Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

One of the thirteen original colonies of the United States, has an area of 30,570 square miles throughout its 35 counties, with an extreme breadth of 235 miles and an extreme width of 215. It is bounded eastward by North Carolina and the Atlantic, with a coast line of 200 miles; Georgia lies to the west and North Carolina bounds it on the north. Columbia is the capital.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

South Carolina rises from marshland in its eastern tidewater section to a mountainous region in the extreme western portion of the state. The Pedee and the Santee are navigable rivers flowing into the Atlantic and reaching the sea through deltas in the marsh regions. It is probable that more than half of the state was at one time in dense timber.

POPULATION

The state is twenty-sixth in rank of population according to the census of 1910. The population in 1820 was 502,741; in 1840, 594,398; in 1860, 703,708; 1in 1880, 995,577; in 1900, 1,340,316; in 1910, 1,515,400. Beaufort County is the fifth county in the United States in point of density of negro population, having a percentage of 90.5. In 1790 South Carolina was second only to Virginia in the number of its slaves, having 107,097. The largest cities with their respective populations are as follows; Charleston, 58,833; Columbia, 26,319; Spartanburg, 17,517; Greenville, 15,741.

RESOURCES

More than one-third of the cultivated land is devoted to cotton. It is the fourth cotton state in the Union, producing in 1910, 1,116,000 bales. The islands along the coast and the swampy tidewater region from the very beginning yielded much rice, the state ranking second in the Union in the product. Much attention is given to the production of early fruit and vegetables for northern markets and a more recent industry is the planting and shipping of tea. From the pine forests lumber and naval supplies are obtained, and a great deal of phosphate rock is dug in the southern tidewater region, yielding a rich supply of fertilizer for export. The chief manufacturing industries are cotton weaving, lumber milling, turpentine distilling, rice cleaning, and fertilizer. According to the state census of 1905 the capital invested in its manufacturing industries was $113,422,224, employing 59,441 wage earners who were paid $13,868,950. The value of the product totaled $79,376,262. The cereal crop of 1910 was oats, 4,599,000 bushels; corn, 44,733,000; wheat, 4,983,000; rye, 40,000. The railway mileage of the state in 1907 was 3,324.41. Charleston has long been one of the leading cities of the South, owing its prosperity largely to its fine harbour. Its imports in 1907 were $3,528,553; in 1908, $3,375,997; its exports in 1907, $1,082,466; in 1908, $2,510,965. Columbia, the capital, is on the Congaree River, and its fine water power is used for several large cotton factories. Greenville and Spartanburg manufacture cotton cloth. The banks of the state are in a prosperous condition, and scarcely a town of any consequence is without its banks, whether national, state, or private. There is a State Bank Examiner, who regularly watches the operations of all these institutions, and a bank failure is rarely chronicled. There are 19 national banks with a capital of $2,713,000; 143 state banks with a capital of $6,332,871, and 9 private banks with a capital of $106,000.

EDUCATION

The supervision of public instruction is vested in a state superintendent of education, elected for two years; a state board of education, composed of the governor, the state superintendent of education, and not above seven persons appointed by the governor; a county superintendent, elected for four years, and, in each county, a county board of education of three members, one of whom shall be the county superintendent and the other two appointees of the state board, whose terms of office are two years. The General Assembly makes provision for the election or appointment of all other necessary school officers, provides a system of free [p. 158] public schools for all children between the ages of six and twenty-one, and divides the county into school districts. The main school fund derives from a three-mill tax on all taxable property, and annual dog tax of fifty cents, and the poll tax assessed and collected in the various school districts. In addition to these sources the school fund drew, up to 1907, the state dispensary tax, the most unique feature of the law. School districts are allowed to vote for special taxation. No public money from whatever source derived shall be used, either directly or indirectly, in aid or maintenance "of any college, school, hospital, orphan house or other institution, society or organization of whatever kind which is wholly or in part under the direction of any church or of any religious or sectarian denomination, society or organization". Separate schools are provided for children of the white and coloured races, and no child of either race is ever permitted to attend the school provided for children of the other race.

