South Carolina from A to Z

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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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"G" is for Gregorie, Anne King (1887-1960). Historian, teacher, author, editor. After graduating from Winthrop in 1906, Gregorie taught for a while and then spent several years working with her father. In 1925 she embarked on the process of becoming a professional historian. Within a year she earned a master’s degree from the University of South Carolina. In 1929 Gregorie became the first woman to deceive a doctorate from USC’s Department of History. While teaching at colleges in Alabama and Arkansas, she prepared her biography of Thomas Sumter for publication.

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"G" is for Gregg, William (1800-1867). Manufacturer. Industrial promoter. Gregg made his fortune as an importer of fancy goods and jewelry in Charleston. In 1844, he toured the leading manufacturing centers of the Northeast. Returning to Charleston he wrote a series of articles that evolved into a pamphlet, Essays on Domestic Industry. In these widely circulated publications, Gregg called on the South to invest in manufacturing and end its reliance on staple agriculture—and made him widely known among the South’s leading industrial advocates.

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"C" is for Cleveland School Fire (May 17, 1923). Cleveland Public School was situated in Kershaw County, six mile south of Camden. The school was housed in a two-story frame building; an auditorium (40 feet by 20 feet) was on the second floor. On May 17, 1923 the room was packed with 300 people attending graduation ceremonies and a class play. During the performance, a large oil lamp fell to the stage and ignited an intense fire. Terrified spectators rushed toward the only exit. Some persons were trampled to death and the wooden stairway collapsed.

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"C" is for Cleveland, Georgia Allen (1851-1914). Writer, activist. Georgia Allen Cleveland and her husband were noted for their generosity and charity in the Spartanburg community. Both played leading roles in the founding of Converse College. She kept a diary from 1890 to 1914 in which she chronicled life as an upper class married southern white female. Because of the richness of her entries, she left a legacy of South Carolina upcountry history that documented local, state, and regional history. Her diary is a valuable record of Victorian female domesticity from the grand to the mundane.

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"C" is for Clemson University Extension Service. The Smith-Lever Act of 1914 created the Cooperative Extension Service. The act ended the rivalry between state agricultural commissioners and land grant colleges over the administration of extension work. In its place, Smith-Lever created a partnership of federal, state, and local governments that worked to improve the quality of rural life by disseminating the latest information to farmers, homemakers, and communities.

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"W" is for Wright, Jonathan Jasper (1840-1885). Attorney, legislator, jurist. Born in Pennsylvania, Wright read law with antislavery advocate Dr. William W. Pride. In 1864 Wright took a position with the American Missionary Association teaching black soldiers stationed on the Sea Islands. He was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar in 1866, but returned to South Carolina the next year with the Freedman’s

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"W" is for Wright, Elizabeth Evelyn (1872-1906). A native Georgian, Wright enrolled as a night student at Tuskegee; she paid her tuition by working at the school during the day. Despite opposition from state and local education officials she tried to establish small industrial education schools in the lowcountry. In 1897, Wright relocated to Denmark and opened a school over a grocery store. She began raising money for what would become the Denmark Industrial Institute—modeled on her alma mater. Her most generous benefactor was Ralph Vorhees of New Jersey.

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"W" is for Wright, Alice Buck Norwood Spearman (1902-1989). Human relations activist. A graduate of Converse College, Wright taught school in South Carolina before moving to New York City. She earned a master’s degree in religious education from Columbia Teacher’s College. In 1930 she began a three-year journey around the world, attending conferences, teaching, and studying Asian culture Returning home, Wright became the first woman appointed to administer a county relief program.

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"W" is for Wragg, William (ca. 1714-1777). Loyalist. A native South Carolinian, Wragg was educated in England at Westminster, St. John’s College, Oxford, and the middle Temple. He was appointed to the Royal Council in 1753 and supported its positions in controversies with the Commons House. When Governor Lyttleton tried to appease the Commons House, Wragg vociferously defended the position of the Crown and the Council. Removed from the Council, he was elected to the Commons House.

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"M" is for Miller, Kelly, Jr. (1863-1939). Educator, writer. A Winnsboro native, Miller was the son of a free person of color and an enslaved woman. A northern missionary helped him get a scholarship to the preparatory department of Howard University. He later became the first African American to attend Johns Hopkins University. In 1890 Miller joined the faculty at Howard where he remained throughout his career. As a sociologist and Dean of Howard’s College of Arts and Sciences, he became one of the nation’s most prominent authorities in the debate on race in America.

