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“P” is for Perry, Benjamin Franklin (1805-1886)

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“P” is for Perry, Benjamin Franklin (1805-1886). Journalist, governor. One of antebellum South Carolina’s preeminent Unionist political leaders, Perry was born in what is now Oconee County. After reading for the law, he was admitted to the bar in Greenville. Perry’s public career began with his editorship of the Greenville Mountaineer, an organ of the state’s Unionists. In 1832 he fought a duel with pro-nullification editor over a slanderous article—and killed him. Perry represented Greenville County in both the SC House of Representatives and state Senate. Although opposed to secession, he remained loyal to his state. In 1865, President Andrew Johnson appointed Perry as provisional governor and he served for six months in 1865. In October 1865, Benjamin Franklin Perry was elected to the US Senate, but he was denied his seat by the Republican Congress.

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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.