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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"V" is for the Venus flytrap. Often described as the most unusual plant on earth, the Venus flytrap is a terrestrial bug-eating plant native to a small section of South Carolina and North Carolina.  It produces highly modified leaves that act as active trapping mechanisms that snap shut when small insects crawl across the leaf. The leaves contain nectar glands that produce a sweet substance to attract insects. Small hairs on the leaf surface act as triggering mechanisms.

"U" is for Union County [514 square miles; population 29,881]. The General Assembly created the county in 1785 and its boundaries remained the same until 1897 when it lost its two northernmost townships in the creation of Cherokee County. The first Europeans arrived in the 1750s and, to save effort, the various religious denominations built a single place of worship and called it a “union” church—and that was the origin of the county's name.

"T" is for Table Rock

Dec 12, 2016

"T" is for Table Rock in Greenville County. Table Rock is a small mountain that rises 3,197 feet above sea level and has a relatively broad summit shaped like a table, a characteristic that is said to have inspired the name given to it long ago by the Cherokee. Like Caesars Head and Sassafras Mountain, Table Rock was formed nearly 430 million years ago when either a continental fragment or island moved as one tectonic plate slid under another. The force of this collision generated heat and produced magma that formed a huge batholith miles underground that hardened into granite.

"B" is for Bacot, Ada White [1832-1911]. Civil War nurse, diarist. Bacot was born and reared in Darlington County.  In January 1861 she volunteered to serve as a nurse for the Confederacy, and, overcoming bureaucratic obstacles, was in Virginia by December. Working in the Monticello Hospital --operated by the South Carolina Hospital Aid Association--she supervised the preparation of meals and the laundering of clothing and bed linens. Social convention limited her interactions with wounded soldiers to visiting them, helping them write letters, or reading Scripture to them.

"A" is for Adams, Edward Clarkson Leverett [1876-1946]. Physician, author. Born in Richland County, Adams served in World War I. He returned to Columbia in 1918 where he briefly practiced medicine. In the 1920s he retired to his plantation on the Bluff Road and devoted the remainder of his life to farming and writing. His first book, Congaree Sketches, was a stunning success. Adams was able to present the black dialect with great precision, and also, as a white author, unhesitatingly portrayed the hardships of racial prejudice in the 1920s and 1930s.

"Y" is for Yellow Fever. For more than 200 years yellow fever was one of the most dreaded diseases in South Carolina.  It was introduced into the colony as a result of the African slave trade and the first major epidemic struck in 1699. Charleston hosted numerous epidemics and the victims were mainly whites not native to the lowcountry—hence another name for the disease-- “strangers' fever.”

"W" is for Walker, George Edward [ca. 1827-1863]. Architect, engineer. Walker was among the first generation of professional architects in South Carolina. His early designs attracted the attention of Edward Brickell White, the city's leading architect who hired Walker as the supervising architect for the new federal customhouse. In August 1854, Walker became the architect of the new State House in Columbia. The appointment was a professional coup, but he was unable to get along with the commission overseeing the project and, after only eight months on the job, was fired.

"V" is for Vesey, Denmark [ca. 1767-1822]. Slave, artisan, abolitionist. Vesey was probably born on the Danish island of St. Thomas. Captain Joseph Vesey who later established himself in Charleston as a ship chandler purchased him. Denmark worked in the chandlery until 1799 when he won a local lottery and purchased his freedom.  He set himself up as a carpenter and became a leader in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

"E" is for Ensore, Joshua Fulton.

"D" is for Doby, Lawrence Edward.

"C" is for Central, SC

Nov 30, 2016

"C" is for Central, SC.

"B" is for Bennett, Thomas, Jr.

"A" is for Ashwood Plantation.

"B" is for Brawley, Benjamin Griffith [1882-1939]. Educator, author, editor, clergyman. A native of Columbia, Brawley was a gifted and enthusiastic student—earning degrees form the University of Chicago and Harvard. In 1921 he was ordained a Baptist minister. Between 1902 and 1939, he taught English at various predominantly black colleges in the South and East—including Atlanta Baptist College [now Moorehouse], Shaw University in Raleigh, and Howard University in Washington.

"B" is for Brattonsville. Brattonsville is the site of a large eighteenth and nineteenth-century plantation in southern York County situated on the south fork of Fishing Creek. The settlement began in 1766 as the two hundred acre farm of Colonel William Bratton. John Simpson Bratton inherited the bulk of his father’s estate and constructed the large two-story Georgian mansion known as the Homestead. He converted his parents’ old log house into the Brattonsville Female Academy. His widow built a second large dwelling, Brick House.

