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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South Carolina From A to Z
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"A" is for Atwater, Harvey LeRoy [1951-1991]. Political Adviser. Born in Atlanta, Atwater was reared in Columbia. A graduate of Newberry College, he received an MA in mass communications from USC. He spent much of his early career managing campaigns for prominent South Carolinians Carroll Campbell, Floyd Spence, and Strom Thurmond. In these elections he gained a reputation as a shrewd, yet negative campaigner, willing to use almost any tactic to help his candidate.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"E" is for Enterprise Railroad. Chartered in 1870, with a capital of $250,000, this railroad is unique in South Carolina history: with one exception its initial board of directors were all African Americans. Constructed in 1874, the railroad used horse-drawn carriages to passengers and freight, connecting wharves and railroad depots throughout the city of Charleston. The railroad created tension within Charleston’s black community as 75% of the city’s draymen were African American. They feared the company would diminish their business.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"C" is for Chalmers, Lionel [1715-1777]. Physician. Scientist. A native of Scotland, Chalmers was in Charleston in 1737 where he established a modest practice. In 1740 he entered into partnership with Dr. John Lining. Lining had been recording weather data for years. Between 1750 and 1759 Chalmers compiled his own series of meteorological records. Later he combined Lining’s records with his in his best known work, An Account of the Weather and Diseases in South Carolina—published in London in 1776.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"B" is for Bennett, Thomas, Jr. [1781-1865]. Governor. With his father, Bennett built a lucrative lumber and rice mill business in Charleston. He was active in the Chamber of Commerce and served as a director of the Bank of the State of South Carolina, and the Louisville, Cincinnati, and Charleston Railroad. He was mayor of Charleston and served six terms in the South Carolina House of Representatives—and was its Speaker. He was elected to the State Senate in 1819, but resigned a year later when he was elected Governor.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"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 Wright, Mary Honor Farrow [1862-1946]. Educator. Born into slavery in Spartanburg County, Wright received her early education from northern teachers who came to South Carolina after the Civil War. In 1879, after graduating from Claflin University, she accepted her first teaching position in Inman, where she held classes in a brush arbor. She later organized schools and taught in mill villages and churches in Spartanburg and Saxon. In 1904 she organized a school in her home for black children who were to young to walk to the nearest black school.

"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.

"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

Dec 26, 2017

"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

Dec 25, 2017

"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.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"A" is for Aiken, William, Sr. [1778-1831]. Merchant. Banker. Railroad Developer. A native of, Ireland, Aiken immigrated to South Carolina with his family when only a lad. He grew up in Winnsboro and when a young man was apprenticed to a Charleston cotton merchant. With his employer’s support, Aiken went into business as a cotton factor for himself. Later, he served as a director of the Planters’ and Mechanics’ Bank of South Carolina, the Union Insurance Company, and the Charleston Branch of the Bank of the United States. For seven years he represented the parishes of St. Philip’s and St.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"W" is for Watson, Albert William [1922-1994]. Legislator. Congressman. After service in World War II, Watson earned his law degree from USC and established a practice in Columbia. He served several terms in the South Carolina House of Representatives. In 1962 he was elected to Congress from the Second District as a Democrat and was reelected in 1964. In 1965, stripped of his seniority for supporting Republican Barry Goldwater for President, Watson resigned his seat and was reelected as a Republican in 1966 and 1968. In 1970, he ran for governor against John West.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"T" is for Theus, Jeremiah [1716-1774]. Portrait Painter. Theus was born in Switzerland and immigrated to Orangeburg District in 1735. Five years later, he moved to Charleston and advertised his services as a limner (portraitist) and sign painter. Despite his lack of formal training, Theus modeled his likenesses after fashionable English portraits of the day. The large majority of his portraits are half-lengths with sitters standing erect and shown without their hands. While the men wear sober street clothes, women are dressed in great finery of lace, fabric, pearls, and even ermine.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"S" is for St. Paul's Parish. St. Paul’s Parish was one of the original parishes created in 1706. The parish included a mainland region between the South Edisto and Stono Rivers as well as the adjacent Sea Islands. Later the Sea Islands were separated into St. John’s Colleton Parish. The Parish Church was completed in 1707 near the south branch of the Stono River, but was moved further inland in 1737. Rice and indigo dominated the colonial economy of the parish, but after the American Revolution, sea island cotton replaced indigo as a staple.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"R" is for Rea, Paul Marshall [1878-1948]. Biologist. Educator. Museologist. Rea moved to Charleston in 1903 as professor of biology and geology and as curator of the museum at the College of Charleston. Through public lectures and publications he made the museum more visible. He also founded the Charleston Natural History Society. In 1906, he negotiated a change in the name from the College of Charleston Museum to the Charleston Museum and he assumed the title of director. Rea remained on the college staff until 1914 when he became full-time director of the museum.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"W" is for Wannamaker, John Edward [1851-1935]. Agriculturalist. Civic Leader. Educated at home by private tutors, Wannamaker graduated from Wofford in 1872. After college, he assumed management of his father's farming interests. Keenly interested in agricultural improvement, he applied his considerable resources to agrarian research and innovation. In the 1930s he experimented with soybeans, seeking to develop a seed stock suitable to South Carolina soils and climate.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"U" is for the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. The denomination was formed in 1958 with the union of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America and the United Presbyterian Church in North America. Long-established lowcountry black congregations were part of the United Presbyterian Church. In 1861 when the South seceded from the union, the denomination had divided into northern and southern branches. After the war, black Presbyterians withdrew from white churches.

