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“E” is for Ellerbe, William Haselden (1862-1899)

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“E” is for Ellerbe, William Haselden (1862-1899). Governor. Born in Marion District, Ellerbe attended both Wofford and Vanderbilt but did not graduate due to poor health. Returning to Marion County, he purchased his own plantation and established a lucrative mercantile business in the town of Marion. Ellerbe entered politics in 1889 when he joined the Farmers Alliance. In 1890 he became state comptroller general, the youngest man ever elected to statewide office in South Carolina. Reelected in 1892, he was considered to be a more moderate member of Ben Tillman’s “Reform” faction. Ellerbe won the governorship in 1896. This election was the first to utilize the new county primary system established by the 1895 constitution. William Haselden Ellerbe was reelected after a challenging campaign in 1898, but died of illness less than a year later.

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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.