"B" is for Bratton, William [ca. 1742-1815]

Nov 23, 2016

"B" is for Bratton, William [ca. 1742-1815]. Soldier, legislator. Bratton was born in county Antrim, Northern Ireland and immigrated with his family to America not long afterward. Beginning in 1765, an extended family of Brattons moved into present-day York County as part of a larger Scots-Irish migration into the Carolina Piedmont. In 1766, Bratton purchased 200 acres on Fishing Creek and built a two-story log house that is still standing today. During the Revolutionary War, he serve din the militia and rose to the rank of colonel and commanded a regiment in Thomas Sumter’s Brigade.

"W" is for Workman, William Douglas, Jr. [1914-1990]. Journalist, author. After graduating from the Citadel, Workman became a reporter for the News and Courier. By the late 1950s, as a result of his reporting on governmental, political, and racial issues throughout the South; his syndicated columns; and his frequent appearances as a television commentator, Workman had statewide name recognition. In 1960, he published The Case for the South in which he asserted his views of the constitutionality and wisdom of maintaining racial segregation in the South.

"W" is for Woodward, Isaac, beating of [February 1946]. Woodward, a Winnsboro native, was discharged from the Army after four years of active duty. He was returning home from Camp Gordon, Georgia, when he got into an argument with the bus driver about needing a rest stop. When the bus reached Batesburg, the driver complained to local police. A scuffle ensued in which two officers beat Woodward with their nightsticks.

"D" is for Drovers

Nov 17, 2016

"D" is for Drovers. From around 1800 until the 1880s, livestock from Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and North Carolina were driven through Greenville County to the seaport at Charleston—destined for markets in the north and in the Caribbean. These drives were made possible by the completion of a road from Greenville County across the mountains into Knoxville, Tennessee in the late 1790s.

"B" is for Black River

Nov 16, 2016

"B" is for Black River. The Black River takes its name from its tea-colored waters. The river begins in the Sandhills of Lee County. It is joined by Rocky Bluff Swamp near Sumter. The Pocotaligo River flows into the Black between Manning and Kingstree.  In some places the river is swamp like, while in others it is swift moving with a sandy bottom. After travelling over 150 miles through four counties, the Black River becomes part of the Great Pee Dee River near Georgetown.

"C" is for the Charleston Mercury. Established in 1821 as a literary journal, the Charleston Mercury developed into one of the state’s most radical and combative newspapers. In 1823 Henry Laurens Pinckney purchased the newspaper and transformed it into a partisan organ for John C. Calhoun. By 1830, the Mercury had become a strong proponent of nullification.

"W" is for Williamson’s Plantation, Battle of [July 12, 1780]. After the fall of Charleston, New Acquisition District [present-day York County] was reputedly the only district where no one took the King’s protection. Patriot raids led to a detachment of the British Legion, under the command of Captain Christian Huck, being sent to punish the rebels.

"S" is for Segregation

Nov 11, 2016

"S" is for Segregation.  Segregation, the residential, political, and social isolation of African Americans, by law and custom was accomplished in South Carolina in the last quarter of the 19th century. The 1895 constitution effectively disenfranchised most black Carolinians. Jim Crow laws were speedily enacted after the US Supreme Court’s decision in Plessy v. Ferguson that established the principle of separate but equal. For black Carolinians, the experience of life in a segregated society was often traumatic. A wide variety of laws set African Americans apart from whites.

"R" is for the Reformed Episcopal Church.

"P" is  for Paul, Marian B.

"O" is for Owens Field

Oct 26, 2016

"O" is for Owens Field.

"N" is for Ninety-Six

Oct 25, 2016

"N" is for Ninety-Six, South Carolina.

"M" is for Marlboro County

"L" is for Lowcountry Baskets. The early history of the lowcountry coiled grass baskets parallels the rise of rice cultivation. Men made agricultural baskets such as fanners while women made household forms such as sewing and storage baskets. With rice production in decline after the Civil War, household baskets came to dominate and women became more conspicuous in the craft.

“H” is for Hobkirk Hill, Battle of

Oct 20, 2016

“H” is for Hobkirk Hill, Battle of [April 25, 1781]. Following the Battle of Guilford Court House, Major General Nathanael Greene reentered South Carolina with a plan to force the British to retreat from their interior outposts to Charleston, On April 19th, his army took up a position on Hobkirk Hill, a mile and a half north of Camden. The British attacked a week later. When one of American units faltered, Greene was forced to order a general retreat. The British were left in possession of the hill, but then withdrew into their fortifications at Camden.

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