Section 1201a of the General Code reads: "That the nature of alcoholic drinks and narcotics and special instruction as to their effect upon the human system, in connection with the several divisions of the subject of Physiology and Hygiene, shall be included in the branches of study taught in the common or public schools in the State of South Carolina and shall be studied and taught as thoroughly and in the same manner as other like required branches are in said schools, by the use of text books in the hands of pupils where other branches are thus studied in said schools, and orally in the case of pupils unable to read, and shall be taught by all teachers and studied by all pupils in all said schools supported wholly or in part by public money. . .and any officer, school director, committee, superintendent or teacher who shall refuse or neglect to comply with the requirements of this Act, or shall neglect or fail to make proper provisions for the instruction required and in the manner specified by the first section of this Act, for all pupils in each and every school under his jurisdiction shall be removed from office and the vacancy filled as in other cases." Schools must be kept open and the exercises continued in each school district for a period of at least three months in each year. "Arbour Day", the third Friday in November, and Calhoun's Birthday, 18 March, "South Carolina Day", are observed in an appropriate manner. The age limit of pupils – between the ages of six and twenty-one – has been ruled under an opinion of the attorney-general as prohibiting the establishing of free kindergartens.

For white children there are 2712 public schools in the state (1909) employing 933 men teachers and 3247 women, and reaching 153,807 pupils with an average attendance of 107,368. For negro children there are 2354, employing 894 men teachers and 1802 women, with an average attendance of 123,481. The total revenue for both white and negroes was $42,345,647.72; out of which there was expended $1,590,732.51 for whites and $308,153.16 for negroes. The state's per capita expenditure, according to enrolment, was in 1899, $4.90 for white, $1.42 for negro, $2.69 for both; in 1904, $6.88 for white, $1.47 for negro, $4.08 for both; in 1909, $10.34 for white, $1.70 for negro, $5.67 for both. There are 27 institutions of higher education for whites and 11 for negroes. Of the 27 institutions for whites, 5, non-sectarian, receive a total state support of $355,994.88; 5 are Presbyterian, 3 Methodist, 3 Baptist, and 2 Lutheran. The remainder are non-sectarian seminaries or technical colleges. The University of South Carolina, chartered in 1801, is located at Columbia, has 29 officers and members of faculty, 298 students and a total income of $97,385.18. Clemson Agricultural College, chartered in 1889, located at Clemson, has 47 officers and members of faculty, 665 students, and a total income of $201,477.28. The Winthrop Normal and Industrial College, chartered in 1891, located at Rock Hill, has 45 officers and members of faculty, and a total income of $94,685.37.

HISTORY

A. Civil

Owing in part to presumably unfavourable climatic conditions, in part to the fact that the land lay in the disputed zone between the English and Spanish settlements, colonization in the Carolinas was tardy and spasmodic. In 1629, a patent to the territory had been granted by Charles I and forfeited through inaction on the part of the patentees. Virginia assumed to make grants without any permanent results, though a small company of dissenters, in 1653, migrated from that colony and began the Albemarle settlement, with a considerable number of Quakers ; while New Englanders, a few years later, purchased land from the Indians on Cape Fear River, but abandoned the settlement with disgust. At last, in 1663, Charles II granted to the Earl of Clarendon and seven other of his favourites all Carolina from the 36° to 31° north, and Cape Fear was settled under this grant by colonists from Barbadoes. The proprietors were nearly absolute in their power though the "advice, consent, and approbation " of the freemen were necessary before laws could become valid and there was to be freedom of religious worship. The colony, however, did not prosper, and the relations between proprietors and colonists were further strained by an attempt to govern the colony under a constitution framed by the Earl of Shaftesbury, with more or less assistance from the philosopher Locke. This document was a remarkably impractical product based, quaintly, upon medieval and aristocratic ideas with one of its principal and avowed motives — "to avoid erecting a numerous democracy". Its model was the independent Palatinate of Durham ; officials were called palatines, chancellors, high stewards, and admirals. Two-fifths of the land was to belong to the nobility. There was to be a Parliament, which was to consider nothing but what was referred to it by the Proprietory Council. Freedom of worship was granted, but citizens must profess their belief in God and the obligation to worship, and, contrary to the wish of Locke, the Church of England was to be an Established Church. Dissatisfaction with this Constitution, which was never enforced, and with the Navigation Acts, kept the Carolinas in a perpetual ferment.

