American History: Not Designed for Safe Spaces

On June 17, 2016, Dylan Roof shot and killed nine people in Charleston, South Carolina. Investigators revealed that Roof wanted to start a race war, and a photo of him holding a Confederate flag circulated. If you need any further proof that this war has begun, nay has been going on for some time, I give you Charlottesville, Virginia, where three people are already dead after yesterday’s events.

I visited nearby Fredericksburg just a year ago. I walked along her historic streets and toured the battlefield. I gazed over the National Cemetery where Confederate and Union dead lay buried. The sacredness of these places can be clearly felt. These places are important. They are worth remembering and preserving. But it is these places that are the battlefields in Roof’s race war. The removal of monuments in response to the Mother Emanuel murders had provoked intense responses from both sides of the debate with each side guilty of misrepresenting and/or willfully ignoring history. Did anyone seriously think you could just start tearing down monuments and no one would get upset?

The far left groups seek to remove the monuments in the name of decrying racism. This is an affront to many in the United States who see the monuments as something else with no racial connection. Rather than come together and agree to disagree, elected officials have decided to side with the small but vocal groups seeking to remove the monuments. Vandalism and damage has occurred to many monuments, including graffiti and the destruction of burial sites. At this date, dozens of Confederate monuments have been removed across the country, and names of buildings such as schools are being changed.

These fired shots have awakened several far right groups. These groups are responding by rallying around monuments that remain or are in danger, often times using racial and provocative actions. Appealing to the anger many have felt because of the removals, the far right groups filled a void that should have been filled by more moderate historical preservation societies. But alas, those groups, the historians, the ones with the most to lose, were mostly silent. When medical issues are debated by legislative bodies, medical associations often speak for or against. In this debate, the voice of the historian, the few times it was heard, has been drowned out by the mob.

As a historian I am shocked and appalled by the bastardization of history that is being conducted by the extreme groups represented in this “debate.” ANTIAF, BLM, KKK, Unite the Right, call them what you will, they are all the same to me. One type of hate is no better than the other. They have taken our history, the history of the people of the United States, and perverted it into something that, I fear, we may never get recover from. Our history is not pretty. It is not perfect. It includes ups and downs, successes and failures. It is a great example of the old adage “life is not fair.” There are heroes and villains and those who walk in between. Most importantly, United States history is NOT designed for people who need safe spaces.

There was always a chance for a better United States: freedom for slaves, the right to vote expanded to all, safe working conditions for laborers, civil protections in courts of law. These were not easy victories, it took a long struggle to get there, and the job will never be done. But that is what makes our history unique. While it is mostly populated by people whose names and lives will never be known outside their circle, every once in a while, a person risen above their station and leaves a mark for us to see. They propel us forward by their good and bad actions. Robert E. Lee led the Confederate armies and did not own a single slave. Ulysses S. Grant led the Union armies and owned several. Who was the better man? Whose monument is being removed? Who face on the $50.00 bill? It takes a brave person to study United States history. It takes a coward to ignore it.

The far left and far right groups do not speak for the vast majority of us, and yet they are being allowed to frame the debate. They have a right to speak, without question. But we have a choice as to whether or not we will listen, and that is how you silence them. The people of the United States, of all races, colors, beliefs, sexualities, religions (indeed whatever label society forces us to use) need to stand up and say enough is enough. If for no other reason than for the sake of Our History.

William Wirt Humphreys and the Anderson County Confederate Monument – Pt 2

“It matters not, though they sleep ‘neath the solemn Southern pines or the stately hemlocks of the North, on the sloping hills of fair Arlington, beneath the shadows of the clouds, careless of storm or sunshine, we have but one sentiment for these sleeping soldiers – ‘tis that we honor and remember them.” Elizabeth Bleckley

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Anderson County Confederate Monument (Author’s collection)

The statue atop the Anderson County Confederate Monument is of a soldier standing at parade rest. The soldier’s likeness is of William Wirt Humphreys, although he was not alive to see it unveiled. The story of his life was told in a previous post. This is how the monument came to be.

