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"A" is for Aiken, William, Sr. [1778-1831]

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"A" is for Aiken, William, Sr. [1778-1831]. Merchant. Banker. Railroad Developer. A native of, Ireland, Aiken immigrated to South Carolina with his family when only a lad. He grew up in Winnsboro and when a young man was apprenticed to a Charleston cotton merchant. With his employer’s support, Aiken went into business as a cotton factor for himself. Later, he served as a director of the Planters’ and Mechanics’ Bank of South Carolina, the Union Insurance Company, and the Charleston Branch of the Bank of the United States. For seven years he represented the parishes of St. Philip’s and St. Michael’s in the General Assembly. By 1828, he was one of Charleston’s leading businessmen. William Aiken, Sr., spearheaded the effort to establish the South Carolina Canal and Railroad Company and, was its largest investor. 

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson 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.