The South Carolina Coast

The Fascinating History Behind South Carolina's Timeless Daufuskie Island

The views from the Harbour Town Lighthouse in Hilton Head—one of the island’s most iconic attractions—are incredible. Sweeping salt marshes, maritime forests, and expanses of dark blue water can be seen for miles, depending which direction you look, and if you look to the southwest, just across Calibogue Sound, you’ll see a small unassuming island not too far from Hilton Head shores.

At first glance, you may think it’s uninhabited but a closer look reveals the occasional house dotting the shore.

The island is called Daufuskie. And it is without a doubt one of the most intriguing islands along the entire South Carolina coast. With thousands of years of history, tales of spirits, and an isolationist mentality, Daufuskie is full of magic and intrigue. It exists on the fringes of a paradox, as it's been the center of quite a bit of attention—books have been written, movies filmed, and a rock star even built a private retreat on the island—and yet it's also relatively unheard of.

History museum one way, rum distillery the other—only on Daufuskie Jake Wheeler

Accessible only by boat, Daufuskie houses a population of about 200-500 permanent residents, depending on who you ask. Other than two private, upscale golfing resorts, the island is largely undeveloped. The land that is not within resort boundaries is spotted here and there with the homes of residents but is mostly dominated by thick maritime forest.

The homes here come in all shapes in sizes—from trailers to mansions, you can find everything in between. There is even an old school bus that was converted to a home that has only recently been abandoned. There are very few cars on the island. Golf carts, dirt bikes, and bicycles are the preferred modes of transportation. A police car takes the ferry over every day around noon for lunch and a quick patrol before heading back to the mainland.

Daufuskie is a place where time moves slower, and everyone is just a little bit freer from the pitfalls of modern society.

As soon as you step foot on the island, you’ll feel its mystery hanging thick in the air. It’s an ambience that was hard-earned over thousands of years, as people and their stories shaped the island and its identity. Daufuskie has remained isolated due to a strong willed desire to stay aloof, physically and culturally, and to remain an island in the truest sense of the word.

/>Yemasse Soldiers storm Bloody Point in a painting by Lee Baskerville Bloody Point Resort

There have been people living on Daufuskie from thousands of years ago till modern day, meaning there are artifacts from nearly every time period imaginable.

Roughly 9,000 years ago, the island was home to Native American tribes like the Yemassee. They thrived in the area. The first incursion by Europeans occurred in 1521 when Spain claimed the coast spanning from St. Augustine to Charleston (Charles Towne at the time). This had little effect on the natives of Daufuskie until the other Europeans decided to settle in the area. This prompted the Spanish to enlist the service of the native Yemassee warriors in their fight against both the Scottish and the English, which paved the way to the natives’ inevitable downfall.

In the early 1700’s the southernmost tip of Daufuskie Island, “Bloody Point,” earned its name. Daufuskie natives under the direction of the Spanish stormed early European settlements on Daufuskie. The raids turned into massacres as native weaponry went up against European fire power. It is said that these Yemassee are some of the many spirits that still wander the island, keeping watch and lamenting the loss of their home. Over the course of two years these raids diminished and weakened the Yemassee and their influence and control over Daufuskie and the surrounding areas waned.

As the Revolutionary War began, Daufuskie was an island of plantations, cotton being one of the most coveted crops. The island went through the war relatively unscathed, and its identity was largely agricultural until Union soldiers occupied the island during the Civil War.

After the war and after the Emancipation Proclamation, Daufuskie was home to a large population of freed slaves who used to work the island’s plantations. These were the founders of the Gullah language and culture. Gullah is a blend of southern English and native African dialects. It is a rhythmic patois that has survived over hundreds of years and is still spoken by some on Daufuskie today. The Gullah culture pervades Daufuskie, you’ll notice many homes on the island have their door and window frames painted a pleasant shade of light blue. This color is known as “heaven blue” and is meant to keep the haints (evil spirits) from entering your home.

A home with "heaven blue" shutters and doors. HomeAway

Daufuskie stayed quiet after the Civil War. Cotton production slowed, and locals turned to oystering and other trades to keep themselves afloat. Electricity didn’t reach the island until the 1950’s, and telephones came a timely twenty years after that. Jobs were scarce, the island was quiet and still. Many moved from the island to survive during these years, and the population consequently slumped.

Yet there were still some who couldn’t leave the island’s embrace. In the 1980’s a group investors discovered the island and saw its potential as a resort. Haig Point and Melrose Plantation are the results of that discovery. They are both large private resorts with beautiful golf courses and homes.

The rest of the island remains predominantly undeveloped.

Modern day exploration on Daufuskie Island Ry Glover

It is this untainted tract of sea island that keeps Daufuskie’s identity alive. Deep forests, empty beaches, and trails to nowhere dominate this side of the island. Looking in to the forest you will get unexpected shivers as the silent but eternally present history of Daufuskie washes over you. You may even come to appreciate the need for protection against haints as night falls and the isolation of the island descends upon you in a thrilling and visceral way. Daufuskie is wild and it is beautiful.

The best Daufuskie experience is often times the unplanned experience. Catch the ferry over, bring your bike, or just walk, and explore the island. Maybe even aim for a long and strenuous 10-mile paddle to reach the island. Revel in your own curiosity and see where you end up. Locals are mostly friendly, if you run into anyone at all. As long as you stay off of private property, the island is yours to roam. Just be respectful of the history and the legacy of one of South Carolina's most intriguing and undeveloped islands.


Prior to the arrival of Europeans, the Long Bay area was inhabited by the historic Waccamaw tribe. The Waccamaw used the river for travel and fished along the shore around Little River. Waties Island, the primary barrier island along Long Bay, has evidence of burial and shell mounds, remains of the visiting Waccamaw. [15]

The first European settlers along Long Bay arrived in the late 18th century, attempting to extend the plantation system outward toward the ocean. [16] Records are sparse from this period, with most of the recorded history pieced together from English colonial land grant documents. These settlers gained mixed results, producing unremarkable quantities of indigo and tobacco, the two major commodity crops. The coast's soil was sandy and most of the crop yields were of inferior quality.

Prior to the American Revolution, the area along the future Grand Strand was essentially uninhabited. Several families received land grants along the coast, including the Witherses: John, Richard, William, and Mary. This family received an area around present-day Wither's Swash, also known as Myrtle Swash or the Eight-Mile Swash. A separate grant was granted to James Minor, including a barrier island named Minor Island, now Waties Island, off the coast near Little River. [17] : 36

Mary Withers's gravestone at Prince George Winyah Episcopal Church speaks to the remoteness of the former Strand: "She gave up the pleasures of Society and retired to Long Bay, where she resided a great part of her life devoted to the welfare of her children." [18]

As the American colonies gained independence, the area remained essentially unchanged, and the coast remained barren. George Washington scouted out the Southern states during his term, traveling down the King's Highway. He stayed a night at Windy Hill (part of present-day North Myrtle Beach) and was led across Wither's Swash to Georgetown by Jeremiah Vereen. [17] : 51

The Withers family remained one of the few settlers around Myrtle Beach for the next half-century. In 1822, a strong hurricane swept the house of R. F. Withers into the ocean, drowning 18 people inside. The tragedy made the Withers family decide to abandon their plots along the coast. Left unattended, the area began to return to forest. [17] : 58

The Burroughs and Collins Company of Conway, predecessor of modern-day Burroughs & Chapin, purchased much of the Withers family's land in 1881. The growing community was called "New Town" around the start of the 20th century. A post office named "Withers" was established to serve the site of the old Swash in 1888. On February 28, 1899, Burroughs and Collins received a charter to build the Conway & Seashore Railroad to transport timber from the coast to inland customers. The railroad began daily service on May 1, 1900, with two wood-burning locomotives. One of the engines was dubbed The Black Maria and came second-hand from a North Carolina logging operation.

After the railroad was finished, employees of the lumber and railroad company would take train flatcars down to the beach area on their free weekends, becoming the first Grand Strand tourists. [19] The railroad terminus was nicknamed "New Town", contrasting it with the "Old Town", or Conway.

Around the start of the 20th century, Franklin Burroughs envisioned turning New Town into a tourist destination rivaling the Florida and northeastern beaches. Burroughs died in 1897, but his sons completed the railroad's expansion to the beach and opened the Seaside Inn in 1901. [20]

Around 1900, a contest was held to name the area, and Burroughs's wife suggested honoring the locally abundant shrub, the southern wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera). The Withers post office changed its name to "Myrtle Beach" soon afterward. It incorporated as a town in 1938 and as a city in 1957. [21]

In 1937, Myrtle Beach Municipal Airport was built. It was taken over by the United States Army Air Corps in 1940 and converted into a military base. Commercial flights began in 1976 and shared the runway for over 15 years until the air base closed in 1993. Since then the airport has been named Myrtle Beach International Airport. In 2010 plans to build a new terminal were approved. In 1940, Kings Highway was finally paved, giving Myrtle Beach its first primary highway.

The Myrtle Heights-Oak Park Historic District, Myrtle Beach Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Station, Ocean Forest Country Club, Pleasant Inn, and Rainbow Court are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Also listed were the Chesterfield Inn [22] and the Myrtle Beach Pavilion, both now demolished. The Gay Dolphin Gift Cove on the Boardwalk was built in 1946 and sells seashells and Myrtle Beach souvenirs. It claims to be the "nation's largest gift shop".

Myrtle Beach has been separated from the continental United States since 1936 by the Intracoastal Waterway, [23] forcing the city and area in general to develop within a small distance from the coast. In part due to this separation, the area directly northwest of Myrtle Beach, across the waterway, remained primarily rural for a while, whereas its northeastern and southwestern ends were bordered by other developed tourist towns, North Myrtle Beach and Surfside Beach. Since then, the inland portion of the Myrtle Beach area has developed dramatically.

Myrtle Beach is 67 miles (108 km) by highway southeast of Florence, South Carolina, 94 miles (151 km) northeast of Charleston, South Carolina, and 74 miles (119 km) southwest of Wilmington, North Carolina.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has an area of 23.6 square miles (61.0 km 2 ), of which 23.3 square miles (60.4 km 2 ) are land and 0.2 square miles (0.6 km 2 ), or 1.03%, are water. [24]

Neighborhoods Edit

  • Arcadian Shores
  • Benton Park
  • Booker T. Washington
  • Carrie May Johnson
  • Carver
  • Chestnut Hill
  • Dogwood
  • Dunes Cove
  • East Chester
  • Fantasy Harbour
  • Forest Acres
  • Forest Dunes
  • Futrell Park
  • Grande Dunes
  • Green Bay Park
  • Harlem
  • Highlands
  • Hurl Rocks
  • Myrtlewood
  • Myrtle Heights
  • Northwood
  • Ocean Forest
  • Ocean View
  • Old Pine Lakes
  • Owens
  • Pebble Beach
  • Pine Lake Estates
  • Pine Lakes
  • Plantation Point
  • Racepath
  • Ramsey Acres
  • Seagate Village
  • The Dunes
  • Washington Park
  • Withers Preserve
  • Withers Swash
  • Yaupon Circle

Climate Edit

According to the Köppen climate classification, Myrtle Beach has a humid subtropical climate or Cfa – typical of the Gulf and South Atlantic states. The city enjoys abundant sunshine year-round with more than 2800 hours annually.

The summer season is long, hot, and humid in Myrtle Beach. Average daytime highs are from 83 to 91 °F (28 to 33 °C) and average night-time lows are near 70 °F (21 °C). The coastal location of Myrtle Beach mitigates daytime summer heat somewhat compared to inland areas of South Carolina: Thus, while nearby Florence averages 65 days annually with high temperatures of 90 °F (32 °C) or higher – Myrtle Beach averages only 21. The Bermuda High pumps in humidity from the tropical Atlantic toward Myrtle Beach, giving summers a near-tropical feel in the city. The warm Atlantic Ocean reaches 80 °F or higher in the summer months off Myrtle Beach, making for warm and sultry summer nights. Summer thunderstorms are common in the hot season in Myrtle Beach, and the summer months from June through September have the most precipitation. In summer, thunderstorms normally build during the heat of the day – followed by brief and intense downpours. On average, September is the wettest month, with August close behind, due to the combination of thunderstorms and tropical weather systems that peaks these months.

Myrtle Beach has mostly mild winters of short duration: Average daytime highs range from 57 to 61 °F (14 to 16 °C) and nighttime lows are in the 36 to 38 °F (2 to 3 °C) from December through February. Winter temperatures vary more than summer temperatures in Myrtle Beach: Some winters can see several cold days with highs only in the upper 40s F (7 – 9 °C), while other winter days can see highs in the upper 60s and low 70s F (19 – 23 °C). Myrtle Beach averages 33 days annually with frost, though in some years less than 15 days will see frost. Snowfall is very rare in Myrtle Beach however, at least a trace of snow falls a few times each decade. In February 2010, a rare 2.8 inches (71 mm) of snow fell in Myrtle Beach. [25] [26] The spring (March, April and May) and fall (September, October and November) months are normally mild and sunny in Myrtle Beach, with high temperatures in the 60s and 70s. The beach season in Myrtle Beach normally runs from late April through late October. SST (Sea Surface Temperatures) are often in the lower 80's (26 – 28 °C) off South Carolina in summer and early fall.

Summer thunderstorms are typically brief, but severe thunderstorms do occur on occasion. Tornadoes are rare, with the most significant event occurring in 2001 when multiple tornadoes touched down in the area. Tropical cyclones occasionally impact Myrtle Beach, though weaker tropical storms and weak tropical lows are more common. Like most areas prone to tropical cyclones, a direct hit by a major hurricane is infrequent in Myrtle Beach. The last hurricane to cause significant damage in Myrtle Beach was Hurricane Hugo in 1989. The worst hurricane in Myrtle Beach's history was Hurricane Hazel in 1954.

