© 2006 Humanities Council SC. Excerpted from The South Carolina Encyclopedia. Additional entries and information is available online at www.scencyclopedia.com
Chester (Chester County; 2000 pop. 6,476). In 1791 Chesterville (shortened to Chester in the nineteenth century) was surveyed to be the Chester County seat. Both the town and county were named after Chester County, Pennsylvania, where many of the area’s first European settlers originated. By the early 1800s the village boasted a courthouse, a jail, and male and female academies. The site was incorporated as a town in 1849 and received a city charter in 1889.
In the antebellum era Chester grew slowly around the property of the Stewart family, and by 1835 it contained at least twelve buildings, including the courthouse and a Baptist church. The arrival of the Charlotte and South Carolina Railroad in 1851 brought prosperity and prominence to Chester and gave local farmers the opportunity to send their crops to markets across the state. In 1852 a new courthouse was constructed and the state legislature chartered the Bank of Chester, which opened for business the next year. During the Civil War, the Chester railroad depot was a stopping point for Confederate wounded returning from battlefields throughout the South.
In 1879 the state allowed Chester County schools to incorporate into the Chester Graded School, making it the second such school in the state when it opened its doors the following year. In 1888 local entrepreneurs organized Chester’s first cotton mill, the Chester Manufacturing Company, which commenced operations with one hundred looms and its own dye works. City leaders constructed a second cotton mill in 1900, the Wylie Mill, which was eventually acquired by Springs Industries. As in most of the surrounding county, textile mills remained the dominant industrial employer well into the next century.
During the first decades of the twentieth century, Chester steadily added the trappings of a modern, progressive city. The city already possessed its own modern communications network, the Chester Telephone Company, organized in 1897. Dr. S. W. Pryor established the Magdelene Hospital in 1904. After a fire destroyed the hospital in 1916, it was replaced by the Pryor Hospital. City bond issues in 1920 and 1922 paved most of the streets in Chester and built a new high school, which opened in 1924. In the decades following World War II, both the city and county of Chester worked for economic diversification to reduce reliance on two dominant employers, the textile giants Springs Industries and J. P. Stevens. In the early 1960s city and county leaders established the Chester County Board of Commerce, which attracted new manufacturers, such as Schlegel Corporation and Sun Chemical Corporation. A boost to the morale and economy of Chester came in 1983 when the city became the setting for a CBS television miniseries, "Chiefs," based on Stuart Wood’s 1981 best-seller. Film production provided a welcome diversion for Chesterites at a time when declines in agriculture and the textile industry left the local economy in the doldrums.
References: Chepesiuk, Ronald. Chester County: A Pictorial History. Norfolk, Va.: Donning, 1984.
Chepesiuk, Ronald, Gina Price White, and J. Edward Lee. Along the Catawba River. Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia, 1999.
Byline: Ron Chepesiuk
Cotton. Cotton served as an important staple crop during the antebellum period and continued as the foundation of the state’s economy from the postbellum period through World War II. While production steadily declined to a low in the 1980s, the crop made a resurgence by the end of the century. Two basic types of cotton have been grown in South Carolina. The cultivation of Sea Island or long staple cotton was restricted to coastal areas south of Charleston. Upland or short staple cotton was successfully grown in the interior and accounted for the spread of the plantation system through most of the state.
Some claim that the Sea Island variety was the highest quality cotton in the world. It had a long silky fiber or staple (1.5 to 2.5 inches) and could be spun into a thin thread that could be woven into the finest quality cloth and laces. Several types of long staple Sea Island cotton were grown, but the highest quality was grown only on the Sea Islands south of Charleston. It was especially significant on Edisto Island and in the Beaufort area. A substantially longer growing season and somewhat lower rainfall were the factors that limited production to the islands as opposed to the mainland, and Sea Island cotton acreage stabilized by the 1830s. Because its range was limited and the crop was profitable, planters used innovative techniques to increase yield or expand the cultivable area. Salt marsh grass and mud were used as fertilizers, ditches were dug to drain low land, and salt marsh was reclaimed. The Civil War and its aftermath destroyed the Sea Island economic and social structure, and agriculture was neglected. The postbellum period saw some adjustments, but the industry deteriorated and was no longer economically viable by the 1910s. The final blow was the invasion of the boll weevil in the 1910s and 1920s.
