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“B” is for Beaufort

South Carolina A to Z larger logo

“B” is for Beaufort (Beaufort County, 2020 population 12, 917). Beaufort is the second-oldest town in South Carolina and was named for Henry Somerset, the second duke of Beaufort. After the American Revolution, Beaufort became a summer retreat for nearby wealthy rice and Sea Island cotton planters. In 1861 it was the first southern city captured by U.S. military forces. During Reconstruction Beaufort residents played major role in state government and politics. A series of natural and economic disasters in the 1890s signaled the beginning of a lengthy economic decline. Beaufort’s began to revive based on the payroll provided by the U.S. Marine Recruitment Depot at Parris Island (1915) and the U.S. Naval Air Station (1943). In the twentieth century the evocative charm of Beaufort attracted not only visitors and retirees but also Hollywood producers.

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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.