1802). Congressman, U.S. senator. Little is known about Hunter’s early life. He owned considerable real estate in Pendleton District. In 1785 he was elected to the General Assembly from Little River District (modern Laurens County). He represented the district at the 1788 convention to ratify the U.S. Constitution and at the 1790 South Carolina Constitutional Convention. In 1793 the voters of Ninety-Six District elected him to the U.S. Congress. Subsequently, the General Assembly elected him in 1797 to fill the unexpired term of U.S. senator Pierce Butler.

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"H" is for Hunter, Jane Edna Iris (1882-1971). Nurse, social worker. Family circumstances forced Hunter to go into domestic service when barely in her teens. She was able to work her way through Ferguson Academy (now Ferguson-William College) and graduated in 1900. She was admitted to the Cannon Street Hospital and Training School for Nurses in 1902. Her experience in the Charleston slums imbued Hunter with a powerful desire to help her fellow blacks escape such deplorable conditions.

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"H" is for Humphreys, Josephine (b. 1945). Novelist. Born in Charleston, Humphreys graduated from Duke and obtained an M.F.A. from Yale. In 1970 she began teaching at Baptist College in Charleston [now Charleston Southern University]. Drawing praise for its finely honed language and strong characters, her first novel, Dreams of Sleep (1984) won the Ernest Hemingway Prize for a first book of fiction. Humphreys’ second novel, Rich in Love (1987) was later made into a film. Fireman’s Fair (1991), her third novel, takes place following a destructive hurricane.

"C" is for Columbia

Sep 18, 2018
South Carolina From A to Z
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"C" is for Columbia (Richland County; 2010 population 130,493). Named for Christopher Columbus and created in 1786 as the nation’s first truly planned capital city, Columbia has a unique history. While now the setting for state, county, and municipal governments, it took shape in the wilderness near the geographic center of South Carolina. The original plan for the city was a grid two miles square containing 400 blocks. Most exceptional were the wide streets. In 1950, Columbia embraced the city-manager government.

"C" is for Colonoware

Sep 17, 2018
South Carolina From A to Z
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"C" is for Colonoware. On historic-period sites in South Carolina, archaeologists often find locally made, hand-built unglazed pottery that was fired in open hearths rather than kilns. Vessels and sherds of this ware may be found on the sites of Indian camps and villages, the city lots of Charleston and other towns, underwater near wharves and ferries, and on small farms and plantations. This broad class of pottery has been termed colonoware. This pottery is most closely associated with Native Americans and African Americans, but associations vary considerably.

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"C" is for Colonial Agents. South Carolina, like Britain’s other American colonies, had no elected representatives in Parliament to argue for its interests. The problem for the colony then was how to get Parliament to pay attention to its particular concerns. Parliament, too, desired an informed source on its distant settlement. The answer--beginning in 1712--was a permanent colonial agent, paid for by the colony’s Commons House of Assembly. He reported regularly to the Commons House on matters of interest to the colony.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"C" is for Colleton County (1,056 square miles; 2010 population 38, 909). Colleton County was one of three original counties organized in Carolina in 1682. Lying south and west of Charleston between the Combahee and Stono Rivers this Colleton was somewhat larger than its modern counterpart. By the 1730s the county had been subdivided into three colonial parishes. The General Assembly created Colleton District in 1800 with Jacksonborough as the courthouse town. In 1817 Walterboro became the county seat.

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