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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"N" is for Ninety-Six

13 hours ago

"N" is for Ninety-Six, South Carolina.

"M" is for Marlboro County

"L" is for Lowcountry Baskets. The early history of the lowcountry coiled grass baskets parallels the rise of rice cultivation. Men made agricultural baskets such as fanners while women made household forms such as sewing and storage baskets. With rice production in decline after the Civil War, household baskets came to dominate and women became more conspicuous in the craft.

“H” is for Hobkirk Hill, Battle of

Oct 20, 2016

“H” is for Hobkirk Hill, Battle of [April 25, 1781]. Following the Battle of Guilford Court House, Major General Nathanael Greene reentered South Carolina with a plan to force the British to retreat from their interior outposts to Charleston, On April 19th, his army took up a position on Hobkirk Hill, a mile and a half north of Camden. The British attacked a week later. When one of American units faltered, Greene was forced to order a general retreat. The British were left in possession of the hill, but then withdrew into their fortifications at Camden.

"G" is for Greenville

Oct 19, 2016

"G" is for Greenville.  

“D” is for Dutch Fork. The Dutch Fork lies in a fork between the Broad and Saluda Rivers that includes parts of the modern counties of Newberry, Lexington, and Richland. Although a fertile region, European settlement did not begin until the 1740s. The preponderance of German-speaking settlers gave the area its name—Dutch Fork for deutsch Volk (German people). During the Revolutionary War, Germans in the Dutch Fork were cool toward the patriot cause. The relative isolation of the area allowed German culture and language to survive into the early twentieth century.

“C” is for Charleston Single House

Oct 17, 2016

“C” is for Charleston Single House. The single house is the building form most closely associated with eighteenth-century Charleston architecture. It first appeared in the early eighteenth century and emerged as a favored residential form after the fire of 1740. The typical single house stands two or more stories in height and is built on a rectangular plan with its narrow end facing the street. Each floor has two rooms with a central stair-hall in between.

"B" is for Bratton, John [1831-1898]. Soldier, congressman. With secession, Bratton joined a local company. In 1June 1861, he resigned his commission, and enlisted as a private in the Sixth Regiment, South Carolina Volunteers. Rising quickly through the ranks, within a year he was a colonel and commander of the Sixth Regiment. Wounded and captured at the battle of Seven Pines, he was exchanged and rejoined his old regiment. In May 1864 he was promoted to brigadier general and commander of Bratton’s Brigade in the Army of Northern Virginia—a position he held until Appomattox.

"U" is for Unitarians

Oct 13, 2016

"U" is for Unitarians. Unitarians in South Carolina boast a legacy of professional distinction and influence disproportionate to their size and numbers. The Second Independent Church of Charleston was incorporated in 1817. Unitarian theology was broad, liberal, and ecumenical. Despite the unpopularity of Unitarian beliefs, members of the congregation and their minister, the Rev. Samuel Gilman, rose to positions of power and influence among the city’s literary, mercantile, and intellectual elite.

"T" is for Taylor, John [1770-1832]. Congressman, governor, U.S. Senator. Taylor was educated at local academies and later graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton). He was a successful planter and lawyer, but spent much of his adult life in politics. He represented Saxe Gotha and Richland Districts in the General Assembly and in 1806 was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1810 Taylor was elected to the U.S. Senate where he was the author of the famed Macon's Bill # 2 which placed economic sanctions on those nations that violated American neutrality.

"S" is for St. George's Dorchester Parish. The Parish of St. George's Dorchester was established in 1717 to accommodate the growing population on the upper reaches of the Ashley River. The earliest settlement in the area, though, dated from 1695 when a group of New England Congregationalists from Dorchester, Massachusetts created a New-England-style township on the river. Beginning in 1752, most of the descendants of the Congregationalists left Dorchester and moved to Georgia. During the unrest caused by the French and Indian War, Fort Dorchester was built in the town.

"R" is for Randolph, Benjamin Franklin [ca. 1820-1868]. Legislator, clergyman. Randolph was born a free person of color in Kentucky, but was reared in Ohio. He was a graduate of Oberlin College, and after graduation was ordained as a Methodist clergyman. He served as a chaplain to the 26th U.S. Colored Troops at Hilton Head and, after the war settled in Charleston. He entered politics and rose quickly through the ranks of the Republican Party.

"P" is for the Palmetto Armory. The Palmetto Armory was a short-lived effort to establish a weapons-manufacturing capability in South Carolina during the secession crisis of 1849-1852. In 1850, following Governor Whitemarsh B. Seabrook's recommendation, the General Assembly created a Board of Ordnance and appropriated $350,000 for weapons and munitions. The Board contracted with the Armory to produce muskets, rifles, pistols, and cavalry sabers—all of which were to be of current US Army pattern. But, they to be manufactured wholly within the state.

"B" is for Brandon Mill. Located two miles west of downtown Greenville, the community of Brandon emerged after the construction of the Brandon Mill in 1901. Founded by J. Irving Westervelt, the original mill had 10,000 spindles and 400 looms. Some sixty cottages for workers were built nearby. Originally called Quentin, Westervelt changed the name to Brandon—after a town near Belfast, Ireland, where textiles had long been produced. The mill was an immediate success and by 1916 had 86,000 spindles. Falling cotton prices and the Great Depression ruined the market for textile goods.

"B' is for Branchville [Orangeburg County; population 1,083]. Incorporated in 1858, Branchville is known as Orangeburg County’s “railroad town” because of its recognition as the oldest railroad junction in the world. The South Carolina Canal and Rail Road Company completed its track to Branchville from Charleston in 1832. From this place, the railroad would later branch off to serve Columbia. This was not the first time that travellers had to choose a route at Branchville. A Native American trail forked here. One path led to Orangeburg and the other headed towards Augusta.

"M" is for Magrath, Andrew Gordon [1813-1893]. Jurist, governor. After graduating from the South Carolina College, Magrath studied law at Harvard and with James L. Petigru. In 1856 his appointment as a federal district judge brought him national attention and controversy. In the cases surrounding two ships seized for being slave traders—the Echo and the Wanderer—Magrath declared that the federal statues on piracy did not apply to the slave trade. His decision was hailed in the South and condemned in the North.

"L" is for Lamar Riot

Oct 3, 2016

"L" is for Lamar Riot. The Lamar Riot, on March 3, 1970, the most violent reaction against court-ordered school desegregation in South Carolina Schools, happened in the small rural Darlington County community of Lamar. The riots occurred when a mob of 150-200 white men and women, armed with ax handles, bricks, and chains overturned two school buses that had delivered black students to Lamar elementary and high schools. They clashed with about 150 South Carolina highway patrolmen and State Law Enforcement Division agents.

"C" is for Camp Croft

Sep 30, 2016

"C" is for Camp Croft.

"C" is for Camden

Sep 29, 2016

"C" is for Camden.

"B" is for Bamberg County

"A" is for African Americans in the Revolutionary War

"A" is for African Americans in the Revolutionary War  

"K" is for Kershaw, Joseph Brevard [1822-1894]. Soldier, Jurist. Kershaw, a native of Camden, was a member of the General Assembly and of the Secession Convention. In April 1861 he was a colonel of the Second South Carolina Regiment which played an active role in the Confederate victory at First Manassas. The next year he was promoted to brigadier general and given command of the brigade that saw action at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg.

"J" is for Jakes, John

Sep 22, 2016

"J" is for Jakes, John [b. 1932]. Novelist. Born in Illinois, Jakes is a nationally known best-selling novelist and historian. For several decades, he maintained his primary residence on Hilton Head Island. After graduating from DePauw University, he spent a number of years working for pharmaceutical and advertising companies. Then, in 1973 he published the first of eight volumes of the Kent Family Chronicles—a series that depicted the American Revolution through the eyes of one fictional family.

"I" is for indigo

Sep 21, 2016

"I" is for indigo. Indigo, a plant that produces a blue dye was an important part of 18th century South Carolina's economy. It was grown commercially from 1747 till 1800 and was second only to rice in export value. Eliza Lucas Pinckney experimented with its cultivation in the 1730s and 1740s. In 1749 Parliament placed a bounty of six pence per pound on the dye. Indigo was grown on lands not suited to rice cultivation and thus fit nicely into the existing agricultural economy. By the eve of the Revolution, the colony exported more than one million pounds of dye.