Eli Whitney’s invention of the cotton gin, demand created by the British textile industry, and an improved transportation system were major factors for the rapid spread of upland or short staple cotton (0.5 to 0.75 inches) into the backcountry during the first decade of the nineteenth century. As late as 1820 South Carolina produced more than one-half the nation’s cotton, and it was the major crop in nearly every district of the state except those along the coast. Abbeville, Edgefield, Fairfield, and Laurens Districts were leading producers.
While upland cotton planters knew of various conservation practices, few were practiced. They normally followed a pattern of clearing forest, planting cotton until yields declined, planting corn, abandoning the field, and then clearing new land. The major investment was in labor (slaves), and yield was measured in labor units. Land was inexpensive relative to labor cost. When soil nutrients were depleted and the yield per slave unit declined, fresh land was cleared.
Cotton was the basis of the state’s agricultural economy at the end of the antebellum period, employing more than eighty percent of the slave labor force. Three-fourths of the crop was produced in the lower Piedmont and inner coastal plain. Even though production continued to increase, South Carolina accounted for less than ten percent of the national crop in 1850, as Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi became major producers. As the cotton frontier moved west, following available and cheaper land, many South Carolinians made the trek.
Cotton production totaled about 280,000 bales in 1860 but declined to less than 180,000 bales in 1870. By 1911, however, production reached its peak at 1.6 million bales. It was produced on more than forty percent of the state’s improved farmland and provided the basis of the state’s economy and the tenancy system. The upper Piedmont and inner coastal plain were the chief production areas in the 1920s and 1930s.
After World War II, cotton slowly disappeared from the Piedmont and became concentrated in the inner coastal plain. The Piedmont counties of Anderson, Spartanburg, and Greenville, for example, harvested cotton on more than 150,000 acres in 1945. Less than 12,500 acres were planted in the three counties in 1970 and only about 1,600 acres in 1982. This followed nationwide trends in which the tractor and other machinery, pesticides, herbicides, and additional components of scientific agriculture have favored large farms and cultivation of the most productive land. Marginal land was taken out of production. Land in farms was just over 11 million acres in 1945, only about 5.6 million acres in 1982, and 4.8 million in 2000. The Piedmont accounted for most of this decline.
Production declined dramatically after World War II, dropping to a low of 53,000 bales in 1983. Strong demand, good prices, more effective boll weevil control, and decreased demand for soybeans all contributed to a revival of cotton production in the 1990s. By the year 2000, 379,000 bales were produced. Cotton remained concentrated in the inner coastal plain, but some was grown in the lower Piedmont.
References: Aiken, Charles S. The Cotton Plantation South since the Civil War. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998.
Gray, Lewis C. History of Agriculture in the Southern United States to 1860. 2 vols. Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Institution, 1933.
Kovacik, Charles F., and Robert E. Mason. "Changes in the South Carolina Sea Island Cotton Industry." Southeastern Geographer 25 (November 1985): 77–104.
Byline: Charles F. Kovacik
Catawbas. Catawba legend relates that the tribe arrived in South Carolina, near present-day Fort Mill, from the north a few hundred years before European contact. The first recorded contact with these people was by Hernando de Soto in 1540. There is no known origin for the name Catawba, as the members called themselves"Ye Iswa," meaning "the people of the river," but the name was in common usage by the beginning of the eighteenth century. The Catawbas were ferocious warriors feared not only by neighboring tribes but also by Indian nations to the north. For years the Catawbas and the nations of the Iroquois Confederation had traveled back and forth along the Appalachian trails to raid each other’s towns. However, when the British arrived, the Catawbas befriended their new neighbors, and a strong trade alliance began. That alliance led the Catawbas to fight alongside the British in the French and Indian War and the Cherokee War. Despite this history of alliance with the British, however, the Catawbas supported the patriot cause during the Revolutionary War. In return for their alliance in the French and Indian War, King George III in the 1763 Treaty of Augusta ceded the Catawba tribe of South Carolina a tract of land "fifteen miles square" comprising approximately 144,000 acres.