Climate data for Myrtle Beach (1991−2020 normals, extremes 1931–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 81
Average high °F (°C) 55.5
Daily mean °F (°C) 44.5
Average low °F (°C) 33.6
Record low °F (°C) 10
Average precipitation inches (mm) 3.43
Source: NOAA [27] [28]
Climate data for Myrtle Beach (North Myrtle Beach Airport) 1991−2020 normals, extremes 1999–present
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 78
Average high °F (°C) 55.7
Daily mean °F (°C) 46.2
Average low °F (°C) 36.7
Record low °F (°C) 13
Average precipitation inches (mm) 3.01
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 9.8 9.3 9.8 8.4 9.6 11.3 12.6 12.3 10.9 8.7 8.9 10.4 122.0
Source: NOAA [27] [29]
Historical population
Census Pop.
19503,345 109.5%
19607,834 134.2%
19708,536 9.0%
198018,446 116.1%
199024,848 34.7%
200022,759 −8.4%
201027,109 19.1%
2019 (est.)34,695 [4] 28.0%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the 2010 census, the population of Myrtle Beach was 27,109. [33] According to the 2000 census [5] there were 22,759 permanent residents in Myrtle Beach, 10,413 households, 5,414 families, 1,356.5 people per square mile (523.7/km 2 ), with 14,658 housing units at an average density of 873.5 per square mile (337.3/km 2 ).


Humans arrived in the area of South Carolina around 13,000 BC. [ citation needed ] These people were hunters with crude tools made from stones and bones. Around 10,000 BC, they used spears and hunted big game. Over the Archaic period of 8000 to 2000 BC, the people gathered nuts, berries, fish and shellfish as part of their diets. Trade between the coastal plain and the piedmont developed. There is evidence of plant domestication and pottery in the late Archaic. The Woodland period brought more serious agriculture, more sophisticated pottery, and the bow and arrow. [4]

By the time of the first European exploration, twenty-nine tribes or nations of Native Americans, divided by major language families, lived within the boundaries of what became South Carolina. [5] Algonquian-speaking tribes lived in the low country, Siouan and Iroquoian-speaking in the Piedmont and uplands, respectively.

By the end of the 16th century, the Spanish and French had left the area of South Carolina after several reconnaissance missions, expeditions and failed colonization attempts, notably the short-living French outpost of Charlesfort followed by the Spanish town of Santa Elena on modern-day Parris Island between 1562 and 1587. In 1629, Charles I, King of England, granted his attorney general a charter to everything between latitudes 36 and 31. He called this land the Province of Carolana, which would later be changed to "Carolina" for pronunciation, after the Latin form of his own name.

In 1663, Charles II granted the land to the eight Lords Proprietors in return for their financial and political assistance in restoring him to the throne in 1660. [6] Charles II intended that the newly created Province of Carolina would serve as an English bulwark to the contested lands claimed by Spanish Florida and prevent Spanish expansion northward. [7] [8] The eight nobles ruled the Province of Carolina as a proprietary colony. After the Yamasee War of 1715–1717, the Lords Proprietors came under increasing pressure from settlers and were forced to relinquish their charter to the Crown in 1719. The proprietors retained their right to the land until 1719, when the South Carolina was officially made a crown colony.

In April 1670, settlers arrived at Albemarle Point, at the confluence of the Ashley and Cooper rivers. They founded Charles Town, named in honor of King Charles II. Throughout the Colonial Period, the Carolinas participated in many wars against the Spanish and the Native Americans, including the Yamasee and Cherokee tribes. In its first decades, the colony's plantations were relatively small and its wealth came from Native American trade, mainly in Native American slaves and deerskins.

The slave trade adversely affected tribes throughout the Southeast and exacerbated enmity and competition among some of them. Historians estimate that Carolinians exported 24,000–51,000 Native American slaves from 1670 to 1717, sending them to markets ranging from Boston in North America to Barbados. [9] Planters financed the purchase of African slaves by their sale of Native Americans, finding that they were somewhat easier to control, as they did not know the territory to make good an escape.

Perhaps the most notable moment in history for South Carolina was the creation of the Regulators in the 1760s, one of the first organized militias in the New World. The militia proposed ideas of independence and brought increased recognition to the need for backcountry rights in the Carolinas. This led to the War of the Regulators, a battle between the regulators and the British soldiers, led mainly by British Royal Governor William Tryon, in the area. This battle was the first catalyst in the American Revolution. [10]

Native people Edit

Divided roughly along the Santee River were the two main groups of Native American peoples— Eastern Siouan & the Cusaboan tribes. Relative to the Siouans were mostly the Waccamaw, Sewee, Woccon, Chickanee (a smaller offshoot of the northern Wateree), Winyaw & the Santee (not to be confused with the Dakota Santee of the west.). [11] [12] Most of the region south of the Santee River was controlled by the Muskogean Cusabo tribes. Some Muskogean speaking tribes, like the Coree lived among the Siouans, however. North of the Sewee were the Croatan, an Algonquian nation related to the Chowanoke, Piscataway, Nanticoke & Powhatan further north. Many descendants of the Croatan survive among the Lumbee, who also took in many Siouan peoples of the region. [13] Deeper inland were the lands of the Chalaques, or ancestral Cherokees.

Other tribes who entered the region over time were the Westo, an Iroquoian people believed to have been the same as the Erie Indians of Ohio. During the Beaver Wars period, they were pushed out of their homeland by the Iroquois & conquered their way down from the Ohio River into South Carolina, becoming a nuisance to the local populations & damaging the Chalaques. [12] They were destroyed in 1681, and, afterward, the Chalaques split into the Yuchi of North Carolina & the Cherokee to the south, with other fragment groups wandering off into different areas. Also, after this conflict, Muskogeans wandered north and became the Yamasee. [14] When the Cherokee & Yuchi later reformed into the Creek Confederacy after the Yamasee War, they destroyed the Yamasee, who became backwater nomads. They spread out between the states of South Carolina & Florida. Today, several Yamasee tribes have since reformed.

The Siouan peoples of the state were relatively small & lived a wide variety of lifestyles. Some had absorbed aspects of Muskogean culture, while others lived like the Virginian Saponi people. Most had a traditional Siouan government of a chief-led council, while others (like the Santee) were thought of as tyrannical monarchies. They were among the first to experience colonial contact by the Spanish colony in the state during the 16th century. After the colony collapsed, the native peoples even borrowed their cows & pigs and took up animal husbandry. They liked the idea so much, they went on to capture and domesticate other animals, such as geese and turkeys. Their downfall was a combination of European diseases & warfare. After the English reached the region, many members of these tribes ended up on both sides of most wars. The Sewee in particular met their end in a bizarre circumstance of virtually all the men of their people deciding to cut out the middleman and launched a canoe flotilla to cross the Atlantic so they could trade with Europe directly. They never returned. [12] In the end, all the Siouan peoples of the Carolinas ended up merging with the Catawba, who relocated to the N- S Carolina border around the Yadkin River. Later, the United States amalgamated the Catawba with the Cherokee & they were sent west on the Trail of Tears after the drafting of the Indian Removal Act in the 1830s. [15]

18th century Edit

In the 1700–70 era, the colony possessed many advantages - entrepreneurial planters and businessmen, a major harbor, the expansion of cost-efficient African slave labor, and an attractive physical environment, with rich soil and a long growing season, albeit with endemic malaria. Planters established rice and indigo as commodity crops, based in developing large plantations, with long-staple cotton grown on the sea islands. As the demand for labor increased, planters imported increasing numbers of African slaves. The slave population grew as they had children. These children were also regarded as slaves as they grew up, as South Carolina used Virginia's model of declaring all children born to slave mothers as slaves, regardless of the race or nationality of the father. So the majority of slaves in the colony came to be native-born. This became one of the wealthiest of the British colonies. Rich colonials became avid consumers of services from outside the colony, such as mercantile services, medical education, and legal training in England. Almost everyone in 18th-century South Carolina felt the pressures, constraints, and opportunities associated with the growing importance of trade. [16]

Yamasee war Edit

A pan-Native American alliance rose up against the settlers in the Yamasee War (1715–17), in part due to the tribes' opposition to the Native American slave trade. The Native Americans nearly destroyed the colony. But the colonists and Native American allies defeated the Yemasee and their allies, such as the Iroquoian-speaking Tuscarora people. The latter emigrated from the colony north to western New York state, where by 1722 they declared the migration ended. They were accepted as the sixth nation of the Iroquois Confederacy. Combined with exposure to European infectious diseases, the backcountry's Yemasee population was greatly reduced by the fierce warfare. [17]

Slaves Edit

After the Yamasee War, the planters turned exclusively to importing African slaves for labor. With the establishment of rice and indigo as commodity export crops, South Carolina became a slave society, with slavery central to its economy. By 1708, African slaves composed a majority of the population in the colony the blacks composed the majority of the population in the state into the 20th century. [18] Planters used slave labor to support cultivation and processing of rice and indigo as commodity crops. Building dams, irrigation ditches and related infrastructure, enslaved Africans created the equivalent of huge earthworks to regulate water for the rice culture. Although the methods for cultivation of rice were patterned on those of West African rice growers, white planters took credit for what they called "an achievement no less skillful than that which excites our wonder in viewing the works of the ancient Egyptians." [19]

While some lifetime indentured servants came to South Carolina transported as prisoners from Britain, having been sentenced for their part in the failed Scottish Jacobite Rebellions of 1744–46, by far most of the slaves came from West Africa. In the Low Country, including the Sea Islands, where large populations of Africans lived together, they developed a creolized culture and language known as Gullah/Geechee (the latter a term used in Georgia). They interacted with and adopted some elements of the English language and colonial culture and language. The Gullah adapted to elements of American society during the slavery years. Since the late nineteenth century, they have retained their distinctive life styles, products, and language to perpetuate their unique ethnic identity. [20] Beginning about 1910, tens of thousands of blacks left the state in the Great Migration, traveling for work and other opportunities to the northern and midwestern industrial cities.

Low country Edit

The Low Country was settled first, dominated by wealthy English men who became owners of large amounts of land on which they established plantations. [21] They first transported white indentured servants as laborers, mostly teenage youth from England who came to work off their passage in hopes of learning to farm and buying their own land. Planters also imported African laborers to the colony.

In the early colonial years, social boundaries were fluid between indentured laborers and slaves, and there was considerable intermarriage. Gradually the terms of enslavement became more rigid, and slavery became a racial caste. South Carolina used Virginia's model of declaring all children born to slave mothers as slaves, regardless of the race or nationality of the father. In the Upper South, there were many mixed-race slaves with white planter fathers. With a decrease in English settlers as the economy improved in England before the beginning of the 18th century, the planters began to rely chiefly on enslaved Africans for labor.

The market for land functioned efficiently and reflected both rapid economic development and widespread optimism regarding future economic growth. The frequency and turnover rate for land sales were tied to the general business cycle the overall trend was upward, with almost half of the sales occurring in the decade before the American Revolution. Prices also rose over time, parallel with the rise in the price for rice. Prices dropped dramatically, however, in the years just before the American Revolution, when fears arose about future prospects outside the system of English mercantilist trade. [22]

Back country Edit

In contrast to the Tidewater, the back country was settled later in the 18th century, chiefly by Scots-Irish and North British migrants, who had quickly moved down from Pennsylvania and Virginia. The immigrants from Ulster, the Scottish lowlands, and the north of England (the border counties) composed the largest group from the British Isles before the Revolution. They came mostly in the 18th century, later than other colonial immigrants. Such "North Britons were a large majority in much of the South Carolina upcountry." The character of this environment was "well matched to the culture of the British borderlands." [23]

They settled in the backcountry throughout the South and relied on subsistence farming. Mostly they did not own slaves. Given the differences in background, class, slave holding, economics, and culture, there was long-standing competition between the Low Country and back country that played out in politics.

Rice Edit

In the early period, planters earned wealth from two major crops: rice and indigo (see below), both of which relied on slave labor for their cultivation. [24] Exports of these crops led South Carolina to become one of the wealthiest colonies prior to the Revolution. Near the beginning of the 18th century, planters began rice culture along the coast, mainly in the Georgetown and Charleston areas. The rice became known as Carolina Gold, both for its color and its ability to produce great fortunes for plantation owners. [25]

Indigo production Edit

In the 1740s, Eliza Lucas Pinckney began indigo culture and processing in coastal South Carolina. Indigo was in heavy demand in Europe for making dyes for clothing. An "Indigo Bonanza" followed, with South Carolina production approaching a million pounds (400 plus Tonnes) in the late 1750s. This growth was stimulated by a British bounty of six pence per pound. [26]

South Carolina did not have a monopoly of the British market, but the demand was strong and many planters switched to the new crop when the price of rice fell. Carolina indigo had a mediocre reputation because Carolina planters failed to achieve consistent high quality production standards. Carolina indigo nevertheless succeeded in displacing French and Spanish indigo in the British and in some continental markets, reflecting the demand for cheap dyestuffs from manufacturers of low-cost textiles, the fastest-growing sectors of the European textile industries at the onset of industrialization. [27]

In addition, the colonial economy depended on sales of pelts (primarily deerskins), and naval stores and timber. Coastal towns began shipbuilding to support their trade, using the prime timbers of the live oak.

Jews and Huguenots Edit

South Carolina's liberal constitution and early flourishing trade attracted Sephardic Jewish immigrants as early as the 18th century. They were mostly elite businessmen from London and Barbados, where they had been involved in the rum and sugar trades. Many became slaveholders. In 1800, Charleston had the largest Jewish population of any city in the United States. [28] Huguenot Protestant refugees from France were welcomed and many became mechanics and businessmen. [29]

Negro Act of 1740 Edit

The comprehensive Negro Act of 1740 was passed in South Carolina, during Governor William Bull's time in office, in response to the Stono Rebellion in 1739. [30] The act made it illegal for enslaved Africans to move abroad, assemble in groups, raise food, earn money, and learn to write (though reading was not proscribed). Additionally, owners were permitted to kill rebellious slaves if necessary. [31] The Act remained in effect until 1865. [32]

Prior to the American Revolution, the British began taxing American colonies to raise revenue. Residents of South Carolina were outraged by the Townsend Acts that taxed tea, paper, wine, glass, and oil. To protest the Stamp Act, South Carolina sent the wealthy rice planter Thomas Lynch, twenty-six-year-old lawyer John Rutledge, and Christopher Gadsden to the Stamp Act Congress, held in 1765 in New York. Other taxes were removed, but tea taxes remained. Soon residents of South Carolina, like those of the Boston Tea Party, began to dump tea into the Charleston Harbor, followed by boycotts and protests.

South Carolina set up its state government and constitution on March 26, 1776. Because of the colony's longstanding trade ties with Great Britain, the Low Country cities had numerous Loyalists. Many of the Patriot battles fought in South Carolina during the American Revolution were against loyalist Carolinians and the Cherokee Nation, which was allied with the British. This was to British General Henry Clinton's advantage, as his strategy was to march his troops north from St. Augustine and sandwich George Washington in the North. Clinton alienated Loyalists and enraged Patriots by attacking and nearly annihilating a fleeing army of Patriot soldiers who posed no threat.