In 1670 the foundation of South Carolina was laid in the settlement of the Ashley River and an independent governor was appointed. Locke's Constitution was abandoned, and a mode of government was adopted limiting the powers of the executive and outlining a legislature of elected delegates. In 1673 Charleston was fixed as the permanent site for the settlement, a number of Dutch immigrants from New York having arrived the year before, as well as a shipload of slaves, the latter only too soon to outnumber the whites. The colony was further augmented by Presbyterian Scotch-Irish in 1683, but the most important addition to the little colony was the coming of the French Huguenots, upon the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, who settled on the Cooper River, and were later admitted to the political rights of the colony. But worthless settlers, selfish and unenlightened proprietors, tactless governors, religious dissent with the party of the Church and the king, and the uneasy proximity of the Spanish settlements, led to open revolt, the banishment of a governor, and in 1689, the declaration of martial law. Trouble was averted by the appointment of Archdale, one of the proprietors and a Quaker, as governor, who made many important concessions, as did his successor, Blake. In 1697 religious liberty was accorded to all "except Papists". An attempt was made in 1704 to exclude Dissenters from the Assembly, but the law was annulled by Queen Anne. From now on until [p. 159] the Revolution the course of South Carolina was a succession of cumulatively forcible resistances to interference on the part of the proprietors, and, after 1721, when the Crown assumed control, on the part of the sovereign and the royal governors, interspersed with the dissolving of popular assemblies, the annulment of governmental decrees, and a series of bloody campaigns against the Indians, with the gradual formation of two distinct social classes, the rise of Charleston as a mart of trade, a seat of wealth and fashion, and a virile and cosmopolitan community. The colony warmly sympathized with the northern colonies, the royal governor being forced to abdicate, taking refuge on a British man-of-war in September, 1775. A State Constitution was first adopted on 26 March, 1776, and, by a vote of 149 to 73, the national Constitution was ratified on 23 May, 1788.

Early in its state history South Carolina evinced a feeling for States' Rights, which made it the leader in the southern agitation that led up to the Civil War. A Nullification Act was passed in 1832 in opposition to the high tariff upon importations passed by the Federal Government; but the trouble was temporarily relieved by the passing of a compromise tariff in the succeeding session of Congress. Serious difficulties arose upon the election of Lincoln to the presidency. On the day of his election both Houses of the State Legislature passed a resolution providing for a state convention to consider the withdrawal of the state from the Union. In November the Legislature passed an act authorizing such a convention, declaring that a "sovereign State of the Union had a right to secede from it; that the States of the Union are not subordinate to the national government, were not created by it, and do not belong to it; that they created the national government; that from them it derives its power; that to them it is responsible; and that when it abuses the trust reposed in it they, as equal sovereigns, have a right to resume the powers respectively delegated to it by them." Orators now stumped the state, vigilance committees were organized, assemblages of negroes were dispersed, and the delegates chosen on 3 December, 1860, met at Columbia on the 17th, adjourning to Charleston, owing to the prevalence of smallpox. On 20 December an ordinance declaring the "the union now subsisting between South Carolina and other States under the name of the United States of America is hereby dissolved" was unanimously adopted forty-five minutes after it was submitted. A proclamation to this effect was read and adopted amid scenes of the wildest enthusiasm. All federal office-holders at once resigned. A new banner was adopted for the "Independent Commonwealth". A committee was appointed to wait on the president and treat for the possession of public lands within the state. They urged the president to immediately withdraw all national troops from Charleston harbour and presented him with a resolution of secession. Lincoln was courteous but firm. He replied that he would present their demands to Congress, but gave them to understand that he should defend Fort Sumter. A taunting reply was forthcoming from the commissioners which the president declined to answer. The commissioners returned and, on 12 April, 1861, South Carolinians attacked Fort Sumter, compelled its evacuation by federal troops, and the state for four years became one of the most energetic and zealous defenders of the Confederacy.