European settlers began moving onto the Catawba reservation sometime before the Revolutionary War. One of the first European settlers among the Catawbas was Thomas "Kanawha" Spratt II, who settled on the land near present-day Fort Mill about 1761. Though Spratt got along well with his Catawba neighbors, he soon began selling parcels of land that he had leased from the Catawbas. Within a few years, almost all of the most fertile tracts within the reservation had been leased to English colonists. In 1782 the Catawbas petitioned Congress to secure their land so that it would not be "Intruded into by force, nor alienated even with their own consent." Not wanting to deal with the tribe, Congress the following year passed a resolution stating that the British title over the Catawba Nation had passed into the hands of South Carolina. Congress recommended that South Carolina "take such measures for the satisfaction and security of the said tribe as the said legislature shall, in their wisdom, think fit." Thus, the Catawba Nation became the beneficiary of a trust relationship with the state of South Carolina rather than with the United States.
Settlers continued to invade Catawba lands. By the early 1800s virtually all of their remaining land had been leased out. The non-Indian leaseholders worried about the permanence of their leases, so in 1838 Governor Patrick Noble authorized commissioners to enter into negotiations with the Catawbas for the sale of their land. The Catawbas were willing to part with full title if the state provided enough money for land acquisition near the Cherokees in North Carolina. In 1840 the Catawba Nation and the state of South Carolina entered into the Treaty of Nation Ford, which provided that the Catawbas would cede the land granted to them under the Treaty of Augusta in 1763 in return for a tract of land of approximately three hundred acres in North Carolina; if no such tract could be procured to their satisfaction, they were to be given $5,000 by the state. The commissioners further promised that the state would pay the Catawbas $2,500 at or immediately after the time of their removal and $1,500 each year thereafter for the space of nine years.
Unfortunately, in its haste to remove the Catawbas, South Carolina had neglected to secure North Carolina’s permission to have the Catawbas moved to the Cherokee reservation. When the permission was belatedly requested, North Carolina refused. Some Catawbas journeyed to the Cherokee reservation and did reside there for a time; however, old tribal jealousies and the stress suffered by the remaining Cherokees as a result of the Trail of Tears tragedy prevented them from making a permanent home with the Cherokees. Eventually most of the Catawbas found themselves back on their former soil but without land or money. The settlement of $2,500 and the annual payment of $1,500 promised them under the 1840 treaty were withheld by the state because the Catawbas had returned to the ceded land. The plight of the Catawbas led the South Carolina Indian agent Joseph White in 1843 to secure for them a tract of 630 acres near the center of the "Old Reservation."
South Carolina and the United States continued to try to rid themselves of the "Catawba problem." Congress appropriated money in 1848 and again in 1854 in an effort to remove the Catawbas west of the Mississippi. Conflict between South Carolina and the tribe over the provisions of the Treaty of Nation Ford continued until 1905, when the Catawbas launched a legal battle to recover their lands.
The Catawba tribe, unlike many eastern bands, was able to maintain its internal cohesiveness and social identity throughout the nineteenth century despite the lack of federal or state protection. In 1911 Charles Davis of the Bureau of Indian Affairs reported that, in his opinion, the four leading factors in maintaining tribal identity were size, tribal organization, religion, and character. The tribe was small at that time, consisting of only ninety-seven individuals recognized by South Carolina as living on or near the Catawba reservation. Since the tribe had not intermarried much with their white neighbors and virtually not at all with their black neighbors, according to one observer, "[t]he large majority are so nearly full blood as to retain the Indian characteristics, and by reason thereof they have retained their tribal life and organization." During the twentieth century there was more intermarriage with non-Indians, which affected the physical characteristics of the tribal members but not their Indian status. Because the Catawba membership rolls have been based on "descendancy" rather than "blood quantum," as found among the western tribes, intermarriage with non-Indians did not affect the legally recognized Indian status of the Catawba children.
Religion also affected internal cohesion. Most members of the Catawba tribe converted to the Mormon religion in the 1880s, and as late as the 1950s the majority of the tribe still affiliated with the Mormon Church. The double minority status of tribal members (race and religion) tended to bind them together against the outside world. In the bipolar racial world of South Carolina during the era of segregation, Catawba Indians felt themselves ostracized, not considering themselves "black" but not being accepted as "white" (South Carolina census takers in the early twentieth century listed Catawba Indians as "black" because they had no category for Indian). As Mormons among a population of Baptists, Methodists, and Episcopalians, the Catawbas were further marginalized. Ironically, it was this isolation and marginalization that helped to insure the tribal identity of the Catawbas. Banned from attending the white schools and refusing to attend the black schools, the Catawbas erected, with the help of the Mormon Church, a school on the reservation, another factor that helped retain their community.
