Beaufort's native son, Robert Smalls, was born into slavery in 1839. On the night of May 12,1862, he made a daring dash across Charleston Harbor piloting The Planter, a steamship contracted to the Confederate government. He surrendered it to Union forces thereby becoming the first African-American hero of the Civil War. When peace returned, he came home to Beaufort County, SC, embracing the rough-and-tumble daily life of the Reconstruction era. He actively participated in politics at local, state, and federal levels until the end of his life. Some called him the "King of Beaufort."
Once upon a time, Native Americans roamed the wetlands, fished the estuaries, and camped along our riverbanks. Many small Native American groups lived in the area. These former residents left behind shell middens, pottery shards, and their words upon our landscape: Wimbee, Combahee, Huspah, Yamasee, Pocotaligo, Sadkeche, Coosawhatchie, etc. The groups were rather small and … Continue reading Yamasee War, 1715 – 1717
The importance of the investment that the US Navy made in Beaufort County at the end of the 19th century and into the 20th century is a key point in volume 3, Bridging the Sea Islands's Past and Present, by Lawrence Rowland and Stephen Wise, University of South Carolina Press, 2015. In the words of … Continue reading Ribbon Creek Incident, 8 April 1956: A List of Links and Materials
The term "Gullah" or "Geechee" describes a unique group of African Americans descended from enslaved Africans who settled along the Atlantic coast, often on sea islands, between what is now Wilmington, NC to Jacksonville, FL. Gullah is a broad living culture embracing the political, social, economic, linguistic, and artistic life of native African-American Sea Islanders. … Continue reading Gullah Culture: A Preliminary List of Links and Resources
Beaufort County South Carolina has a lot of ghost stories, some of which we've retold for this blog. Identifying the spirit can be problematic. For example, some people think that Private Frank Quigley (U.S. Army) is the possible ghost out near Fort Fremont on Land's End. Our obituary files tell us more about him and … Continue reading Obituary Files in the Beaufort District Collection
As Dr. J. Brent Morris wrote on the America's Reconstruction | The Untold Story website: "The Reconstruction Era was literally a period of rebuilding ... The ending of slavery not only brought freedom to African Americans but also inaugurated a complex reshaping of fundamental American institutions including the lawmaking process, family structure, church organization, and … Continue reading Reconstruction Period in Beaufort, South Carolina, 1862 – 1915
Retold by Dennis Adams, Information Services Coordinator (Retired), written for the Beaufort County Library website in 2007 and re-posted with minimal editing by Beaufort District Collection Manager, Grace Morris Cordial, MLS, SL, CA on 31 October 2016. Beaufort County has its own rich store of folklore, including ghost tales. The most famous of these many … Continue reading Ghost Stories of Beaufort County, SC – Part 6: The Land’s End Light
Retold by Dennis Adams, Information Services Coordinator (Retired), written for the Beaufort County Library website in 2007 and re-posted with minimal editing by Beaufort District Collection Manager, Grace Morris Cordial, MLS, SL, CA on 30 October 2016. Some African-Americans of the Sea Islands still believe in multiple souls: the "soul" leaves the body and returns … Continue reading Ghost Stories of Beaufort County, SC- Part 5: Hags