South Carolina from A to Z

Mon-Fri, throughout the day

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. (A production of South Carolina Public Radio.)

South Carolina from A to Z Archives (April 2011 to Sept 2014)

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South Carolina From A to Z
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"W" is for Wannamaker, John Edward [1851-1935]. Agriculturalist. Civic Leader. Educated at home by private tutors, Wannamaker graduated from Wofford in 1872. After college, he assumed management of his father's farming interests. Keenly interested in agricultural improvement, he applied his considerable resources to agrarian research and innovation. In the 1930s he experimented with soybeans, seeking to develop a seed stock suitable to South Carolina soils and climate.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"U" is for the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. The denomination was formed in 1958 with the union of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America and the United Presbyterian Church in North America. Long-established lowcountry black congregations were part of the United Presbyterian Church. In 1861 when the South seceded from the union, the denomination had divided into northern and southern branches. After the war, black Presbyterians withdrew from white churches.

"T" is for Television

Dec 13, 2017
South Carolina From A to Z
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"T" is for Television. The first snowy black and white images on South Carolina television screens were broadcast by a Charlotte, North Carolina station. It was not until 1952 that six South Carolina stations received their FCC television broadcast licenses. WIS, Columbia went on the air in April 1953 and WCSC, Charleston, followed a month later. WNOK-TV, one of the oldest UHF channels in the country, is now WLTX, Columbia. Many early stations bought their television cameras developed by Columbia native Thomas T. Goldsmith.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"S" is for St. John's Berkeley Parish. One of the ten original parishes created in 1706, the parish of St. John's Berkeley stretched northwestward from the upper reaches of the Cooper River to the Santee River through modern Berkeley and Orangeburg counties. The first Europeans settled in the area in the 1690s and by 1705 included Huguenots, English, Irish, and Barbadians. By 1720, enslaved Africans outnumbered whites three to one as the production of rice in freshwater inland swamps replaced the earlier dry cultivation. The parish church, called Biggin Church, was erected in 1712.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"R" is for Ravenel, Beatrice [1870-1956]. Poet. Journalist. Born in Charleston, she entered Harvard Annex [later Radcliffe College] as a special student in 1889. Twice left a widow, Ravenel turned to poetry (some of it splendid) and short stories (mostly derivative and plot-heavy) to support her family. She is probably one of the best examples of the influence of the Poetry Society of South Carolina on local writers. Through the Society she met Amy Lowell who championed her work. Ravenel's poetry in the 1920s championed the outsiders and the dispossessed.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"D" is for Doby, Lawrence Edward.


"C" is for Central, SC.


South Carolina From A to Z
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"B" is for Bennett, Thomas, Jr.


South Carolina From A to Z
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"A" is for Ashwood Plantation.


South Carolina From A to Z
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"E" is for Ensore, Joshua Fulton.