White colonists were not the only ones with a desire for freedom. Estimates are that about 25,000 slaves escaped, migrated or died during the disruption of the war, 30 percent of the state's slave population. About 13,000 joined the British, who had promised them freedom if they left rebel masters and fought with them. From 1770 to 1790, the proportion of the state's population made up of blacks (almost all of whom were enslaved), dropped from 60.5 percent to 43.8 percent. [33]

On October 7, 1780, at Kings Mountain, John Sevier and William Campbell, using volunteers from the mountains and from Tennessee, surrounded 1000 Loyalist soldiers camped on a mountain top. It was a decisive Patriot victory. It was the first Patriot victory since the British had taken Charleston. Thomas Jefferson, governor of Virginia at the time, called it, "The turn of the tide of success." [34]

While tensions mounted between the Crown and the Carolinas, some key southern Pastors became a target of King George: ". this church (Bullock Creek) was noted as one of the "Four Bees" in King George's bonnet due to its pastor, Rev. Joseph Alexander, preaching open rebellion to the British Crown in June 1780. Bullock Creek Presbyterian Church was a place noted for being a Whig party stronghold. Under a ground swell of such Calvin Protestant leadership, South Carolina moved from a back seat to the front in the war against tyranny. Patriots went on to regain control of Charleston and South Carolina with untrained militiamen by trapping Colonel Banastre "No Quarter" Tarleton's troops along a river.

In 1787, John Rutledge, Charles Pinckney, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, and Pierce Butler went to Philadelphia where the Constitutional Convention was being held and constructed what served as a detailed outline for the U.S. Constitution. The federal Constitution was ratified by the state in 1787. The new state constitution was ratified in 1790 without the support of the Upcountry.

Scots Irish Edit

During the Revolution, the Scots Irish in the back country in most states were noted as strong patriots. One exception was the Waxhaw settlement on the lower Catawba River along the North Carolina-South Carolina boundary, where Loyalism was strong. The area had two main settlement periods of Scotch Irish. During the 1750s–1760s, second- and third-generation Scotch Irish Americans moved from Pennsylvania, Virginia, and North Carolina. This particular group had large families, and as a group they produced goods for themselves and for others. They generally were patriots.

In addition to these, The Earl of Donegal arrived in Charleston on December 22, 1767, from Belfast, bringing approximately fifty families over who received land grants under the Bounty Act. Most of these families settled in the upstate. A portion of these eventually migrated into Georgia and on into Alabama.

Just prior to the Revolution, a second stream of immigrants came directly from northern Ireland via Charleston. Mostly poor, this group settled in an underdeveloped area because they could not afford expensive land. Most of this group remained loyal to the Crown or neutral when the war began. Prior to Charles Cornwallis's march into the backcountry in 1780, two-thirds of the men among the Waxhaw settlement had declined to serve in the army. British victory at the Battle of the Waxhaws resulted in anti-British sentiment in a bitterly divided region. While many individuals chose to take up arms against the British, the British forced the people to choose sides, as they were trying to recruit Loyalists for a militia. [35]

Loyalists Edit

South Carolina had one of the strongest Loyalists factions of any state. About 5000 men took up arms against the Patriot government during revolution, and thousands more were supporters. Nearly all had immigrated to the province after 1765, only about one in six was native-born. About 45% of the Loyalists were small farmers, 30% were merchants, artisans or shopkeepers 15% were large farmers or plantation owners 10% Were royal officials. Geographically they were strongest in the backcountry. [36] [37]

Although the state had experienced a bitter bloody internal civil war 1780-82, civilian leaders nevertheless adopted a policy of reconciliation that proved more moderate than any other state. About 4500 white Loyalists left when the war ended, but the majority remained behind. The state successfully and quickly reincorporated the vast majority. Some were required to pay a 10% fine of the value of the property. The legislature named 232 Loyalists liable for confiscation of their property, but most appealed and were forgiven. [38]

Rebecca Brannon, says South Carolinians, "offered the most generous reconciliation to Loyalists . despite suffering the worst extremes of violent civil war" According to a reviewer, she:

convincingly argues that South Carolinians, driven by social, political, and economic imperatives, engaged in a process of integration that was significantly more generous than that of other states. Indeed, Brannon's account strongly suggests that it was precisely the brutality and destructiveness of the conflict in the Palmetto State that led South Carolinians to favor reconciliation over retribution. [39]

South Carolina led opposition to national law during the Nullification Crisis. It was the first state to declare its secession in 1860 in response to the election of Abraham Lincoln. Dominated by major planters, it was the only state in which slaveholders composed a majority of the legislature.

Politics and slavery Edit

After the Revolutionary War, numerous slaves were freed. Most of the northern states abolished slavery, sometimes combined with gradual emancipation. In the Upper South, inspired by revolutionary ideals and activist preachers, state legislatures passed laws making it easier for slaveholders to manumit (free) their slaves both during their lifetimes or by wills. Quakers, Methodists, and Baptists urged slaveholders to free their slaves. In the period from 1790 to 1810, the proportion and number of free blacks rose dramatically in the Upper South and overall, from less than 1 percent to more than 10 percent.

When the importation of slaves became illegal in 1808, South Carolina was the only state that still allowed importation, which had been prohibited in the other states.

Slave owners had more control over the state government of South Carolina than of any other state. Elite planters played the role of English aristocrats more than did the planters of other states. In the late antebellum years, the newer Southern states, such as Alabama and Mississippi, allowed more political equality among whites. [40] Although all white male residents were allowed to vote, property requirements for office holders were higher in South Carolina than in any other state. [40] It was the only state legislature in which slave owners held the majority of seats. [40] The legislature elected the governor, all judges and state electors for federal elections, as well as the US senators into the 20th century, so its members had considerable political power. [40] The state's chief executive was a figurehead who had no authority to veto legislative law. [40]

With its society disrupted by losses of enslaved Black people during the Revolution, South Carolina did not embrace manumission as readily as states of the Upper South. Most of its small number of "free" Black people were of mixed race, often the children of major planters or their sons, who raped the young Black enslaved females. Their wealthy fathers sometimes passed on social capital to such mixed-race children, arranging for their manumission even if officially denying them as legal heirs. Fathers sometimes arranged to have their enslaved children educated, arranged apprenticeships in skilled trades, and other preparation for independent adulthood. [ citation needed ] Some planters sent their enslaved mixed-race children to schools and colleges in the North for education. [ citation needed ]

In the early 19th century, the state legislature passed laws making manumission more difficult. The manumission law of 1820 required slaveholders to gain legislative approval for each act of manumission and generally required other free adults to testify that the person to be freed could support himself. This meant that freedmen were unable to free their enslaved children since the first law [ which? ] required that five citizens attest to the ability of the person proposed to be "freed" to earn a living. In 1820, the legislature ended personal manumissions, requiring all slaveholders to gain individual permission from the legislature before manumitting anyone.

The majority of the population in South Carolina was Black, with concentrations in the plantation areas of the Low Country: by 1860 the population of the state was 703,620, with 57 percent or slightly more than 402,000 classified as enslaved people. Free Black people numbered slightly less than 10,000. [41] A concentration of free people of color lived in Charleston, where they formed an elite racial caste of people who had more skills and education than most Black people. Unlike Virginia, where most of the larger plantations and enslaved people were concentrated in the eastern part of the state, South Carolina plantations and enslaved people became common throughout much of the state. After 1794, Eli Whitney's cotton gin allowed cotton plantations for short-staple cotton to be widely developed in the Piedmont area, which became known as the Black Belt of the state. [40]

By 1830, 85% of inhabitants of rice plantations in the Low Country were enslaved people. When rice planters left the malarial low country for cities such as Charleston during the social season, up to 98% of the Low Country residents were enslaved people. This led to a preservation of West African customs while developing the Creole culture known as Gullah. [40] By 1830, two-thirds of South Carolina's counties had populations with 40 percent or more enslaved people even in the two counties with the lowest rates of slavery, 23 percent of the population were enslaved people. [40]

In 1822, a Black freedman named Denmark Vesey and compatriots around Charlestown organized a plan for thousands of enslaved people to participate in an armed uprising to gain freedom. Vesey's plan, inspired by the 1791 Haitian Revolution, called for thousands of armed Black men to kill their enslavers, seize the city of Charleston, and escape from the United States by sailing to Haiti. The plot was discovered when two enslaved people opposed to the plan leaked word of it to white authorities. Charleston authorities charged 131 men with participating in the conspiracy. In total, the state convicted 67 men and executed by hanging 35 of them, including Vesey. White fear of the insurrection of enslaved people after the Vesey conspiracy led to a 9:15 pm curfew for enslaved people in Charleston, [40] and the establishment of a municipal guard of 150 white men in Charleston, with half the men stationed in an arsenal called the Citadel. Columbia was protected by an arsenal.

Plantations in older Southern states such as South Carolina wore out the soil to such an extent that 42% of state residents left the state for the lower South, to develop plantations with newer soil. The remaining South Carolina plantations were especially hard hit when worldwide cotton markets turned down in 1826–32 and again in 1837–49. [40]

Nullification Edit

The white minority in South Carolina felt more threatened than in other parts of the South, and reacted more to the economic Panic of 1819, the Missouri Controversy of 1820, and attempts at emancipation in the form of the Ohio Resolutions of 1824 and the American Colonization Petition of 1827. [42] South Carolina's first attempt at nullification occurred in 1822, when South Carolina adopted a policy of jailing foreign Black sailors at South Carolina ports. This policy violated a treaty between the United Kingdom and the United States, but South Carolina defied a complaint from Britain through American Secretary of State John Quincy Adams and a United States Supreme Court justice's federal circuit decision condemning the jailings. [42] Foreign Black men from Santo Domingo had previously communicated with Denmark Vesey's conspirators, and the South Carolina State Senate declared that the need to prevent insurrections was more important than laws, treaties or constitutions. [42]

South Carolinian George McDuffie popularized the "Forty Bale theory" to explain South Carolina's economic woes. He said that tariffs that became progressively higher in 1816, 1824 and 1828 had the same effect as if a thief stole forty bales out of a hundred from every barn. The tariffs applied to imports of goods such as iron, wool, and finished cotton products. The Forty Bale theory was based on faulty math, as Britain could sell finished cotton goods made from Southern raw cotton around the world, not just to the United States. Still, the theory was a popular explanation for economic problems that were caused in large part by overproduction of cotton in the Deep South, competing with South Carolina's declining crops because of its depleted soil. South Carolinians, rightly or wrongly, blamed the tariff for the fact that cotton prices fell from 18 cents a pound to 9 cents a pound during the 1820s. [42]

While the effects of the tariff were exaggerated, manufactured imports from Europe were cheaper than American-made products without the tariff, and the tariff did reduce British imports of cotton to some extent. These were largely short-term problems that existed before United States factories and textile makers could compete with Europe. Also, the tariff replaced a tax system where slave states previously had to pay more in taxes for the increased representation they got in the U.S. House of Representatives under the three-fifths clause. [43]

The Tariff of 1828, which South Carolina agitators called the Tariff of Abominations, set the tariff rate at 50 percent. Although John C. Calhoun previously supported tariffs, he anonymously wrote the South Carolina Exposition and Protest, which was a states' rights argument for nullifying the tariff. Calhoun's theory was that the threat of secession would lead to a "concurrent majority" that would possess every white minority's consent, as opposed to a "tyrannical majority" of Northerners controlling the South. [42] Both Calhoun and Robert Barnwell Rhett foresaw that the same arguments could be used to defend slavery when necessary. [44] [45] [46]

President Andrew Jackson successfully forced the nullifiers to back down and allowed a gradual reduction of tariff rates. [42] Calhoun and Senator Henry Clay agreed upon the Compromise Tariff of 1833, which would lower rates over 10 years. [47] Calhoun later supported national protection for slavery in the form of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 and federal protection of slavery in the territories conquered from Mexico, in contradiction to his previous support for nullification and states' rights. [48]

Censorship and slavery Edit

On July 29, 1835, Charleston Postmaster Alfred Huger found abolitionist literature in the mail, and refused to deliver it. Slave owners seized the mail and built a bonfire with it, and other Southern states followed South Carolina's lead in censoring abolitionist literature. [49] South Carolina's James Henry Hammond started the gag rule controversy by demanding a ban on petitions for ending slavery from being introduced before Congress in 1835. [50] The 1856 caning of Republican Charles Sumner by the South Carolinian Preston Brooks [51] after Sumner's Crime Against Kansas speech heightened Northern fears that the alleged aggressions of the slave power threatened republican government for Northern whites.

Protest of the Negro Act of 1740 Edit

John Belton O'Neall summarized the Negro Act of 1740, in his written work, The Negro Law of South Carolina, when he stated: "A slave may, by the consent of his master, acquire and hold personal property. All, thus required, is regarded in law as that of the master." [52] [53] Across the South, state supreme courts supported the position of this law. [54] In 1848, O'Neall was the only one to express protest against the Act, arguing for the propriety of receiving testimony from enslaved Africans (many of whom, by 1848, were Christians) under oath: "Negroes (slave or free) will feel the sanctions of an oath, with as much force as any of the ignorant classes of white people, in a Christian country." [55] [53]

Secession and war Edit

South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union after the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860. South Carolina adopted the Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union on December 24, 1860, following a briefer Ordinance of Secession adopted December 20. All of the violations of the alleged rights of Southern states mentioned in the document are about slavery. President Buchanan protested but made no military response aside from a failed attempt to resupply Fort Sumter via the ship Star of the West, which was fired upon by South Carolina forces and turned back before it reached the fort. [56]

Prewar tensions Edit

Few white South Carolinians considered abolition of slavery as an option. Having lived as a minority among the majority-black slaves, they feared that, if freed, the slaves would try to "Africanize" the whites' cherished society and culture. This was what they believed had happened after slave revolutions in Haiti, in which numerous whites and free people of color were killed during the revolution. South Carolina's white politicians were divided between devoted Unionists who opposed any sort of secession, and those who believed secession was a state's right.

