South Carolina’s Andrew Jackson

 

Andrew Jackson

March 15, 1767- June 8, 1845

Andrew Jackson served as a Soldier, U.S. senator, president of the United States. Andrew Jackson was born in the Waxhaw community of Lancaster District on March 15, 1767, Jackson was the son of Andrew Jackson and Elizabeth Hutchinson. Jackson’s father died before he was born, so Jackson was raised by his mother in the home of relatives and attended local schools in the Lancaster District. During the Revolution War Jackson’s mother and two older brothers (Hugh & Robert) died from illnesses. His actions against Tories (supported the British) led to his arrest by the British in April 1781. During his detainment, a British officer demanded that Jackson clean his boots. Jackson refused and for his refusal Jackson was slashed with a sword which left scars on his hand and head.

In 1784 Jackson moved to Salisbury, North Carolina, to study law, he passed the bar in 1787. He then moved into what would later become Tennessee, landing in Nashville, he immediately gained the spot light as an excellent prosecutor and attorney. He met Rachel Donelson Robards who was going through a divorce, there were cloudy circumstances over her divorce and accusations of adultery, but he subsequently married Rachel on January 18, 1794, the events surrounding Rachel plagued Jackson during his presidential campaigns.

Even though the marriage to Rachel haunted Jackson’s presidential runs, it was Jackson’s political connections and Rachel’s prominent family that energized Jackson’s rise in politics. He served at Tennessee’s constitutional convention in 1796 and as the state’s first U.S. Representative. He served one year in the U.S. Senate before winning election to the Tennessee Superior Court. In 1802 Jackson gained a top position as major general in the militia.

During the War of 1812, Jackson defeated the Creek Indians at Horseshoe Bend in 1814, which led to him being commissioned as major general in the U.S. Army. Jackson was sent to New Orleans where he collected a mixed force of irregulars to impede a British attempt to take the city of New Orleans. This astounding victory over the British regulars made Jackson a national symbol. His popularity was amplified when he conquered Spanish Florida in 1818 and hanged two British followers accused of rousing the Indians along the Alabama-Georgia border. President James Monroe and Secretary of War John C. Calhoun, along with the cabinet came close to renouncing Jackson’s actions prior to a treaty purchasing Florida from Spain which ended the predicament.

After a short term as territorial governor of Florida, Jackson returned to Tennessee, Jackson’s actions brought him an enormous amount of popularity making Jackson a presidential contender. Jackson was nominated for president in 1822 with hardly any support initially, during this time Jackson accepted the U.S. Senate seat by the Tennessee legislature in 1823. Once in Washington, Jackson voiced his displeasure against the widespread corruption he discovered when arriving in Washington. In the 1824 presidential election, Jackson received the most popular votes, but fell short of gathering an Electoral College majority. The U.S. House of Representatives, along with the support of Speaker Henry Clay, it gave the presidency to John Quincy Adams, who then appointed Clay as Secretary of State. Jackson was furious at this “corrupt bargain” and made it known that this was a deliberate rejection of the will of the people.

Jackson resigned his Senate seat and returned to Tennessee in 1825. An alliance of anti-administration adversaries began to form around Jackson and the call for change. An early and nervous alliance was made with Calhoun, and Jackson agreed to back a newspaper run by Duff Green, a Calhoun supporter. A short time later, New York’s Martin Van Buren and other well-known politicians adjoined their support to Jackson’s candidacy, creating the core of the modern Democratic Party. A nasty campaign followed in 1828 powered by rumors concerning Jackson’s marriage, but Jackson with Calhoun as his vice presidential candidate carried them to an overwhelming victory. Jackson advocated limited government, removal of the Indians beyond the Mississippi, replacement of public officials, and payment of the national debt.

Jackson, a supporter of states’ rights, was a committed nationalist and viewed nullification as the first step towards disunion and an abandonment of majority rule. In reply to Calhoun and the developing nullification sentiment, Jackson, at the 1830 annual Jefferson Dinner declared, “Our Union: It must be preserved.”

