THE WAR OF 1812

INTRODUCTION

The War of 1812. This event is often overlooked completely or given a cursory glance by the public and in the educational setting. Yet it was a pivotal moment in United States history that effected the entire country. But what was the war all about? What led up to it and how did the people of Darlington County, South Carolina respond to the declaration of war? In this series of blogs, we will lay some of the framework because all history is a tapestry of events leading up to the main event and the events following after. Nothing happens in a vacuum. Everything is being affected by everything else. We will end this series with the transcription of resolutions drafted by the Darlington Citizens Committee in response to the declaration of war in June 1812.

TURMOIL ON THE HIGH SEAS

While the fledgling United States was striving to grow as a nation, all was not well in Europe. The French Revolution through the Napoleonic Wars (1789-1814) had created a state of constant war, especially between France and Britain. The British Navy had

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Napoleon Bonaparte

succeeded in destroying the French Navy at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 and had turned its attention to decimating France’s economy. They attacked French ships and blockaded French sympathetic ports. Britain put restrictions on trade so that France would not be able to receive foreign goods. Anyone wishing to trade with Europe had to follow these restrictions or their ports were blockaded, their ships attacked and boarded, and their goods and sailors taken by the British. France retaliated with restrictions of their own, attacking and refusing access to ports of any ships friendly to Britain. The two went back and forth, issuing one decree after another and making life miserable for any nation wanting to trade in Europe.

 

To make matters worse, the British Navy was in need of sailors and they sent out press gangs, taking experienced seamen off the streets and forcing them to work in the navy. They went a step further and attacked all types of vessels and pressed sailors into service. Needless to say, this did not sit well with the United States, who was experiencing its own naval problems with Barbary Pirates in the Mediterranean.

Barbary Pirates
Barbary Pirates

These pirates were attacking US ships, taking their crews, and then forcing the U.S. to pay exorbitant ransoms to get them back. At first the United States did its best to pay the ransoms. But with trade being limited, the government did not have the funds to continue paying ransoms. So they sent their tiny navy into the Mediterranean to combat the pirate threat. Pressures escalated on all sides and with rising pressures, these, and a host of other events, led to the events on the following posts.

SOURCES

“Barbary Pirate”. 2018. Encyclopedia Britannica. Accessed July 12 2018. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Barbary-pirate

” Barbary Pirates, Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1911 “. 2018. Penelope.Uchicago.Edu. Accessed July 12 2018. http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Gazetteer/Topics/history/American_and_Military/Barbary_Pirates/Britannica_1911*.html

Benner, Dave, Brion McClanahan, Michael Arnheim, and Joe Wolverton. 2016. “Jefferson And The Barbary Pirates | Abbeville Institute”. Abbevilleinstitute.Org. Accessed July 12 2018. https://www.abbevilleinstitute.org/review/jefferson-and-the-barbary-pirates/

“The Mariners’ Museum : Birth Of The U.S. Navy”. 2018. Marinersmuseum.Org. Accessed July 12 2018.

https://www.marinersmuseum.org/sites/micro/usnavy/08/08a.htm

Historian Elected to the University South Caroliniana Society

32679700_1649486451833668_3356734271464144896_nThe Historical Commission is pleased to announce that Brian Gandy, Director of the Commission and County Historian has been elected to serve on the University South Caroliniana Society’s Executive Council! Brian is excited to represent the Darlington County Historical Commission through this new opportunity. The South Caroliniana Library and Archive is a valuable resource in South Carolina and the Society Board is a wonderful opportunity to network Darlington County with the State at large. “I believe that I have a lot to offer the Society and that my role at the Commission will be strengthened by this opportunity.”

The Jamison Photo Exhibit

THE PHOTOGRAPHIC CAREER OF JOHN A. JAMISON

In 1935, I opened a small ill-equipped photographic studio, during the pit of the Depression, on the Public Square above the then Deluxe

The DeLuxe Cafe, Publlic Square, Darlington, SC.

Café, where the smell of frying eggs and stale grease lent very little attraction to my few customers.  I had a large unwieldy early, really antique camera and stand, formerly owned by Mr. Angus Gainey, musician, merchant, teacher, and man of all work, who ran the “Old Barn” on North Dargan Street (Main?).  Few people know that Sears Roebuck and Company began in the middle of the last century as a photographic equipment house, and my camera was one of their early products.  It was built for use of wet plates but Mr. Gainey later adapted it for the use of glass and later, plastic plates.  I still have it.  The lens is a brass barrel of superb quality.

I took pictures of many people in the Darlington area, including our recent Chief Justice J. Woodrow Lewis and his bride, also Dr. G.B. Edwards, Mayor, but did very little outside commercial work except for school pictures.  I later moved the studio to the South side of the Public Square, where I also operated the small job printing business of Mr. A.R. McIver who started the business about 1890.  The Depression was getting worse instead of better and I closed the business in August of 1938.

As for my training, I was an apprentice under Mr. Gainey after school during my senior year at St. Johns and completed a correspondence course from the American School of Photography in Chicago, which really helped me a great deal.

J.A.J.

John Ambler “Jack” Jamison
John Ambler “Jack” Jamison
John Ambler “Jack” Jamison

 

Staff & Graduates Photo. This photo shows “Jack” Jamison among the graduates of the American School of Photography in Chicago, Illinois. In a March 24, 1987 letter, Jamison stated that this correspondence course was of great help to him.
Jamison Photo Studio & Patron Reception Area This photo shows “Jack” at his desk with sample photos on a table behind him. It also shows the doors leading into his studio and the print shop.
Jamison Self Portrait. This photo shows “Jack” at his camera taking a self portrait.

WE NEED YOUR HELP!!

Do you recognize any of the people, places or events depicted in these photographs?

