South Carolina from A to Z

All Stations: 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)

Ways to Connect

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"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
SC Public Radio

"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.

"R" is for Ravenel, Henry William [1814-1887]. Botanist, diarist. After graduating from the South Carolina College, Ravenel acquired Northampton plantation in Berkeley County. He settled into the life of a lowcountry planter and began a life-long collaboration with the country's leading botanists. He was fascinated with mycology—the study of fungi--and published two works: Fungi Caroliniani Exsiccati  [in five parts, 1852-1860] and Fungi Americani Exsiccati [in eight parts, 1878-1882].

"P" is for Pardo, Juan. Spanish soldier, explorer. In 1565, Pardo travelled to Spanish Florida as the captain of one of six military companies sent to reinforce the colony. His company was posted to Santa Elena, located on present-day Parris Island. He was ordered to explore for an overland route to the silver mines of Mexico—thought to be just several hundred miles inland. He never reached Mexico, but his two expeditions provided a valuable look at mid sixteenth century southeastern Indians. On his second expedition he built six forts, garrisoned with Spanish soldiers.

"O" is for Opportunity Schools. Dr. Wil Lou Gray, the state supervisor in adult education, created a boarding school for young people who could not attend public school or who had not gone further than the fifth grade. The school opened in August 1921 at the Tamassee DAR School in Oconee County to offer educational opportunities for undereducated young white women. For a decade the school operated during August on the campuses of Anderson, Erskine, Clemson, and Lander colleges. By 1931 it was co-educational and in 1936 the Opportunity School for Negroes opened at Vorhees.

"N" is for the New Era Club. Founded in Spartanburg in 1912, the New Era Club existed for only a short while, but served as the nucleus of South Carolina's first statewide women's suffrage organization. White and middle class in its make-up, the club began disguised as a study group.

"W" is for World War II (1941-1945). Prior to the entry of the US into World War II, the federal government constructed or expanded military installations, including Camp Jackson (Columbia), Camp Croft (Spartanburg), the Navy Yard (Charleston), and several smaller bases. At least 900,000 men received military training in South Carolina. More than 180,000 Carolinians (including 2,500 women) served in the armed forces. Thousands more wanted to serve, but 41% of those examined were rejected for mental or physical problems.

"W" is for World War I (1917-1918). When Congress declared war on Germany in April 1917, part of South Carolina was already on a war footing. More than 65,000 South Carolinians served in the armed forces. Eight men from the state were awarded the Medal of Honor. At home civilians supported the war effort through liberty bond drives, home gardens, and meatless and wheatless days. Patriotism cut across racial boundaries in broad support for bond drives and the Red Cross.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"B" is for Bennett, Thomas, Jr.


South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"A" is for Asian religions. In 1965, the US Congress passed laws liberalizing existing statutes regarding the entry of Asian immigrants. This had a significant effect on the religious landscape of South Carolina. By the 1980s the state had become home to emergent communities of Asian immigrants—East Indians, Cambodians, Vietnamese, and Laotians from Southeast Asia.  Prior to the 1960s the most notable Hindu presence in the state was the Meher Baba Spiritual Center in Myrtle Beach.

" “W" is for Wofford College. A four-year liberal arts college in Spartanburg, Wofford was founded with a bequest from the Methodist minister and Spartanburg native Benjamin Wofford. The General Assembly granted a charter in 1851 and the then all-male college opened in 1854. In the late 19th century Wofford played Furman in the first intercollegiate football game in South Carolina, allowed fraternities on campus, and its faculty participated in the founding of the Association of Southern Colleges and Secondary Schools.

  "S" is for Shaw Air Force Base. Established in 1941 on the outskirts of Sumter to train pilots for World War II, Shaw Air Force Base later evolved into a home for U.S. Air Force tactical units. The facility was named after Sumter native Ervin Shaw, a pilot shot down over France in July 1918. In 1948 the base became part of the Tactical Air Command and in 1950 home to the Ninth Air Force. Its planes played an active role in the cold war, including reconnaissance patrols over Cuba during the 1962 Missile Crisis. In 1993 Shaw became the permanent home of the Twentieth Fighter Wing.