 

By most accounts, the movement to dedicate a Confederate monument for the veterans of Anderson County began on Decoration Day in 1886. However, a search of the Anderson Intelligencer for that period had turned up no mention of this. This is not to suggest that such a meeting did not take place, but there was a movement spearheaded by Leonora Conners “Nora” Hubbard, a local school teacher and head of the Anderson Home School, to raise funds for a monument.

For over fifty years, Miss Hubbard taught in Anderson schools and she was a well known and respected educator both in the community and across the state. If the project was to succeed, it would be Nora Hubbard who would see it happen. She began planning the monument in 1891. In June, the Home School gave a public commencement which raised $135 from ticket sales. This was the first major contribution to a monument.

In 1893, James A. Hoyt delivered a eulogy at the service of his longtime friend and co-editor, William W. Humphreys calling for a monument to be dedicated to Confederate veterans. Hoyt wanted the monument to be erected in the city cemetery at Old Silver Brook, but this location was not to be. Five years later, in April 1895, Miss Hubbard organized the Ladies’ Memorial Association of Anderson County and was elected its first president.

The first task of the association was to raise money. Over the next few years, they hosted a series of events including bake sales, cake walks, suppers, silver teas, and baby showers, just to name a few. These raised $2500.00 for the monument, enough to secure a contract. The next step was to design one, and this task was given to the design committee was named, consisting of representatives of the steak holders:

  • Miss Nora Hubbard, Mrs. Elizabeth Bleckley, and Miss Ditma Gilmer, representing the Ladies’ Memorial Association
  • Charles S. Sullivan, representing the Robert E. Lee Chapter, U.D.C.
  • J.M. Patrick, representing the Dixie Chapter, U.D.C.
  • Milledge L. Bonham and J.F. Clinkscales, representing the county’s Confederate veterans

Bonham was the son of General Milledge Bonham. Clinkscales was a sergeant in Company C, 4th South Carolina Volunteer Regiment, which next became Company E, 13th South Carolina Battalion, and, finally, Companies I and K of The Hampton Legion.

Oscar Hammond, a sculptor from Greenville, was commissioned to create the monument. He designed a four-part monument made of Tennessee gray marble. The first part is a triple base with levels that decrease in size. The second part consists of two four-sided dies separated by rough stone. Each side of the die bears inscriptions by William A. Todd. The inscriptions on the monument not only memorialize the veterans of Anderson, but each branch of the Confederate military. Two versions of the Confederate flags are also inscribed on the die.

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Anderson County Confederate Monument (Author’s collection)

  • North

    North Side Inscription (Author’s collection)

    North Side: On the upper die is inscribed a Palmetto tree over crossed swords overtop a laurel wreath, representing the Confederate Cavalry. On the lower die is a depiction of the Battle Flag and the following from Father Ryan’s poem “The Conquered Banner:”

“Though conquered, we adore it!

Love the Cold, dead hands that bore it!”

  • West

    West Side Inscription (Author’s collection)

    West Side: On the upper die is inscribed “CSA” and an unfurled Stainless Banner over cannon wheel, cannon balls, and cannon swabs, representing the Confederate Artillery. On the lower die is inscribed a list of the great battles of the war: 1st Manassas, Williamsburg, Seven Pines, Gaines’ Mill, Frazier’s Farm, 2nd Manassas, Boonsborough, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Chickamauga, the Wilderness, Spottsylvania (misspelled on the monument), Chancellorsville, Malvern Hill, Petersburg, Gettysburg, Franklin, Atlanta, and Appomattox.

  • South

    South Side Inscription (Author’s collection)

    South Side: On the upper die is a wreath and an unfurled Stainless Banner, over D.C. 61-65, over an anchor and a ship’s wheel, representing the Confederate Navy. On the lower die is more from “The Conquered Banner:”

“The World shall yet decide, in Truth’s clear, far-off light,

That the soldiers who wore the gray, and died with Lee, were in the right.”