If so, please leave comments on this post to help us in our task of identification.

 

 

TODAY IN DARLINGTON COUNTY HISTORY: Coker College opens

Hartsville, Coker College Liberal Arts Bldg.
Present day Coker College

The trustees of Welsh Neck High School converted their institution into a non-sectarian Baptist college. It opened September 30, 1908, as “Coker College for Women,” founded by James L. Coker. Baptist control ended in 1944, and in 1969, the college became co-educational. The Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics opened on the campus in 1988. Throughout its history, Coker has emphasized liberal arts.

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Aerial view of Coker College circa 1909.

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Spotlight On: William Cain, educator

Bill Cain, St. John's HS
Letter to Cain from 1972 graduating class at St. John’s HS.

Born in Pinopolis, South Carolina, William “Bill” Cain graduated from the University of South Carolina, where he later received a master’s degree in education. He came to Darlington in 1934 when he began his teaching career at St. John’s High School, where, later, he served as principal from 1947 until his retirement in 1972.  After retiring from St. John’s, he also taught English at James F. Byrnes Academy for more than a decade.

In addition to being a topnotch educator, Cain was an avid tennis player. He coached the tennis at St. John’s for a number of years, and he was the chairman of the S.C. Closed Tennis Tournament, which was held, for a time, in Darlington. He actually won the State Men’s Doubles Championship, and in 1984, he was inducted into the S.C. Tennis Hall of Fame.

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Spotlight On: Stephen Presley

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Father Stephen Presley was born a slave in 1820. He was owned by Boykin Witherspoon, a prominent planter from Society Hill. Presley was a carpenter by trade. He married another slave by the name of Phyllis McIver Presley. Welsh Neck Baptist Church records indicate that the couple fellowshipped there as slaves but were dismissed in October 1854.

Witherspoon, like many other Darlington District residents, migrated west in search of fertile ground ideal for planting. They settled in a then virtually unoccupied area of Desoto Parish, Louisiana, which was previously inhabited by the Caddo Indians, bringing with them over 200 slaves.

As a carpenter, Presley along with other slaves helped with the building of Witherspoon’s “Buena Vista Plantation,” which was designed by Architect, M. Robbins in 1859 and was used a Confederate Hospital during the Civil War.

After slavery, Presley founded, built, and served as pastor for 3 churches in Desoto Parish, including Bethel Baptist Church in Frierson, Morningstar Baptist Church in Gloster, and Mechanicsville Baptist in Caspiana.  The latter was named for the church and town in his native Darlington District, South Carolina.

All of the churches he founded in Louisiana are still serving the community over 100 years after his death in 1904. His many descendants gather every other year for a reunion to celebrate his legacy and their Louisiana/South Carolina roots. His great-great-great grand-daughter, Karen Burney, a genealogist from California has made visits to Society Hill to research and honor her ancestors.

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Spotlight On: Colonel Lamuel Benton

benton

Col. Benton (1754-1818) served as Colonel of the Cheraw Militia during the Revolutionary War, was a member of the South Carolina Legislature, Sheriff of Cheraws District, and a member of Congress (1793-1799). He is said to be buried in an unmarked grave on the premises at Stoney Hill.

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TODAY IN DARLINGTON COUNTY HISTORY: Johnny Mantz won first Southern 500

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Historical marker for Darlington International Raceway

TODAY IN DARLINGTON COUNTY HISTORY: On September 4, 1950, Johnny Mantz of Long Beach, California, won the first Southern 500 in Darlington, S.C. He drove a 1950 Plymouth Coupe, and his First Place Prize was $11,500. The track had been built under the leadership of Harold Brasington.

Johnny_Mantz_IV CARRERA_PANAMERICAN_51CarLincolnCapri

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Arcade Hotel opens for business

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On September 1, 1913, Hartsville’s Arcade Hotel officially opened for business. Here is a brief sketch of the hotel from Darlington County: A Pictorial History by Horace Rudisill:

The Hartsville Arcade Hotel Company was chartered on August 7, 1912, by J.J. Lawton and Associates. He awarded the building contract to his kinsman, J. Maner Lawton, and to Lawton’s colleague, A.E. Abbott of Abbeville, South Carolina, for $51,000.  They commenced working on the project on January 1, 1913, and eight months later the hotel opened its doors. The first manager was W. H. McFall who later moved to Darlington and bought his own hotel. The Arcade opened with forty-two rooms on the second and third floors. The first floor contained the lobby, dining room, kitchen, barber shop, and a sample room for traveling salesmen. The era of small-town hotels began to fade with the coming of motels after World War II.

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Spotlight On: Long Bluff

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One of the first settlements within the boundary of present day Darlington County was that at Long Bluff in 1748. It also was the site of the historical Long Bluff Courthouse established by the Circuit Court Act of the Legislature of 1769, making it one of six operating Courthouses established at that time outside Charleston.

On November 15, 1774, Circuit Judge William Henry Drayton delivered in this Courthouse his famous charge to the Grand Jury: (From History of Old Cheraws)

. . .”I know no master but the law, and I am a servant, not to the King, but to the Constitution; and, in my estimation, I shall best discharge my duty as a good subject to the King, and a trusty officer under the Constitution when I boldly declare the law to the people, and instruct them in their civil rights.”

This charge helped fan the patriotic flames in the back-country against the English crown.

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Spotlight On: Society Hill Library

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Old Society Hill Library is now located on the grounds of St. David’s Academy. The oldest lending library in South Carolina (exclusive of those in Charleston and Georgetown), it was built by the Society Hill Library Society, which was organized in 1822. The library has not functioned as such for many years, and is opened only on special occasions.

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Spotlight On: Williamson’s Bridge

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Site of a Revolutionary War skirmish between Tories and a band of Whig forces, led by Col. Lamuel Benton.

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