"T" is for Tega Cay

Dec 1, 2017
South Carolina From A to Z
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"T" is for Tega Cay, in York County; population 4044. Tega Cay is a recreational oriented community on Lake Wiley, with stronger ties to North Carolina than South Carolina. Tega Cay came into being in 1970 when Duke Power sold 1600 acres in northwestern Fort Mill township to a Charlotte developer. The name allegedly comes from an obscure Polynesian dialect and means "lovely peninsula." Historically, the site was identified as India Hook H ills which aptly described the red clay spur of land that jutted like a fish hook into the Catawba River.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"S" is for St. James-Santee Parish. The parish of Saint James-Santee was established in 1706 and included the Northwestern portions of modern Berkeley and Charleston Counties. The earliest Europeans in the area were Huguenots. In 1706 the French and English settlers of the area petitioned the commons house for parish status. Because of the language barrier within the congregation of the parish church, for decades St. James-Santee required a bilingual clergyman who could speak to the congregation and both French and English.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"R" is for ratification of the United States Constitution. South Carolina’s ratification of a new federal Constitution in 1789 was never in doubt. Representation in the ratification convention was heavily skewed in favor of the Lowcountry where there was tremendous support for a strong federal government. Lowcountry residents were uncomfortable with the political forces unleashed by independence and the defeat of the British, and they did not trust the backcountry.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"P" is for Palmetto Medical, Dental, and Pharmaceutical Association. Throughout the 19th century, African-American physicians in South Carolina were barred from hospitals and clinics and they lacked access to many medications and supplies. In 1896, five black physicians formed the Palmetto State Medical Association as a vehicle to improve healthcare for black Carolinians and to graduate more medically trained personnel. Early meetings focused on the advancements of Medical science and efforts to lower black mortality rates.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"O" is for Olympia Cotton Mill. The Olympia Cotton Mill was one of four mills designed and built by industrialist W. B. Smith Whaley. Construction began in 1899 and by 1900 the mail was an operation, often call the world’s largest cotton mill under one roof. It housed more than 100,000 spindles and 2250 looms in a mammoth, multi-storied and towered brick structure, some 150 by 550 feet. All machinery was powered by electricity. The mill village contained a kindergarten, school, gymnasium, and the first playground in the Columbia area.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"C" is for Cainhoy Riot. The Cainhoy Riot was one of the many deadly frays involving white gun clubs and African American militiamen that erupted during the 1876 gubernatorial campaign. A Republican political meeting was scheduled for October 16th at Brick House some thirty miles up the Cooper River from Charleston. Based upon previous disturbances, African Americans came to the meeting armed. Soon whites from Charleston arrived by steamboat and tried to disrupt the proceedings. A scuffle broke out and shots were fired.

"B" is for Baha'is

Nov 23, 2017
South Carolina From A to Z
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"B" is for Baha'is. Founded in 1844 as an outgrowth of the, Babi faith, the Baha'i faith is one of the world's youngest religions. Among its principles are the oneness of humankind, the common foundation of all religions, religion and science as integral parts of the truth, the equality of men and women, and the elimination of prejudice of all kinds. Charlestonian Louis G. Gregory introduced Baha'i teachings into South Carolina. Gregory was the son of a slave and a 1902 graduate of Howard University Law School. He made mission trips across the South.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"A" is for Adams, James Hopkins [1777-1858]. Governor. Born in lower Richland County and educated at Yale, Adams was a successful cotton planter. He represented Richland County in both the South Carolina house and senate. In 1854, the General Assembly elected him governor. Although the state's voters had repudiated secession in 1850, he belonged to the radical faction that advocated immediate secession from the union.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"Y" is for Yellow Jessamine. State flower. In 1924, the General Assembly chose the yellow, or Carolina, jessamine [Gelsemium sempervirens] as the state flower. Among the reasons sited were its being indigenous to every nook and corner of the state and that its perpetual return out of the dead of winter suggests the lesson of constancy in, loyalty to, and patriotism in the service of the State. Carolina jessamine is a twining woody vine with pointed, evergreen leaves. It climbs over bushes, fences, and tree limbs.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"W'" is for Walker, William [1809-1875]. Teacher, composer, author. In 1835, the man known as "Singing Billy" Walker published Southern Harmony, a shaped-note hymnal using a four-shape [fa-so-la] system. The shaped-note style is a simplified musical notation developed to make it easier for untrained congregations to sing in harmony without instrumental accompaniment. Shapes [triangle = fa; oval = so; rectangle = la; and diamond = mi] were added to the note heads to help singers find pitch within major and minor scales.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"E" is for Enoree River. The Enoree River flows approximately seventy miles from its source in northern Greenville County to its confluence with the Broad River above Columbia. Its basin encompasses more than 730 square miles across South Carolina's Piedmont--the largest part of which is forestlands--with a small percentage characterized as urban. Along the way, the river provides borders for parts of Greenville, Spartanburg, Laurens, Union, and Newberry Counties.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"D" is for Dixon, Dorsey [1897-1968] and Howard Dixon [1903-1961]. Musicians. The Dixon Brothers, popular during the 1930s composed many original songs on diverse subjects, including the life and labor of textile workers. With Dorsey on guitar and Howard leading on steel guitar, their sound was more distinct than the traditional mandolin-guitar or twin-guitar duets. Their vocal harmony—albeit a bit rough—nonetheless had a style uniquely their own. All total they cut some 55 sides for Bluebird—many of which are extremely rare.