  • East

    South Side Inscription (Author’s collection)

    East Side: On the upper die is inscribed “CSA” over three stacked bayoneted rifles, a canteen, and a cartridge pouch over top a laurel wreath, representing the Confederate Infantry. On the plinth between the upper and lower dies, “Our Confederate Dead” is inscribed in raised letters. On the lower die us the following inscription:

The spirit of chivalry was not dead in 1861, when the soldiers of the Confederacy went forth to battle for the love of home and country, and for the preservation of Constitutional liberty. How well they acted their part in the gigantic drama of war which for four years convulsed the American continent and held the attention of the world, let the truthful and impartial historian tell. Let him record how they wrestled victory from foes who far surpassed them in numbers, in excellence of arms and equipment, and in all the provisions and munitions of war, and who were supported by the material, moral and political power of almost the entire civilized world; let him record with what courage they met death and danger, with what fortitude they endured sickness and imprisonment, with what unflagging cheerfulness they sustained privations and sufferings; and above all let him record with what endurance they met defeat, and how in poverty and want, broken in health, but not in spirit, they have re-created the greatness of the South, and made it again the sweetest land in earth. In grateful acknowledgement of their prowess in war, and their achievements in peace, this monument is erected, that it may teach the generations of the future the story of the matchless, unfading and undying honor which the Confederate soldier won.

The third section is a column consisting of fourteen blocks, alternating smooth and rough.

Standing on top of the column is the fourth section, a seven foot, six inch tall statue of a soldier standing at parade rest. When Hammond proposed a statue, the design committee could have easily chosen one of several common designs but they elected to use the likeness of a local man. The decision of whose likeness to use was easy. One man had represented the best among the Confederate veterans in Anderson County; one man had stood with them and helped organize the annual reunions; he had served as intendent and as the Grand Master of the state’s Freemasons. He was William Wirt Humphreys.

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Anderson County Confederate Monument (Author’s collection)

The Anderson County Confederate Monument was dedicated during the chilly afternoon of Saturday, January 18, 1902. Thousands turned out for the unveiling ceremonies, and one hundred and fifty Confederate veterans were in attendance. People began to assemble at the courthouse at a very early hour and continued to arrive until noon. The courtroom was the location of the speeches, and it was filled to capacity. Most were waiting outside for the unveiling. The courtroom was tastefully and appropriately decorated. A large painting of General Robert E. Lee, especially hung for the occasion, overlooked the gathering. The program order was as follows:

  • “Maryland, My Maryland,” played by the Clemson Band
  • Welcome by General Milledge L. Bonham of the United Confederate Veterans and Master of Ceremonies
  • Invocation delivered by the Reverend J.D. Chapman, pastor of First Baptist Church
  • “Dixie,” sung by a children’s choir directed by Zula Brock
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    Mayor George F. Tolly (Jake Phillips, Hiram Lodge)

    Speech delivered by Mayor George F. Tolly, Confederate veterans and member of the Palmetto Riflemen

  • Reading on the history of the monument by Mrs. Elizabeth Bleckley
  • Speech delivered by Thomas W. Carwile, a decorated Confederate soldier from Edgefield
  • Instrumental music played by the Clemson Band
  • Recitation of “Music on the Rappahannock,” by Mrs. A.P. Johnson
  • Speech by James Armstrong, Jr., the famed “Irish Orator” of Charleston, introduced by General Bonham
  • “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” sung by ladies of the Robert E. Lee and Dixie Chapters, U.D.C.
  • Speech delivered by Colonel Samuel W. Wilkes of Atlanta, a native of Anderson, and whose father had been a member of the 4th South Carolina Volunteers and died in the war; introduced by General Bonham
  • Resolution introduced by the Confederate Veterans, read by Adjutant L.P. Smith of Camp Stephen D. Lee, and unanimously passed, expressing profound gratitude to the Ladies’ Memorial Association for their work in erecting the monument
  • “The Conquered Banner,” sung by Mrs. Cora Ligon (known as “Aunt Cora”) with music written by Mrs. Emily Reed Miller, and a tattered Confederate flag held by Miss Nellie Humphreys, General Humphreys’ daughter
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Anderson’s first street light being raised with the Confederate Monument in background