John C. Calhoun noted that the dry and barren West could not support a plantation system and would remain without slaves. Calhoun proposed that Congress should not exclude slavery from territories but let each state choose for itself whether it would allow slaves within its borders. After Calhoun's death in 1850, however, South Carolina was left without a leader great enough in national standing and character to prevent action by those more militant South Carolinian factions who wanted to secede immediately. Andrew Pickens Butler argued against Charleston publisher Robert Barnwell Rhett, who advocated immediate secession and, if necessary, independence. Butler won the battle, but Rhett outlived him.

When people began to believe that Abraham Lincoln would be elected president, states in the Deep South organized conventions to discuss their options. South Carolina was the first state to organize such a convention, meeting in December following the national election. On December 20, 1860, delegates convened in Charleston and voted unanimously to secede from the Union. President James Buchanan declared the secession illegal, but did not act to stop it. The first six states to secede with the largest slaveholding states in the South, demonstrating that the slavery societies were an integral part of the secession question.

Fort Sumter Edit

On February 4, the seven seceded states approved a new constitution for the Confederate States of America. Lincoln argued that the United States were "one nation, indivisible," and denied the Southern states' right to secede. South Carolina entered the Confederacy on February 8, 1861, thus ending fewer than six weeks of being an independent State of South Carolina. Meanwhile, Major Robert Anderson, commander of the U.S. troops in Charleston, withdrew his men into the small island fortress of Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor and raised the U.S. flag. Fort Sumter was vastly outgunned by shore batteries and was too small to be a military threat but it had high symbolic value. In a letter delivered January 31, 1861, South Carolina Governor Pickens demanded of President Buchanan that he surrender Fort Sumter, because "I regard that possession is not consistent with the dignity or safety of the State of South Carolina." [57] Buchanan refused. Lincoln was determined to hold it to assert national power and prestige he wanted the Confederacy to fire the first shot. If it was to be a dignified independent nation the Confederacy could not tolerate a foreign fort in its second largest harbor. [58]

About 6,000 Confederate men were stationed around the rim of the harbor, ready to take on the 60 men in Fort Sumter. At 4:30 a.m. on April 12, after two days of fruitless negotiations, and with Union ships just outside the harbor, the Confederates opened fire on orders from President Jefferson Davis. Edmund Ruffin fired the first shot. Thirty-four hours later, Anderson's men raised the white flag and were allowed to leave the fort with colors flying and drums beating, saluting the U.S. flag with a 50-gun salute before taking it down. During this salute, one of the guns exploded, killing a young soldier—the only casualty of the bombardment and the first casualty of the war. In a mass frenzy, North and South men rushed to enlist, as Lincoln called up troops to recapture the fort. [59]

Civil War devastates the state Edit

The South was at a disadvantage in number, weaponry, and maritime skills the region did not have much of a maritime tradition and few sailors. Federal ships sailed south and blocked off one port after another. As early as November, Union troops occupied the Sea Islands in the Beaufort area, and established an important base for the men and ships that would obstruct the ports at Charleston and Savannah. Many plantation owners had already fled to distant interior refuges, sometimes taking their slaves with them.

Those African-Americans who remained on the Sea Islands became the first "freedmen" of the war. Under military supervision, the Sea Islands became a laboratory for education, with Northern missionary teachers finding former enslaved adults as well as children eager for learning. The supervisors assigned plots of plantation land to individual freedmen households, who began to do subsistence farming, generally of food crops and cotton or rice.

Despite South Carolina's important role, and the Union's unsuccessful attempt to take Charleston from 1863 onward, fighting was largely limited to naval activities until almost the end of the war. Having completed his March to the Sea at Savannah in 1865, Union General Sherman took his army to Columbia, then north into North Carolina. With most major Confederate resistance eliminated by this point, the Union army was nearly unopposed. Sherman's troops embarked on an orgy of looting and destruction as there was widespread resentment at South Carolina being "the mother of secession" and the principal reason why the war started in the first place. Columbia and many other towns were burned.

On February 21, 1865, with the Confederate forces finally evacuated from Charleston, the black 54th Massachusetts Regiment, led by Thomas Baker, Albert Adams, David Adams, Nelson R. Anderson, William H. Alexander, Beverly Harris, Joseph Anderson, Robert Abram, Elijah Brown, Wiley Abbott, marched through the city. At a ceremony at which the U.S. flag was raised over Fort Sumter, former fort commander Robert Anderson was joined on the platform by two African Americans: Union hero Robert Smalls, who had piloted a Confederate ship to Union lines, and the son of Denmark Vesey.

Continuing to rely on agriculture in a declining market, landowners in the state struggled with the change to free labor, as well as the aftermath of the war's destruction. There was an agricultural depression and deep financial recession in 1873, and changes in the labor market disrupted agriculture. South Carolina lost proportionally more of its young men of fighting age than did any other Southern state. Recorded deaths were 18,666 however, fatalities might have reached 21,146. This was 31–35% of the total of white men of ages 18–45 recorded in the 1860 census for South Carolina. As with other military forces, most of the men died of disease rather than being wounded in battle. [60]

African Americans had long composed the majority of the state's population. However, in 1860, only 2 percent of the state's black population were free most were mulattos or free people of color, with ties of kinship to white families. They were well established as more educated and skilled artisans in Charleston and some other cities despite social restrictions, and sometimes as landowners and slaveholders. As a result, free people of color before the war became important leaders in the South Carolina government during Reconstruction they made up 26 percent of blacks elected to office in the state between 1868 and 1876 and played important roles in the Republican Party, prepared by their education, skills and experiences before the war. [61] [62]

Despite the anti-Northern fury of prewar and wartime politics, most South Carolinians, including the state's leading opinion-maker, Wade Hampton III, believed that white citizens would do well to accept President Andrew Johnson's terms for full reentry to the Union. However, the state legislature, in 1865, passed "Black Codes" to control the work and movement of freedmen. This angered Northerners, who accused the state of imposing semi-slavery on the freedmen. The South Carolina Black Codes have been described:

Persons of color contracting for service were to be known as "servants", and those with whom they contracted, as "masters." On farms the hours of labor would be from sunrise to sunset daily, except on Sunday. The negroes were to get out of bed at dawn. Time lost would be deducted from their wages, as would be the cost of food, nursing, etc., during absence from sickness. Absentees on Sunday must return to the plantation by sunset. House servants were to be at call at all hours of the day and night on all days of the week. They must be "especially civil and polite to their masters, their masters' families and guests", and they in return would receive "gentle and kind treatment." Corporal and other punishment was to be administered only upon order of the district judge or other civil magistrate. A vagrant law of some severity was enacted to keep the negroes from roaming the roads and living the lives of beggars and thieves. [63]

The Black Codes outraged northern opinion and apparently were never put into effect in any state.

Republican rule Edit

After winning the 1866 elections, the Radical Republicans took control of the Reconstruction process. The Army registered all male voters, and elections returned a Republican government composed of a coalition of freedmen, "carpetbaggers", and "scalawags". By a constitutional convention, new voters created the Constitution of 1868 this brought democratic reforms to the state, including its first public school system. Native white Republicans supported it, but white Democrats viewed the Republican government as representative of black interests only and were largely unsupportive.

Adding to the interracial animosity was the sense of many whites that their former slaves had betrayed them. Before the war, slaveholders had convinced themselves that they were treating their slaves well and had earned their slaves' loyalty. When the Union Army rolled in and slaves deserted by the thousands, slaveholders were stunned. The black population scrambled to preserve its new rights while the white population attempted to claw its way back up the social ladder by denying blacks those same rights and reviving white supremacy.

Ku Klux Klan raids began shortly after the end of the war, as a first stage of insurgency. Secret chapters had members who terrorized and murdered blacks and their sympathizers in an attempt to reestablish white supremacy. These raids were particularly prevalent in the upstate, and they reached a climax in 1870–71. Congress passed a series of Enforcement Acts aimed at curbing Klan activity, and the Grant administration eventually declared martial law in the upstate counties of Spartanburg, York, Marion, Chester, Laurens, Newberry, Fairfield, Lancaster, and Chesterfield in October 1870. [64]

The declaration was followed by mass arrests and a series of Congressional hearings to investigate violence in the region. Though the federal program resulted in over 700 indictments, there were few successful prosecutions, and many of those individuals later received pardons. [64] The ultimate weakness of the response helped to undermine federal authority in the state, though formal Klan activity declined precipitously following federal intervention. The violence in the state did not subside, however. New insurgent groups formed as paramilitary units and rifle clubs who operated openly in the 1870s to disrupt Republican organizing and suppress black voting such groups included the Red Shirts, as of 1874, and their violence killed more than 100 blacks during the political season of 1876.

Spending and debt Edit

A major theme of conservative opposition to Republican state government was the escalating state debt, and the rising taxes paid by a white population that was much poorer than before the war. Much of the state money had been squandered or wasted. [ citation needed ] Simkins and Woody say that, "The state debt increased rapidly, interest was seldom paid, and credit of the state was almost wiped out yet with one or two exceptions the offenders were not brought to justice." [65] [ better source needed ]

Reconstruction government established public education for the first time, and new charitable institutions, together with improved prisons. There was corruption, but it was mostly white Southerners who benefited, particularly by investments to develop railroads and other infrastructure. Taxes had been exceedingly low before the war because the planter class refused to support programs such as education welfare. The exigencies of the postwar period caused the state debt to climb rapidly. [66] [67] [68] [69] When Republicans came to power in 1868, the debt stood at $5.4 million. By the time Republicans lost control in 1877, state debt had risen to $18.5 million. [70]

The 1876 gubernatorial election Edit

From 1868 on, elections were accompanied by increasing violence from white paramilitary groups such as the Red Shirts. Because of the violence in 1870, Republican Governor Chamberlain requested assistance from Washington to try to keep control. President Ulysses S. Grant sent federal troops to try to preserve order and ensure a fair election. [71]

Using as a model the "Mississippi Plan", which had redeemed that state in 1874, South Carolina whites used intimidation, violence, persuasion, and control of the blacks. In 1876, tensions were high, especially in Piedmont towns where the numbers of blacks were fewer than whites. In these counties, blacks sometimes made up a narrow majority. There were numerous demonstrations by the Red Shirts—white Democrats determined to win the upcoming elections by any means possible. The Red Shirts turned the tide in South Carolina, convincing whites that this could indeed be the year they regain control and terrorizing blacks to stay away from voting, due to incidents such as the Hamburg Massacre in July, the Ellenton riots in October, [72] and other similar events in Aiken County and Edgefield District. Armed with heavy pistols and rifles, they rode on horseback to every Republican meeting, and demanded a chance to speak. The Red Shirts milled among the crowds. Each selected a black man to watch, privately threatening to shoot him if he raised a disturbance. The Redeemers organized hundreds of rifle clubs. Obeying proclamations to disband, they sometimes reorganized as missionary societies or dancing clubs—with rifles.

They set up an ironclad economic boycott against black activists and "scalawags" who refused to vote the Democratic ticket. People lost jobs over their political views. They beat down the opposition—but always just within the law. In 1876, Wade Hampton made more than forty speeches across the state. Some Black Republicans joined his cause donning the Red Shirts, they paraded with the whites. Most scalawags "crossed Jordan", as switching to the Democrats was called. [ citation needed ]

On election day, there was intimidation and fraud on all sides, employed by both parties. Edgefield and Laurens counties had more votes for Democratic candidate Wade Hampton III than the total number of registered voters in either county. [73] The returns were disputed all the way to Washington, where they played a central role in the Compromise of 1877. Both parties claimed victory. For a while, two separate state assemblies did business side by side on the floor of the state house (their Speakers shared the Speaker's desk, but each had his own gavel), until the Democrats moved to their own building. There the Democrats continued to pass resolutions and conducted the state's business, just as the Republicans were doing. The Republican State Assembly tossed out results of the tainted election and reelected Chamberlain as governor. A week later, General Wade Hampton III took the oath of office for the Democrats.

Finally, in return for the South's support of his own convoluted presidential "victory" over Samuel Tilden, President Rutherford B. Hayes withdrew federal troops from Columbia and the rest of the South in 1877. The Republican government dissolved and Chamberlain headed north, as Wade Hampton and his Redeemers took control.

Memory Edit

Whites and blacks in South Carolina developed different memories of Reconstruction and used them to justify their politics. James Shepherd Pike, a prominent Republican journalist, visited the state in 1873 and wrote accounts that were widely reprinted and published as a book, The Prostrate State (1874). Historian Eric Foner writes:

The book depicted a state engulfed by political corruption, drained by governmental extravagance, and under the control of "a mass of black barbarism." The South's problems, he insisted, arose from "Negro government." The solution was to restore leading whites to political power. [74]

Similar views were developed in scholarly monographs by academic historians of the Dunning School based at Columbia University in the early 20th century they served as historians at major colleges in the South, influencing interpretation of Reconstruction into the 1960s. They argued that corrupt Yankee carpetbaggers controlled for financial profit the mass of ignorant black voters and nearly plunged South Carolina into economic ruin and social chaos. The heroes in this version were the Red Shirts: white paramilitary insurgents who, beginning in 1874, rescued the state from misrule and preserved democracy, expelled blacks from the public square by intimidation during elections, restored law and order, and created a long era of comity between the races.

The black version, beginning with W.E.B. Du Bois' Black Reconstruction (1935), examines the period more objectively and notes its achievements in establishing public school education, and numerous social and welfare institutions to benefit all the citizens. Other historians also evaluated Reconstruction against similar periods. Their work provided intellectual support for the Civil Rights Movement. [75]

In the 1980s, social battles over the display of the Confederate flag following the achievements of the Civil Rights Movement were related to these differing interpretations and the blacks' nearly century of struggle to regain the exercise of constitutional rights lost to Conservative Democrats after Reconstruction.

The Democrats were led by General Wade Hampton III and other former Confederate veterans who espoused a return to the policies of the antebellum period. Known as the Conservatives, or the Bourbons, they favored a minimalist approach by the government and a conciliatory policy towards blacks while maintaining white supremacy. Also of interest to the Conservatives was the restoration of the University of South Carolina to its prominent prewar status as the leading institution of higher education in the state and the region. They closed the college before passing a law to restrict admission to whites only. The legislature designated Claflin College for higher education for blacks. [76] (The Reconstruction legislature had opened the college to blacks and established supplemental programs to prepare them for study.)