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"M" is for Mill Villages. The establishment of the Pelzer Manufacturing Company’s mill on the Saluda River in Anderson County in the early 1880s marked the beginning of the Piedmont mill village boom. Early textile entrepreneurs built not only factories, but also frequently entire villages such as Piedmont in Greenville County, Clifton and Pacolet in Spartanburg County, and Langley in Aiken County. The villages were self-contained communities with neighborhood stores, parks, schools, churches, and mill league baseball and basketball. Mill villages began to decline in the 1920s.

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"P" is for Port Royal Island, Battle of (February 3, 1779). The Battle of Port Royal Island was part of a larger campaign designed by the British to cover their operations against Augusta, Georgia. On February 2, 1779—while British units were marching toward Augusta, a small British fleet approached Port Royal. The approach of the warships led the Americans to destroy Fort Lyttleton at Beaufort. The enemy marched through the town and up the Broad River. They found Port Royal Ferry well defended and decided to return to their ships.

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"P" is for Port Royal Experiment. The Port Royal Experiment was an early humanitarian effort to prepare former slaves of the South Carolina Sea Islands for inclusion as free citizens in American public life. The Experiment was made possible by the U.S. Navy’ conquest of the Sea Islands in November 1861. The conquest was so swift that Beaufort District planters fled and abandoned nearly ten thousand slaves on island plantations. A partnership was established between the federal government and various philanthropic agencies.

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"R" is for Russell, Donald Stewart (1906-1998). University President, governor, U.S. senator, jurist. Russell practiced law in Spartanburg with James F. Byrnes. As Byrnes’ protégé, he worked in the White House during World War II. In 1950 Russell was named president of the University of South Carolina where his administration is remembered as one of the most successful in the school’s history. In 1962 he was elected governor. When Senator Olin D. Johnston died in 1965, Russell resigned as governor and was appointed to the U.S. Senate until a special election could be held.

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"R" is for Rutledge, John (ca. 1739-1800). Lawyer, jurist, governor. After studying at the Middle Temple in London, Rutledge was admitted to the Charleston bar in 1761 and quickly became one of the colony’s most successful attorneys. He was one of the leaders in the Commons House from 1761 to 1775. He was a delegate to the Stamp Act Congress and the First and Second Continental Congresses. He was elected governor in 1779. When the British overran South Carolina in 1780, he escaped Charleston and functioned as a one-man government in exile.

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"R" is for Rutledge, Edward (1749-1800). Lawyer, governor. Rutledge studied law at the Middle Temple in London. He was admitted to the bar in 1773. One of his first cases involved a successful habeas corpus petition that freed a printer jailed for contempt by the Royal Council. The reputation he gained in this politically charged case led to his election to the Continental Congress in 1774--where in 1776, he became the youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence. Returning to Charleston he was a member of the General Assembly and a captain in the Charleston Artillery.

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"R" is for Rutledge, Archibald (1883-1973). Poet, writer. Rutledge grew up on Hampton plantation in Georgetown County. Graduating from Porter Military Academy in Charleston, he continued his education at Union College. For nearly thirty-two years Rutledge headed the English department at Mercersburg Academy, a college preparatory school in Pennsylvania. He began publishing poetry in 1907, but did not earn recognition until 1918, when his memoir of youth, Tom and I on the Old Plantation, was published.

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"S" is for Slave badges. Slave badges served as the physical proof required to demonstrate the legal status of slaves hired out by their masters. Laws controlling such hiring began early, and badges or “tickets” were mentioned by 1751; wearing them was mandated by 1764. In 1783, with its incorporation, Charleston immediately passed badge laws. Although other cities had similar laws, only Charleston badges have survived. By 1806 badges were valid for a calendar year and were sold at varying fees, in specific categories: mechanics, fruiterers (hucksters), fishers, porters, and servants.

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"S" is for Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy. In 1829, Catholic Bishop John England founded the Sister of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy in Charleston—using the Sisters of Charity in Emmitsburg, Maryland, as a model for the new religious community. By the 1840s the sisters operated an orphanage, an academy, and a free school for girls, and a school for free children of color. They later established St. Francis Xavier Hospital in Charleston and Divine Savior Hospital in York.

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“R” is for Russell’s Magazine (1857-1860). Russell’s Magazine was the last of the southern antebellum literary magazines and arguably the best. It was the magazine for the professional middle class—doctors, lawyers, and college faculty. Paul Hamilton Hayne was the journal’s editor. Hayne promised to publish “undiscovered genius” in the South because northern editors were reluctant to publish southern writers. The only undiscovered genius, however, out to be Henry Timrod.

