History

Find SC History content

"D" is for Drayton, Percival [1812-1865]. Naval Officer. Born in Charleston, Drayton’s family moved to Philadelphia in the 1830s. At fifteen, he was appointed a midshipman in the US Navy. Eventually he commanded a variety of vessels, including the Mississippi, the navy’s third steam-powered warship. In 1861, he held the rank of commander. While many southern-born officers resigned their commissions, Drayton chose to remain with the Union. In October 1861 he commanded a ship in the Port Royal Expedition.

"C" is for Charleston Hospital Workers’ Strike [1969]. In Charleston in 1969, more than 400 African American hospital workers (mostly female) went on strike against the all-white administrations of the Medical College Hospital and Charleston County Hospital. The strike against the Medical College lasted one hundred days during the spring and summer; the one at Charleston County went on for an additional three weeks.

"B" is for Bishopville

Apr 24, 2017

"B" is for Bishopville [Lee County; population 3,670]. Bishopville, the seat of Lee County, traces its origins to prehistoric days when two Indian trails crossed near the future site of the town. European settlement began in the late 18th century and, for a time was known as Singleton’s Cross Roads. In 1821 Dr. Jacques Bishop purchased property in the area and operated a general store—by the late 1830s the little settlement was called Bishopville. The town has also served as a business and cultural center throughout its existence.

"R" is for Rivers, John Minott [1903—1988]. Broadcasting executive. After college, Rivers, a native of Charleston, moved to Greenville. There he became friends with the president of the Liberty Life Insurance Company that operated WCSC radio in Charleston. In 1938 he became president of South Carolina Broadcasting Company, which operated WCSC. He later purchased the station. In 1948 he began operation of an FM station. In 1953, he put WCSC-TV, South Carolina’s first VHF television station on the air.

“P” is for Pike, John Martin

Apr 20, 2017

“P” is for Pike, John Martin [1840-1932]. Clergyman, editor, publisher. A Canadian and ordained Methodist clergyman, Pike was invited to preach at Columbia’s Washington Street Methodist Church. He subsequently moved to the state and served churches in in Lynchburg, Sumter, Summerville, and Charleston. In 1893 he became editor of a periodical, The Way of Faith. Through his involvement with the Oliver Gospel Mission in Columbia, Pike became a pivotal figure in the spread of Holiness and Pentecostal strains of Protestantism in South Carolina.

"M" is for McNair, Robert Evander [1923-2007]. Attorney, legislator, governor. After serving in the Pacific theater during World War II, McNair graduated from USC and moved to Allendale—the hometown of his wife, Josephine. From 1951 until 1963 he represented Allendale County in the South Carolina House of Representatives. In 1962 he was elected lieutenant governor. When Governor Donald Russell resigned in April 1965, McNair became governor. He was elected to a full term in 1966.

"L" is for Loggerhead Turtle. State Reptile. The loggerhead turtle, a threatened species, is one of the world’s eight living species of turtles--and evolved some sixty-five to seventy million years ago. At birth, hatchlings are about two inches long. Adults can weight between 200 and250 pounds. The animal is reddish brown and yellow and has a distinctive large head—the source of its name--with powerful jaws enabling it to crush clams, crustaceans, and other food. Its great size and hard shell protect adult turtles from most predators.

"H" is for Highway 301

Apr 17, 2017

"H" is for Highway 301. Construction of this major US highway in South Carolina began in 1932, when the federal government began taking over the maintenance and construction of many state roads. The route began in Baltimore, Maryland and ended in Sarasota, Florida—crossing through many towns in eastern South Carolina: including Dillon, Latta, Florence, Manning, Olanta, Sumerton, Bamberg, and Allendale. From the North Carolina border to the Savannah River, Highway 301 covers a distance of approximately 180 miles.

"E" is for Epidemics

Apr 14, 2017

"E" is for Epidemics. An epidemic disease is generally defined as one that affects an unusually high number of individuals within a population or region simultaneously. From the 1680s to the early 20th century, South Carolina—and especially the lowcountry—had a deserved reputation as an unhealthy place. Disease killed enormous numbers of Europeans and Africans, virtually annihilated Native Americans, and proved a significant barrier to European immigration. The biggest contributors to high mortality rates were malaria, dysentery, smallpox and yellow fever.

