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"O" is for Oconee County (625 square miles; population 66,215). Located in the northwest corner of South Carolina at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Oconee is the only county in South Carolina that borders on two states—North Carolina and Georgia. Until the American Revolution, the area was home to the Cherokee Indians. After settlement, it was originally part of Ninety Six District and then, Pickens County. In 1868 the western half of Pickens became Oconee County.

  In his 40 years as Mayor of Charleston, Joe Riley has led the historic port city through its greatest period of growth, economic development and unity. His authorized biography, The Mayor: Joe Riley and the Rise of Charleston (Evening Post Publishing Company, 2015), is the inside story of his life and how he built -- and forever transformed -- one of the nation's oldest cities.

"A" is for the Aiken Standard [daily circulation 13, 910]. The Aiken Standard is a daily newspaper published in the city of Aiken. It traces its origins to the late 1860s when the noted botanist Henry William Ravenel established a short-lived weekly, the Aiken Press. The paper then went through a number of owners, mergers and name changes until in 1930 it became the Aiken Standard & Review—published weekly. It was, at the time, the only newspaper in Aiken County. The 1952 arrival of the Savannah River atomic energy facility triggered a population and economic boom in the county.

"N" is for the Nathaniel Russell House. The Nathaniel Russell House is located at 51 Meeting Street in Charleston. It is considered one of the finest examples of neoclassical architecture in the country. The architect is unknown. The three-story brick structure with a low-hipped roof and balustrade was completed in 1808 for Charleston merchant Nathaniel Russell. It is unusual among downtown residences in that it is set back from the street with a front garden.

"M" is for the Mace of the South Carolina House of Representatives. The mace is a symbol of the authority of the House of Representatives. The scepter-like object rests in a rack at the front of the Speaker's Desk whenever the House is in session and is sometimes carried in ceremonial processions. South Carolina legislative bodies have used it since it was made for the Commons House of Assembly in 1756. Magdalen Feline—a master goldsmith, crafted the mace in London. It is forty-eight inches long, weighs almost eleven pounds and is fashioned of silver burnished with gold.

"L" is for the Laing School. Cornelia Hancock, a Civil War nurse and a Quaker, established Laing School in Mount Pleasant in an abandoned church in 1866. The school was named for the Philadelphia Quaker philanthropist Henry M. Laing. The mission of the school was to educate former slaves and inspire them to strive for high ideals and good citizenship and to make worthwhile contributions to society. Known as the Laing Industrial School, the institution offered seven years of schooling along with courses in sewing, cobbling, and manual training.

  "K" is for Kelsey and Guild. During the first decade of the 20th century, the Boston landscape architecture firm of Kelsey and Guild served as consultants to civic improvement groups in Columbia and Greenville. In 1904 Harlan Kelsey spoke about the “City Beautiful” movement in both cities that led to the creation of civic improvement organizations in the capital city and Greenville. These organizations commissioned the partners to produce citywide plans for beautification and improvement.

"L" is for Lancaster

May 23, 2016

  "L" is for Lancaster, the county seat of Lancaster County [population 8,177]. The town of Lancaster was incorporated in 1830 and Robert Mills designed the Court House and Jail. Most Lancaster residents were Unionists in the decades prior to the Civil War, but supported secession in 1860. In 1896 Leroy Springs opened the Lancaster Cotton Mill, the first of many cotton factories to be built in the area. Over the next few decades, textiles replaced cotton farming as the mainstay of the local economy. Between 1940 and 1970 the town's population more than doubled.

Portrait of Henry Laurens, engraved from a drawing by W. C. Armstrong after the portrait by John Singleton Copley.
The National Portrait Gallery of Distinguished Americans, 1839

  (Originally broadcast 02/26/16) - Dr. Woody Holton of the University of South Carolina claims that, when it comes to the Revolution, Americans can justifiably claim, "The English made us do it." Dr. Holton talks with Dr. Edgar about what drove Carolina to challenge Imperial authority.

Their talk was part of a series of public conversations, “Conversations on Colonial and Revolutionary South Carolina,” presented by the University Of South Carolina College Of Arts and Sciences’ Institute of Southern Studies.

  "J" is for James, John [1732-1791]. Soldier, legislator. Born in Ireland, James migrated with his family to Prince Frederick Parish in 1732. He gained his first military experience as a captain in the militia during the Cherokee War. With the coming of the Revolution, he represented Prince Frederick's Parish in the Provincial Congress and was elected a captain in the state militia. After the fall of Charleston, he rallied his neighbors to resist the British occupation and was once again elected as their commander.

