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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"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.

"Q" is for Quillen, Robert [1887-1948]. Newspaper editor, syndicated columnist. For more than a quarter of a century, Quillen was one of America's best-known homespun philosophers. A Kansas native, he worked as a printer in several towns before settling down in Fountain Inn as editor and publisher of the Fountain Inn Tribune. He wrote two unsuccessful novels, but by 1920 his small town, "folksy" wit was appearing in major newspapers such as the Baltimore Sun.

"P" is for Pageland

Aug 28, 2017

"P" is for Pageland in Chesterfield County (populations 2,521). Pageland is situated on a sand ridge immediately adjacent to the clay hills of the Piedmont—both soil types make farming difficult. Settlement began in the area after the American Revolution. For much of the nineteenth century the little community was known as Blakeney's Crossroads at the Old Store Township. In 1904 the Chesterfield and Lancaster Railroad reached the crossroads and it was renamed Pageland in honor of  "Captain Dolly" Page, the president of the railroad.

"W" is for Whitten, Benjamin Otis [1886-1970]. A Pendleton native, Whitten graduated from the Atlanta College of Physicians and Surgeons. He then joined the staff of the South Carolina State Hospital for the Insane. In 1918 Governor Manning got the legislature to differentiate between individuals classified as "feeble-minded" and those who were "insane." Whitten became the first director of a new facility, the South Carolina State Training School for the Feeble-Minded in Clinton.

"T" is for Trott, Nicholas [1663-1740]. Jurist. Scholar. In 1699, after completing his legal studies at the Inner Temple in London, Trott was appointed attorney general of South Carolina. In 1703 he became chief justice. Trott was both a scholar and a political power and during his time in South Carolina held numerous public offices. While chief justice he began to compile a codification of the laws of South Carolina that eventually were printed in 1736—the first book actually printed in the colony.

"P" is for Peurifoy, John Emil [1907-1955]. Diplomat. During World War II Peurifoy was a staff assistant in the Board of Economic Warfare and later was assigned to the staff supporting the  United Nations Conference in San Francisco. In July 1950 President Truman named him Ambassador to Greece where he promoted American interests and gained a reputation for being a dedicated "Cold Warrior." In 1953 President Eisenhower appointed him Ambassador to Guatemala where, with the assistance of the CIA, he organized the overthrow of a government deemed hostile to American interests.

"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. –and as an administrator with the Head Start Program in Columbia. After a brief stint on the Spartanburg County Council, she was elected to the South Carolina Senate, serving from 1979 to 1986. In 1986, Patterson ran for Congress as a Democrat in the solidly Republican Fourth Congressional District--and won.

"O" is for Orr, James Lawrence [1822-1873]. Congressman. Governor. Orr’s public career began in the General Assembly. In 1849 he was elected to the U.S. Congress and served five terms. By sentiment a Unionist, he believed that a strong national Democratic Party would best protect the state’s interests. 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.

"N is for Nielsen, Barbara Stock [b. 1942]. State Superintendent of Education. Born in Ohio, Nielsen, in 1984,  became the curriculum specialist and director of business-community partnerships in the Beaufort County Schools. In 1990 she was elected state Superintendent of Education on the Republican ticket—becoming 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.

"M" is for Marion County [489 square miles; population 35,466]. Named for Revolutionary War hero Francis Marion, the county is located in northeastern South Carolina. It is shaped like a knobby sweet potato, with its skinny southern end only fifteen miles from the Atlantic Ocean. 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 land is generally level and the soil is well suited for agriculture.

"L" is for Lebby, Nathaniel H. [1816-1880]. Inventor. In 1852 Lebby, 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. Lebby's dredge boat went into service in 1857 and the results were spectacular—moving tens of thousands of cubic yards of material from Charleston Harbor.

"W" is for Whittaker, Miller Fulton [1892-1949]. Architect. College president. Born in Sumter, he moved with his family to Oklahoma City. After graduating from Kansas State College with a degree in architecture, he returned to South Carolina as a faculty member of the Colored Normal, Industrial, Agricultural, and Mechanical College. During World War I he was an officer in the all-black 92nd Division. In 1925 he became a dean at South Carolina State College and, in 1932, the college's third president.

"T" is for Trescott, William Henry [1822-1898]. Writer. Diplomat. Historian. After graduating from the College of Charleston, Trescott studied law. A prolific writer, he produced a series of essays and pamphlets that essentially made the conservative case for southern nationalism. His writings on American diplomatic history resulted in his posting to the American embassy in London and as assistant secretary of state under President Buchanan.

"R" is for Richardson, Richard [ca. 1705-1780]. Legislator. Soldier. In the 1730s, Richardson settled on the upper Santee River. In the decades before the Revolution, he emerged as a leading figure in the backcountry. He was instrumental in negotiating an end to the violent Regulator movement. He was a member of the First and Second Provincial Congresses and a well-respected militia officer. In November 1775 Richardson and William Thompson were given command of 2,500 patriots to disperse the large number of Tory militia units in the backcountry. The mission was an unqualified success.

"P" is for petroglyphs. Petroglyphs [rock carvings] and pictographs [drawings or paintings on rocks] are collectively referred to as “rock art.” The first example of rock art in South Carolina was a petroglyph discovered in Greenville County in 1979. In 1996, the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of South Carolina began an extensive survey of possible sites. The survey discovered forty-four additional petroglyph sites, thirty-three probable carvings, and three pictographs.

"M" is for Magrath, Andrew Gordon [1813-1893]. Governor, jurist. After graduating from the South Carolina College, Magrath (pronounced like McGraw) studied law at Harvard and with James L. Petigru. In 1856 he was appointed a federal district judge and, in the cases surrounding two ships seized for as slave traders—the Echo and the Wanderer—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.

"L" is for Lamar Riot

Aug 3, 2017

"L" is for Lamar Riot. The Lamar Riot, on March 3, 1970, was the most violent reaction against court-ordered school desegregation in South Carolina. A planned boycott to resist the court order failed. The riots occurred when a mob of 150-200 white men and women, armed with ax handles, bricks, and chains overturned two school buses that had delivered black students to Lamar elementary and high schools in Darlington County. They clashed with about 150 South Carolina highway patrolmen and SLED agents.

  "Z" is for Zubly, the Reverend John Joachim (1724-1781), Minister. Zubly was born in Switzerland. After being ordained a clergyman in London's German Reformed Church, he immigrated to Georgia. Although the Reformed Congregation in Georgia requested that the Trustees of the Colony appoint Zubly as their pastor, another was selected instead.

"S" is for Sayers, Valerie [b. 1952]. Author. Sayers grew up in Beaufort. She earned her MFA at Columbia University. In 1993 she joined the faculty at the University of Notre Dame where she became directors of the masters in fine arts program. Sayers is the author of five novels and several short stories. Her first novel, Due East serves as an anchor for her other four novels. Due East is the name Sayers gives to the thinly disguised Beaufort of her youth and adolescence.

 "A" is for Abbeville County [508 square miles, population 26,167]. Abbeville was one of six counties created out of the old Ninety Six District. Its northern border is the colonial Indian territory.

  "B" is for Babcock, James Woods (1856-1922). Psychiatrist, mental hospital superintendent. After graduating from Harvard Medical School in 1886, Babcock returned to South Carolina as the Superintendent of what was then called the South Carolina State Lunatic Asylum. In 1895 Babcock persuaded the General Assembly to change the name of the institution to the South Carolina State Hospital for the Insane. But, he could get little else from the legislature.

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