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.

"P" is for Pacolet

Mar 20, 2020
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"P" is for Pacolet (Spartanburg County; 2010 population 2,690). Some people believe that “Pacolet” is a Cherokee word meaning “fast-running horse,” while others hold that it comes from the last name of an early French settler. In the 1880s, textile manufacturing pioneer John H. Montgomery purchased 350 acres and opened a three-story, 10,000 spindle mill in full operation. By 1895 there were three mills with a capacity of 53,424 spindles and 1,864 looms—making it the largest textile manufacturing complex in Spartanburg County.

"O" is for Oconee bell

Mar 19, 2020
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"O" is for Oconee bell. The Oconee bell (Shortia galacifolia) is a small, evergreen species related to Galax, with white flowers produced in March. It was discovered by French botanist André Michaux in 1787 in the mountains of South Carolina along the Keowee River near the present Jocassee Dam. For decades botanists unsuccessfully tried to find the plant in the wild, but it remained “lost” until the late nineteenth century when it was discovered in McDowell County, North Carolina. The plant immediately gained fame and has maintained its popularity ever since.

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"N" is for Nance, Milligan Maceo, Jr. (1925-2001). University president. After service in World War II, Nance returned to college at South Carolina State. Nance graduated in 1949 was employed by his alma mater as a clerk. Over the next two decades he steadily advanced through the administrative ranks. In 1968, during campus unrest that led to the Orangeburg Massacre, Nance was a steadying influence on campus and in the Orangeburg community. In June 1968, he was named president. During his nineteen-year tenure, the college experienced dramatic growth and progress.

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"M" is for MacDowell, Rosalie Anderson (b. 1958). Actress, model. A Gaffney native, “Andie” MacDowell attended Winthrop College for two years, but then moved to New York. Although she had only minimal modeling experience, she boldly walked into New York’s Elite Model Management and was hired. She became a successful model in New York and Paris. While continuing to represent L’Oreal cosmetics, MacDowell pursued her dream of becoming a film actress. Her first film role was as Lady Jane in Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan of the Apes (1984).

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"L" is for Lafaye and Lafaye. Founded by George Eugene Lafaye, the firm of Lafaye and Lafaye was one of the state’s most respected and successful architectural practices from the 1910s until the 1970s. Lafaye moved to Columbia in 1900 as chief draftsman for W.B. Smith Whaley & Company. In 1907 Lafaye established his own company and in 1913 hired his younger brother Robert. After World War I, the firm became Lafaye and Lafaye. Over the next twenty years it designed a number of important structures: Township Auditorium, James L. Tapp Department Store, St.

"J" is for Jackson, Jesse Louis (b. 1941). Minister, civil and human rights activist. A Greenville native, Jackson was a star quarterback and student leader at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro. In Greensboro he led a successful demonstration to end discrimination in downtown stores. In 1967 Dr. Martin Luther King put Jackson in charge of Operation Breadbasket in Chicago. Jackson successfully organized black Chicagoans to boycott companies and stores that had “heavy minority patronage” to secure better service and more jobs.

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"K" is for Kensington Plantation (Richland County). In the early 1850s, Greek revival remained the favorite architectural style of the state’s planter elite. However, Matthew Richard Singleton opted to transform his upcountry farmhouse into an elegant Renaissance-inspired residence that recalled country villas of northern Italy. Singleton hired Charleston architect Edward C. Jones to head the project. Kensington is a frame house on a raised basement. The domed structure is flanked by two gabled wings with arched colonnades and fronted by a porte cochere.

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"J" is for Jackson, Jesse Louis (b. 1941). Minister, civil and human rights activist. A Greenville native, Jackson was a star quarterback and student leader at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro. In Greensboro he led a successful demonstration to end discrimination in downtown stores. In 1967 Dr. Martin Luther King put Jackson in charge of Operation Breadbasket in Chicago. Jackson successfully organized black Chicagoans to boycott companies and stores that had “heavy minority patronage” to secure better service and more jobs.

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"I" is for Indian Mounds. Dotting South Carolina’s streams and rivers are vestiges of her prehistoric past. These mounds offer fragmentary evidence of the cultures that thrived before the Europeans arrived. At least sixteen Woodland mounds and nineteen Mississippian mounds have been identified that are at least fifty percent intact. Another eleven known sites have been destroyed or are underwater. Woodland period mounds are located primarily along coastal rivers while Mississippian mounds are found on inland rivers near the fall line.

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"H" is for Hagler (d. 1763). Catawba chief. King Hagler is the best known of the Catawba chieftains. He rose to power in the 1750s. In 1751 he was a member of a peace delegation assembled by Governor James Glen to negotiate peace with the tribe’s long-time enemies, the Iroquois of New York. Under King Hagler, the Catawbas supported the British during the French and Indian War by sending soldiers to Virginia to fight with Colonel George Washington.

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"G" is for Gadsden, James (1788-1858). Soldier, railroad president, diplomat. A Charleston native, Gadsden joined the U.S. army after graduating from Yale. In 1823 he was appointed commissioner in charge of removing the Seminoles from Florida. He purchased land in Florida, but after five unsuccessful campaigns for Congress, he returned to Charleston in 1839. A promoter of the expansion of southern trade, he served as president of what would become the South Carolina Railroad from 1840-1850.

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"G" is for Gadsden, Christopher (1724-1805). Patriot, merchant. Born in Charleston, Gadsden was educated in England. In the 1740s he launched one of the most successful mercantile careers in the colony. Possessing financial independence and a civic spirit, he pursued public office. In 1757 he began his nearly thirty years’ service in the Commons House of Assembly. He became an outspoken defender of colonial rights and—after a public dispute with the royal governor in 1762—was transformed into a zealous American patriot.

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"F" is for Fairfield County (687 square miles; 2010 population 23,838). Fairfield County, lying in the lower Piedmont, is a geologically diverse region with topography ranging from level plains to hilly terrain. The county lies primarily between the Broad and Wateree Rivers north of Richland County. Originally part of the 1769 court district of Camden, the area became Fairfield District in 1800 and then Fairfield County in 1868. Mississippian mound builders were active in the region from 1300 to 1400 C.E. The first European settlers arrived in the 1740s.

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"E" is for Earle, Joseph Haynsworth (1847 - 1897). U.S. senator. A native of Greenville, Earle was orphaned at five and was reared by an aunt in Sumter. In 1864 he enlisted in the Confederate army. After the war he attended Furman and was admitted to the bar. He opened a practice in Sumter in the mid-1870s. In 1878 he was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives and in 1882 to the state senate. He was South Carolina Attorney General from 1886-1890. Although a staunch member of the Democratic Party’s Conservative faction, he was elected a circuit judge in 1894.

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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.

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