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.

"S" is for Stretch-Out

Nov 21, 2019
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"S" is for Stretch-out. In the aftermath of World War I, with pressure to maintain profit margins, textile mill owners began looking for ways to cut operating costs. The resulting strategies collectively were known as the “stretch-out.” Workdays were extended (without any additional pay), meal breaks were eliminated, workers were forced to tend a larger number of machines (sometimes as many as three times previous workloads), and they were fired if they could not keep up the pace. The result was bitter strikes culminating in the General Strike of 1934.

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"S" is for Strawberry Chapel (Berkeley County). James Child, founder of Childsbury Town on the Cooper River in St. John’s Berkeley Parish, bequeathed an acre and a half for a chapel. The building was completed by 1725, when the Commons House passed an act establishing a parochial chapel of ease at the site. Chapels of ease made services more accessible to those who lived a distance from the parish church. The plan of the chapel is typical of Anglican churches in colonial South Carolina: rectangular with entrances on the north, south, and west sides and a jerkin-head roof.

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"S" is for Stowers, Freddie (d. 1918). Soldier, Medal of Honor recipient. This Anderson County native was the nation’s only African American from World War I to be awarded the Medal of Honor. He was drafted in October 1917 and underwent training at Camp Jackson. He was sent overseas as a member of the all-black 93rd Infantry Division. Because white U.S. generals did not want to command black troops, the regiment was attached to the French army. Corporal Stowers distinguished himself in action and lost his life on September 28, 1918.

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"S" is for Stono Rebellion (September 1739). The Stono Rebellion was a violent, albeit it failed, attempt of as many as one hundred slaves to reach St. Augustine and claim freedom in Spanish-controlled Florida. The uprising was South Carolina’s largest and bloodiest slave insurrection. The rebellion began when conspirators broke into a store at Stono Bridge and equipped themselves with guns and powder. Lieutenant Governor William Bull encountered the insurgents and fled to raise the alarm. Confident in their numbers, the rebels paused in a field near Jacksonborough.

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"S" is for Stoney, Samuel Gaillard (1891-1968). Architect, author, historian, preservationist. Stoney is considered by many to be the quintessential Charlestonian. After graduating with a degree in architecture from Georgia Tech, he worked in Atlanta and New York. In 1933 he began a frank love affair with his native city. President of the South Carolina Historical Society, the Preservation Society, and other organizations, Stoney helped document the city’s past while fighting to save much of its architecture.

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"S" is for Stoneman’s Raid (May 1865). This minor cavalry raid through the South Carolina upstate occurred in the weeks following the assassination of President Lincoln and the flight of Confederate president Jefferson Davis and his cabinet from Richmond, Virginia. In mid-April 1865 General William T. Sherman ordered two brigades of General George Stoneman’s federal cavalry under the command of Colonels W.J. Palmer and S.B. Brown into South Carolina to search for Davis and the fugitive Confederate government.

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"S" is for Stewart, Thomas McCants (1853-1923). Lawyer, civil rights leader. Born a free person of color in Charleston, McCants achieved national distinction as an African-American leader in the nineteenth century. After attending Avery Normal Institute, he enrolled first at Howard University in Washington—then the University of South Carolina where he earned a B.A. and a law degree. In 1878 he attended Princeton Theological Seminary and, in 1880 became pastor of the Bethel AME Church in New York. There, Stewart emerged as a national civil rights leader and respected attorney.

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"S" is for State Symbols. As sovereign political entities, all fifty states have adopted special symbols. In every state, the first emblem was a seal. The tradition of designating flowers, trees, and birds as state symbols came into vogue at the turn of the last century. South Carolina adopted the yellow Jessamine as its state flower in 1924. The Sabal palmetto became the state tree in 1939 and the Carolina wren, the official bird in 1948. In 1911, South Carolina and Iowa were the first states of have an official song.

"S" is for State Seal

Nov 11, 2019
South Carolina From A to Z
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"S" is for State seal. The great seal of South Carolina was first used May 22, 1777. It was a double-sided, circular device impressed on wax and appended to documents by cords or ribbons. Its principal designers were William Henry Drayton and Arthur Middleton. The inspiration for the design came form the Battle of Sullivan’s Island. The seal obverse showed a palmetto on the shore representing the fort, at the base of which was a blasted oak representing the ships of the Royal Navy. From the tree hung two shields. A palm hung with shields was an ancient Roman emblem of victory.

"B" is for Boyd, Blanche McCrary [b. 1945]. Writer, educator. After graduating from Pomona College and receiving an M.A. from Stanford, Boyd—a Charleston native--joined the faculty of Connecticut College. She has been awarded several distinguished fellowships including a National Endowment for the Arts in Fiction Fellowship and a Guggenheim. Boyd has published four novels:  Nerves; Mourning the Magic of Death; The Revolution of Little Girls; and Terminal Velocity. Her fiction reveals a deep concern with the culture of the American South.

"B" is for Boyce, Ker

Nov 7, 2019

"B" is for Boyce, Ker [1787-1854]. Merchant, bank president. Boyce began his career as a clerk and shopkeeper in Newberry. He moved to Charleston where his business ventures thrived and Boyce become a wealthy man and influential member of the city’s business community. Among his successful investments were the Bank of Charleston, the Charleston Hotel, and the Graniteville Manufacturing Company. He on the boards of the South Carolina Railroad and the Bank of the State of South Carolina. He was president of the Charleston Chamber of Commerce from 1840 to 1846.

"B" is for Boyce, James Petigru [1827-1888]. Minister, educator. After experiencing a religious conversion, Boyce became editor of the Southern Baptist, a publication. He attended Princeton Theological Seminary and, in 1851 became the pastor of the Baptist Church in Columbia. Later, he served on the faculty at Furman. In 1856 he convinced the South Carolina Baptists Convention to agree to fund a Baptist seminary in Greenville. The Southern Baptist Convention accepted the idea and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary opened in 1859, with Boyce as its president.

"B" is for Bowles, Crandall Close [b. 1947]. Businesswoman. After earning earned a degree in economics from Wellesley College and an MBA from Columbia University, Bowles began her career at Morgan Stanley in New York. She later also received became a financial analyst for Springs Industries and executive vice president and president of Springs Company, the Close family’s investment management firm.

"B" is for Bowater

Nov 4, 2019

"B" is for Bowater. Headquartered in Greenville, Bowater Incorporated is a world leader in the manufacture of newsprint and coated ground-wood papers. The company began in England in 1889 as a family-run paper supply business. In 1924 it commenced manufacturing paper and over the next decades went international by establishing plants in Scandinavia, Canada, and the United States. In order to bring Bowater to South Carolina in 1956, a special session of the General Assembly rewrote the state’s foreign ownership laws that had limited foreigners to holding no more than 500 acres of land.

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"S" is for Stevenson, Ferdinan “Nancy” Backer (1928-2001). Lieutenant governor, civic leader, author. After graduating from Smith College, Stevenson remained in New York. From 1952 to 1954 she worked for the New York Herald Tribune, writing book reviews and doing overseas reporting. In 1956, she moved back to Charleston where she taught junior high school. During the 1960s and 1970s Stevenson was an active civic leader in a number of cultural organizations with a special interest in drama and historic preservation.

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