The Tillman Movement in South Carolina

By Francis Butler Simkins | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II
EARLY LIFE OF TILLMAN

The District of Edgefield in 1847, the year in which Benjamin Ryan Tillman was born, had certain characteristics which distinguished it from the ordinary county of interior South Carolina. It was settled a decade before the Revolution by English families from Virginia and a few German, Scotch-Irish, and French immigrants.1 The introduction of cotton transformed its leading inhabitants from a simple pioneer folk, "who ate from pewter dishes and cut the forests for themselves," into a slave-holding aristocracy of town dwellers devoted to law, politics, and agriculture.2 In 1814 a weekly newspaper, The Bee Hive, was established. A careful observer3 in 1824 found the village of Edgefield4 to have three hundred houses, a library of three hundred volumes, a male academy which attracted students from the nearby districts, and a progressive agricultural society.

____________________
1
John A. Chapman, History of Edgefield, pp. 6, 8, 28.
2
In 1790 the whites outnumbered the blacks two to one; in 1820 the blacks were one and one half times as numerous as the whites.
3
Robert Mills, Statistics of South Carolina, p. 525.
4
The village was incorporated in 1830. Acts and Joint Resolutions, 1830, p. 19.

-23-

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The Tillman Movement in South Carolina
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xi
  • Portraits xii
  • Chapter I - The Background 3
  • Chapter II - Early Life of Tillman 23
  • Chapter III - The Emergence of Tillman 51
  • Chapter IV - The Farmers in Politics 70
  • Chapter V - The Election of 1890 103
  • Chapter VI - Tillman's First Administration 135
  • Chapter VII - Tillman's Re-Election and Second Administration 158
  • Chapter VIII - The Dispensary 185
  • Chapter IX - The Constitutional Convention 203
  • Chapter X - The After Effects of Tillmanism 229
  • Bibliography 247
  • Index 263
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