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“B” is for Bluffton

South Carolina from A to Z logo

  “B” is for Bluffton [Beaufort County, pop. 1,275]. Bluffton originated as a summer resort for antebellum plantation owners of St. Luke’s Parish in Beaufort District. Located on the twenty-foot high bluffs of the May River and facing the cool, southerly winds, it was an ideal summer refuge for planter families. The town, known first simply as May River and then later as Kirk’s Bluff, was officially named Bluffton in 1844. The town’s streets were formally laid out in the 1830s and Bluffton was incorporated by the General Assembly in 1852. The first secessionist movement in the state was started in 1844 by the planters of St. Luke’s Parish and became known as the “Bluffton Movement.” During the Civil War Union troops—perhaps as retribution for the role residents played in the secession movement-- burned more than two-thirds of Bluffton.

Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar receivedhisA.B.degreefromDavidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.