In 1934 the South Carolina General Assembly passed a resolution recommending that the care and maintenance of the Catawba Indians should be transferred to the United States government. However, it was not until 1943 that a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the tribe, the state, and the U.S. Department of the Interior. South Carolina acquired 3,434 acres of farmland for a federal reservation and conveyed it to the department secretary. The tribe adopted a constitution under the Indian Reorganization Act, and the federal government assumed its trust responsibility over tribal affairs.
Federal recognition of the Catawbas was short-lived. In keeping with the federal government’s overall termination philosophy instituted in 1953, both federal and state authorities approached the Catawbas in 1958 with a proposal for termination. The Bureau of Indian Affairs assured the Catawbas that their long-standing land claim against the state of South Carolina based on the Treaty of Augusta and the Treaty of Nation Ford (which still had not been resolved) would be unaffected by the termination. In 1962 the federal trust relationship between the United States and the Catawba tribe was terminated, and the 3,434-acre federal reservation was divided up and distributed to tribal members. South Carolina continued to hold the 640-acre tract from the 1840 treaty in trust for the tribe. At the time of termination there were 631 enrolled tribal members.
The activism of the American Indian Movement (AIM) in the early 1970s served to reignite the determination of the Catawbas—and many other tribes—to reinstitute their land claim. The tribe contacted the Native American Rights Fund (NARF), and in 1976 papers were filed with the Department of the Interior to recover the land recognized under the 1763 Treaty of Augusta. Negotiations were proceeding between the tribe, the state, and the federal government until protests to those negotiations came from non-Indian landowners and nonresident tribal members who wanted to join in the action in hopes of securing land, benefits, or both. Negotiations stalled, and an impasse continued until 1980 when the Catawbas filed suit in federal district court to recover possession of the 1763 treaty reservation.
After a decade in the courts, the Fourth Circuit Court found in 1989 that there was still some standing for the claim. That ruling made it possible for the Catawba tribe to institute land claims, not only against South Carolina but also against an estimated 61,000 landowners. At this point Congressman John Spratt (a descendant of Thomas "Kanawha" Spratt), Governor Carroll Campbell, and Secretary of the Interior Manuel Lujan expressed their interest in a negotiated settlement. Negotiations began again in 1990. In Congress on January 5, 1993, Spratt introduced the Catawba Indian Tribe of South Carolina Land Claims Settlement Act of 1993. Congress passed the act that summer, and the final agreement was signed by Governor Campbell on November 29, 1994, at the Catawba reservation. (The tribe had already voted on February 20, 1993, by a margin of 289 to 42 to accept the settlement.)
The settlement provided that the Catawbas would once again become a federally recognized tribe. An amount of $50 million would be put into trust funds for land acquisition, economic development, education, social services, and elderly assistance. The tribe was given ten years to expand the existing reservation to 3,600 acres. Tribal jurisdiction was recognized over basic governmental powers, including zoning, misdemeanors, business regulation, taxation, and membership, but South Carolina reserved the right to continue to exercise criminal jurisdiction on the reservation.
At the dawn of the twenty-first century, the Catawba Nation continued to be a strong and forceful voice for the rights of Native Americans. The noble heritage of this ancient people is being reinvigorated through cultural awareness, particularly relating to pottery making, and through the education of the children in the traditional language and customs of the people.
References: Brown, Douglas Summers. The Catawba Indians: The People of the River. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1966.
Merrell, James H. The Indians’ New World: Catawbas and Their Neighbors from European Contact through the Era of Removal. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989.
Wilkins, David, and Anne M. McCulloch. "‘Constructing’ Nations within States: The Quest for Federal Recognition by the Catawba and Lumbee Tribes." American Indian Quarterly 19 (fall 1995): 361–88. Byline: Anne M. McCulloch
Winthrop University. Located in Rock Hill, Winthrop University traces its roots to Reconstruction. David Bancroft Johnson, superintendent of the Columbia City School System, lobbied Robert C. Winthrop, president of the Board of Trustees of the Peabody Education Fund, for money to start a teacher-training institution in 1886. Impressed by the need for teachers in South Carolina, Winthrop provided $1,500 of Peabody funds, plus $50 from his own pocket. On November 15, 1886, Winthrop Training School opened its doors in Columbia to nineteen students. Despite name changes, Winthrop University asserted its "century-old heritage as the pre-eminent teacher preparation program in the Southeast."