Soon after Jackson was in the White House he uncovered information that Calhoun, as secretary of war, had backed Jackson’s arrest and punishment over his invasion of Florida, this information expanded the rift between Jackson and Calhoun. It was thought by many in Washington that Martin Van Buren was behind the Jackson-Calhoun rift as an attempt to replace Calhoun as Jackson’s successor. The ultimate break between Jackson & Calhoun occurred when Jackson orchestrated for a new newspaper to promote the administration’s policies. Things exploded when Calhoun published his thoughts over the Florida affair, this caused Jackson to then eliminate his cabinet, an action never previously taken. Van Buren assumed Calhoun’s spot on the 1832 ticket, strengthening his role as Jackson’s successor.

The Tariff of 1832 reintroduced nullification sentiment in South Carolina, the following November a South Carolina convention nullified the tariff acts and prohibited the collection of custom duties within the state. On December 10, 1832, Jackson issued a proclamation declaring the actions “incompatible with the existence of the Union and destructive of the great object for which it was formed” and solicited the use of force. A compromise tariff was signed into law just days before Jackson’s second inauguration, this ended the crisis of a nullification threat.

Jackson’s popularity amid the common people, his resilient personality, leadership, and his underappreciated political skills strengthened his presidency during his two terms from March 4, 1829 – March 4, 1837. His platform against nullification forced southerners to seek more radical means whenever slavery became the main issue. Jackson’s political opponents merged into the Whig Party and securely started the two-party political system. With Jackson’s control of the Democratic Party it led to Martin Van Buren’s election as president in 1836.

Andrew Jackson Home After leaving office, Jackson retired to his home of Hermitage, outside of Nashville. He died on June 8, 1845, and was buried in his garden. Andrew Jackson is the only South Carolinian to have ever served as president of the United States.

 

South Carolina & Slavery

South Carolina and the African Slave Trade

Slavery was instituted in the “New World” by the Spanish, Portuguese, and Dutch, each dispatched African slaves to work in North America during the late 16th and early 17th centuries. The English embarked in slave trading in what was called “black ivory” through the middle 17th century, this slave trade was driven by the need for laborers in the sugar fields in the West Indian islands of Barbados, Bermuda, and Jamaica.

By the time Charles Towne (Charleston, SC ) was settled in 1670, Englishmen from the West Indies were accustomed with slavery and the vast profits they could obtain from the labor of others. For this reason slavery was deemed a necessity in order to have a successful and established crop on plantations in South Carolina. Like many other European nations, England created the Royal African Company to finance the slave trade. A string of forts and “slave factories” were established from the Cape Verde Islands to the Bight of Biafra (Western African coast between the Niger River and Cape Lopez). The slave trade would not been as effective had it not been for the “unholy alliance” between the English and other European nations, along with the African nations where these forts were positioned. The English slave traders would try to deceive the African kings, and the African king would do their best to acquire the greatest amount of goods in exchange for each slave for sale. For their shipments of slaves, the traders offered iron and copper bars, brass pans and kettles, cowrey shells (used as money in certain parts of Africa), guns, gun powder, cloth, and alcohol. The African kings would send ships loaded with slaves, anywhere from 200 to over 600 slaves, piling them like cord wood and allowing almost no breathing room for the slaves. With the overcrowding, the bad ventilation, and poor nutrition during the five weeks to three month voyage there were around 14%- 20% of the slaves died. This was thought to be a natural routine when doing business in slave trading. The slave trade is believed to have transported at least 10 million, and possibly over 20 million, Africans to the American.

The Carolina’s and their planters fostered an image of ” the “ideal slave– tall, healthy, male, between the ages of 14 and 18, “free of blemishes,” and as dark as possible. For these “ideal” slaves Carolina planters in the 18th century would pay between 100 and 200 sterling, today that would be somewhere between $11,500 and $24,000. Just about all of these slaves entered the Charleston port, they would be held temporarily on Sullivan’s Island where they were quarantined before being sold in Charleston’s slave markets. Most of these slaves were put to work in South Carolina’s rice fields.