At the close of the war a provisional government was set up by the president on 30 June, 1865, and a state convention, in the fall of the same year, repealed the ordinance of secession and declared slavery abolished. An election was held in November and a state government was elected which continued in office until superseded by the military government in 1867 – South and North Carolina being included in one military district. The state passed safely through the terrors of the Reconstruction Period. On 14 January, 1868, at a convention composed of 34 whites and 63 blacks the Constitution was adopted and ratified at an election the following year, which chose 85 negroes and 73 white men for the State Legislature. On 13 July, 1868, the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified and the military authorities were withdrawn. The Fifteenth Amendment was ratified by the State Legislature, 11 March, 1869.

In the city of Charleston, from 1 December, 1901 to 1 May, 1902, a "South Carolina Interstate and West Indian Exposition" was held, which eloquently demonstrated the development of the Southern states since the Civil War and the industries and resources of Cuba, Porto Rico, Mexico, and South America.

B. Ecclesiastical

In the stormy period of religious dissent that characterized the early colonial years of the Carolinas, Catholics bore no part; nor indeed does there appear nay evidence of the presence of a single active Catholic in South Carolina until after the Revolution. This religious dissent came from the Quakers and a growing class of colonists, indifferent to religious ideals, who objected to the enforced establishment of the Church of England, involving on their part the payment of three-fourths share for the maintenance of a religious establishment representing a minority. But the hypothetical presence of Catholics was duly provided for in the Acts of 1696 renewing toleration, by the usual parenthetical intrusion of the phrase – "Papists only excepted". Indeed it was not until a generation after the Revolution, with its disestablishment of the Anglican Church in the states of North and South Carolina, that the Metropolitan of the United States solicited the pope to erect a southern diocese for the bands of Catholics scattered through Georgia and the Carolinas who were already becoming indifferent and malcontent, if not actually heretical. To include these states in its territory, the See of Charleston was erected by Pius VII, 11 July, 1820, and the Rev. John England, the parish priest of Killorgan and Ballymoodan, Ireland, was consecrated its bishop at the Cathedral of St. Finnbar, refusing at the same time to take a special oath of allegiance to the King of England. The bishop embarked for the United States on 22 October; set about his onerous duties with indefatigable assiduity; founded the first Catholic newspaper in America, "The United States Catholic Miscellany", which with a slight intermission, endured up to the Civil War; established The Philosophical and Classical Seminary of Charleston for Catholics and non-Catholics alike; organized, in 1830, the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy; drew up a model Constitution of the Church, and incorporated its trustees. Bishop England combined in a remarkable degree practical insight, indomitable energy, and wide culture, while struggling against baffling difficulties.

In 1850, during the episcopate of Bishop Reynolds, the See of Savannah was erected with jurisdiction over Georgia and Eastern Florida, and the Diocese of Charleston henceforth comprised the Carolinas with a Catholic population estimated at 8000. The Civil War wrought terrible havoc with Catholic lives and Church property, culminating in the horrors of Sherman's march to the sea, and Bishop Lynch displayed remarkable energy in building up again his ruined and penniless diocese. The Vicariate Apostolic of North Carolina was erected by a Papal Bull, 3 March, 1868, so that under the present episcopate of Bishop Henry P. Northrop, the Diocese of Charleston comprises simply the State of South Carolina. There are in the diocese 108 religious women, novices and postulants, 19 secular priests, 12 churches with resident priests, 17 missions with churches, 75 [p. 160] stations and 8 chapels ; 5 academies for young ladies with 395 pupils; 9 parishes with parochial schools providing for 859 pupils; one hospital, the Infirmary and Sanitarium of St. Francis Xavier, under the Sisters of Mercy, at Charleston. The diocese supports and cares for 72 orphans and the estimated Catholic population of the state is 9650.

DENOMINATIONAL STATISTICS (1908)

  • Baptist — 1,003 churches (410 ministers /118,217 members)
  • M.E. Church, South — 798 churches (357 ministers /85,441 members)
  • Presbyterian — 275 churches (121 ministers /23,442 members)
  • Lutheran — 85 churches (34 ministers /13,993 members)
  • Episcopal — 94 churches (47 ministers /7,620 members)
  • Unitarian — 1 church (1 minister /117 members)
  • Congregational — 1 church (1 minister /71 members)
  • A.R. Presbyterian — 45 churches (36 ministers /4,227 members)
  • Catholic — 30 churches (19 ministers /9,650 members)

LEGISLATION AFFECTING RELIGION

The State allows a rectory and two acres of land with building to be exempt from taxation. Nor are religious houses taxed. Teaching orders have special privileges exempting their schools, as the parochial schools, from taxation..