"D" is for "Dr. Buzzard."  The title "Dr. Buzzard" has been claimed by numerous root workers [practitioners of West African-derived folk medicine and magic, commonly referred to as voodoo, hoodoo, or conjuring] along the South Carolina and Georgia coasts. The best-known, if not original Dr. Buzzard, was Stephany Robinson from St. Helena Island who began practicing root work in the early 1900s. Until his death in 1947, he had a local as well as national clientele. According to legend, Robinson’s father was a "witch doctor" who had been brought directly—and illegally--to St.

"C" is for Chamberlain, Daniel Henry [1835-1907]. Governor. Chamberlain was an officer in the Fifth Massachusetts Cavalry, a black regiment. In 1866 he came to South Carolina to tend to the affairs of a deceased Yale College classmate. He entered politics in 1868 as a delegate from Berkeley County to the state constitutional convention. From 1868 to 1872 he was Attorney General. In 1871, he joined Democrats in organizing a taxpayers’ convention to press for government reform. In 1874 he was the Republican candidate for governor and won the general election.

"B" is for Bennettsville [Marlboro County, population 9,425]. Bennettsville was established on December 14, 1819, when the General Assembly moved the new Marlboro District courthouse to a more central location. The new district seat was named for the sitting governor, Thomas Bennett.  A three-acre square was selected on a bluff overlooking Crooked Creek along the coach road from Society Hill to Fayetteville. By 1824, a Robert Mills-designed courthouse was completed, and a town slowly developed around the square. During World War II German prisoners of war supplied labor for local farms.

"A" is for Asparagus

Apr 10, 2017

"A" is for Asparagus. Asparagus was an important cash crop in South Carolina from the 1910s until the mid-1930s.With cotton prices low and the boll weevil creeping closer, farmers in the "Ridge" counties of Aiken, Edgefield, and Saluda began planting asparagus to supplement declining cotton income. By 1916 they had organized as Asparagus Growers Association and shipped 44 railroad carloads to northern markets. High prices during World War I led farmers in neighboring counties to plant the vegetable.

"L" is for Lutheran Theologoical Southern Seminary [LTSS]. One of eight seminaries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, LTSS was established by German Lutherans in 1830. In Columbia since 1911, LTSS previously occupied several sites in South Carolina and Virginia.

On April 6, 1917, the U.S. declared war on Germany and formally entered World War I. By late June, American infantry troops began arriving in Europe. One thing they couldn't do without? Coffee.

"Coffee was as important as beef and bread," a high-ranking Army official concluded after the war. A postwar review of the military's coffee supply concurred, stating that it "restored courage and strength" and "kept up the morale."

From Shell-Shock to PTSD, a Century of Invisible War Trauma

Apr 6, 2017
Men of U.S. 64th Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, celebrate the news of the Armistice, November 11, 1918. The trauma of mechanized, trench warfare left many returning veterans with PTSD.
U.S. Army - U.S. National Archive

Mary Catherine McDonald, Old Dominion University; Marisa Brandt, Michigan State University, and Robyn Bluhm, Michigan State University

(THE CONVERSATION via the AP) In the wake of World War I, some veterans returned wounded, but not with obvious physical injuries. Instead, their symptoms were similar to those that had previously been associated with hysterical women – most commonly amnesia, or some kind of paralysis or inability to communicate with no clear physical cause.

World War I sometimes seems like the war America forgot.

The U.S. entered the fight a century ago, on April 6, 1917, nearly three years after it erupted in Europe during the summer of 1914. The Americans made quite a splash, turning a stalemate in favor of their British and French allies.

"H" is for Honey Hill, Battle of [November 30, 1864]. The Battle of Honey Hill was the first in a series of engagements fought along the Charleston and Savannah Railroad in November and December 1864. Federal forces at Port Royal initiated the campaign to support the movement of General Sherman’s army against Savannah. On November 29th a six-thousand man division was transported up the Broad River to Boyd’s Landing.

