1902 Encyclopedia > South Carolina

South Carolina




SOUTH CAROLINA, one of the original thirteen States of the American Union, commonly known as the Palmetto State, from the abundance of this kind of palm on the coast, once formed a part of that vast territory of the New World claimed by the Spaniards under the name of Florida and by the French under that of New France; or, to be more concise, it comprised the southern or lower portion of what was formerly styled Carolina, and subse-quently divided into North and South Carolina. It lies between 32° 4' 30" and 35° 12' N. lat. and between 78° 25' and 83° 49' W. long. In shape it is an irregular triangle, the vertex resting upon the Blue Ridge Mountains in the extreme north-west, while the Atlantic forms its base. It is bounded N. and N.E. by North Carolina, S.E. by the Atlantic, and S.W. by the Savannah river, which, with its tributaries the Tugaloo and Chatauga, separates it from Georgia. The state is 189 miles long and 160 broad, containing 30,961 square miles or 19,815,040 acres, and is divided into thirty-four counties (formerly districts). At the census of 1880 the population numbered 995,577, of whom 391,105 were white, the rest Surface, coloured. Very few Indians are to be found.

Surface. The surface may be about equally divided into high, middling, and low land, the last-named rising from the sea-coast, where it is very flat and level, and gradually increasing in elevation towards the interior, where it attains a mean of 250 feet, continuing to the north line, where, after varying from 300 to 800 feet it reaches its highest elevation of 1000 feet. The land along and near the coast is low, marshy, and swampy, especially on the rivers' banks, rolling and diversified towards the centre, and undulating near the mountain slope, but in places abrupt, King's Mountain rising almost perpendicularly 500 feet. The chief eleva-tions in this section are the Saluda Mountains, spurs of the Blue Ridge, King's Mountain (1692 feet), Paris Mountain (2054 feet), Table Rock (3000 feet), Caesar's Head (3118 feet), and Mount Pinnacle (3436 feet). This region abounds in beautiful and picturesque scenery, rendering it attractive to tourists, and making it a great summer resort.

Rivers. The land is irrigated and well-drained by numerous rivers, the largest of which is the Santee, formed by the Saluda, Congaree, Catawba, and Wateree, uniting at the centre of the State. The other rivers of any size are the Waccamaw, Lynch's, Great and Little Peedee, forming the Peedee, Black, Wando. Ashley, Cooper, Edisto, Combahee, Ashepoo, Coosaw, Port Royal, and Broad (on the coast), this last being more of a bay. The sea-coast is fringed by numerous islands, and indented by bays and inlets,— Winyaw and Bull's Bays, Charleston Harbour, Stono Inlet, North and South Edisto Inlets, St Helena Sound, and Port Royal,—the last one of the finest harbours in the world, as its name, said to have been given on this account by the early discoverers and explorers, would imply. The entire coast south of Winyaw is composed of a network of creeks and sounds, so that, for small craft, navigation inland may be had from this point to the mouth of the Savannah on the extreme south-west. Most of the rivers rising in the mountains are navigable nearly to the foot-slope. Here numerous rapids and waterfalls afford excellent mill-power. Canals throughout the State are not numerous, the few formerly in use having been abandoned in favour of the railroads. The Santee Canal, connecting that river with the headwaters of the Cooper, 22 miles in length, has given place to the North-Eastern Railway.

Climate. The climate of South Carolina is mild and genial, snow falling in the mountains but rarely in the middle sections, and seldom or never along the coast. The sea islands generally, as well as the pine barrens, are healthy, furnishing the planter with a summer home and safe retreat from the malaria of the rice lands. These regions were formerly innocuous to the whites, as they still are to the negroes, but subsequent clearance and cultivation have rendered them fatal in summer. The midlands are considered healthy in all parts except here and there along the creeks, while the mountain region is unexceptionable.

Earthquakes. The coast of South Carolina, like places in the same latitude, is subject to violent storms, tornadoes, and cyclones, which make their annual visits on or about the autumnal equinox, doing much damage. Till quite recently the district has never been seriously troubled with earthquakes. Slight tremors have indeed been felt and recorded since 1754, without, however, causing serious injury. But on the night of 31st August 1886 Charleston was visited by an earthquake which was followed by other shocks and tremors, which continued night and day at intervals with greater or less violence, as the following list shows:

== TABLE ==

The main shock was very destructive to property, while about forty lives were lost, and many more were injured. Crevices several yards in length and varying from one to four inches in width appeared, and in some places in the suburbs of the eity fissures of much larger proportions threw up water to the height of several feet. There was no warning given except that in the small town of Summerville, about 22 miles to the north, consider-able disturbance was caused by thuds and tremors with detona-tions on the 27th and 28th, felt on the latter date to some extent in Charleston. The violence of these shocks was confined almost exclusively to this State, though they were felt in a slighter degree in Georgia and North Carolina.