 

Columbia…..A Planned City

A Planned City

The first occupants of the area that became Columbia were a people called the Congaree. The Congaree were a group of Native Americans who lived along the Congaree River. In May 1540, a Spanish expedition led by Hernando de Soto pass through what is now Columbia while moving northward. The expedition produced the earliest written historical records of the area.

Columbia was an area of the state that set up the overall development of the state, as a fort was built on the west bank of the Congaree River, this was the start of a navigation route in the Santee River system. With the ferry being started by the colonial government in 1754, this connected the fort with the growing settlements on the higher ground on the east bank of the Congaree River

State Senator John Lewis Gervais who was from the town of Ninety Six introduced a bill that was ratified by the legislature on March 22, 1786, to establish a new state capital moving it from Charleston. There was a huge argument over the name for the new capital, one legislator insisted it be called “Washington”, but “Columbia” won by a vote of 11–7 in the state senate and the South Carolina General Assembly established the site of Columbia as the Capital of South Carolina.

The site was decided on due to its central location in the state. The State Legislature first met there in 1790. After remaining under the direct government of the legislature for the first two decades of its existence, Columbia was incorporated as a township in 1805 and then as a city in 1854.

Columbia received a big incentive to develop a direct water route to Charleston via the Santee Canal, the canal connected the Santee and Cooper rivers in a 22-mile-long section. It was first chartered in 1786 and finished in 1800, making it one of the earliest canals in the United States. The canal ceased operation around 1850 with expanded railroad traffic.

City officials designed a town of 400 blocks in a 2-mile square along the river. Each block was divided into lots of 0.5 acres and sold to speculators and potential residents. The Buyer was required to build their house at least 30 feet long and 18 feet wide within three years or face an annual 5% penalty. The perimeter streets and two through streets were 150 feet wide. The remaining squares were divided by main road 100 feet wide. The width was determined by the idea that either dangerous or annoying mosquitoes could not fly more than 60 feet without dying of starvation along the way. As the second planned city in the United States (Savannah, GA was first), Columbia began to grow rapidly.

By 1816, there were 250 homes in Columbia with a population of just over 1,000. The governing body of Columbia was allowed to tax property owners up to 12 cents per $100 of property, additionally taxes were imposed for ownership, a carriage was $5 and a wagon was $3 per year. One of the first public employees in Columbia was call a “Warner”, this person would go to each property owner’s home warning them that it was time to work on or clean the public streets. For $2 a year, a home owner could be exempt from working on the streets.

In the early days, every home owner was required to keep a fire bucket for every chimney they had in the home. Policing the city of Columbia was not easy in the early 1800’s, the legislature appointed a city marshal who would just walk through the city twice a day. In 1854 the city elect a mayor and two years later the city had a police force which consisted of a full-time police chief and nine deputies. Their starting pay was $16 a month.

Columbia did not get paved streets until 1908, 17 blacks on Main Street were paved. The city did try something different on Washington Street, Washington was paved with wooden blocks. This didn’t last especially when the wooden blocks began to buckle and some of the blocks floated away during heavy rains. These wooden blocks were replaced with asphalt in 1925.

An 1872 Map of Columbia

 

Columbia Past & Present

 

The Last Lynching in South Carolina

The Lynching of Willie Earle

On February 15, 1947 a Greenville cab driver named Thomas Watson Brown and a disabled veteran was robbed and stabbed to death in Pickens County. Brown was last seen picking up a passenger described by witnesses as black male at about 9 p.m., told by various witnesses at about 9 p.m. on Markley Street in the Liberty area located in Pickens County. An hour later, Brown’s body was found near the old Liberty-Pickens road, he had been robbed and stabbed multiple times. During the immediate investigation Police found footprints leading from where Brown was found about a mile away at Willie Earle’s mother’s house, police also found some of the money taken from Brown and a bloodstained jacket and knife

Earle was arrested at his mother’s house and taken to the county jail. On the following evening of February 16, a group of taxi drivers gathered at the Saluda River Bridge on what is now State 124 and proceeded to drive to the jail where they forced the jailer on duty to release Earle. An hour later, a black funeral home in Greenville received a call informing them where a body could be found on Bramlett Road, an isolated unpaved road during this time. When police arrived they found the 24-year-old Earle, he had been beaten, stabbed, and shot in the head with a shotgun.