April 6 marks 100 years since the U.S. Congress voted to declare war on Germany, entering World War I. The war took the lives of 17 million people worldwide. What's not as well-known is the role that animals played at a time when they were still critical to warfare.

"G" is for Greer

Apr 5, 2017

"G" is for Greer [Greenville County; population 16, 843]. Situated midway between Greenville and Spartanburg, the city of Greer originated along the line of the Richmond and Danville Air Line Railway. In 1873, the railroad instituted a stop on Manning Greer’s property and the site became known as Greer’s Dept, Greer’s Station, and then Greers.

How World War I Ushered in the Century of Oil

Apr 4, 2017
American troops going forward to the battle line in the Forest of Argonne. France, in Renault FT tanks. Light tanks with a crew of only two, these were mass-produced during World War I.
National Archives and Records Administration

Brian C. Black, Pennsylvania State University

(THE CONVERSATION via the AP) On July 7, 1919, a group of U.S. military members dedicated Zero Milestone – the point from which all road distances in the country would be measured – just south of the White House lawn in Washington, D.C. The next morning, they helped to define the future of the nation.

American Soldier firing a Springfield M.1903 with telescopic sight.
By American official photographer, British Imperial War Museum

David Longenbach, Pennsylvania State University

(THE CONVERSATION via the AP) On April 6, 1917, the United States declared war against Germany and entered World War I. Since August 1914, the war between the Central and Entente Powers had devolved into a bloody stalemate, particularly on the Western Front. That was where the U.S. would enter the engagement. 

"C" is for Clemson University. In 1888, Thomas Green Clemson left his Oconee County estate and an endowment to the state of South Carolina—in order to create a separate agricultural college. The legislation accepting the bequest was enacted in 1890. Additional funding would come from the federal government through the Hatch Act and Morrill Act. Clemson Agricultural College opened in 1893.

"B" is for Brewton, Miles [ca. 1765-1769]. A native Charlestonian, Brewton’s powerful family was allied to banking, enabling him to establish a career in finance and trade. Twice during the 1750s, he traveled to England to finish his education and establish commercial ties. Between 1756 and his death, Brewton conducted business in several partnerships and was part-owner in eight commercial vessels. His partnerships dealt largely with the exportation of domestic produce, but he also made substantial profits in the slave trade.

The Way We Worked

Apr 3, 2017
Making coco mats.
DCA&HC McMahan Photo Collection via SC Humanities

The Way We Worked is a traveling Smithsonian exhibit that explores how work became such a central element in American culture by tracing the many changes that affected the workforce and work environment in the past 150 years. Adapted from an original exhibition designed by the National Archives, The Way We Worked shows how we identify with work – as individuals and as communities.

Imagine you're a military officer in World War I. Armies have grown so large, you can no longer communicate just by the sound of your voice or the wave of your hand. You need to synchronize movements of troops and artillery, far and wide.

You need a wristwatch.

"E" is for Edwards, William Augustus [1866-1939]. Architect. Edwards began his career in Virginia, but, moved back to South Carolina as a partner in the firm of Wilson and Edwards. Edwards was the lead partner in several other architectural firms in South Carolina and, after 1908, in Atlanta.

"D" is for DeKalb, Johann [1712-1780]. Soldier. Born in Bavaria, DeKalb rose to the rank of brigadier-general in the French Army and decided to seek his military fortune in America. He was contracted as a major-general in the Continental Army and, along with Lafayette, arrived off the coast South Carolina, near Georgetown, in 1777.

"C" is for Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge. Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1932 as a wintering ground for migratory waterfowl. Located in Charleston County Cape Romain stretches 22 miles along the coast between Charleston and the Santee River delta. In its shallow bays, tides combine the life-giving nourishment of the oceans with the nutrient-laden freshwaters of rivers to create a rich, productive environment.

"B" is for Barnwell County [548 square miles; population 23,478]. Barnwell County originally encompassed 1,440 square miles but lost more than one-half its territory to the formation of several newer counties: Aiken, Allendale, and Bamberg. The county was named for Revolutionary War hero, John Barnwell. Traditionally an agricultural county, Barnwell is better known today for the political clout it enjoyed for much of the 20th century.

Pages