"T" is for Television

Dec 13, 2017
South Carolina From A to Z
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"T" is for Television. The first snowy black and white images on South Carolina television screens were broadcast by a Charlotte, North Carolina station. It was not until 1952 that six South Carolina stations received their FCC television broadcast licenses. WIS, Columbia went on the air in April 1953 and WCSC, Charleston, followed a month later. WNOK-TV, one of the oldest UHF channels in the country, is now WLTX, Columbia. Many early stations bought their television cameras developed by Columbia native Thomas T. Goldsmith.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"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
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"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.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"D" is for Doby, Lawrence Edward.


"C" is for Central, SC.


South Carolina From A to Z
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"B" is for Bennett, Thomas, Jr.


South Carolina From A to Z
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"A" is for Ashwood Plantation.


South Carolina From A to Z
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"E" is for Ensore, Joshua Fulton.


"T" is for Tega Cay

Dec 1, 2017
South Carolina From A to Z
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"T" is for Tega Cay, in York County; population 4044. Tega Cay is a recreational oriented community on Lake Wiley, with stronger ties to North Carolina than South Carolina. Tega Cay came into being in 1970 when Duke Power sold 1600 acres in northwestern Fort Mill township to a Charlotte developer. The name allegedly comes from an obscure Polynesian dialect and means "lovely peninsula." Historically, the site was identified as India Hook H ills which aptly described the red clay spur of land that jutted like a fish hook into the Catawba River.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"S" is for St. James-Santee Parish. The parish of Saint James-Santee was established in 1706 and included the Northwestern portions of modern Berkeley and Charleston Counties. The earliest Europeans in the area were Huguenots. In 1706 the French and English settlers of the area petitioned the commons house for parish status. Because of the language barrier within the congregation of the parish church, for decades St. James-Santee required a bilingual clergyman who could speak to the congregation and both French and English.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"R" is for ratification of the United States Constitution. South Carolina’s ratification of a new federal Constitution in 1789 was never in doubt. Representation in the ratification convention was heavily skewed in favor of the Lowcountry where there was tremendous support for a strong federal government. Lowcountry residents were uncomfortable with the political forces unleashed by independence and the defeat of the British, and they did not trust the backcountry.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"P" is for Palmetto Medical, Dental, and Pharmaceutical Association. Throughout the 19th century, African-American physicians in South Carolina were barred from hospitals and clinics and they lacked access to many medications and supplies. In 1896, five black physicians formed the Palmetto State Medical Association as a vehicle to improve healthcare for black Carolinians and to graduate more medically trained personnel. Early meetings focused on the advancements of Medical science and efforts to lower black mortality rates.

South Carolina From A to Z
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"O" is for Olympia Cotton Mill. The Olympia Cotton Mill was one of four mills designed and built by industrialist W. B. Smith Whaley. Construction began in 1899 and by 1900 the mail was an operation, often call the world’s largest cotton mill under one roof. It housed more than 100,000 spindles and 2250 looms in a mammoth, multi-storied and towered brick structure, some 150 by 550 feet. All machinery was powered by electricity. The mill village contained a kindergarten, school, gymnasium, and the first playground in the Columbia area.

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