"R" is for Rock Hill

Feb 21, 2018

  "R" is for Rock Hill [York County; population 41,643*]. Rock Hill began in 1852 as a depot and watering station on the Charlotte and South Carolina Railroad. The name came from a notation on a construction supervisor’s map marking a spot where the road encountered a small flinty knoll. In the years after the Civil War, Rock Hill developed into a major cotton market and by the 1880s into a major textile center. In 1915, it adopted the city-manager form of government. In the early 20th century it began a century-long effort of economic and industrialization.

"P" is for Pines

Feb 20, 2018

"P" is for Pines. Nine native pine species are found within South Carolina. Three species are restricted to the upper Piedmont and mountain regions, three are found nearly throughout the state, and three are found primarily within the coastal plain. South Carolina pines are divided into white and yellow. Yellow pines have needles in groups of two or three, while white pines have needles in groups of five. The only white pine in the state is the eastern white pine. Among the yellow pines are loblolly, slash, longleaf, Virginia, pitch, pond, table mountain, and spruce.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"E" is for England, John [1786-1842]. Catholic Bishop. Educator. Born in Ireland, England was ordained in 1808. In 1820 Pope Pius VII appointed him the first bishop of the Diocese of Charleston—encompassing the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. He traveled repeatedly to all corners of his huge diocese, established parishes and recruited priests. He was one of the first Irish-American bishops and became an important leader of the Irish community nationwide.

"D" is for Divorce

Feb 15, 2018
South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"D" is for Divorce. Except for a brief period from 1872 to 1878, South Carolina was the only state in the union that prohibited divorce. The opposition to divorce stemmed from the citizenry’s strong disapproval of government interference in any “domestic institution.” Although divorce was forbidden, South Carolinians were not exempt from desertions, bigamy, abusive marriages, adulterous relationships, and illegitimate children. Desertion functioned as a de facto divorce.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"C" is for Catesby, Mark [1682-1749]. Naturalist. Artist. With the financial backing of influential Englishmen, Catesby came to Charleston in 1722 to gather specimens and notes for an illustrated work on the natural history of the Carolina region. In 1725 he left Charleston and journeyed to Florida and the Bahamas. Back in England, he began preparing the plates and text for publication—teaching himself engraving.

"B" is for Belton

Feb 13, 2018
South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"B" is for Belton [Anderson County; population 4,161]. Belton began as a proposed railroad junction of the Greenville and Columbia Railroad and a spur line of the Blue Ridge Railroad. The town was named in honor of Judge John Belton O’Neall, president of the Greenville and Columbia. The town was incorporated in 1855 and the Rice family can be credited with much of the town’s post-Civil War development. Among the family enterprises were a brick mill, a cottonseed oil mill, a grist and flour mill and a traveling cotton gin.

"A" is for Art

Feb 12, 2018
South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"A" is for Art. Throughout the history of South Carolina, art has reflected the tastes and aspirations of its citizenry. In general, South Carolinians’ taste has been conservative. With few exceptions, painting dominated sculpture in the history of art in South Carolina. With the advent of the 20th century, art slowly gained more prominence. The South Carolina and West Indian Exposition featured local as well as imported art. The Charleston Renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s brought national acclaim to local artists.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"W" is for the White-tailed deer. State Animal. Found throughout North America, the white-tailed deer was adopted as South Carolina’s State Animal in 1972. The trade and exportation of deerskins was vital to the economy of colonial South Carolina, and the species remains one of the state’s most popular game animals.  The underside of the deer’s body and tail are completely white, a color particularly noticeable as the animal “flags” its tail when alarmed. Since natural predators no longer present a threat, recreational hunting provides a check for overpopulation and disease.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"T" is for Travis, William Barret [1809-1836]. Soldier. Travis was born in Edgefield District, but in 1818 his family moved to Alabama. He studied law, and published a small newspaper, the Claiborne Herald. In debt, he abandoned his pregnant wife and infant son and fled to Texas. Travis set up a law practice and began a life of drinking, gambling, and womanizing—all of which he carefully recorded in his diary. When the Texas Revolution broke out in 1835, he was commissioned a major and later promoted to lieutenant colonel.