Vegetation. The soil in the low country is remarkably fertile, the river swamps and reclaimed marshes being admirably adapted to the cultivation of rice, while the sandy loam of the sea islands and surrounding main produces the finest long staple, black seed, or sea island cotton of silky fibre. As we recede from the salt the staple becomes shorter and the plant has a less luxuriant growth. The rice produced here, noted abroad as Carolina rice, is considered first in the markets of the world. The State was the first to introduce rice culture in America, the seed having been brought in 1693 by a vessel from Madagascar. Abundant crops are raised of wheat, rye, maize, oats, barley, buckwheat, pease, beans, sugar, tobacco, indigo, sorghum, broom-corn, sunflower, guinea-corn, sweet and Irish potatoes, hemp, flax, and hops. Numerous orchards, all over the State, furnish quantities of apples, pears, quinces, plums, peaches, nectarines, apricots, cherries, and along the coast figs, oranges, lemons, olives, and pomegranates. The raspberry, blackberry, mulberry, and whortleberry are produced. The strawberry is extensively cultivated along the coast, and shipped in immense quantities to the northern markets. Of nuts, the walnut, pecan, chestnut, hickory, shell-bark, hazel nut, and chinquapin may be mentioned. The grape grows wild in many portions of the State, and in great varieties, which, when culti-vated, yiejd a delicious wine. In certain sections hundreds of acres are devoted to the culture. The gardens and farms produce in abundance turnips, beets, parsnips, carrots, artichokes, mustard, benne, rhubarb, arrowroot, water and musk melons, cucumbers, cabbages, kale, lettuce, cayenne pepper, squashes, okra, pumpkins, onions, leeks, beans, radishes, celery, green pease, and tomatoes,— the last two from early spring to mid-winter. The jasmine, Cherokee rose or nondescript, wild honeysuckle, and sweet-brier perfume the woods ; the dog-wood and fringe tree abound in the forest; and garden flowers in the cities, especially Charleston, Columbia, and Beaufort, are the admiration of strangers. Con-spicuous among these are the Camellia japónica of all varieties and shades, azalea in every hue, roses of numberless descriptions, hyacinth, snowdrop, violet, dahlia, tulip, verbena, sweet olive, and heliotrope. Valuable and almost inexhaustible forests extend over the greater part of the State, the long leaf or yellow pine, confined chiefly to the low country, covering 10,000,000 acres, and furnishing immense quantities of timber, tar, pitch, turpentine, and rosin. Here and elsewhere are found the magnolia, sweet and black gum, white, water, red, and live oak, black walnut, elm, hickory, maple, sycamore, ash, cypress, chestnut, beech, locust, persimmon, dogwood, poplar. The palmetto is peculiar to the coast.

Animals. The forests abound in deer, wild turkeys, foxes, wild cats, raccoons, opossums, rabbits, and squirrels ; and along the water-courses are found the musk otter, &c. Among the birds are pigeons, doves, partridges, woodcock, snipe, immense flocks of wild ducks, including the English or canvas-back, teal, blackhead, &c. Freshwater fish of every variety are taken in all the streams in the interior, and the bays and inlets furnish whiting, mackerel, bass, flounder, sheephead, shad, mullet, blackfish, sturgeon, terrapin, turtle, shrimps, crabs, and oysters. Quantities of salmon and carp have been furnished by the fish commissioners for stocking the waters.

Minerals. Minerals are liberally diffused over the State. Gold is found in Lancaster, York, Union, Spartanburg, Greenville, Pickens, and Abbeville counties ; copper in York, Spartanburg, and Pickens; lead in the last; iron of a superior quality in Union, Spartanburg, Greenville, and Pickens; manganese in Lancaster, York, Chester, Union, Spartanburg, Greenville, Pickens, Anderson, Abbeville, and Edgefield ; bismuth in Chesterfield and Lancaster ; plumbago in Spartanburg ; soapstone in Fairfield, Chester, York, Spartan- burg, Laurens, Greenville, Pickens, Abbeville, and Edgefield ; coal in Chesterfield and Marlboro. Limestone abounds in nearly all the upper counties, but chiefly in Laurens and Spartanburg. The finest blue and grey granite is found in the middle and upper sections ; sandstone, burrstone, and flagstone in Edgefield, Pickens, York, and Fairfield. Pottery and porcelain clay, quartz, and sand for glass exist in many places. Tuomey states that " the aluminous formations that occur in immense beds of the finest porcelain clay are often exposed by the denuding effects of water and lie in rich strata upon the very surface, ready to the hand of the manufacturer. Between Aiken and Graniteville the beds are in many cases 60 feet thick, while those in the Savannah river near Hamburg are from 10 to 15 feet and of unsurpassed purity." The Aiken council committee report in this vicinity immense beds of different kinds of clay, from the purest and whitest kaolin to the dark-coloured mud of which bricks are made, sands of all hues, some as fine as flour, others with large coarse crystals, siliceous earths of many kinds, ferru- ginous sandstones, conglomerate shell, burrstone, mica, feldspar, and ochres of different colours. But a short distance off a deposit of magnesia is found, and potash can readily be made in the surrounding forests. Experts have pronounced the sands to be admirably adapted for making glass and crystal, and the quality of the kaolin is admitted to be equal, if not superior, to that of which Staffordshire ware is made. It is doubtful if the combina- tion of the ingredients of glass and earthenware can be found in such immediate proximity anywhere else. Mineral springs exist in several of the upper counties.