Once in power, the Democrats quickly consolidated their position and sought to unravel the legacy of the Radical Republicans. They pressured Republicans to resign from their positions, which included violence and intimidation by members of the Red Shirts, a paramilitary group described the historian George Rabe as the "military arm of the Democratic Party," who also worked to suppress black voting. Within a year both the legislative and judiciary were firmly in the control of the Democrats. [77] [78] The Democrats launched investigations into the corruption and frauds committed by Republicans during Reconstruction. They dropped the charges when the Federal government dropped its charges against whites accused of violence in the 1876 election campaign. [79]

With their position secure, the Democrats next tackled the state debt. Many Democrats from the upcountry, led by General Martin Gary, who had developed the Edgefield Plan for targeted violence to take back the state, pushed for the entire state debt to be canceled, but Gary was opposed by Charleston holders of the bonds. [80] A compromise moderated by Wade Hampton was achieved and by October 1882, the state debt was reduced to $6.5 million.

Other legislative initiatives by the Conservatives benefited its primary supporters, the planters and business class. Taxes across the board were reduced, and funding was cut for public social and educational programs that assisted poor whites and blacks. Oral contracts were made to be legally binding, breach of contract was enforced as a criminal offense, and those in debt to planters could be forced to work off their debt. In addition, the University of South Carolina along with The Citadel were reopened to elite classes and generously supported by the state government.

By the late 1880s, the agrarian movement swept through the state and encouraged subsistence farmers to assert their political rights. They pressured the legislature to establish an agriculture college. Reluctantly the legislature complied by adding an agriculture college to the University of South Carolina in 1887. Ben Tillman inspired the farmers to demand a separate agriculture college isolated from the politics of Columbia. [81] [82] [83] The Conservatives finally gave them one in 1889.

In 1890, Ben Tillman set his sights on the gubernatorial contest. The farmers rallied behind his candidacy and Tillman easily defeated the conservative nominee, A.C. Haskell. The conservatives failed to grasp the strength of the farmers' movement in the state. The planter elite no longer engendered automatic respect for having fought in the Civil War. Not only that, but Tillman's "humorous and coarse speech appealed to a majority no more delicate than he in matters of taste." [84]

The Tillman movement succeeded in enacting a number of Tillman's proposals and pet projects. Among those was the crafting of a new state constitution and a state dispensary system for alcohol. Tillman held a "pathological fear of Negro rule." [85] White elites created a new constitution with provisions to suppress voting by blacks and poor whites following the 1890 model of Mississippi, which had survived an appeal to the US Supreme Court.

They followed what was known as the Mississippi Plan, which had survived a US Supreme Court challenge. Disfranchisement was chiefly accomplished through provisions related to making voter registration more difficult, such as poll taxes and literacy tests, which in practice adversely affected African Americans and poor whites. After promulgation of the new Constitution of 1895, voting was for more than sixty years essentially restricted to whites, establishing a one-party Democratic state. White Democrats benefited by controlling a House of Representatives apportionment based on the total state population, although the number of voters had been drastically reduced. Blacks were excluded from the political system in every way, including from serving in local offices and on juries.

During Reconstruction, black legislators had been a majority in the lower house of the legislature. The new requirements, applied under white authority, led to only about 15,000 of the 140,000 eligible blacks qualifying to register. [86] In practice, many more blacks were prohibited from voting by the subjective voter registration process controlled by white registrars. In addition, the Democratic Party primary was restricted to whites only. By October 1896, there were 50,000 whites registered, but only 5,500 blacks, in a state in which blacks were the majority. [87]

The 1900 census demonstrated the extent of disfranchisement: a total of 782,509 African Americans made up more than 58 percent of the state's population, essentially without any representation. [88] The political loss affected educated and illiterate men alike. It meant that without their interests represented, blacks were unfairly treated within the state. They were unable to serve on juries segregated schools and services were underfunded law enforcement was dominated by whites. African Americans did not recover the ability to exercise suffrage and political rights until the Civil Rights Movement won passage of Federal legislation in 1964 and 1965.

The state Dispensary, described as "Ben Tillman's Baby", was never popular in the state, and violence broke out in Darlington over its enforcement. In 1907, the Dispensary Act was repealed. In 1915, the legal sale of alcohol was prohibited by referendum.

Tillman's influence on the politics of South Carolina began to wane after he was elected by the legislature to the U.S. Senate in 1895. The Conservatives recaptured the legislature in 1902. The elite planter, Duncan Clinch Heyward, won the gubernatorial election. He made no substantial changes and Heyward continued to enforce the Dispensary Act at great difficulty. The state continued its rapid pace of industrialization, which gave rise to a new class of white voters, the cotton mill workers.

White sharecroppers and mill workers coalesced behind the candidacy of Tillmanite Cole Blease in the gubernatorial election of 1910. They believed that Blease was including them as an important part of the political force of the state. Once in office, however, Blease did not initiate any policies that were beneficial to the mill workers or poor farmers. Instead, his four years in office were highly erratic in behavior. This helped to pave the way for a progressive, Richard I. Manning, to win the governorship in 1914. [89]

In the 1880s Atlanta editor Henry W. Grady won attention in the state for his vision of a "New South", a South based on the modern industrial model. By now, the idea had already struck some enterprising South Carolinians that the cotton they were shipping north could also be processed in South Carolina mills. The idea was not new in 1854, De Bow's Commercial Review of the South & West had boasted to investors of South Carolina's potential for manufacturing, citing its three lines of railroads, inexpensive raw materials, non-freezing rivers, and labor pool. Slavery was so profitable before 1860 that it absorbed available capital and repelled Northern investors, but now the time for industrialization was at hand. By 1900, the textile industry was established in upland areas, which had water-power and an available white labor force, comprising men, women, and children willing to move from hard-scrabble farms to mill towns. [90]

In 1902, the Charleston Expedition drew visitors from around the world. President Theodore Roosevelt, whose mother had attended school in Columbia, called for reconciliation of still simmering animosities between the North and the South.

The Progressive Movement came to the state with Governor Richard Irvine Manning III in 1914. The expansion of bright-leaf tobacco around 1900 from North Carolina brought an agricultural boom. This was broken by the Great Depression starting in 1929, but the tobacco industry recovered and prospered until near the end of the 20th century. Cotton remained by far the dominant crop, despite low prices. The arrival of boll weevil infestation sharply reduced acreage, and especially yields. Farmers shifted to other crops. [91]

Black sharecroppers and laborers began heading North in large numbers in the era of World War I, a Great Migration that continued for the rest of the century, as they sought higher wages and much more favorable political conditions. [92]

As early as 1948, when Strom Thurmond ran for President on the States Rights ticket, South Carolina whites were showing discontent with the Democrats' post–World War II continuation of the New Deal's federalization of power. South Carolina blacks had problems with the Southern version of states' rights by 1940, the voter registration provisions written into the 1895 constitution effectively still limited African American voters to 3,000—only 0.8 percent of those of voting age in the state. [93] African Americans had not been able to elect a representative since the 19th century. Hundreds of thousands left the state for industrial cities in the Great Migration of the 20th century. By 1960, during the Civil Rights Movement, South Carolina had a population of 2,382,594, of whom nearly 35%, or 829,291 were African Americans, who had been without representation for 60 years. [94] In addition, the state enforced legal racial segregation in public facilities.

Non-violent action against segregation began in Rock Hill in 1961, when nine black Friendship Junior College students took seats at the whites-only lunch counter at a downtown McCrory's and refused to leave. [95] When police arrested them, the students were given the choice of paying $200 fines or serving 30 days of hard labor in the York County jail. The Friendship Nine, as they became known, chose the latter, gaining national attention in the Civil Rights Movement because of their decision to use the "jail, no bail" strategy.

Economic change Edit

The rapid decline of agriculture in the state has been one of the most important developments since the 1960s. As late as 1960, more than half the state's cotton was picked by hand. Over the next twenty years, mechanization eliminated tens of thousands of jobs in rural counties. By 2000, only 24,000 farms were left, with fewer than 2% of the population many others lived in rural areas on what were once farms, but they commuted to non-farm jobs. Cotton was no longer king, as cotton lands were converted into timberlands. Until the 1970s rural areas had controlled the legislature.

After 1972, both houses of the state legislature were reapportioned into single-member districts, ending another rural advantage. Coupled with the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965, which protected voting for African Americans, the reapportionment transformed South Carolina politics. The South Carolina Democratic party, which dominated the state for nearly a century after Reconstruction, due to suppression of black voting, began to decline at the state and county level with the 1994 elections. The majority white voters had been supporting Republican presidential candidates since the late 1960s and gradually elected the party candidates to local and state offices as well. Republicans won all but one statewide constitutional office, and control of the state house of representatives.

Fritz Hollings, governor 1959–63, who was a key supporter of development, executed a campaign to promote industrial training programs and implemented a state-wide economic development strategy. The end of the Cold War in 1990 brought the closing of military installations, such as the naval facilities in North Charleston, which Rep. Mendel Rivers had long sponsored. The quest for new jobs became a high state priority. Starting in 1975 the state used its attractive climate, lack of powerful labor unions, and low wage rates to attract foreign investment in factories, including Michelin, which located its U.S. headquarters in the state. The stretch of Interstate 85 from the North Carolina line to Greenville became "UN Alley" as international companies opened operations.

Tourism became a major industry, especially in the Myrtle Beach area. With its semitropical climate, cheap land and low construction costs (because of low wages), the state became a developer's dream. Barrier islands, such as Kiawah and Hilton Head, were developed as retirement communities for wealthy outsiders. The state's attempts to manage coastal development in an orderly and environmentally sound manner have run afoul of federal court decisions. The U.S. Supreme Court (in Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council) ruled that the state, in forbidding construction on threatened beachfront property, had, in effect, seized the plaintiff's property without due process of law. The rush to build upscale housing along the coast paid its price in the billions of dollars of losses as Hurricane Hugo swept through on September 21–22, 1989. Charleston was more used to hurricanes historical preservation groups immediately stepped in to begin salvage and reconstruction, with the result that one year after Hugo, the city was virtually returned to normal.

By the late 1980s, however, the state's economic growth rate flattened. South Carolina's development plan focused on offering low taxes and attracting low-wage industries, but the state's low levels of education have failed to attract high wage, high tech industries. [96]

In 1991, under the leadership of then Governor Carroll A. Campbell, the state successfully recruited BMW's (Bavarian Motor Works) only U.S. auto factory to the city of Greer, in Spartanburg County. Second-tier and third-tier auto parts suppliers to BMW likewise established assembly and distribution facilities near the factory, creating a significant shift in manufacturing from textiles to automotive.

In 2009, the state outbid the state of Washington for a giant new Boeing plant, to be constructed in North Charleston. Boeing must create at least 3,800 jobs and invest more than $750 million within seven years to take advantage of the various tax inducements, worth $450 million. [97]

Politics Edit

In the 1970s, South Carolina white voters elected the state's first Republican governor since Reconstruction. In 1987 and 1991, the state elected and reelected Governor Carroll Campbell, another Republican. Many politicians switched from the Democratic Party to the GOP, including David Beasley, a former Democrat who claimed to have undergone a spiritual rebirth he was elected governor as a Republican. In 1996, Beasley surprised citizens by announcing that he could not justify keeping the Confederate flag flying over the capitol. He said that a "spate of racially motivated violence compelled him to reconsider the politics and symbolism of the Confederate flag, and he concluded it should be moved." [98] Traditionalists were further surprised when Bob Jones III, head of Bob Jones University, announced he held the same view.

Beasley was upset for reelection in 1998 by the little-known Jim Hodges, a state assemblyman from Lancaster. Hodges attacked Beasley's opposition to the creation of a state lottery to support education. Hodges called for a fresh tax base to improve public education. Despite Hodges' unwillingness to join Beasley in his opposition to flying the Confederate flag, the NAACP announced its support for Hodges. (At the same time the NAACP demanded a boycott of conferences in the state over the flag issue). Hodges reportedly accepted millions in contributions from the gambling industry, which some estimated spent a total of $10 million to defeat Beasely. [99]

After the election, with public opinions steadfastly against video gambling, Hodges asked for a statewide referendum on the issue. He claimed that he would personally join the expected majority in saying "no" on legalized gambling, but vowed not to campaign against it. Critics in both parties suggested that Hodges' debts to the state's gambling interests were keeping him from campaigning against legalized gambling. The state constitution does not provide for referendums except for ratification of amendments. State legislators shut down the state's video casinos soon after Hodges took office.

Upon his election, Hodges announced that he agreed with Beasley's increasingly popular compromise proposal on the Confederate flag issue. He supported the flag's transfer to a Confederate monument on the State House's grounds. Many South Carolinians agreed with this position as the only solution. Further, they admired Hodges' solution to nuclear waste shipments to the state. Hodges alienated moderate voters sufficiently so that in 2002, most of the state's major newspapers supported the Republican Mark Sanford to replace him. Hodges was held responsible for the state's mishandling of the Hurricane Floyd evacuation in 1999. By 2002, most of the funds from Hodges' "South Carolina Education Lottery" were used to pay for college scholarships, rather than to improve impoverished rural and inner-city schools. Religious leaders denounced the lottery as taxing the poor to pay for higher education for the middle class.

In the lottery's first year, Hodges' administration awarded $40 million for "LIFE Scholarships", granted to any South Carolinian student with a B average, graduation in the top 30% of the student's high school class, and an 1,100 SAT score. [100] Hodges' administration awarded $5.8 million for "HOPE Scholarships", which had lower GPA requirements.

Hodges lost his campaign for reelection in 2002 against the Republican conservative Mark Sanford, a former U.S. congressman from Sullivan's Island.

