The Antebellum South (1816-1860)

Bluffton

Located on the twenty-foot-high bluffs of the May River and facing the cool, southerly winds, it was an ideal summer refuge for planter families. The town, known first simply as May River and then later as Kirk’s Bluff, was officially named Bluffton in 1844. The development of Hilton Head as a major tourist destination in the early 1970s marked a revitalization of Bluffton. Annexations and the spread of Hilton Head’s resort and tourism economy led to a seventy-five percent increase in Bluffton’s population during the 1990s.

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.

Bosc, Louis Augustin Guillaume

Among his Carolina discoveries were four species of frogs (among them the handsome green tree frog, Hyla cinerea), three of turtles, and one species of lizard, found during his stay in Charleston. He also collected three new species of fish in Charleston harbor. He was especially interested in invertebrates, and the names of fourteen new species of coelenterates, mollusks, worms, and crabs that he described from South Carolina are still valid today, among them the familiar fiddler crab (Uca pugilator) of coastal salt marshes.

Boudo, Louis and Heloise Boudo

Boudo’s best-known piece is a silver map case made on behalf of the state of South Carolina for General Lafayette during his farewell tour of America in 1825; this case is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Following Louis’s death, Heloise Boudo administered his estate and continued in the “manufactory of gold and silver work” at various addresses on King Street, paying cash for gold and silver and carrying on the jewelry business “in all its branches.”

Boyce, James Petigru

Boyce gave a speech before the state convention of South Carolina Baptists in 1856, arguing for the necessity of a separate Baptist seminary. In response, the convention proposed to put forth $100,000 toward the endowment of a seminary located in Greenville if the same sum was raised by others. At the Southern Baptists’ Educational Convention held in Louisville in May 1857, the proposal from the South Carolina Baptists was accepted, and Boyce went about the task of securing the money. The institution opened in 1859 as the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Boyce served as its first president.

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.

Brawley, Edward McKnight

The American Baptist Publication Society hired Brawley to perform missionary service among black South Carolinians. Although there were numerous black Baptist congregations statewide, Brawley found no existing state convention. Accordingly, in 1876 he organized the Colored Baptist Educational, Missionary, and Sunday School Convention. He went on to organize numerous local Sunday school programs throughout the state. A key ally in these endeavors was the Reverend Jacob Legare, pastor of the Morris Street Baptist Church in Charleston. Meanwhile, Brawley raised funds for Benedict College in Columbia, where he also served on the faculty.

Brooks, Preston Smith

Brooks is best known for his assault on U.S. Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts in May 1856. Following the eruption of violence on the Kansas frontier, Sumner delivered a speech unusually harsh by the Senate’s standards. He assailed South Carolina’s role in American history (especially during the Revolutionary War) and even attacked by name Senator Andrew P. Butler (who was a distant cousin of Brooks). With the aged Butler unable to defend himself or his state, the task fell to his nearest relative, Congressman Brooks, whose familiarity with South Carolina’s traditions of family honor was surpassed only by his fluency with the code duello. After considering his alternatives and waiting for Senator Sumner to apologize publicly, Brooks decided to punish Sumner. On May 22 he entered the Senate chamber after the Senate had adjourned and found Sumner at his desk. Brooks delivered several blows to Sumner’s head with a gutta-percha cane, and the senator fell senseless to the floor.

Burroughs, Franklin Gorham

Although Myrtle Beach was not founded in his lifetime, Burroughs dreamed of a coastal resort midway between New York and Miami. He set in motion the building of a railroad to what is now Myrtle Beach, and his sons completed his plan—a major step toward developing the resort. His widow named Myrtle Beach for the plant that thrived there. The Burroughs heirs, along with Simeon Chapin, built a remarkable business that was to include forestry, farming, shopping centers, theme parks, and golf courses.

Burt, Armistead

In April 1865 Confederate First Lady Varina Howell Davis and her family stayed in the Burt home for twelve days after they fled Richmond. They left Abbeville two days before Jefferson Davis, Secretary of War John C. Breckinridge, and the Confederacy’s senior military advisers arrived. On May 2, 1865, at Burt’s house, the leaders held their final council of war. On advice from his advisers, Davis agreed that further resistance was impossible and that the Confederate cause was lost.

Butler, Andrew Pickens

Butler is perhaps best remembered for his role in the attack on Charles Sumner—even though he was not present for one minute of it. On May 19 and 20, Sumner launched into a speech entitled “The Crime against Kansas.” His villain was Butler, who was absent. Butler was “the Don Quixote of slavery,” and his mistress in this morality play, “though ugly to others, is always lovely to him; though polluted in the sight of the world, is chaste in his sight . . . the harlot, Slavery.” Sumner then compounded the insult by mocking Butler’s habit of spitting when he spoke. On May 22, in an incident that some historians view as a critical turning point toward civil war, Butler’s cousin Preston S. Brooks avenged his kinsman by caning Sumner on the floor of the Senate.

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