Full liberty of conscience is granted in South Carolina, but it has been held that this does not legalize wilful or profane swearing or scoffing or prevent legislation prohibiting the conduct of secular business, not of an imperative nature, on Sunday. South Carolina recognizes as legal holidays 1 January, 19 January, Lee's Birthday, 11 May, Confederate Memorial Day, 3 June, Jefferson Davis' Birthday, 4 July, Labour Day, Election Day, Christmas, and Thursday of Fair Week, but no Church holy days, as such, are recognized as holidays. The law allows the same privileges to communications made to a priest under the seal of a confession as it does to confidential communications made by a client to his counsel or by a patient to his physician. The statutes contain no provisions making any exception between the rights and privileges of civil or ecclesiastical corporations. The property of the Church in the diocese is held by the bishop and his successors in office. The sessions of the Legislature are opened with prayer ; those of the Courts are not.

Marriage and Divorce

The marriage laws of South Carolina prohibit all marriages within the Levitical Degree, of white with negro, or white with Indian. It is one of the few states in the Union that does not require the taking out of marriage licenses. A startling feature of the South Carolina law is that no divorces are granted. All laws permitting divorce were repealed in 1878 and have never been re-enacted. From 1867 to the repeal of the Divorce Law South Carolina had granted but 163 divorces, which was at the rate of 1 per 100,000 of population.

EXCISE AND DISPENSARY ACT

Quite the most unique feature of the prohibition legislation of South carolina – indeed one of the most unique excise features of any state legislation – was the passing of the Dispensary Act which placed the entire control of the liquor traffic in the hands of the Government, the profits from which accrued to the state school fund. This Act was abolished in 1907 under pressure of a temperance movement that was sweeping through the Southern states and local option was adopted with the result that in 1909 eighteen counties had voted prohibition. The Dispensary Law had scarcely been enacted in 1892 when it met with fierce opposition, receiving, however, hearty official support from Governor Tillman. In 1894 the Supreme Court of the State decided that it was unconstitutional, but successive Legislatures modified the original at in conformity to the ruling of the Court. In 1897, the United States Supreme Court decided that the section forbidding the importation of liquor into the state by private persons violated the inter-state commerce laws of Congress.

WILLS

Every person is entitled to make a will unless insane, under age, or labouring under disability of law arising from want of capacity or want of perfect liberty of action. Married women deal, in every respect, as though they were single and have the same power to make contracts with regard to their separate property to do as their husbands. All wills shall be in writing and signed by the party devising, or by some other person in his presence and by his express direction, and shall be attested and subscribed, in the presence of said devisor, by three or more credible witnesses, each in the presence of the other. No noncupative will shall be good, where the estate exceeds fifty dollars, unless the same is provided by the oath of three witnesses who were present at the making thereof and bid by the testator to bear witness that such was his will, or words to that effect; nor unless such will was made during the last sickness of the deceased, in the house or place where he shall have died. No testimony shall be admitted to prove such a will, if six months shall have elapsed after speaking the testamentary words, except such testimony, or the substance thereof, was committed to writing within six days after the making of said will, and not then, unless such will shall be presented for probate within twelve months. The assets which come into the hands of the executors or administrators shall be applied to the payment of the debts of the estate in the following order: (1) Funeral and other expenses of last sickness, charges of probate or letters of administration; (2) Debts due to public; (3) Judgements, mortgages, and executions – the oldest first; (4) Rent; (5) Bonds, debts by speciality and debts by simple contract.


More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online


Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Samuel 1:24-28
24 When she had weaned him, she took him up with her, ... Read More

Psalm, First Samuel 2:1, 4-5, 6-7, 8
1 Hannah then prayed as follows: My heart exults in ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 1:46-56
46 And Mary said: My soul proclaims the greatness of ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 22nd, 2014 Image

St. Chaeromon
December 22: Bishop of Nilopolis, in Egypt. When the persecution was ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter