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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"T" is for Tillman, Benjamin Ryan [1847-1918]. U.S. Senator. Governor. During the 1880s Tillman presented himself as the advocate of “the farmers” against lawyers, politicians, merchants and “aristocrats” whom he blamed for farmers’ economic difficulties. As the champion of a proposed agricultural college and of the farmer's alliance—he won the Democratic nomination for governor in 1890. Tillman established the Dispensary, a state liquor monopoly, and backed a referendum for a constitutional convention.

"S" is for St. Thomas and St. Denis Parish. Located on a peninsula between the Cooper and Wando Rivers, St. Thomas and St. Denis were two of the ten original parishes created by the Church Act of 1706. It was colonial South Carolina's only parish within a parish. In 1706 the entire peninsula—with an English-speaking majority—was organized as St. Thomas Parish. But, in order to accommodate the French-speaking minority—the parish of St. Denis was established “in ye middle of it.” Both parishes became home to successful slaveholding planters.

"R" is for Redcliffe

Jul 26, 2016

"R" is for Redcliffe. Redcliffe, an antebellum mansion near Beech Island in western Aiken County, was the home place of governor James Henry Hammond and three generations of his descendants. Redcliffe was as an architectural and horticultural showplace as well as the center of domestic life for the Hammond family. Transitional Greek revival in style, the house also displays restrained Italianate elements, unusual for South Carolina. A spectacular center hall, 53 feet long and 20 feet wide dominates the interior. Much of the interior woodwork was crafted from local sycamore trees.

  "P" is for Patent Medicines. Like other English colonies, South Carolina dosed itself primarily with remedies from Great Britain, but there were some home-manufactured remedies. One, produced in Charleston, promised to cure everything from the flux and fevers to worms. After the Revolution the number of American-made nostrums increased, but most of them were produced in the North. Among the locally manufactured patent medicines were Pellagricide and Ez-X-Ba, manufactured in Spartanburg and promoted as a cure for pellagra. William F.

"O" is for Organized Labor. Organized labor in South Carolina has colonial roots. As early as 1742 white shipwrights in Charleston protested allegedly unfair competition from slave labor. In 1834 Charleston typographers formed the first union in the state. Black longshoremen organized in 1867, beginning the longest living union in the state. The Knights of Labor had a transitory following in the 1880s. Craft unions appeared about the same time. Columbia’s 1891Labor Day parade, a large two-day celebration indicated the perseverance of craft unions.

"N" is for Nicholson, Francis [1655-1728]. Governor. Before he made his career as a colonial administrator, Nicholson was a soldier. He served as lieutenant governor of New York, Virginia, and Maryland and as governor of Virginia. Returning to England he worked with the Board of Trade on issues of imperial defense and economic policy. In 1710, he led colonial troops that recaptured Nova Scotia for Great Britain. In 1720 he became the first royally appointed governor of South Carolina.

"M" is for Marion, Martin Whiteford [1917-2011]. Baseball player. Marty Marion attended Georgia Tech and then played briefly for Chattanooga in the Southern League. He signed with the St. Louis Cardinals organization in 1936 and was assigned to one of their minor league teams. In 1940 he made his major league debut with the Cardinals and was their regular shortstop until 1950. He was a seven-time All Star and was voted Most Valuable Player and Player of the Year in 1944. He won four pennants and three World Championships in his decade with the Cardinals.

"L" is for Laurens Glass. When deposits of silica, important for glassmaking--were found a few miles north of Laurens, a group of local businessmen organized Laurens Glass Works in 1910. Skilled glassblowers were brought in from Ohio and Pennsylvania. In 1913, the company was reorganized by Albert Dial and shortly thereafter obtained the first license in the country to manufacture Coca-Cola bottles. It remained one of the few suppliers of Coke bottles until after World War II. After the war Laurens Glass expanded—opening plants in North Carolina and Louisiana.

  "K" is for the Ku Klux Klan. The Ku Klux Klan was a paramilitary organization formed during Reconstruction to oppose the Republican Party and restore white supremacy in the South. It was particularly strong in the predominantly white upcountry counties. President U. S. Grant declared a state of rebellion in ten South Carolina counties and suspended the writ of habeas corpus. Many Klan leaders fled the state and the organization ceased to exist.