In 1891 the General Assembly passed an act creating "The Winthrop Normal and Industrial College of South Carolina for the education of white girls." Support came in the form of scholarships; each county was granted two. The act’s intent proclaimed that the college be "good enough for the richest and cheap enough for the poorest." In 1900 it was argued that "South Carolina generously maintains three institutions for the higher education of men. The women in the State are greater in numbers than the men, and the State’s welfare is more dependent upon them. To educate the mother assures the education of the children."
Winthrop did not remain in the state’s capital; three towns competed for a new Winthrop facility. In 1895 the institution was moved to Rock Hill. The state pledged buildings, equipment, and the "labor of 100 convicts for three years." By 1920 the name was changed again, this time to Winthrop College, the South Carolina College for Women. By 1929 Winthrop’s board of trustees proudly presented data to the General Assembly bragging of the college’s production of teachers. To that date the college had produced 2,601 graduates with certificates to teach. Their nearest competitor had produced 396.
Leadership in the early years was consistent. Dr. D. B. Johnson served as the college’s president from 1886 until 1928. Typical of southern women’s colleges, Winthrop did not have a female president until 1986. Martha Kims Piper served only two years before she died in office in 1988.
Throughout its history, the college retained its roots in the liberal arts. As a women’s institution, Winthrop observed the social conventions of the times. Female students wore uniforms until 1955, and they remained under the care of the college until they returned home. As early as 1900 more than five hundred students were enrolled, and the campus grew to accommodate its growing population. By the 1940s the "College Farm" was producing vegetables, dairy, and poultry in support of the institution.
Integration came before coeducation. In 1964 the first African American student enrolled. By 2002–2003 African Americans accounted for approximately one-quarter of the student body. In 1974 the governor authorized the board of trustees to pursue coeducation. By the end of the twentieth century, Winthrop was awarding both bachelor’s and master’s degrees and enrolled more than six thousand undergraduate and graduate students. The college houses the South Carolina Center for Teacher Recruitment, the nation’s oldest teacher recruitment program, although business management has replaced education as Winthrop’s largest program.
Reference: Chepesiuk, Ronald, and Magdalena Chepesiuk. Winthrop University. Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia, 2000.
Byline: Julie A. Rotholz
Waxhaws, Battle of the (May 29, 1780). The Battle of the Waxhaws, also known as Buford’s Massacre, was one of several incidents in the backcountry that helped turn the Revolutionary War in the South into a bloody civil war. Most of Georgia and South Carolina fell under British and Loyalist control after the fall of Savannah in late 1779 and the surrender of Charleston, along with 5,500 Continentals and militiamen, on May 12, 1780.
In late May, Colonel Abraham Buford’s patriot force of 350 to 400 Virginians, primarily infantry and the only significant body of Continentals remaining in the South, retreated toward North Carolina intending to join militia units there and help rebuild the American army in the Carolinas. Colonel Banastre Tarleton pursued him with a force of about 250 to 300 British regulars and Loyalists made up of cavalry, mounted infantry, and dragoons. He overtook Buford on May 29 just south of the North Carolina–South Carolina border (in present-day Lancaster County) and demanded his immediate surrender. Buford refused, and Tarleton charged the Americans, routing them. Though some Americans tried to surrender, others kept fighting, and the British and Loyalists shot or bayoneted many of them, with more than 250 killed or wounded and more than 50 taken prisoner. Tarleton later boasted, "I have cut 170 Off[ice]rs and Men to pieces." American accounts claimed that the British and Loyalists "killed at least 200 men in a most Cruel & Inhumane manner."
Most Americans considered Buford’s defeat a massacre rather than a battle, and a British history of the Revolution published a few years after the war commented, "the virtue of humanity was totally forgot." This bloody action inspired many in South Carolina and elsewhere to continue, or in some cases to join, the fight against the British and Loyalists in spite of the immense odds against them. "Tarleton’s Quarter!" and "Remember Buford!" became watchwords among the patriots in the southern backcountry for the rest of the war. References: Edgar, Walter. Partisans and Redcoats: The Southern Conflict That Turned the Tide of the American Revolution. New York: Morrow, 2001. Lumpkin, Henry. From Savannah to Yorktown: The American Revolution in the South. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1981. Power, J. Tracy. "‘The Virtue of Humanity Was Totally Forgot’: Buford’s Massacre, May 29, 1780." South Carolina Historical Magazine 93 (January 1992): 5–14.
Byline: J. Tracy Power