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“T” is for Tillman, James Hammond (1869-1911)

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“T” is for Tillman, James Hammond (1869-1911). Lieutenant governor. Born in Clarks Hill (now McCormick County), Tillman was educated at Georgetown University. Although admitted to the bar, he opted for a career in journalism instead. Writing for the Winnsboro News and Herald under the name “Fair Play,” he countered the attacks of the State newspaper—one of the harshest critics of his uncle, U.S. Senator Benjamin “Pitchfork” Tillman. Appealing to racial prejudices and capitalizing on his family name, he was elected lieutenant governor in 1900. Running for governor in 1902, the State attacked him unmercifully and he was defeated. Blaming his defeat on the newspaper’s editor, N.G. Gonzales, Tillman shot the unarmed editor in downtown Columbia. Public reaction to his acquittal on the grounds of “self-defense” was negative, and James Hammond Tillman retired from public life in disgrace.

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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.