  "I" is for Industrialization.  Much of the state's pre-Civil War industrialization was centered in the upcountry, but the iron foundries and textile mills were relatively small operations. In the 1890s the textile industry mushroomed and by the early 20th century, South Carolina was the second largest cotton-textile producing state in the country. Following World War II, the state began an aggressive effort to foster more industrial development. The State Development Board and the State Ports Authority worked diligently to recruit new industries.

  "H" is for Hamilton, James, Jr. [1786-1857]. Congressman,  governor. In a state known for its flamboyant politicians, Hamilton was among the most colorful individuals ever to sit in the governor's chair. A famous duelist, he successfully fought fourteen duels, always wounding but never killing his opponents. He represented Charleston in the General Assembly and was the Mayor of Charleston during the Denmark Vesey Crisis. Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, he was an ardent nationalist and supporter of Andrew Jackson.

“Join or Die,” by Benjamin Franklin, Pennsylvania Gazette (Philadelphia, PA), May 9, 1754.
Library of Congress

  (Originally broadcast 02/19/16) - ​In his book, Carolina in Crisis: Cherokees, Colonists, and Slaves in the American Southeast, 1756 - 1763, (2015, UNC Press) Dr. Daniel J. Tortora, assistant professor of history at Colby College, explores how the Anglo-Cherokee War reshaped the political and cultural landscape of the colonial South.

  "G" is for Galphin, George [d. 1780]. Indian trader. Galphin emigrated from Ireland in 1737 and by 1745 was serving as an Indian interpreter for the Commons House of Assembly among the powerful Lower Creek nation. He established a trading post at Silver Bluff on the Savannah River and maintained excellent relations not only with the Creeks, but also the Cherokees. He was respected by the Indians and traveled freely throughout much of the southeast. Galphin's trade influence extended south to the Gulf coast and west to the Mississippi River.

  "F" is for the Federalist Party. During the early years of the new republic the Federalist Party flourished in South Carolina, holding the lion’s share of political power in the state. It was the unifying ideology for the powerful planter and commercial elite that guided the state's affairs during the tumultuous post-Revolutionary War years. Carolinians also played significant roles in the national party. William Loughton Smith was Alexander Hamilton's chief spokesman in Congress.

  "E" is for Edelman, Marion Wright [b. 1939]. Lawyer, civil rights and children's rights advocate. A native of Bennettsville, Edelman was educated at Spelman College and Yale. As a student at Spelman, she became involved in the civil rights movement that led to her serving as the Mississippi state director of the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund. During her time in Mississippi she expanded her focus beyond civil right to children's rights. This led her to found the Washington Research Project [now the Children's Defense Fund].

  "D" is for Daniel, William Henry [1841-1915]. Farmer, businessman, tobacco pioneer.  A native of North Carolina, “Buck” Daniel, moved to South Carolina after the Civil War. He settled in Marion County where he established himself in the naval stores business. In 1874 he moved to Mullins, a new railroad stop and opened a general mercantile establishment. As prices for cotton and naval stores declined in the 1880s, farmers were looking for a new cash crop. In 1894 Daniel raised eight acres of Bright Leaf tobacco and shipped it to market.

Palmetto Tree

  (Originally broadcast 02/12/16) - In January and February of 2016 the University Of South Carolina College Of Arts and Sciences’ Institute of Southern presented a series of public conversations with Dr. Walter Edgar and guest scholars: “Conversations on Colonial and Revolutionary South Carolina”. In this first conversation, Dr. Larry Rowland talks with Dr. Edgar about “The Colonial Melting Pot.”

All Stations: Fri, May 13, 12 pm | News Stations: Sun, May 15, 4 pm

  "C" is for Calhoun County [380 square miles; population 15, 185]. Named in honor of John C. Calhoun, the county was created in 1908 from part of Orangeburg and Lexington counties. St. Matthews, the county seat, is the location of one of the best small museums in the state.  Though it is the second smallest county, its geography is remarkably varied--including red clay and sand hills, deep river valleys, and coastal plains with rich, loamy soils. Since the 18th century, agriculture has been a cornerstone of the area's economy.

  "B" is for Ball, William Watts [1868-1952]. Newspaper Editor. A native of Laurens County, he was the first editor of the Laurens Advertiser and later worked for several out-of-state newspapers. He served as editor of The State in Columbia, the Greenville News, and the Evening Post and News and Courier in Charleston. As editor of The State Ball championed the aging ideals of Wade Hampton's Bourbons and denounced populists and reformers.

