Government and Law

Blease, Coleman Livingston

As governor, Blease emphasized individual freedom for whites and racism. He opposed government regulation, even if its purpose was to benefit the same mill workers to whom he appealed. He denounced an act to limit working hours for mill employees, believing it interfered with parents’ control over their children. He vetoed legislation to inspect factories for safety and health considerations, stating that a man ought to be able to work under any conditions he chose. He opposed compulsory education as an attempt to replace parents with “the paid agents of the State in the control of children,” and he vetoed four compulsory attendance bills while governor.

Bluffton Movement

Aggrieved by the Tariff of 1842 and the refusal of Congress to annex Texas, St. Luke’s Parish planters formed a committee and called for a meeting of individuals and their local congressman, Robert Barnwell Rhett, to speak about these issues that had plagued the South since the 1820s. Invitations were sent to nearby parishes, prominent men, and area newspapers (including those in Charleston and Savannah). At this dinner and others to follow, Rhett, a longtime nullifier and disunionist, attempted to rally support for a state convention. He hoped such a convention would nullify the Tariff of 1842 or urge South Carolina’s immediate secession from the Union.

Boineau, Charles Evans, Jr

In early 1961 a vacancy occurred in the county’s S.C. House of Representatives delegation, requiring a special off-year election to fill the unexpired term. Although a Republican had not held a seat in the General Assembly since 1902, local party leaders moved quickly to recruit Boineau as their candidate. Boineau won handily with fifty-five percent of the vote. He ran strongest in white precincts in Columbia, while Joe Berry, his principal opponent, received disproportionate support from black precincts and in the county’s less urbanized areas.

Bonnet, Stede

Bonnet was a member of the planter elite until 1717, when he purchased and armed the sloop Revenge and left his family to pursue a career as a pirate. After a significant defeat, Bonnet relinquished his command of Revenge and joined Blackbeard aboard Queen Anne’s Revenge. Augmenting their flotilla with two sloops, Blackbeard and Bonnet returned to the Carolinas, arriving off Charleston in mid-May 1718. After being captured by Colonel William Rhett, he was convicted and hanged on December 10, 1718, at White Point (now the Battery, Charleston).

Bratton, John

In May 1864, Bratton was promoted to brigadier general, commanding Bratton’s Brigade, Field’s Division, First Corps, Army of Northern Virginia. Bratton served in this position until the army’s surrender at Appomattox on April 9, 1865. Bratton returned to Fairfield County and entered politics. A conservative Democrat, he served as a delegate to the 1865 South Carolina constitutional convention and represented Fairfield County in the S.C. Senate from 1865 to 1866. In the fall of 1884 Bratton was elected to Congress. Taking his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives on December 8, 1884, Bratton served until March 3, 1885, and did not seek reelection.

Brewton, Miles

Through his marriage, numerous land grants, and purchases, Brewton accumulated a large quantity of real estate. However, he made his fortune principally as a merchant rather than as a planter, becoming one of the wealthiest men in South Carolina. Brewton served in the Commons House of Assembly from 1765 until his death, representing the parishes of St. Philip’s, St. John’s Colleton, and St. Michael’s in succession. In 1773 Lieutenant Governor William Bull recommended him for a seat on the Royal Council, but Brewton’s support of antigovernment measures led him to decline the seat. In July 1774 Brewton stood as a conservative South Carolina candidate for the First Continental Congress, but he lost to the more radical Christopher Gadsden.

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