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 Tabby

Sep 22, 2017

"T" is for Tabby. Tabby is a building material consisting of oyster shells, lime, sand, and water that is poured into a wooden mold and then tamped down. It is then left to harden for several days, after which the molds are removed and reused—with successive layers of a wall being built one on top of another until the structure reaches the desired height. With brick and stone scarce along the coast and on the Sea Islands, tabby became a durable, low-cost material for fortifications, houses, outbuildings, stores, and churches.

"S" is for Saint Andrew's Parish. In 1706, when the Commons House made the Church of England the colony's official church, St. Andrew's was among the ten parishes created by that act. It originally included the mainland region south and west of Charleston along the Ashley River as well as James Island. Parishes in South Carolina served a political as well as a religious function. Due to the growing profitability of rice cultivation and subsequent population growth, the parish was subdivided in 1717, with the upper territory surrounding the upper Ashley River becoming St.

"R" is for the R. L. Bryan Company. The publishing firm of R.L. Bryan Company is Columbia's oldest industry. In 1844 Richard Lathan Bryan of Charleston opened a newsstand and stationery shop on what is now Main Street. After the Civil War the company added a printing department and in 1898 began printing the bills and journals of the General Assembly. In the early 20th century, R.L. Bryan became the state's textbook distributor—a function it still manages—and also entered the office furniture and supply market.

"Q" is for Quakers

Sep 19, 2017

"Q" is for Quakers. The Society of Friends [more commonly known as Quakers] has had a fragmented history in South Carolina. Quakerism came to South Carolina in the 1670s with the founding of the Charleston Meeting---the organizational unit of the Society. Other Quaker communities were established near Camden and in what is now Newberry County. As a matter of belief, Quakers opposed violence and slavery. After 1800, with the spread of slavery into the backcountry, many Quakers left the state for slave-free Ohio.

"P" is for Pacific Mills. Pacific Mills began in Lawrence, Massachusetts in 1850. In  1915, in order to expand its operations it purchased four mills on the outskirts of Columbia. Known collectively as Columbia Pacific Mills, they included Olympia, Granby, Richland, and Capital City Mills. In the 1920s, Olympia Mill had the largest spinning room in the world with more than 100,000 spindles. The massive output of the Columbia mills made Pacific the world's largest manufacturer of percale.

"O" is for Ottolengui, Rodrigues [1861-1937]. Orthodontist. Lepidopterist. Editor. Novelist. After attending the College of Charleston, Ottolengui moved to New York City to apprentice under some of the nation's leading dental surgeons. He became interested in orthodontics, was the author of dental textbook, for forty years was the editor of a dental periodical, Dental Items of Interest. An avid reader of detective stories, he was a pioneer in the field of forensic dentistry and wrote at least five mystery novels—some of which were published abroad.

"N" is for Niernsee, John Randolph [1823-1885] and Niernsee, Francis McHenry [1849-1899]. Architects. John Niernsee was the principal architect for the design and construction of the South Carolina State House. His son Frank followed in his father's footsteps by finishing the interior of the State House and operating a successful architectural practice in Columbia. In 1855 the elder Niernsee came to take charge of the troubled new State House project, but his work stopped by the Civil War.

"M" is for Market Hall

Sep 11, 2017

"M" is for Market Hall. Completed in 1841, Market Hall was one of several monumental buildings that arose along Meeting Street in Charleston during the 1830s and 1840s. Located at 188 Meeting Street, Market Hall occupies a narrow lot between North and South Market Streets that has been used as the public market since the late 18th century. Built of brick covered with brown stucco, the two-story building is set on a rusticated base. A double flight of steps leads to a portico supported by Doric columns.

"G" is for the German Friendly Society. Oldest of all the German male social organizations in Charleston, the German Friendly Society was founded by Michael Kalteisen and Daniel Strobel in 1766. Originally it was a social and mutual-aid society to pay sick and death benefits, and allow members to borrow funds at low interest rates. Within a few years, German ethnicity was no longer a requirement for membership.

"G" is for Georgetown County [815 square miles; population 55,797]. Named in honor of King George III, Georgetown County lies in the fertile plain surrounding Winyah Bay. Its early wealth lay in the maze of rivers and creeks that traversed the county that produced timber, naval stores, and rice. With the tidal cultivation of rice came thousands of slaves. By 1860, slaves accounted for 85 percent of the county's population. After Reconstruction, the county's white and black population shared political offices and power under what was called a fusion plan until 1900.

"F" is for Florence County [800 square miles; population 125,761]. Created in 1888, Florence County lies between the Great Pee Dee and Lynches Rivers in the eastern part of the state. In the late antebellum period, three railroads intersected in the area and the town of Florence developed. With the creation of the county, the town became the county seat. Railroads and agriculture would be the economic mainstays of the county until well into the 20th century.

"F" is for Flat Nose

Sep 5, 2017

"F" is for Flat Nose. In the 1980s, Flat Nose, a Darlington County bulldog, attracted international attention because of his ability to climb pine trees. According to his owner Barney Odom, Flat Nose developed his tree-climbing ability as a puppy despite Odom's best efforts to stop him. After regional media gave the dog considerable attention, he and his owner were invited to appear on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

"E" is for Eleanor Clubs. During the early years of World War II, white South Carolinians, like other white southerners, passed rumors about “Eleanor Clubs.” They told each other that their black help—inspired by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt—were organizing quasi-unions to raise their pay or leave domestic employment. And, they vowed to have a white woman in every kitchen by Christmas. Then they would start to press for social equality and, finally, the overthrow of white-led government.

"T" is for   [circa   1790-circa 1840] and Madame Ann Marsan Mason Talvande [circa 1807-1850]. Educators. Between 1816 and 1850 Madame Talvande's Ladies Boarding School in Charleston educated the daughters of the elite families of South Carolina, including the diarist Mary Boykin Miller Chesnut and the novelist Susan Petigru King. The Talvandes were thought to be refugees from the Hatian revolution.

"S" is for Saint Bartholomew's Parish. St. Bartholomew’s was one of the ten original parishes established by the Church Act of 1706. Located in present-day Colleton County, the parish included the territory between the Edisto and Combahee rivers. With the spread of rice and indigo, St. Bartholomew's became a prosperous plantation area. By 1820, the population was overwhelmingly African-American (83.6%). Local residents could never agree on a site for a parish church so several Anglican Chapels of Ease were built instead—the most notable being the chapel at Pon Pon. The planters of St.