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“T” is for Tillman, James Hammond [1868-1911]

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“T” is for Tillman, James Hammond [1868-1911]. Lieutenant Governor. A journalist for the Winnsboro News & Herald, Tillman, writing under the pseudonym “Fair Play,” countered the verbal assaults of N.G. Gonzales of The State--one of the fiercest opponents of his Uncle “Pitchfork Ben” Tillman. Arrogant, bombastic, and a notorious drinker and gambler, he rode his uncle’s coat tails in 1900 to the office of lieutenant governor. Two years later he ran for governor and Gonzales exposed Tillman’s falsifying of Senate records, disgraceful military conduct, and fiscal improprieties. Publicly disgraced, he blamed Gonzales for his defeat. In 1903 on Main Street in Columbia, he shot and killed the unarmed Gonzales. Arrested and tried for murder, he was acquitted by a Lexington County jury that bought the defense argument that James Hammond Tillman had acted in self-defense.

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.