The newly elected governor of the state, Strom Thurmond condemned the murder of Willie Earle and Thurmond instructed the state police to work alongside the FBI, and appointed South Carolina’s Attorney General John M. Daniel to assign the prosecutor. Daniel decided on Sam Watt to prosecute the case, Watt, was from the neighboring town of Spartanburg. Watt had an extraordinary reputation throughout the South and was an energetic individual. More than 150 suspects were questioned in the days after Earle’s murder, and thirty-one (all but three) were taxi driver and they were charged with murdering Willie Earle. Several of the men signed confessions and a few of them accused Roosevelt Carlos Hurd as the gang’s leader, as well as the one who killed Earle with a shotgun.

The judge ruled that 26 of the confessions, each of them directing blame at one another, could not be introduced as evidence at the trial. The all-white jury deliberated about five hours before announcing a not-guilty verdict on all counts. As the news of the not guilty verdict spread it brought outrage throughout the country, this anger led to new federal civil rights policies.

The Lynching Of Willie Earle Marker

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This marker was erected in 2010 by Willie Earle Commemorative Trail Committee, this marker was stolen sometime in April, 2012. The marker is still missing but a group from Wofford College is working to replace the marker in the near future.

 

South Carolina’s Edmund Mackey

Edmund William McGregor Mackey

William Edmund Mackey

March 8, 1846— January 27, 1884

 

Edmund Mackey was one of the state’s most controversial Republican politicians during Reconstruction era. Born on March 8, 1846, in Charleston, he received a traditional education, but the eruption of the Civil War kept him from entering college. He was permitted to the practice law in 1868. In 1874 Mackey married Vicky Sumter, who was part African American.

Mackey entered Republican politics with his election to the state constitutional convention of 1867. From 1868 to 1875 Mackey held elective offices including county sheriff and member of the state House of Representatives from Charleston County. He was also editor of the Charleston Republican, which permitted him to spread his influence in the Republican Party. In 1874 he was a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in the state’s Second District, and he served for sixteen months until the seat was declared vacant.

In October 1876 Mackey once again was elected to the General Assembly. However, election returns from several counties were in dispute, as both Republicans and Democrats were claiming victory in the gubernatorial and presidential contests along with selected state legislative races. Each side accused the other of fraud. Out of this complicated situation surfaced two separate State House organizations, one that elected Mackey as the Republican Speaker and one that elected William H. Wallace as the Democratic Speaker. The two contending bodies became known as the “Mackey House” and the “Wallace House.” For several days they occupied the same chamber, conducting business as they tried to ignore one another. Subsequently, the state supreme court declared that Wallace and not Mackey, was the “legal speaker of the House of Representatives.” In April 1877 the “Wallace House” effectively diminished the Republican delegation in the General Assembly through forced resignations, expulsions, and declared that the election of Republican members from Charleston County, including Mackey were null and void.

In 1878 Mackey ran again seeking to a seat to Congress from the Second District and again was unsuccessful. In 1880, he failed but after challenging the seating of the incumbent Democrat and while the challenge was awaiting a decision his opponent died and Mackey was awarded the office. Two years later in 1882, Mackey ran in the recently new drawn Seventh District that had a black majority and he was easily voted in again.

Edmund_Mackey_grave_-_Glenwood_Cemetery_-_2014-09-19

Nearly halfway through his second term in Congress, on January 27, 1884, Mackey died suddenly in Washington, D.C. He was buried in Glenwood Cemetery.

 

 

 

 

Golf In South Carolina

South Carolina’s First Golf Coiurse

It is believed that a Charleston merchant David Deas received a shipment of 432 golf balls and ninety-six clubs from Scotland in 1743.

first-shipment-of-clubs-to-america-carrol-ezell

This painting by Carrol Ezell gives us an historical view of what this shipment may have looked like.