Mark Sanford served two terms as governor from 2003 to 2011. He left office in the heat of a political scandal while in office, Sanford took a trip to Argentina without anyone's knowing it, and he reportedly had an affair with a woman. Sanford later publicly apologized for the affair, but he and his wife, Jenny Sullivan, divorced in 2010. Sanford was elected to the United States House of Representatives from South Carolina's 1st District in May 2013, a position which he also held from 1995 to 2003. [ citation needed ]

In 2012, Governor Nikki Haley appointed Tim Scott as one of South Carolina's two United States Senators. In 2014, Scott won election to the office and became the first African-American to serve as U.S. Senator from South Carolina since the Reconstruction era. [ citation needed ] In 2010, Nikki Haley, who took office as Governor of South Carolina in January 2011, became the first female to be elected governor. Additionally, Haley was the first person of Asian-Indian descent to be elected governor. Haley served from 2011 until 2017 President Donald Trump nominated her as the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, a position which she accepted and was approved by the United States Senate. After Haley's resignation on January 24, 2017, Henry McMaster became the incumbent, 117th governor of South Carolina. [ citation needed ]

  1. ^ Charles Hudson (September 1998). Knights of Spain, Warriors of the Sun: Hernando de Soto and the South's Ancient Chiefdoms. University of Georgia Press. pp. 234–238. ISBN978-0-8203-2062-5 . Retrieved February 16, 2012 .
  2. ^ Walter Edgar, Partisans and Redcoats: The Southern Conflict that Turned the Tide of the American Revolution (2001) p. 34
  3. ^
  4. "The American Revolution". . Retrieved 2 January 2018 .
  5. ^ Edgar 1998, pp. 11–12
  6. ^
  7. "SC Indian Tribes - Native Americans in South Carolina". . Retrieved 2 January 2018 .
  8. ^
  9. Danforth Prince (10 March 2011). Frommer's The Carolinas and Georgia. John Wiley & Sons. p. 11. ISBN978-1-118-03341-8 .
  10. ^
  11. Peter Charles Hoffer (14 December 2006). The Brave New World: A History of Early America . JHU Press. p. 323. ISBN978-0-8018-8483-2 .
  12. ^
  13. Patricia Riles Wickman (2 March 1999). The Tree that Bends: Discourse, Power, and the Survival of Maskoki People. University of Alabama Press. p. 179. ISBN978-0-8173-0966-4 .
  14. ^Joseph Hall, "The Great Indian Slave Caper", review of Alan Gallay, The Indian Slave Trade: The Rise of the English Empire in the American South, 1670-1717, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002, Common-place, vol. 3, no. 1, October 2002, accessed 4 Nov 2009
  15. ^
  16. "The Regulator Movement in South Carolina". . Retrieved 2017-10-18 .
  17. ^
  18. "Hokan-Siouan Languages". . Retrieved 2 January 2018 .
  19. ^ abc "The Unabridged Version of Tribes of the Carolina Lowland: Pedee - Sewee - Winyaw - Waccamaw - Cape Fear - Congaree - Wateree - Santee." Stanley South. University of South Carolina - Columbia, [email protected] (1972)
  20. ^
  21. "Lumbee Language and the Lumbee Indian Culture (Croatan, Croatoan, Pamlico, Carolina Algonquian)". . Retrieved 2 January 2018 .
  22. ^ Oatis, A Colonial Complex
  23. ^ Speck, Frank G. Catawba Texts 1934.
  24. ^Peter A. Coclanis, "Global perspectives on the early economic history of South Carolina," South Carolina Historical Magazine, April- July 2005, Vol. 106, #2-3, pp. 130–146 (subscription required)
  25. ^ William L. Ramsey, The Yemasee War: A Study of Culture, Economy, and Conflict in the Colonial South (2008)
  26. ^ Wilson, Thomas D. The Ashley Cooper Plan: The Founding of Carolina and the Origins of Southern Political Culture. Chapter 3.
  27. ^ Carney, Judith A. Black Rice: The African Origins of Rice Cultivation in the Americas. 97-98.
  28. ^J. Lorand Matory, "The Illusion of Isolation: The Gullah/Geechees and the Political Economy of African Culture in the Americas", Comparative Studies in Society & History, Oct 2008, Vol. 50 Issue 4, pp. 949–980, text available online at Duke University
  29. ^ S. Max Edelson, Plantation Enterprise in Colonial South Carolina (2007)
  30. ^ David B. Ryden and Russell R. Menard, "South Carolina's Colonial Land Market," Social Science History, Winter 2005, Vol. 29 Issue 4, pp. 599–623
  31. ^David Hackett Fischer. Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America (1989), pp. 634–635
  32. ^ Richard Schulze, Carolina Gold Rice: The Ebb and Flow History of a Lowcountry Cash Crop (2006)
  33. ^Rise of the Georgetown Rice CultureArchived 2006-12-05 at the Wayback Machine
  34. ^"Rice, Indigo, and Fever in Colonial South Carolina" accessed 7 Mar 2008
  35. ^ R. C. Nash, "South Carolina indigo, European textiles, and the British Atlantic economy in the eighteenth century," Economic History Review, May 2010, Vol. 63 Issue 2, pp. 362–392
  36. ^"History of Jews in South Carolina", Jewish Encyclopedia
  37. ^ Kurt Gingrich, "'That Will Make Carolina Powerful and Flourishing': Scots and Huguenots in Carolina in the 1680s." South Carolina Historical Magazine 110.1/2 (2009): 6-34. online
  38. ^
  39. Konadu, Kwasi (2010-05-12). The Akan Diaspora in the Americas. Oxford University Press. ISBN9780199745388 .
  40. ^
  41. "Slavery and the Making of America. Timeline | PBS". . Retrieved 2017-10-09 .
  42. ^
  43. Gabbatt, Adam (24 October 2017). "A sign on scrubland marks one of America's largest slave uprisings. Is this how to remember black heroes?". Guardian US . Retrieved 24 October 2017 .
  44. ^ Peter Kolchin, American Slavery: 1619-1877, New York: Hill and Wang, 1994, p. 73
  45. ^Kings Mountain National Military Park, National Park Service, accessed 5 Mar 2008
  46. ^ Peter N. Moore, "The Local Origins of Allegiance in Revolutionary South Carolina: The Waxhaws as a Case Study," South Carolina Historical Magazine 2006 107(1): 26-41
  47. ^ Walter Edgar, ed. South Carolina Encyclopedia (2006) pp 571-73.
  48. ^ Robert Stansbury Lambert, South Carolina Loyalists in the American Revolution (2nd ed. Clemson University Digital Press, 2011) online free
  49. ^ Rebecca Brannon, From Revolution to Reunion: The Reintegration of the South Carolina Loyalists (U. of South Carolina Press, 2016).
  50. ^ Jason Stroud. Review of Brannon, Rebecca, From Revolution to Reunion: The Reintegration of the South Carolina LoyalistsH-Early-America, H-Net Reviews. May, 2018.
  51. ^ abcdefghij William H. Freehling, The Road to Disunion: Secessionists at Bay 1776-1854, pp. 213–228
  52. ^ W.E.B. Du Bois, Black Reconstruction in America, 1860-1880, New York: 1935, Free Press edition, 1998, p. 383
  53. ^ abcdef William H. Freehling, The Road to Disunion: Secessionists at Bay 1776-1854, pp. 253–270
  54. ^ Freehling, The Road to Disunion, pp. 146–148
  55. ^ Freehling, Prelude to Civil War, p. 297 Willentz, p. 388 - On March 13, 1833 Rhett said,

A people, owning slaves, are mad, or worse than mad, who do not hold their destinies in their own hands . Every stride of this Government, over your rights, brings it nearer and nearer to your peculiar policy. . The whole world are in arms against your institutions . Let Gentlemen not be deceived. It is not the Tariff – not Internal Improvement – nor yet the Force bill, which constitutes the great evil against which we are contending. . These are but the forms in which the despotic nature of the government is evinced – but it is the despotism which constitutes the evil: and until this Government is made a limited Government . there is no liberty – no security for the South.

The South Carolina Coast - History

The Sullivan’s Island Coast Guard Station is the oldest extant life saving installment on the South Carolina Coast. Shortly after the Civil War, the Federal government recognized its obligation for the personal safety of citizens in the port area of Charleston with the establishment of the now defunct Morris Island Station. When the main shipping channel into Charleston was altered about twenty years later, the citizens of the immediate area indicated their reciprocal acceptance of that principle. In 1891 the nearby summer village of Moultrieville deeded five acres of land to the United States government for the express purpose of establishing a life saving station and again in 1896 an additional acre to compensate for loss of land by erosion. All of the contributing properties in the district are located behind the primary dune. The station house/administration building (ca. 1891), boathouse (ca. 1891), garage (ca. 1938), and signal tower (ca. 1938) are laid out in an L-shaped court loosely organized around the bunker/sighting station (ca. 1898). The non-contributing lighthouse (ca. 1962) lies nearest the ocean. Listed in the National Register June 19, 1973.

View the complete text of the nomination form for this National Register property.

Most National Register properties are privately owned and are not open to the public. The privacy of owners should be respected. Not all properties retain the same integrity as when originally documented and listed in the National Register due to changes and modifications over time.

Images and texts on these pages are intended for research or educational use. Please read our statement on use and reproduction for further information on how to obtain a photocopy or how to cite an item.


The first Europeans to visit South Carolina, in 1521, were Spanish explorers from Santo Domingo (Hispaniola). In 1526 Lucas Vásquez de Ayllón founded what is believed to have been the first white European settlement in South Carolina, but this Spanish colony failed within a few months. French Protestants under Jean Ribaut made an unsuccessful attempt to occupy the area of Port Royal (one of the Sea Islands) in 1562. A few years later, in 1566, the Spanish returned and established Santa Elena on nearby Parris Island. It was an important Spanish base until 1587.

In 1665 Edward Hyde, 1st earl of Clarendon, and seven other members of the British nobility received a charter from King Charles II to establish the colony of Carolina (named for the king) in a vast territory between latitudes 29° and 36°30′ N and from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. These eight grantees were known as the lords proprietor of Carolina, and they were free to dispose of the land as they pleased. Following the initiative of the lords proprietor (or their deputies), the English made the first permanent settlement in the region, on the west bank of the Ashley River at Albemarle Point, in 1670. A decade later, the government and most inhabitants moved to a more favourable location on the nearby peninsula formed by the Ashley and Cooper rivers, the site of Charleston today. The colony grew slowly and by 1720 had a population of about 19,000, settled almost exclusively along the coast. Trade with the native peoples and the export of deerskins constituted the major sources of income, complemented by naval stores (turpentine, tar, and other pine products) after 1710. Conflicts with the lords proprietor over economic support, trade with local peoples, and the authority of the Commons House (the colony’s representative assembly) resulted in the overthrow of proprietary rule and the conversion of Carolina to a royal colony in 1719.

In 1729 the colony was divided into two provinces, North and South Georgia was carved out of the southern part of the original grant in 1731. Under crown rule, South Carolina prospered, and exports of rice and indigo contributed to its growing wealth. Based on this successful trade, Charleston entered a golden age it soon was perceived locally as city of refinement and cultural attainment. A flood of Scotch-Irish settlers overland from Pennsylvania caused a population explosion in the inland areas after 1760, and subsequent demands for political representation resulted in a conflict between the plantation owners of the Low Country (coast) and the small farmers of the Up Country (interior) that continued into the 19th century. British troops occupied Charleston during the American Revolution, which, in South Carolina, was largely fought as a civil war between the patriots, who demanded freedom from Great Britain, and the loyalists, who supported the crown. Two major American victories were the battles at Kings Mountain (1780) and Cowpens (1781).

Myrtle Beach History

Myrtle Beach history begins, as does the history of each of the United States, with indigenous people. In this case, the Waccamaw and Winyah tribes. The coastal route that now runs along the coast of this region was once a Native American trade and hunting trail long before Europeans arrived and began to settle the region. Today, this route is known as the Grand Strand and parallels more than 60 miles of pristine sandy South Carolina beaches from Georgetown (about 20 miles south of Huntington Beach State Park) all the way north to the border of North Carolina. The modern history of Myrtle Beach began with Spanish explorer Lucas Vasquez de Allyon who established a short-lived settlement here in 1526. Later, the English established settlements along the Grand Strand.

One of the little known facts about Myrtle Beach is that the inlets, coves, and islands along the stretch of ocean provided ideal hiding spots for the famous pirates of the early eighteenth century who took advantage of the numerous British and European ships that came to supply the new English settlers. The most notorious of these pirates was the infamous Edward Teach, also known as Blackbeard. Today, some of the best seafood dining spots on the beaches of the Grand Strand are named for Blackbeard or his equally legendary contemporary Drunken Jack.

Throughout most of the Myrtle Beach history during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the Grand Strand region remained largely unpopulated and undeveloped because of its inaccessibility and poor economy. Several attempts were made to extend the slave and plantation systems to the coast, but the land was not good for the kinds of crops (cotton and tobacco) that were grown on southern plantations and the efforts largely failed. The most successful plantation crops were rice and sweet potatoes. Looking for new ways to create income, the Burroughs & Collins Company (a local turpentine manufacturer with considerable beachfront property) decided to develop the region as a vacation destination, and built the first of the seaside beach resorts in 1901. The history of Myrtle Beach changed again when Mrs. Burroughs won the competition to name the resort community. She chose Myrtle Beach because of the many wax myrtle bushes and trees that thrive along the shore.

Myrtle Beach Map

Shortly afterward, Bourroughs & Collins became the present day Burroughs & Chapin Company. A luxury resort was built on the northern edge of the newly named community that included the first golf course along the Grand Strand&mdashthe present day Pine Lakes International Country Club. The history of Myrtle Beach as a tourist destination continued during the 1930s and 1940s as more oceanfront hotels and resorts were developed, and the Intracoastal Waterway (a 3,000 mile long waterway paralleling the shoreline that stretches from New Jersey to Florida and from Florida to Texas) was opened for commercial and pleasure boat traffic.

From 1949 to 1954, Myrtle Beach history entered the modern era of tourism development when the Pavilion was built, and the historic carousel and band organ creating the region&rsquos first amusement park were erected on Ocean Boulevard. One of the facts about Myrtle Beach that continues to resonate today is that in 1954, Hurricane Hazel devastated a large portion of the Atlantic Seaboard. A large number of oceanfront hotels, homes, and trees were completely destroyed, paving the way for a 1960s real estate and building boom that included building new golf courses almost every year, modern hotels, upscale shops and boutiques, and other tourist facilities. Today, the Grand Strand boasts several multi-use travel destinations that have taken the place of the original Pavilion Amusement Park, including the Myrtle Waves Water Park and Broadway at the Beach, a 350-acre shopping, entertainment, and dining complex with numerous hotels, and the Family Kingdom Amusement Park along Surfside Beach.

The South Carolina Coast - History

Several factors control the climate. Most important are the state's location in the northern mid-latitudes, its proximity to both the Atlantic Ocean and the Appalachian Mountains, and elevation.

o at winter solstice, the sun is low in the southern horizon at solar noon, with a maximum zenith angle of approximately 23 1/2 o . This allows for a variance in length of day sufficient to produce ample daytime heating during summer and nighttime cooling during winter.

