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“W” is for Walterboro

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

“W” is for Walterboro (Colleton County; population 5364). Just after the Revolutionary War, rice planters from the Edisto, Combahee, and Ashepoo Ricers, tired of an annual summer jaunt of fifty miles to Charleston, created an alternate refuge from the malarial swamps closer to home. By the 1790s, among local forests and freshwater springs, they built a village that they called Walterboro. Profits from rice and indigo produced by enslaved black labor brought prosperity. In 1817 the town became the seat of Colleton District. An elegant brick courthouse designed by Robert Mills was complete in 1822. Four years later the town was incorporated. In 1828, Robert Barnwell Rhett launched the nullification movement at the Walterboro Courthouse. Throughout the antebellum period in the years preceding the Civil War, Walterboro was a hotbed of states’ rights sentiment.

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.