On September 29, 1786, the South Carolina Golf Club was formed and America’s first golf course was established on Harleston Green. Harleston Green was an undeveloped pastureland near the corner of Pitt and Bull streets and it is thought that the first organized golf was played at Harleston Green.

The_MacDonald_boys_playing_golf

Golf historians submit that the early game of golf was played without a set number of holes, no greens, and no defined areas for tee shots. Players used clubs to move a ball across the field and into a roughly dug hole in the ground. Because the holes were not clearly marked, the golfers would send what was called “finders,” what would be today’s caddies. The “finder” would stand by the hole and alert others of the approaching shot by yelling “fore.” After completion of a hole, the golfer would tee off for the next hole by positioning themselves two club-lengths away from the previous hole. The golfer’s equipment comprised of a ball, or “feathery,” made of leather and stuffed with feathers while each club was referred to as a “play club,” a series of “woods,” and a utility iron for snug spots. 

 

On June 28, 1776, the British launched an attack on Sullivan’s Island which consisted of 2,900 British regulars and marines. Today the area is known as the Isle of Palms.

south_carolia-flag

The Patriots led by Colonel William Moultrie’s made it impossible for the British to have a successful amphibious landing as he had sharp-shooters positioned in areas that would make any landing by the British troops a failure. At the same time cannon balls from the British fleet missed their targets and found them being embedded into the sand. At some point in the fighting a shot detached the flagpole flying the South Carolina militia flag, This flag bore a white crescent moon in the upper left-hand corner on an indigo blue background (Indigo was a major crop in S.C.). Sgt. William Jasper attached the fallen flag to a gun sponger and remounted the flag. When the fighting ended the British were unable to overtake the fort and South Carolinians celebrated a magnificent victory over the superior British force. Shortly after the Battle of Sullivan’s Island, the white palmetto tree was added to the flag. Thereafter June 28th was celebrated as Palmetto Day with the same enthusiasm as the 4th of July.

Town of Abbeville

SquareAbbeville Town Square

The early site of Abbeville was a spring used to supply the secured post, built by Andrew Pickens in the late 1760s and the town was incorporated in 1832. The most prominent early residents were lawyers, merchants, and planters, many of whom built elegant town houses in addition to their plantation homes. One of the most prominent citizens included John C. Calhoun, who began his law practice in Abbeville and made his first political speech there in 1807. In 1861 the Bank of the State of South Carolina opened a branch in Abbeville, its first in the upcountry.

Although isolated from the fighting during the Civil War, Abbeville still played a role in the conflict. On November 22, 1860, Abbeville hosted one of the first secession meetings in the state at a site later known as Secession Hill. An Abbeville native, J. Clark Allen, was killed accidentally on Sullivan’s Island on February 13, 1861, possibly the first casualty of the war. In addition, five men who had resided on the town’s North Main Street were killed by the summer of 1863; they were referred to as “The Five Lost Colonels.” One of thehe most celebrated events to take place in Abbeville history occurred when Varina Davis, wife of the Confederate president, arrived on April 18, 1865, followed shortly by a wagon train carrying the remainder of the Confederate treasury. For twelve days she was a guest of former congressman Armistead Burt, a family friend. On May 2, two days after she left Abbeville, her husband arrived with his remaining cabinet members and portions of five brigades of cavalry. Davis held the last “war cabinet” meeting in Abbeville, where the decision was made to abandon armed resistance to Union forces. Thus, as host to the “Secession Hill” gathering and the final meeting of the Confederate cabinet, Abbeville claims to be “the cradle and grave of the Confederacy.”

Most of the antebellum wealth of Abbeville evaporated with the emancipation of its slaves. Fires in the 1870s destroyed many antebellum houses and did irreparable damage to public buildings and public records. In the 1890s, however, the town experienced an economic revival and in 1892 Abbeville welcomed the arrival of the Georgia, Carolina and Northern Railroad (which later became the Seaboard Air Line). The Abbeville Cotton Mill Company was organized three years later and commenced operations in 1897.

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