The state's position on the eastern coast of a continent is important because land and water heat and cool at different rates. This provides for cooling sea breezes during the summer and warms the immediate coast during the winter. Also, it influences the way pressure and wind systems affect the state. During the summer, South Carolina's weather is dominated by a maritime tropical air mass known as the Bermuda high. Passing over the Gulf Stream, it brings warm, moist air inland from the ocean. As the air comes inland, it rises and forms localized thunderstorms, resulting in a precipitation maxima (Trewarhta,1981).

The Appalachian Mountains also exert a major influence on the state's climate in three ways. First, they tend to block many of the cold air masses arriving from the northwest, thus making the winters somewhat milder. Second, the occurrence of downslope winds, which warm the air by compression, cause the areas leeward of the mountains to experience slightly higher temperatures than the surrounding areas. Hence, the proximity of the mountains to the state results in a more temperate climate than otherwise would be experienced. Lastly, the mountains cause a leeside rain shadow, an area of decreased, precipitation across the Midlands, roughly parallel to the fall line (Kronberg, 1959, Landers, 1970, and Purvis et al., 1990).


The state's annual average temperature varies from the mid-50's in the Mountains to low-60's along the coast. During the winter, average temperatures range from the mid-30's in the Mountains to low-50's in the Lowcountry. During summer, average temperatures range from the upper 60's in the Mountains to the mid-70's in the Lowcountry.

South Carolina Freeze/Frost Occurrence Dates (pdf)(Spring Latest, Fall Earliest, Probabilities, Number of Days)


Precipitation is ample and distributed with two maxima and two minima throughout the year (Trewartha,1981). The maxima occur during March and July the minima occur during May and November. There is no wet or dry season only relatively heavy precipitation periods or light precipitation periods. No month averages less than two inches of precipitation anywhere in South Carolina. In northwestern South Carolina, winter precipitation is greater than summer the reverse is true for the remainder of the state. During summer and early fall of most years, the state is affected by one or more tropical storms or hurricanes.

Average annual precipitation is heaviest in northwestern South Carolina, and annual totals vary directly with elevation, soil type, and vegetation. In the Mountains, between 70 to 80 inches of rainfall occur at the highest elevations, with the highest annual total at Caesars Head (79.29"). Across the Foothills, average annual precipitation ranges from 60 to more than 70 inches. In the eastern and southern portions of the Piedmont, the average annual rainfall ranges from 45 to 50 inches. The driest portion of the state, on the average, is the Midlands, where annual totals are mostly between 42 to 47 inches. Precipitation amounts are a little higher across the Coastal Plain. A secondary statewide maximum occurs parallel to the coast and about 10 to 20 miles inland. This maxima is a result of the sea-breeze front thunderstorms prevalent during summer. In the Coastal Plain, rainfall averages 50 to 52 inches.


The annual number of days of precipitation greater than or equal to 1 inch varies with elevation, with amounts of more than 24 in the Upstate to less than 12 in the Midlands. The annual number of days of precipitation greater than or equal to 0.1 inch varies from 95 in the Upstate to less than 70 in a portion of the Midlands. The annual number of days of precipitation greater than or equal to 0.5 inch varies from 48 in the Upstate to less than 30 in a portion of the Midlands.


Wintry precipitation (snow, sleet, and freezing rain) also affect South Carolina. Snow and sleet may occur separately, together, or mixed with rain during the winter months from November to March, although snow has occurred as late as May in the mountains. Measurable snowfall may occur from one to three times in a winter in all areas except the Lowcountry, where snowfall occurs on average once every three years. Accumulations seldom remain very long on the ground except in the mountains.

Typically, snowfall occurs when a mid-latitude cyclone moves northeastward along or just off the coast. Snow usually occurs about 150 to 200 miles inland from the center of the cyclone. The greatest snowfall in a 24-hour period was 24 inches at Rimini in February 1973. During December 1989 Charleston experienced its first white Christmas on record, and other coastal locations had more than six inches of snow on the ground for several days following. Map 1 shows the annual distribution of snow across the state.

Sleet and freezing rain vary from 3.75 events per year in Chesterfield County to less than 0.75 events per year in the Lowcountry. The highest frequency by month occurs in January with more than 1.5 events per year in the Charlotte area and Chesterfield County, to less than 0.25 events per year in the Lowcountry (Davis and Gray, 1993). This rain, which freezes on contact with the ground and other objects, can cause hazardous driving conditions, breakage of various types of wires and the poles on which they are strung. One of the most severe cases of ice accumulation from freezing rain took place February 1969 in several Piedmont and Midlands counties. Timber losses were tremendous and power and telephone services were seriously disrupted over a large area (Landers, 1970).

Severe Weather

Severe weather occurs in South Carolina occasionally in the form of violent thunderstorms and tornadoes. Although less frequent than surrounding states, thunderstorms are common in the summer months. The more violent storms generally accompany squall lines and active cold fronts of late-winter or spring. Strong thunderstorms usually bring high winds, hail, considerable lightning, and rarely spawn a tornado.

Hail occurs infrequently, falling most often during spring thunderstorms from March through May. The incidence of hail varies from 1 to 1.5 hail days per year in the Midlands, Piedmont, and Foothills to 0.5 days per year in the Lowcountry (Coffey, 1988). Although hail can occur in every month during the year, May has the highest incidence with an average of more than 5 events per year. Typically, it occurs during the late afternoon and early evening between the hours of 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. (Knupp, 1992).


Tornadoes in the United States are observed in every state. South Carolina ranks 23rd in the United States for annual tornado frequency during the period 2000-2019 (Figure 1).

In the period from 1950 through 2019 South Carolina saw 1037 confirmed tornadoes, an average of 14 tornadoes per year (Figure 2). From 1994 to 2019 the annual average was 25 tornadoes per year. This dramatic increase is primarily attributable to the implementation of the National Weather Service's advanced NEXRAD Doppler radar system which is able to pinpoint tornadic vortex signatures State-wide, unlike previous NWS radar systems.

The majority of South Carolina's tornadoes are short-lived EF-0 and EF-1 tornadoes (Figure 3), the lowest tornado strengths on the Enhanced Fujita scale. These tornadoes with estimated wind speeds between 65 and 110 miles per hour usually cause only minimal damage and injuries. Stronger more destructive tornadoes are rare, but do occur with a consistent annual frequency of 2-4 per year (Figure 4). Destructive EF-4 tornadoes have touched down in South Carolina with wind speed of 166-200 miles per hour. There is no record or evidence of an EF-5 tornado, the strongest and most devastating on the EF scale, ever touching down in South Carolina.

Figure 5 shows the distribution of all tornado touchdowns across the State and the tracks of longer-lived tornadoes. Figures 5a-e map separate EF0, EF1, EF2, EF3, and EF4 touchdowns and tracks. Tornadoes have touched down in every South Carolina County with the most frequent touchdowns and tracks in the Midlands and Pee Dee regions. The average tornado track is three to four miles long and 110 yards wide. The longest track in recent history was 62 miles long and 400 yards wide through McCormick, Edgefield and Saluda Counties in 1992. The widest track was caused by an EF-4 tornado that created a damage swath 2600 yards wide and five miles long through Marlboro County in 1984. Figure 6 shows the 10 South Carolina counties with the most/least tornadoes.

Tornadoes have touched down in South Carolina during every month of the year however, the most likely months are in the spring, March through May, and later in the fall during September (Figure 7). During spring, tornadoes result from active cold fronts and pre-frontal squall lines. During November and December, it is not uncommon to have active cold fronts and tornadic activity. Tornado frequency reaches a minimum in October and January.

Tornadoes in South Carolina can also touch down at any time during the day or night. Figure 8 shows tornadoes are more likely to touchdown during the afternoon and early evening but, tornadoes can also touch down late at night and during the early morning hours. These tornadoes are particularly more dangerous because most people are likely asleep and not able to hear television or radio warnings and, even if awake, you would not be able to see the tornadoes in the darkness. Fortunately, Figure 9 shows that the strongest tornadoes, EF2-4, only occur in the afternoon and early evening when television and radio warnings are most effective.

Many late season tornadoes are triggered by decaying tropical storms that make landfall in or near South Carolina. These tropical tornadoes can significantly add to the annual tornado average Figure 10 . Tropical tornadoes tend to be weak, and short-lived however, Tropical Storm Francis did produce three EF-2 tornadoes and a damaging EF-3 tornado during the record outbreak in September 2004. More on the tropical tornadoes spawned by Francis and other notable tornadoes and tornado outbreaks below:

Notable Tornadoes

September 6-7, 2004:Tropical Storm Frances triggered a record 47 tornadoes as it tracked up the spine of the Appalachians. The National Weather Service, using the F0-F5 Fujita scale, identified 26 F0s, 17 F1s, 3 F2s and 1 F3 during the 2-day period. 43 tornadoes touched down on September 7, setting a new one day record. The 47 tornadoes caused widespread damage in the Low Country, Midlands and Pee Dee. Sumter County experienced the worst damage. An F2 destroyed 9 Sumter County homes, damaged 55 homes, injured 3 people and caused over $1.7 million dollars worth of damage. Kershaw County was struck by the F3 tornado which demolished several cinder block stables and deftly picked up a large horse trailer and placed it on the roof of another stable. This record setting tornado outbreak injured 13 and inflicted $2.77 million in total state-wide damages.

August 16, 1994: An outbreak of 22 confirmed tornadoes occurred when the remnants of Tropical Storm Beryl merged with a cold front. The tornadoes damaged homes and buildings in a very narrow band running north from Bamberg County through Lancaster and York Counties. One tornado hit Lexington's central business district. There were no deaths, at least 40 injuries, and over $50 million in damage.

March 28, 1984: The second highest loss of life from tornadoes occurred when 11 tornadoes touched down along a narrow band that extended from Anderson County through Marlboro County. These tornadoes caused 15 deaths, 448 injuries, and damage of over $100 million. These tornadoes also caused several other storm related fatalities.

September 29, 1938: Five tornadoes struck Charleston and the surrounding areas on the morning of September 29, 1938, killing 32 and injuring 150 people. Property loss was estimated to be at least $2,000,000 and it is considered the greatest loss of life and property from tornadoes in that area since the 1886 earthquake. Out of the five tornadoes, the second and third were the most destructive striking the city directly and leaving a parallel path of destruction over 2 miles long. St. Michael's Church, City Hall, St. Phillip's Church and the Old City Market are some of the historic structures that were damaged during this event. The tornadoes were spawned as a result of a cyclone traveling up the coast.

April 30, 1924: The highest tornado death toll in South Carolina's history occurred on this date when two tornadoes struck. The paths of both were unusually long each over 100 miles long. Together they killed 77 persons, injured 778 more, destroyed 465 homes and many other buildings resulting in many millions of dollars of damage. One tornado remained on the ground from Anderson County to York County the other, which as been named "The Horrell Hill Tornado", was the more destructive of the two. Its path was 135 miles from Aiken County to Florence County.

Tropical Cyclones

Tropical cyclones affect the South Carolina coast on an infrequent basis, but do provide significant influence annually through enhanced rainfall inland during the summer and fall months. Depending on the storm's intensity and proximity to the coast, tropical systems can be disastrous. The major coastal impacts from tropical cyclones are storm surge, winds, precipitation, and tornadoes. Hurricanes are the most intense warm season coastal storms and are characterized by wind speeds exceeding 64 knots (74 miles per hour) and central pressure usually lass than 980 millibars (mb) (28.94 inches of mercury). Less intense, but more frequent, are tropical storms (winds over 34 knots and under 64 knots: greater than 980 mb central pressure) and tropical depressions (winds under 34 knots).

Notable Hurricanes

Hurricane Hugo: Hugo crossed into South Carolina coast near the Isle of Palms on September 22, 1989. Surface winds were recorded at 138 miles per hour, with gusts of 160+ miles per hour. The National Weather Service at Charleston recorded a minimum barometric pressure of 27.85 inches. Damage to coastal and inland properties, utilities, agriculture, timber and commerce exceed $6 billion. 50-70,000 people were left homeless and 26 people were killed.

Hurricane Gracie: On September 29, 1959, Gracie made landfall between Charleston and Savannah, Georgia. Winds reached 140 mph and tides reached 8 ft. Damage was estimated at $20 million (1959 dollars), and seven lives were lost.

Hurricane Hazel: Hazel caused $27 million (1954 dollars) in damage on October 14, 1954 after moving parallel to the coast and making landfall near Little River South Carolina. Winds reached 106 mph and tides greater than 16 feet at Myrtle Beach. The heaviest damage in South Carolina was from Pawleys Island northward.

August 27, 1893 Hurricane: This unnamed storm was the most deadly hurricane in South Carolina's history. This storm struck near Savannah, Georgia causing extensive flooding along the lower South Carolina coast. Winds of 120 miles per hour were measured at Charleston and Beaufort. More than 2,000 people drowned and damage estimates exceed $10 million (1893 dollars).


The state has high interannual and seasonal variabilities of precipitation. The main cause of this is the strength and geographic placement of Bermuda high. As the high pressure continues its grip over the area, solar radiation increases, which in turn increases the temperature, which then decreases the cloud cover, thereby reducing the probability of substantial precipitation.

Droughts are sometimes alleviated by a tropical cyclone. In 1954, Hurricane Hazel ended an extreme drought in eastern South Carolina, although drought conditions continued in western sections. In 1990, the remnants of Hurricane Klaus and Tropical Storm Marco ended an extreme drought.

Precipitation occurs during periods of drought, however, it is highly localized, inconsequential, and generally evaporates within 24-hours after falling. Periods of insufficient rainfall for crop growth occur during some summers. There is approximately a one in four probability of a drought somewhere in South Carolina at any time (Guttman and Plantico, 1987). Field crops such as corn, cotton, and soybeans are greatly stressed when drought conditions extend over several weeks during the growing season because only 9% of all farms in the state have irrigated acres, as compared to 26% nationwide. However, the state has a similar proportion of irrigated acres when compared to Alabama, North Carolina, and Virginia. Only Florida and Georgia have higher percentages of irrigated land in the Southeast United States (U.S. Department of Commerce, 1993).