Railways. Railroads are on the increase. The South Carolina Railway, between Charleston and Augusta, Ga., was, at the time of its completion, the longest continuous railroad in the world.

Industries. Manufactures are growing in importance; chief among them are cotton yarn and cloth, flour, lumber, turpentine, and fertilizers. The capacity of twenty-nine mills now in operation is estimated at 14,821,166 ft of yarn, 79,442,327 yards of cloth, and the value of product $9,097,464. In 1880 there were 82,324 spindles and 1676 looms; in 1884 195,112 spindles and 3652 looms. The number of lumber mills at work is 729, employing 5894 hands and a capital of $2,920,870. The value of their annual production is $5,592,565. Of turpentine stills there are 291, with 6991 hands and a capital of $1,454,800, with an annual production to the value of $2,912,271. These figures show an increase of 100 per cent, in less than four years. The fertilizers are valued at $3,346,400, and the miscellaneous manufactures at $2,114,680. The whole value of manufactured products was in 1860 $8,615,195; in 1870, $9,858,981; in 1880, $16,738,008; in 1884, $32,324,404. South Carolina phosphates are of recent date, but their importance may be shown by stating that they pay yearly, by direct taxation, an amount for royalty which is 20 per cent, of the whole income of the State. The value of this rock was first pointed out by Mr Jonathan Lucas, a planter, who afterwards materially assisted in developing its usefulness. The first company, the Charleston South Carolina Mining and Manufacturing Company, was formed in 1867. There are now fourteen land and eleven river mining companies with capital ranging from $10,000 to $200,000. In addition to these there are a number of individuals who are licensed by the State to mine in the navigable streams, employing an estimated capital of about $50,000. The total amount of phosphate rock mined and shipped in 1868-70 was 20,000 tons; in 1871, 50,000 tons; in 1875, 115,000 tons; in 1880,190,000 tons; and in 1883, 355,000 tons,—the total since 1868 being 2,290,000 tons. Of this amount 1,078,070tonswereriverand 1,211,830 land rock. The capital invested in the former is $525,000, and 649 hands are employed (wages $259,300), with an annual production of $907,170 ; in the latter the corresponding figures are—capital $1,980,000, hands 1286, wages $363,560, production $1,283,830.





The six gold-mining counties report eleven mines in operation, employing 600 hands, with a capital of $440,000 and an annual production of $90,000. The same counties report eighteen gold mines or gold-bearing areas not now worked; one of the mines has a capital of $40,000. Ten counties report quarries or kaolin beds. Worked and unworked, there are twenty-five granite quarries, five kaolin beds, and one soapstone quarry. There are also in the State large unworked deposits of mica, pyrites, corundum, and marl, with some silver. The quarries and. kaolin works, with a capital of $96,350, have an annual production of $220,000.

The upland cotton crop of 1883 was 468,227 bales of 400 ft. The corn area was 1,359,593 acres, and the production 10,876,744 bushels. 321,958 acres in oats yielded a crop of 4,187,082 bushels. Of wheat (182,215 acres) the yield was 1,388,731 bushels. The rice crop of 1883-84 was 33,600 tierces. The sea-island cotton crop was 9500 bags. This last, as well as the small grain and subsidiary crops, has suffered a decline in the last few years of 25 to 35 per cent.

The proportions of white and coloured labour in the State are .about 30 per cent, and 70 per cent, respectively. The rate of wages paid is from $8 to $9 a month for men and $6 for women, with board. About 23 per cent, of white women and children work on the farms, and about 61 per cent, of the coloured. The systems used are—the contract, in which services rendered are paid by giving the labourer the use of the land and house, or where the wages are paid monthly, or a portion monthly and the remainder at the end of the year ; and the tenant system, in which the labourer rents the land, and from the crop pays the landlord the rent and for the use of the animals. Land varies in price from 50 cents for pine barren to $100 for choice farming land.