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“P” is for Port Royal, Battle of (November 7, 1861). On November 7th a Union naval squadron including seventeen warships and thirty-five transports (with 1,300 soldiers aboard) entered Port Royal Sound. The warships bombarded Fort Walker on Hilton Head and Fort Beauregard on Bay Point. After five hours of fighting, the Confederates evacuated the forts and fled inland—abandoning Beaufort and the Sea Islands. The Union suffered eight killed and twenty-three wounded; Confederate losses were eleven killed and sixty-one wounded.

"P" is for Port Royal

Apr 4, 2018
South Carolina From A to Z
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"P" is for Port Royal (Beaufort County; population 3,950). In 1869 Stephen Caldwell Miller began construction of the Port Royal Railroad between Augusta, Georgia, and Battery Point on the southern end of Port Royal Island. The town, railroad, and harbor facilities followed and Port Royal was incorporated in 1874. The town soon surpassed Beaufort in both shipping and commercial activities. Nearby phosphate deposits brought a boom and regular railroad connections with inland cities. Passenger ship service was established to New York, Liverpool, and Bremen.

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“M” is for Mill Schools. Textile mill executives surrounded their mills with villages and most provided schools to educate the children of mill workers. The mill school was a reflection of the individual community and run with little interference or oversight by the state. Prior to South Carolina’s compulsory attendance law, children as young as nine went top work in the mills, depending on the family’s preference or financial circumstances. One of the most audacious examples of South Carolina’s Progressive movement was the creation of a high school in Greenville.

"M" is for Militia

Apr 2, 2018
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“M” is for Militia. South Carolina’s early settlers brought with them the traditional English concept of a militia, the idea that every citizen had a duty to assist in the defense of the community. A 1671 ordinance required all men (sixteen to sixty) to serve in the militia and provide their own weapons. The Militia act of 1792 required all white males (eighteen to forty-five) to serve and supply their weapons and ammunition. The militia served primarily as a source of manpower for the regular patrols used to enforce the laws on slave activity.

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“M” is for Military Education. Since the antebellum period, southerners have regarded military education as an excellent way to instill self-discipline, integrity, patriotism, moral virtue, and a sense of civic duty in youths, particularly young men. The South Carolina Military Academy was founded in 1842 with two branches: Arsenal Academy in Columbia that evolved into a prep school and the Citadel in Charleston as a college. When Clemson Agricultural College opened in 1893, it instituted a military program.

"L" is for Lynch, Thomas, Jr. (1749-1779)

Mar 29, 2018
South Carolina From A to Z
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“L” is for Lynch, Thomas, Jr. (1749-1779). Signer of the Declaration of Independence. A native of Prince George Winyah Parish, Lynch attended the Indigo Society School. He then travelled to England where he was schooled at Eton and then Caius College, Cambridge. He then read law at the Middle Temple. Lynch returned to South Carolina in 1772 and two years later was elected to the First Provincial Congress. In 1775 he was commissioned a captain in the First South Carolina Regiment. A year later he was elected to the Second Continental Congress.

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“L” is for Lynch, Patrick Nelson (1817-1882). Clergyman, diplomat. Lynch was born in Ireland. His family immigrated to South Carolina in 1819 and settled in Cheraw. Bishop John England educated Lynch in his boys’ academy in Charleston and then sent him to Rome to complete his studies for the priesthood. Returning home, he was rector of St. Mary’s, Charleston and editor of The United States Catholic Miscellany. In 1858, he was consecrated the third bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston.

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“H” is for Hopsewee Plantation (Georgetown County). Hopsewee Plantation is best known as the birthplace and boyhood home of Thomas Lynch, Jr., a signer of the Declaration of Independence. It is located south of Georgetown at the point where U.S. Highway 17 crosses the north branch of the Santee River. This was also the site of the main colonial thoroughfare running north and south, the “King’s Highway.” In the 1740s, Thomas Lynch, Sr., built the house that still stands at Hopsewee.

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"H" is for Hoppin’ John. Hoppin’ John is a pilaf made with beans and rice. The recipe came directly to America from West Africa and is typical of the one-pot cooking of the South Carolina lowcountry. As the recipe moved inland, it became the traditional dish for good luck on New Year’s Day throughout the South. The first written appearance of the recipe in English was in Sarah Rutledge’s The Carolina Housewife, or House and Home, by a Lady of Charleston.

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"G" is for Greer, Bernard Eugene (b. 1948). Author. While working as a prison guard at Columbia's notorious Central Correctional Institution, Greer took creative writing classes at USC and later earned an MA in creative writing from Hollins College. He then worked on a fishing boat in Maine. During a long Maine winter, he began to forge his experiences as a prison guard into Slammer, his first novel. It was a critical and popular success.

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