South Carolina From A to Z
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.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"R" is for Richardson, James Burchell [1770-1836]. Governor. Richardson was in his early twenties when the upland cotton boom hit South Carolina. Capitalizing on his family’s resources, he soon became one of the wealthiest planters in the state. Eventually he owned 12,000 acres and 395 slaves. In 1792 he was elected to the South Carolina House where he remained until he was elected governor in 1802. He was the first backcountry resident—indeed the first non-Charlestonian—to serve as governor.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"P" is for Perry, William Anthony [b. 1962]. Football player. Perry weighed more than thirteen pounds at birth. At Aiken High School, he was the focus of nationwide collegiate recruiting, but chose to play at Clemson. At Clemson, he soon earned the nickname “G.E.” from teammates and “Refrigerator” or “Fridge” from others because his six foot, three-inch, 320 pound stature resembled a kitchen appliance. He was Clemson’s first three-time All American. A first-round draft pick in 1985, he played nine seasons with the Chicago Bears.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"P" is for Patterson, Gladys Elizabeth Johnston [b. 1939]. Legislator. Congresswoman. After graduating from Columbia College, Patterson served as a public affairs officer with the Peace Corps and with VISTA in Washington, D.C. After a brief stint on the Spartanburg County Council, she was elected to the South Carolina Senat , serving from 1979 to 1986. In 1986, Patterson ran for Congress as a Democrat in the solidly Republican Fourth Congressional District--and won.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"O" is for Orr, James Lawrence [1822-1873]. Congressman. Governor. After serving in the General Assembly, Orr was elected to the U.S. Congress as a States-Rights Democrat and served five terms [1849-1859]. By sentiment a Unionist, he believed that the state’s interests would best be protected by a strong national Democratic Party. In 1857 he was elected Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. With Lincoln’s election, he supported secession and was a delegate to the Secession Convention. He served in the Confederate Senate from 1861 until 1865.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"N" is for Nielsen, Barbara Stock [b. 1942]. State Superintendent of Education. A native of Ohio, in 1984, Nielsen became the curriculum specialist and director of business-community partnerships for Beaufort County Schools. In 1990 she was elected state Superintendent of Education on the Republican ticket—the first woman to hold that position and only the second woman elected to a constitutional office. Her accomplishments included the development of frameworks for all subjects and grades and new performance-based assessments for statewide tests.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"M" is for Marion County [489 square miles; population 35,466]. In 1800 Liberty County was renamed and reorganized as Marion District--named for Revolutionary War hero Francis Marion. Located in northeastern South Carolina, the county is shaped like a knobby sweet potato, with its skinny southern end only fifteen miles from the Atlantic. Horry County lies to the east, Williamsburg and Georgetown Counties to the west. The Great Pee Dee and the Little Pee Dee Rivers flow the length of the county and merge at its southernmost tip. The soil is well suited for agriculture.

South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"L" is for Lebby, Nathaniel H. [1816-1880]. Inventor. In 1852 Lebby, an employee of the South Carolina Railroad, received a patent for a “water-raising apparatus”—a steam-driven pump frequently used in the Lowcountry’s rice fields. It was also used to deepen a channel in Charleston Harbor. When in operation, the pump discharged sizable amounts of mud, sand, and even rocks. He then made a working model of a dredge that impressed the U.S. Corps of Engineers responsible for Charleston Harbor.

"H" is for Hover Scare

Jan 26, 2018
South Carolina From A to Z
SC Public Radio

"H" is for Hover Scare (1887). Hiram E. Hover (often mis-spelled in the press as “Hoover”) formed the Co-operative Workers of America (CWA) in North Carolina. The goal of the CWA was to promote major labor reforms and establish cooperative stores. In South Carolina, Hoover addressed inter-racial crowds in Spartanburg, Greenville, and Walhalla. Other organizers, recruited by Hoover, founded CWA Branches or “Hoover Clubs” in Greenville proper, and in the rural areas of Greenville, Laurens and Spartanburg counties.

Pages