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.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"E" is for Earle, Willie, lynching of (February 17, 1947). The murder of Willie Earle is believed to be the last racial lynching in South Carolina. Earle, a twenty-six year old African American male was arrested for the robbery and stabbing of a white Greenville taxi driver. A mob abducted Earle from his jail cell in Pickens and drove to the outskirts of Greenville where they lynched him and abused his corpse. Officials at the state and federal levels were quick to condemn the lynching and to pursue Earle’s murderers.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"D" is for Dabbs, Edith Mitchell (1906-1991). Author, churchwoman, community activist. Dabbs, a native of Dalzell, graduated from Coker College and then taught school for several years. Through the 1940s and 1950s she was active in the work of the United Church Women (an ecumenical Christian organization) and served as state president. Under her leadership the organization grew from half a dozen white women to an integrated annual gathering of more than two hundred. She also served on the national organization’s Public Relations Committee.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"C" is for Caesars Head State Park. Located in Greenville County near to the border with North Carolina, Caesars Head State Park was established in 1979. In 1996 the park became part of the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area, which was also includes Jones Gap State Park and Wildcat Wayside. Formed more than 409 million years ago, Caesars Head rises 3,266 feet above sea level on the southern edge of the Blue Ridge Escarpment. It is a granite gneiss formation protruding from the valley as a prominent monadnock.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"B" is for Babcock, James Woods (1856-1922). Psychiatrist, mental hospital superintendent. A native of Chester, Babcock was educated at Harvard and studied mental diseases in Europe. In 1891 he became superintendent of the South Carolina Lunatic Asylum in Columbia. He arrived eager to modernize and improve the institution, but insufficient state funding was a perennial problem. Part of the problem was Babcock’s personality. He did, however, get the legislature to change the institution’s name to South Carolina State Hospital for the Insane.

"U" is for Union

Feb 11, 2021
South Carolina From A to Z
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"U" is for Union (Union County; 2010 population 8,351). Although European settlers arrived in the 1750s, it was not until the General Assembly created Union County in 1785 that the town began to take shape. The little settlement around the courthouse—initially referred to as Unionville--was incorporated in 1837 as Union. A Robert Mills-designed courthouse and jail were built in 1823. In the 1890s, Union began the transition from farming town to industrial city. The first textile mill was built in 1893. Others followed over the next decade and the town’s population tripled.

"T" is for Tabby

Feb 10, 2021
South Carolina From A to Z
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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.

"H" is for Hamburg

Feb 5, 2021
South Carolina From A to Z
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"H" is for Hamburg. Founded in 1821 and located on the Savannah River in lower Edgefield District, the town of Hamburg was one of South Carolina’s primary interior markets during much of the antebellum era. The town grew rapidly after it became the western terminus of the South Carolina Railroad Company’s line to Charleston. Then, several ruinous floods, the opening of the Augusta Canal and the extension of the railroad line across the river into Georgia resulted in lost business and a decline in population.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"G" is for Gaillard, John (1765-1826). U.S. senator. A native South Carolinian, Gaillard went to England with his family during the American Revolution. He studied law, but opted to return to South Carolina and become a planter. From 1794-1804 he represented St. Stephen’s Parish in the General Assembly—as state representative and senator. In 1804 the legislature elected him U.S. Senator and he served continuously until his death. Politically, he was a Democratic-Republican and supporter of the Jefferson and Madison administrations.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"F" is for Farrow, Samuel (1759-1824). Congressman, legislator, reformer. Born in Virginia, Farrow’s family moved to South Carolina in the 1760s. Although he had little formal education, he had a successful career as a lawyer. Farrow was elected lieutenant governor in 1810 and a U.S. congressman in 1812. In 1816 Spartanburg District elected him to the South Carolina House of Representatives, where he pursed a goal he had conceived several years before: the creation of a state lunatic asylum.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"E" is for Earthquakes. Earthquakes (seismic events) have had an impact on South Carolina for thousands of years. The state’s earthquakes have been tectonic; that is, they have resulted from intraplate displacements on the North American plate and not from interplate movements. They generally have caused little serious damage. Exceptions have been the massive Charleston earthquake of 1886 and the Union County earthquake of 1913. Earthquakes in South Carolina historically have been unpredictable and quite varied in nature.

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"D" is for Dale, Thomas (ca. 1700-1750). Physician, author, entrepreneur. A native of England, Dale received his medical degree from Leiden. After an unsuccessful career as a physician in London, he immigrated to South Carolina in 1732. Dale arrived just as yellow fever began spreading in Charleston and his services were put to use immediately. A widower, he married well twice—improving his wealth and social status. He had a successful pharmaceutical and medical practice. He also operated a prosperous gin distillery.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"C" is for Cainhoy Riot (October 16, 1876). The Cainhoy Riot was one of many deadly frays that erupted during the state’s 1876 gubernatorial campaign. As with other outbreaks of racial violence in 1876, it involved white gun clubs and the African American militia.  But, Cainhoy ended with a difference: when it was over more whites lay dead than blacks. A Republican political meeting was scheduled for October 16th at the Brick House, some thirty miles up the Cooper River from Charleston. Hundreds of black militiamen attended the gathering.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"B" is for Baldwin, William Plews, III (b. 1944). Novelist. Baldwin was born in McClellanville and reared in the lowcountry of Georgia and South Carolina. After graduating from Clemson, he settled in McClellanville where he has made a living by crabbing, oystering, shrimping, serving as a magistrate, writing screenplays for Hollywood, designing and building houses, and by writing fiction. Baldwin’s first novel, The Hard to Catch Mercy (1993),was universally well received, winning the Lillian Smith Award for Fiction and becoming a Book-of-the-Month Club selection.

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