  "A" is for Adger, James [1777-1858]. Merchant. A native of Ireland, Adger immigrated with his family to New York and then, on his own, moved to South Carolina in 1802 where he became one of the wealthiest and most influential merchants of antebellum Charleston. His business interests were located primarily on East Bay Street and he owned his own commercial wharf that bore his name. Adger represented the city in the General Assembly and held numerous municipal offices. He was a longtime member of the Chamber of Commerce.

  “Y” is for York County [628 square miles; population 164,614]. Located in the north-central part of the state, York County was one of seven counties created in 1785 from Camden Judicial District. The Catawba Indians called this area of South Carolina their ancestral home. European settlers moved in just prior to the Revolution and the area was the scene of a number of important battles including Huck's Defeat and King's Mountain.  During Reconstruction the county was the scene of considerable KKK activity and was placed under martial law.

  “W” is for Wallace, David Duncan [1874-1951]. Historian. For more than four decades he was professor of history and economics at Wofford College.  The author of seven major books, his History of South Carolina [4 volumes], published in 1935, was his magnum opus. While “holding the most exact standards of scientific accuracy,” Wallace also believed that “all history should be written to be read.” Considered progressive for its time, Wallace's History nevertheless reflected the attitudes and biases of the South Carolina of his day.

  “V” is for the Voting Rights Act. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was enacted to reverse the effects of state disenfranchisement and secure equal voting rights for all citizens. The act was signed into law in August 1965. It suspended literacy tests and provided for the appointment of federal examiners with the power to register qualified citizens to vote. South Carolina immediately challenged the law's constitutionality in the case of South Carolina v. Katzenbach.  By an 8-1 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the state's argument. The impact of the law was immediate.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., speaking in Kingstree, SC, May 8, 1966.
Moving Image Research Collections, University of South Carolina

  On Mother's Day 1966, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. visited Kingstree, South Carolina and gave a remarkable public speech urging the audience of more than 5,000 to exercise their right to vote as a means to pursue social and economic justice. On August 6, 1965—just a eight months prior to Dr. King's speech— President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Voting Rights Act, allowing the majority of Kingstree's citizens the right to vote.

"O" is for the Old Iron District. Near the northern border of South Carolina, in the vicinity of the Broad River, there are significant manganite and specular oxide iron ore deposits; there are also some lesser deposits of hematite. Ironworks were established in the area just prior to the Revolution and produced munitions for the patriot cause. In the 19th century, increased capital investment led to the establishment of a total of eight iron furnaces, but the charcoal-fired furnaces in South Carolina could not produce iron as cheaply as the anthracite-coal furnaces employed elsewhere.

"N" is for the National Dropout Prevention Center. Founded in 1986 at Clemson, the National Dropout Prevention Center serves as a clearinghouse on dropout prevention issues and publishes materials on effective dropout prevention strategies. The center was created under the direction of Ester Ferguson, a South Carolina native serving as chair of the New York City National Dropout Prevention Fund. She came to Clemson to discuss the development of a national center and Clemson’s College of Education was chosen to house and develop the center.

"M" is for Maham, Hezekiah [1739-1789]. Soldier. Legislator. Maham was a successful planter in St. Stephen's Parish and represented it in the Second Provincial Congress. After the fall of Charleston in 1780, he joined Francis Marion and served as the principal commander of cavalry in Marion’s brigade. At Fort Watson, Maham suggested that a log tower be constructed so that the attacking patriots could fire down into the fortified British garrison. The “Maham tower” was later used in the sieges of Augusta and Ninety-Six later in the war.

"L" is for Lamboll, Elizabeth [circa 1725-1770]. Botanist. As a skilled amateur gardener, Lamboll created one of Charleston's earliest gardens, composed primarily of indigenous flowers, vegetables, shrubs, and trees. She readily shared seeds and cuttings with local gardeners. Descriptions of her gardening methods reveal that she prepared her plant beds with mold and raised or flattened them to assure adequate moisture for vegetation. She saved rainwater for irrigation purposes and covered her beds in winter with leaf mulch.

"K" is for Kershaw County [726 square miles; population 52,647]. Kershaw County was created in 1791 from portions of Claremont, Fairfield, Lancaster, and Richland counties. Camden is the county seat. The county's name honors the Revolutionary War patriot Joseph Kershaw of Camden. Some of the state's oldest prehistoric sites, including mounds, rock shelters, and Paleo-Indian artifacts, are located in the county. European settlement began in the 1750s and Pine Tree Hill [later renamed Camden] was the backcountry's most important pre-Revolutionary trading center.