"S" is for Sawyer, Benjamin Mack [1890-1940]

Feb 7, 2018

Credit SC Public Radio

"S" is for Sawyer, Benjamin Mack [1890-1940]. Public Official. After serving in World War I, Sawyer became the first secretary of the State Budget Commission and, in 1925, the secretary-treasurer of the Highway Commission. The following year he became chief highway commissioner. He lobbied for funding to construct a statewide network of highways, survived the ensuing controversy, resisted the efforts of Governor Olin D. Johnston to deprive him and his commissioners of their offices, and defended the highway department fund from diversion by Governor Burnett Maybank. Despite these challenges, he remained focused on the department and on improving South Carolina roads. During his tenure, the miles of roadways doubled and two out of three were paved.  In his years as chief commissioner, Benjamin Mack Sawyer successfully laid the underpinnings for the modern State Highway Department.