Notable Droughts

Historically, droughts have had severe adverse impacts on the people and economy of South Carolina. Periods of dry weather have occurred in each decade since 1818 (National Water Summary 1988-1989 Hydrologic Events and Floods and Droughts, 1991). The earliest records of drought indicate that some streams in South Carolina went dry in 1818, and fish in smaller streams died from lack of water in 1848. The most damaging droughts in recent history occurred in 1954, 1986, and 1998-2002. Less severe droughts were reported in 1988, 1990, 1993, and 1995. The adverse impacts on the people and economy were made especially clear during the drought of 1998-2002 that impacted agriculture, forestry, tourism, power generation, public water supplies, and fresh water fisheries.


Intense coastal storms normally occur during the fall through early spring. Their affects range from high winds and tides along the beaches to rain and occasional snowfall Upstate. The storm system of January 1, 1987, with its gale force winds and abnormally high tides, caused an estimated $25 million worth of damage to South Carolina beach front properties.

The lowest pressure ever recorded at Columbia occurred on March 13, 1993 during an intense winter cyclone. The cold weather that accompanied this storm resulted in two deaths, one on the 13th, and one on the 15th. In addition to the cold, it dumped 1.5 feet of snow in the Mountains, flurries in the Lowcountry, and caused an estimated $22 million worth of total damage to the state.

Flooding occurs on several streams in the state each year. A certain amount of control can be effected on the large rivers which have dams. The state can experience riverine flooding any month of the year. However, it is most likely to occur in association with tropical cyclones, because of their typically slow forward motion and abundant moisture.

Notable Floods

September 16, 1999: The remnants of Hurricane Floyd dumped up 15"-20" of rain along the coast triggering wide spread flooding along the South Carolina Coast. The heavy rains caused record flooding of the Waccamaw River. Over 1700 homes were damaged in Horry County. Three foot flood waters were reported in the vicinity of Murrell's Inlet. No flood related injuries were reported.

October 10-13, and October 22, 1990: . The former was a result of the remnants of Hurricane Klaus and Tropical Storm Marco moving northwards along a stationary front. This flood caused 4 deaths in Kershaw County, when a dam burst sending water across a road trapping the people in their vehicle. Another death occurred in Spartanburg County, when a toddler drowned in a rain-swollen creek. As a result of the flooding, Aiken, Calhoun, Cherokee, Darlington, Edgefield, Florence, Kershaw, Lee, Orangeburg, Spartanburg, Sumter, and Union counties were declared federal disaster areas.

August 1908: The most extensive flooding in South Carolina history occurred on this date. All the major rivers of the state rose from 9 to 22 feet above flood stage.

Excessive amounts of rain was received in the extreme eastern counties and in all of the northern and western counties. Reporting locations recorded two to four times the normal amount of rainfall, most which fell from the 23 rd to the 26 th , causing floods in all the streams and rivers of the upper and central portions. The floodwaters rose to greater heights and the floods were more destructive, and the money value of the damage was greater than ever before known, authentic records being available for comparison since 1840.

The greatest twenty-four hour rainfall was 11.65 inches, at Anderson, on the 24 th -25 th . On the 24 th -26 th , Anderson had 14.31 inches in 34 hours, at Blairs on the 24 th -26 th had in 60 hours at Calhoun Falls on the 23 rd -26 th , 9.62 inches in 63 hours, at Camden on the 25 th -26 th , at Catawba on the 23 rd -26 th , 10.12 inches in 65 hours at Cheraw on the 24 th -26 th , 6.52 inches in 62 hours, at Clemson College on the 25 th , 2.81 inches in 24 hours, at Conway on the 26 th , 2.83 inches in 14 hours, at Greenville on the 23 rd -26 th , 16.94 inches in 78 hours, at Greenwood on the 24 th -26 th , 7.06 inches in 60 hours, at Liberty on the 24-25 th , 11.12 inches in 24 hours, at Mt Holly in N.C on the 23 rd -26 th , 11.19 inches in 58 hours, at Pelzer on the 24 th -26 th , 5.14 inches in 27 hours, at Santee on the 23-25 th , 10.83 inches in 58 hours, at Spartanburg on the 24 th -26 th , 9.33 inches in 72 hours, at Ferguson on the 26 th , 2.59 inches in 24 hours at Winnsboro on the 24 th -25 th , 7.85 inches in 48 hours, at Winthrop College on the 24 th -25 th , 7.10 inches in 48 hours.

Thunderstorms occurred on 21 days during the August of 1908. The periods of maximum frequency were the 2d, 5 th , 6 th , 8 th , 16 th , 19 th , 21 st , 23 rd -26 th , when from five to eleven of the fifteen stations that recorded thunderstorms reported their occurrence.

June 1903: The highest number of people killed by floodwaters in South Carolina occurred on the Pacolet River, a tributary of the Broad River, when 60 to 80 people drowned in a flash flood.

Pacolet Flood Historical References: (Courtesy of Wofford College)

The Flood of 1903:Terror Along the Pacolet River from Textile Town:Spartanburg County South Carolina, Hub City Writers Project, 2002. pp. 77-81. Reprinted from The Great Freshet of 1903: A Morning of Terror Along the Pacolet River, by William M. Branham, Feb. 1980, pp. 8-12.

Selected pictures from Seeing Spartanburg: A history in images by Philip Racine, Hub City Writers Project 1999.

Day of Disaster from A Place Called Clifton, by Michael Hembree and David Moore, Jacobs Press 1987, pp.78-95.

Lost in the Sand from Clifton A River of Memories, by Michael Hembree and David Moore, Jacobs Press 1988, pp.168-173.

From Spartanburg Almanac compiled by Wofford College Professors J.A. Gamewell and D.D. Wallace, published by W.F. Barnes, Spartanburg, 1904, pp. 7-15.

It Can and Has Happened in South Carolina, from The State Magazine, October 2, 1955.

Destructive Floods in the United States in 1903, by E.C. Murphy. Water-Supply and Irrigation Paper No. 96 Series M, General Hydrographic Investigations, 11 United States Geological Survey, Department of the Interior. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 1904, pp 9-20.


The Mountains have a strong influence on the prevailing surface wind direction. On a monthly basis, prevailing winds tend to be either from the northeast or southwest. Winds from all directions occur throughout the state during the year, but the prevailing directions by season are:

Season Direction Degrees
Spring Southwest 210 to 240
Summer South and Southwest 170 to 250
Autumn Northeast 20 to 60
Winter Northeast and Southwest 20 to 60

NC State University Wind Rose Generator

Average surface wind speeds for all months range between 6 and 10 miles per hour. Upper air winds (more than 1500 meters above mean sea level) are usually southwest to northwest in winter and spring, south to southwest in summer, and southwest to west in autumn. The mountains control wind direction during all seasons, but have a more pronounced effect in the winter, summer, and autumn.

During winter, most cyclones that affect the state pass to the south of the Mountains. As these systems move around the Mountains, the winds are generally southwest. As the cyclone moves over the Atlantic Ocean, the winds shift to the northeast. During summer, air flows north along the western edge of the Bermuda High, from the Gulf of Mexico. Quite often the Mountains form the western extent of the Bermuda High.

During autumn, winds are northeast because the mountains form the southern edge of the pre-dominant continental high pressure pattern known as a "wedge". This type of weather system moves southward along the eastern seaboard, with a center of circulation over New England. This circulation fosters northeast winds as the air wraps about the center in a clockwise fashion.

The Bermuda High also contributes to air stagnation, especially during the summer. During the period 1936-75, it was shown that the state experienced between 20 stagnation days per year in the Coastal Plain and more than 28 stagnation days per year occurred in the Central Savannah River area. The winds in stagnant air are very light, and tend to be rather disorganized in direction (Aneja and Yoder, 1992).


Pan evaporation measurements are available for selected sites across the state. These observations may be expressed in the number of inches of water per dry day, per month, or per year, from an evaporation pan. The evaporation pan is accurately leveled at a site which is nearly flat, well-sodded, and free from obstructions. The pan is filled with water to a depth of eight inches, and daily measurements are made of the changes in water level.

Map 2 depicts the average annual pan evaporation. Average annual pan evaporation observations show considerable variation across the state. The largest annual evaporation, more than 65 inches, is found in the Lowcountry. There is, however, a second area of more than 60 inches that extends across the Midlands. Moving northwest across the state, pan evaporation measurements decrease with annual values of less than 40 inches in the higher elevations of the Upstate. The only significant anomaly to the above are the Clark Hill observations which are lower than nearby areas, due to its close proximity to a large lake.


Aneja, Viney P. and G. Yoder. Characterization of Ozone Climatology in the Southeastern United States and Climate Change. Research Paper #010192, Southeast Regional Climate Center, Columbia, SC 1992.

Austin, Hal. The Horrell Hill Tornado, April 30, 1924. Research Paper #032393, Southeast Regional Climate Center, Columbia, South Carolina, 1993.

Changnon, David, J.H. Jacobson, and D.J. Smith. Analysis of the October 10-13, 1990, Heavy Rains and Their Impacts on the Southeast. Research Report #101591, Southeast Regional Climate Center, Columbia, South Carolina, 1991.

Coffey, James R. South Carolina Crop-Hail Risk Patterns: A Geographic Analysis. Unpublished Master's Thesis, University of South Carolina, Department of Geography, Columbia, South Carolina, 1988.

Davis, Robert E. and D.A. Gay. Freezing Rain and Sleet Climatology of the Southeastern U.S.A. Research Paper #052593, Southeast Regional Climate Center, Columbia, South Carolina, 1993.

Guttman, Nathaniel and M. Plantico. "Drought History and Chance of Recurrence" in Climate Report G-30: Southeast Drought Symposium Proceedings, March 4-5, 1987 (Scott F. Sidlow, Editor) South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Water Resources Division (Formerly South Carolina Water Resources Commission), Columbia, South Carolina, 1987.

Knupp, Kevin R. Climatology of Severe Weather Events for the Southeastern United States. Research Paper #040192, Southeast Regional Climate Center, Columbia, South Carolina, 1992.

Kronberg, Nathan and J.C. Purvis. Climates of the States: South Carolina, in Climatography of the States, United States Department of Commerce, Washington, District of Columbia, 1959.

Landers, H. The Climate of South Carolina, in Climates of the States, Volume 1, Water Information Center, Inc., Port Washington, New York, 1974.

List, Robert J. Smithsonian Meteorological Tables, Sixth Revised Edition. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, District of Columbia, 1984.

Purvis, John C. Climate Report G-2: South Carolina Tornado Statistics: 1950-82. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Water Resources Division (Formerly South Carolina Water Resources Commission), Columbia, South Carolina, In Preparation.

Purvis, John C. South Carolina Pan Evaporation. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Water Resources Division (Formerly South Carolina Water Resources Commission), Columbia, South Carolina, In Preparation.

Purvis, John C.,W. Tyler, S.F. Sidlow. Climate Report G-26: Hurricanes Affecting South Carolina. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Water Resources Division (Formerly South Carolina Water Resources Commission), Columbia, South Carolina, 1986.

Purvis, John C.,S.F. Sidlow, D.J. Smith, I. Turner, W. Tyler. Research Report No. 2, South Carolina Tornado Statistics, 1912-1989. Southeast Regional Climate Center, Columbia, South Carolina, 1990.

Purvis, John C.,W. Tyler, S.F. Sidlow. Climate Report G-5: General Characteristics of South Carolina's Climate. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Water Resources Division (Formerly South Carolina Water Resources Commission), Columbia, South Carolina, 1990.

Sidlow, Scott F., W. Tyler. Climate Report G-31: South Carolina Sunrise and Sunset Tables and Sun Path Diagrams. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Water Resources Division (Formerly South Carolina Water Resources Commission), Columbia, South Carolina, 1990.

Smith, David J. Climate Report G-18: Hurricane Risk Hilton Head, South Carolina. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Columbia, South Carolina, 1994.

Snyder, H. Stephen, S.J. deKozlowski, T.W. Greaney, J.A. Harrigan, M.K. Haralson, H.T. Shaw, G.E. Siple, F.L. Collins, D.L. Miller. South Carolina State Water Assessment, Report No. 140. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Water Resources Division (Formerly South Carolina Water Resources Commission), Columbia, South Carolina, 1983.

Trewartha, Glenn T. and L.H. Horn. An Introduction to Climate, Fifth Edition. McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York, New York, 1980.

Trewartha, Glenn T. The Earth's Problem Climates, Second Edition. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, Wisconsin, 1981.

Turner, Ian, J.C. Purvis, W. Tyler, S.F. Sidlow. Climate Report G-37: Hurricane Hugo 1989. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Water Resources Division (Formerly South Carolina Water Resources Commission), Columbia, South Carolina, 1990.

United States Department of Commerce. 1961-1990 Normal Temperature and Precipitation. National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, North Carolina, 1992.

United States Department of Commerce. Storm Data, October 1990, 32:10. National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, North Carolina, 1990.

United States Department of Commerce. Storm Data, March 1993, 35:3. National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, North Carolina, 1993.

United States Department of Commerce. 1992 Census of Agriculture, 1:51 United States Summary and State Data. Bureau of the Census, Washington D.C., 1993.

United States Department of War. Monthly Weather Review, XVIII:5. United States Army Signal Corps, Washington, District of Columbia, 1890.

7. Midlands History Tour

History buffs are sure to enjoy this road adventure that starts in South Carolina’s capital city of Columbia. Set the tone for your historical explorations at The State House with a tour of the interior of this Civil War era building and a walk among the memorial monuments on its grounds. Continue your walk through the historic Horseshoe section of the University of South Carolina, and then dig a little deeper into the historical roots of the area at The McKissick Museum, which is dedicated to the history of the state. A walk through the The Riverfront Park and Historic Columbia Canal shares information on the history of the canal and its importance to the development of South Carolina. If you have time, add The South Carolina State Museum and the Confederate Relic Room to your itinerary before moving onto the city of Cayce, across the river. In Fort Cayce, tour the historic Civil War Fort Granby, and get some home-cooking at Just Us Cafe. After a walk through the Cayce Historical Museum, spend the night in a vacation rental for the next day’s drive to Florence. In Florence, take a guided kayak trip along the South Carolina Revolutionary Rivers Trail, learning more about Revolutionary War hero Francis Marion, better known as the Swamp Fox.

North and South Carolina

The South Carolina and North Carolina colonies originally were part of one colony called the Carolina Colony. The colony was set up as a proprietary settlement and governed by a group known as Carolina's Lord's Proprietors. But unrest with the Indigenous population and fear of rebellion from enslaved people led White settlers to seek protection from the English crown. As a result, it became a royal colony in 1729 and was divided into South Carolina and North Carolina.