"C" is for Cayce

Nov 15, 2017
South Carolina From A to Z
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"C" is for Cayce [Lexington County; population 12,150]. Cayce encompasses approximately fifteen square miles on the Congaree River. The city is the descendant of the colonial trading village of Granby. In 1817 the Cayce family made the former Fort Granby their private residence and around the house became known as the Cayce House. In 1914 the town was incorporated and named Cayce. The coming of the railroads in the 19th century gave birth to the modern city of Cayce.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"B" is for Bennett, John [1865-1956]. Author. Artist. An Ohio native, Bennett achieved national acclaim for Master Skylark, considered one of the best American historical novels for children. Ill health led to his moving to Charleston. For years he tried unsuccessfully to get publishers interested in African American folklore and folk life. When he gave a lecture in Charleston on Gullah, he was condemned in the local press.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"A" is for Ashmore, Harry Scott [1916-1998]. Author. Editor. Pulitzer Prize Winner. A Clemson graduate, Ashmore went to work for the Greenville Piedmont and Greenville News. His reporting earned him a Nieman Fellowship and a position with the Charlotte News. In 1947 he moved to the Arkansas Gazette. His editorials opposing Governor Orville Faubus' attempts to block the desegregation of Little Rock's Central High School attracted national attention and won a Pulitzer Prize. His 1954 book, The Negro and the Schools summarized research on the disparate biracial education system in the South.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"E" is for English, Alexander [b. 1954]. Basketball player. A graduate of Dreher High School in Columbia, English play college basketball for the University of South Carolina and became the 4th USC player to have his jersey [#22] retired. In the National Basketball Association he played with the Milwaukee Bucks, Indiana Pacers, and the Denver Nuggets. The fluent run-and-shoot style of Nuggets' Coach Doug Moe was tailor-made for English's smooth game. By the end of his career in Denver in 1990, English had become the most prolific scorer of the 1980s.

"D" is for Dixiecrats

Nov 9, 2017
South Carolina From A to Z
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"D" is for Dixiecrats. Dixiecrats were a political party organized in 1948 by disgruntled white Southern Democrats dismayed over their declining influence within the national Democratic Party. The Dixiecrats, officially known as the States' Rights Democratic Party, were committed to states' rights and opposed to federal intervention in the interest of promoting civil rights. Governor J. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina and Governor Fielding Wright of Mississippi were nominated as the party's presidential and vice-presidential candidates.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"C" is for Cattle ranching. Cow pens, cattle drives, and open-range herding—typically associated with the American West—were important features of the agricultural landscape of colonial South Carolina. British settlers brought husbandry traditions to the colony. Many enslaved West Africans also had extensive knowledge of cattle raising. Cattle ranching, a lucrative frontier occupation appeared first in the lowcountry, where black bondsmen became America's first cowboys. Periodically, cattle drives occurred, and drovers or "crackers" using whips herded livestock to Charleston.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"B" is for Benedict College. A historically black college in Columbia, Benedict was founded by Rhode Island native Bathsheba Benedict. Benedict purchased an eighty-acre tract with the goal of educating recently emancipated African-Americans. Originally named Benedict Institute, the school began with ten male students and one faculty member housed in an abandoned residence. The first students followed a curriculum of grammar school subjects, Bible study, and theology. Later courses were added to train students as teachers and ministers.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"A" is for Ashley River Road. The Ashley River Road--one of the oldest roads in South Carolina--began as a Native American trading path, paralleling the Ashley River, and later served the colonists of the original Charles Town settlement. The Lords Proprietors authorized the road in 1690. The modern road consists of an approximately fifteen-mile portion of S.C. Highway 61. During the colonial era, numerous plantations lined the route. In 1721 a law was passed to protect the shade trees along its route—a forerunner of modern ordinances that protect trees and require buffers.

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