"H" is for Happyville

Oct 9, 2017

Credit SC Public Radio

"H" is for Happyville. Happyville was a short-lived agricultural colony settled in 1905 near Montmorenci in Aiken County by Jewish immigrants from Russia. The state established an immigration bureau that published a brochure in Yiddish and German described the state as "the Garden Country of America." Jewish New Yorkers thought it would be an opportunity to help Russian Jews escape persecution. Charles Weintraub and Morris Letterman—New York businessmen—purchased a 2,200 tract known as Sheffield Plantation, seven mile from Aiken, along with livestock, farm implements, and several buildings. By 1906 there were ten families in residence. Financial miscalculations, internal dissension, and several years of bad harvests undermined the prospects for success. In May of 1908, the residents auctioned off some of their equipment and livestock, and in July sold their land—and Happyville was abandoned.