  "J" is for John D. Hollingsworth on Wheels. John D. Hollingsworth on Wheels was a Greenville-based manufacturer of steel and flexible wire clothing for cards and other machines for spinning preparation. It was founded in 1894 by Pinckney C. Hollingsworth who started a company to repair textile machinery. He carried a lathe and grinder—by mule—to cotton mills in the two Carolinas. He later purchased a used truck and built a large garage-workshop behind his house. He was followed in the business by his son John D. Hollingsworth and grandson. J.D.

  "I" is for Irvin, Willis [1890-1950]. Architect. After graduating from Georgia Tech, Irvin established a practice in Augusta. For nearly 30 years he was the leading designer of upscale residences throughout the lowcountry. He catered to wealthy clients, including many northerners who bought plantations for use as winter homes.

  "H" is for Hancock, Gordon Blaine [1884-1970]. Educator, writer. After graduating from Benedict College, Hancock became the principal of Seneca Institute in Oconee County. After receiving degrees from Colgate and Harvard he accepted a professorship at Virginia Union University in Richmond. Hancock wrote a weekly column, “Between the Lines” for the Norfolk Journal & Guide, a black newspaper with a national circulation; he also wrote a comparable syndicated column for the Associated Negro Press. The latter ran for three decades in 114 African American newspapers.

  "G" is for the General Textile Strike. On Labor Day 1934, the United Textile Workers [UTW] launched a nationwide strike. Within a week, more than 500,000 workers---including 43,000 in South Carolina-- joined the protest, shutting down two-thirds of the state's textile mills. Factories shut down so rapidly that tabulators lost count. Governor Ibra Blackwood called out the National Guard and Highway Patrol to confront the strikers. Increased tensions between striking workers and mill owners led to confrontations and then, in Honea Path—to violence.

  "F" is for Fishing, commercial. With extensive estuaries and barrier islands, the coastal areas of South Carolina are important regional nurseries for fisheries. The state's commercial fisheries are characterized by small-scale, individual operators harvesting primarily shrimp, offshore finfish, blue crabs, and oysters. Shrimping is the state's largest fishery. The two major shrimp crops are brown shrimp, caught in early summer, and white shrimp, harvested in late summer and throughout the fall.

"M" is for Medicine

Jul 8, 2016

  "M" is for Medicine. In 1734, William Bull, II, became the first native-born American to obtain a European medical degree—at the University in Leyden. The early 19th century gave rise to systematic attempts to improve medicine in South Carolina. In 1817, the legislature created examining boards for physicians, midwives, and apothecaries. Roper Hospital, the first community hospital of any size, opened in 1856.

  "L" is for Longstreet, James Peter [1821-1904]. Soldier. Born in Edgefield District, Longstreet spent his formative years in Georgia and Alabama. After graduating from West Point, he had a successful army career, serving with distinction in the Mexican war and achieving the rank of major. In 1861, he resigned his US Army commission and joined the Confederate Army as a brigadier general. He distinguished himself as a superb military tactician and in 1862 Robert E. Lee made him his second in command.

  "H" is for Historic Preservation. Few states can rival South Carolina’s devotion to history as measured by the preservation and interpretation of places and buildings associated with its past. In many ways, the preservation movement in this country can be traced to the successful efforts of Ann Pamela Cunningham of Laurens to save George Washington’s home, Mount Vernon. In Charleston, the Society for the Preservation of Old Dwellings helped the city create the country’s first historic preservation district and its first historic zoning ordinance.

  "C" is for Charleston Riot (1919). This riot was the earliest major incident in a nationwide outbreak of racial violence that came to be known as the “Red Summer.” Race riots erupted in two dozen American communities between April and October. The trouble began on May 11th with rumors that a black man had shot a white sailor. White servicemen, accompanied by local whites, began destroying black businesses and attacking black passersby. Black Charlestonians defended themselves.

  "B" is for Blair, Frank [1915-1995]. Broadcaster, author. A native of Yemassee, Blair served in the Navy during World War II. A deep-voiced broadcaster, a mainstay of NBC’s “The Today Show” from 1952 to 1975, he got his start in broadcasting at radio station WCSC in Charleston in 1935. After the war, Blair joined NBC and moderated “The American Forum of the Air,” a debate program. When the “Today Show” was launched in 1952, he was named Washington correspondent. During his 23 years on the show, he worked with 25 hosts.

"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.