SC From A to Z

From Hilton Head to Caesars Head, and from the Lords Proprietors to Hootie and the Blowfish, historian Walter Edgar mines the riches of the South Carolina Encyclopedia to bring you South Carolina from A to Z.

"F" is for Flat Nose

Jun 2, 2020

"F" is for Flat Nose. In the 1980s, Flat Nose, a Darlington County bulldog, attracted international attention because of his ability to climb pine trees. According to his owner Barney Odom, Flat Nose developed his tree-climbing ability as a puppy despite Odom's best efforts to stop him. After regional media gave the dog considerable attention, he and his owner were invited to appear on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

"E" is for Eleanor Clubs. During the early years of World War II, white South Carolinians, like other white southerners, passed rumors about “Eleanor Clubs.” They told each other that their black help—inspired by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt—were organizing quasi-unions to raise their pay or leave domestic employment. And, they vowed to have a white woman in every kitchen by Christmas. Then they would start to press for social equality and, finally, the overthrow of white-led government.

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"P" is for Patterson, Gladys Elizabeth Johnston [b. 1939]. Legislator. Congresswoman. After graduating from Columbia College, Patterson served as a public affairs officer with the Peace Corps and with VISTA in Washington, D.C. After a brief stint on the Spartanburg County Council, she was elected to the South Carolina Senat , serving from 1979 to 1986. In 1986, Patterson ran for Congress as a Democrat in the solidly Republican Fourth Congressional District--and won.

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"O" is for Orr, James Lawrence [1822-1873]. Congressman. Governor. After serving in the General Assembly, Orr was elected to the U.S. Congress as a States-Rights Democrat and served five terms [1849-1859]. By sentiment a Unionist, he believed that the state’s interests would best be protected by a strong national Democratic Party. In 1857 he was elected Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. With Lincoln’s election, he supported secession and was a delegate to the Secession Convention. He served in the Confederate Senate from 1861 until 1865.

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"N" is for Nielsen, Barbara Stock [b. 1942]. State Superintendent of Education. A native of Ohio, in 1984, Nielsen became the curriculum specialist and director of business-community partnerships for Beaufort County Schools. In 1990 she was elected state Superintendent of Education on the Republican ticket—the first woman to hold that position and only the second woman elected to a constitutional office. Her accomplishments included the development of frameworks for all subjects and grades and new performance-based assessments for statewide tests.

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"M" is for Marion County [489 square miles; population 35,466]. In 1800 Liberty County was renamed and reorganized as Marion District--named for Revolutionary War hero Francis Marion. Located in northeastern South Carolina, the county is shaped like a knobby sweet potato, with its skinny southern end only fifteen miles from the Atlantic. Horry County lies to the east, Williamsburg and Georgetown Counties to the west. The Great Pee Dee and the Little Pee Dee Rivers flow the length of the county and merge at its southernmost tip. The soil is well suited for agriculture.

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"L" is for Lebby, Nathaniel H. [1816-1880]. Inventor. In 1852 Lebby, an employee of the South Carolina Railroad, received a patent for a “water-raising apparatus”—a steam-driven pump frequently used in the Lowcountry’s rice fields. It was also used to deepen a channel in Charleston Harbor. When in operation, the pump discharged sizable amounts of mud, sand, and even rocks. He then made a working model of a dredge that impressed the U.S. Corps of Engineers responsible for Charleston Harbor.

"H" is for Hover Scare

May 22, 2020
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"H" is for Hover Scare (1887). Hiram E. Hover (often mis-spelled in the press as “Hoover”) formed the Co-operative Workers of America (CWA) in North Carolina. The goal of the CWA was to promote major labor reforms and establish cooperative stores. In South Carolina, Hoover addressed inter-racial crowds in Spartanburg, Greenville, and Walhalla. Other organizers, recruited by Hoover, founded CWA Branches or “Hoover Clubs” in Greenville proper, and in the rural areas of Greenville, Laurens and Spartanburg counties.

"H" is for Hookworm

May 20, 2020
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"H" is for Hookworm. In the early 1900s Charles W. Stiles identified a worm, Necator americanis, as the source of an infection that plagued the American South. Nurtured in damp soil, hookworm caused severe anemia, stunted growth, and often mental retardation in victims. What made Necator most threatening was its soaring infection rate (in parts of South Carolina it ranged as high as thirty-five percent). The starting point of infection was the lack of sanitary privies in most of the rural and mill village South--picked up by barefooted Southerners.

"L" is for Lutherans

May 18, 2020
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"L" is for Lutherans. While Lutherans are the third largest Protestant denomination in the United States, their numbers have never been large in the South. In South Carolina, Lutherans make up less than two percent of the population, with highest concentrations in Newberry and Lexington Counties. Among Protestants, Lutherans typically give greater weight to the historic (“catholic”) tradition going back to the ancient church and conduct a liturgy of worship that stands in continuity with that tradition. South Carolina Lutherans formed their own synod in 1824.

"T" is for Tabby

May 15, 2020
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"T" is for tabby. During the seventeenth century, the Spanish introduced tabby along the coasts of Florida, Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas as a low-cost and accessible building material. It was manufactured following methods long practiced throughout southern Spain by mixing various compounds including earth, limestone, and clay with lime and then pounding or pouring the resultant mix between boards positioned to define the required building shape. Once the cast was set, the form was dismantled, repositioned, and refilled with the mix as successively higher building levels.

"S" is for Saint Andrew's Parish. In 1706, when the Commons House made the Church of England the colony's official church, St. Andrew's was among the ten parishes created by that act. It originally included the mainland region south and west of Charleston along the Ashley River as well as James Island. Parishes in South Carolina served a political as well as a religious function. Due to the growing profitability of rice cultivation and subsequent population growth, the parish was subdivided in 1717, with the upper territory surrounding the upper Ashley River becoming St.

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"R" is for R.L. Bryan Company. The publishing firm of R.L. Bryan Company is Columbia’s oldest industry. It began in 1844 when Richard Lather Bryan of Charleston began to operate a newsstand and stationery shop on Richardson Street. The business was destroyed by fire in February 1865, but quickly recovered. In 1884 the company added a printing department. It began printing bills and journals for the General Assembly in 1898, beginning a long association. At the turn of the last century, the company became the state’s textbook distributor.

"Q" is for Quakers

May 12, 2020
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"Q" is for Quakers. Quakerism came to South Carolina in the 1670s and a Meeting of the Society of Friends was established in Charleston in 1682. Charleston Friends held ties to London and Philadelphia Yearly Meetings and remained separate from the other South Carolina Quaker settlements, which were affiliated with the North Carolina Yearly Meeting. A group of Irish Quakers settled along the Wateree River near Camden about 1750. Bush River was by far the largest and most influential of the Piedmont meetings.

"P" is for Pacific Mills. Pacific Mills began in Lawrence, Massachusetts in 1850. In  1915, in order to expand its operations it purchased four mills on the outskirts of Columbia. Known collectively as Columbia Pacific Mills, they included Olympia, Granby, Richland, and Capital City Mills. In the 1920s, Olympia Mill had the largest spinning room in the world with more than 100,000 spindles. The massive output of the Columbia mills made Pacific the world's largest manufacturer of percale.

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