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“W” is for West, Joseph (d. 1691)

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“W” is for West, Joseph (d. 1691). Governor. After serving in the royal navy during the Second Anglo-Dutch War (1665-1667), West—now styled as a captain—was named to command the fleet of three ships sent by the Carolina proprietors to settle the colony in 1669. He was not South Carolina first governor, but he held that office for ten of the colony’s first fifteen years and took a leading role in managing the colony from the beginning. He emphasized subsistence crops while experimenting with more tropical products to provide future wealth for both the colonists and the colony’s proprietary owners. Suffering from malaria and dry gripes, he left the colony and moved to New York where he died. In his will, Joseph West left most of his considerable estate to the Quaker poor of London.

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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.