Live stock. Horses and mules are raised at very little cost. Ordinary scrub cattle are seldom housed, roaming the forests at will, except when herded for branding or for driving to market. Sheep thrive away from the salt, and are profitable in the mountains. Hogs, not improved breeds, like cattle, have the liberty of the woods, and are taken with dogs when needed. According to estimates of im-proved stock, there are 792 Jerseys, 177 Ayrshires, 50 Devons, 33 Holsteins, 1 Guernsey, besides a number of Shorthorns and Brahmins. Merino, South Down, Oxford Down, and Broad-Tail sheep are raised in many parts of the State, with Essex and Berkshire hogs.

Education. Free schools trace their origin as far back as 1710. A system of free schools was inaugurated in 1811. The present public-school system was established in 1868. It provides free instruction to pupils of both races, in primary and intermediate grades. Their management is under the direction of the State board of examiners, consisting of the State superintendent of education, and four other persons appointed by the governor. In each county the school commissioner is elected by the people for two years. The schools are supported entirely by taxation. There are 3562 public schools in the State. The number of persons in the State between the ages of six and sixteen is 281,664, of whom 51,440 are white males, 49,749 white females, 90,897 coloured males, 89,578 coloured females. The number of pupils enrolled is 178,023 (41,819 white males, 36,639 females, 48,418 coloured males, 51,147 females). The number of male white teachers em-ployed is 1137, females 1205; coloured males 982, females 449,— making a total of 3773. There are 3562 public schoolhouses, valued at $405,097.31. Institutions for higher education, sup-ported by the State, are the South Carolina College and South Carolina Military Academy for white males, and the Claflin College for coloured persons of both sexes. There is an institution for the education of the deaf, dumb, and blind. There are, besides, numerous private schools and colleges.

Religion. Churches of all denominations multiplied in the State during the colonial period, and subsequently Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Independents, Baptists, and French Protestants established congre-gations in Charleston just after 1680. Methodists and Romanists came a century later, Jews in 1756, German Lutherans in 1759. The coloured people are for the most part Methodists, some being Baptists and Presbyterians, a few Episcopalians.

Cities. CHARLESTON (q. v.) is the largest city of the State. COLUMBIA (q.v.), the capital, has (1886) a population of 20,000, while that of Charleston is 60,000. Greenville, in the north-west portion of the State, is a growing railway centre and manufacturing city, with a population of 10,000. Georgetown and Beaufort on the coast do a good shipping business in lumber and other exports. Spartanburg and Aiken are important places, the former as a railway centre, the latter as a health resort for invalid strangers in winter, when the population is more than doubled. Other towns are Newberry, Orangeburg, Florence, Camden, Sumter, Graniteville, Chester, Anderson, Abbeville, Winnsboro, Yorkville, Union, Cheraw, Wal-halla, Piedmont, Port Royal, Marion, Darlington, Lancaster.

Government. The executive department consists of a governor, lieutenant-governor, who is ex officio president of the senate, comptroller-general, treasurer, secretary of state, attorney-general, and a superintendent of education ; these are elected by the people, to serve two years. The legislative department embraces a senate and a house of representatives, which together are called the general assembly. The former is composed of thirty-seven members, elected for four years, one from each county, except Charleston, which sends two. The house of representatives consists of 124 members, elected for two years. The judicial department consists of a supreme court and of circuit, probate, and justices' courts. The supreme and circuit court judges are elected by the general assembly,-—the former for six years, the latter for four. The probate judges for each county are elected by the people, and the justices of the peace are appointed by the governor.

History. The first attempt to settle Carolina was in 1562, when Admiral Coligny obtained from Charles IX. of France permission to plant a colony of Protestants on the coast of Florida. An expedition was fitted out at the expense of the crown, and placed under the command of Jean Ribault. Fear of the Spaniards perhaps induced them to change their plans, and, entering Port Royal, they landed on Lemon Island, where they erected a pillar, and afterwards a fort, which they named, in honour of the king, Arx Carolina. Leaving a sufficient number to garrison the fort, Ribault returned to France. Two years later a second expedition under Laudonniere, one of Ribault's men, was fitted out, but on landing at Port Royal it found no traces of the former. This colony likewise met with disaster, being massacred by the Spaniards from Florida. It was not until a century later that a permanent settlement was made by the English, who, after the Restoration, began to recognize their claim to a large territory in the southern district of North America. In 1662 a grant was obtained from Charles II., and in 1667 an expedition sailed under command of Capt. William Sayle. They reached Port Royal, where they made a settlement, but a few years after removed to the west bank of the Ashley, and built a town which they called, after the English monarch, Charlestown. Subsequently they again removed to Oyster Point, the present site Df Charleston. (W. SI.)



The above article was written by: W. Simons, late Superintendent of Schools, Charleston, N.C.



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