The veterans then led a march out of the courthouse and formed a circle around the base of the veiled monument. Nora Hubbard made her way through the crowd, carrying a folded Confederate flag in her arms, and stood at the monument’s base. James Hoyt delivered a few words and then, after holding Hoyt her flag and with great pride, Miss Hubbard pulled the string to unveil the monument. The string, however, broke. A young boy from the crowd seized his opportunity, and climbed the monument and lowered the veil. The crowd erupted in applause and cheers as the Anderson Rifles fired three salutes. The Clemson Band played “Taps,” and the ceremony ended.

Unlike other Confederate monuments in South Carolina, the Anderson County monument is in its original location, situated between the historic and “new” courthouse. It was once the centerpiece of a downtown park, crisscrossed with walkways and dotted with shade trees.

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Anderson County Confederate Monument (Author’s Collection)

Leonora Hubbard died November 2, 1933. She was laid to rest in Old Silver Brook Cemetery. On her tombstone is inscribed the following: “For more than fifty years she was a teacher in the schools of the City of Anderson. Others wrought in brick and stone; she sought to shape the lives of men.”

 

William Wirt Humphreys and the Anderson County Confederate Monument – Part 1

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William W. Humphreys (Jake Phillips, Hiram Lodge)

There are dozens of Confederate veteran’s monuments in South Carolina bearing statues but only five are known to be likenesses of historic figures. Anderson County’s Confederate Monument is one of those. The statue atop the monument is in the likeness of General William Wirt Humphreys. This is his story.

William Wirt Humphreys was born October 30, 1836, in Anderson County in the vicinity of Roberts Presbyterian Church. He was the first child of Rev. David Humphreys, a noted Presbyterian clergyman, and Rebecca Cunningham. Both his parents were natives of South Carolina, and his paternal grandfather, David Humphreys, had arrived in Virginia in the 1700’s. Rev Humphreys was the pastor of Good Hope and Roberts Presbyterian Churches for nearly fifty years, and is buried in the Roberts churchyard.

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Advertisement for Humphreys’ Law Practice (Anderson Intelligencer August 1860)

For their time, the Humphreys were fairly well off. According to the 1850 census, Rev. Humphreys’ real estate was valued at $9,000, approximately $262,000 in today’s money. This afforded his son an excellent education. After attending the Anderson schools, he graduated in 1857 from Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. He passed his bar exam in 1859, and set up a practice in Anderson.

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First “Edited By” Line Showing Humphreys (Anderson Intelligencer, February 21, 1861)

After about a year of practice, Humphreys took on an additional career: editor. His name first appeared as an editor of the Anderson Intelligencer in the February 21, 1861, issue along with James A. Hoyt. Underneath the new “Edited By” line appeared a South Carolina flag. This was an indication of a new direction for the weekly paper. Humphreys was a strong states rights supporter, and the editorial pages and tone of the articles reflected that position. He took no time in expressing these views, in fact. In the same paper appeared these words praising the newly formed Confederacy.

“The sovereign people of seven States have, from sufficient cause, exercised the right of secession from the Federal Government, which had become oppressive in its course and perverted from its channels – they have, in addition, proceeded to establish a more perfect union for mutual protection, safety and happiness, and now the experiment is fairly begun, with every prospect of a pleasing solution.”

He went on to offer an invitation of sorts for other like-minded states looking for a new political home:

“For ages to come, slavery as it now exists must be profitable and beneficial in the Cotton States. Yet, if not sooner, the remaining slave States must unit with us in a few years, and it is wise and proper to devise means whereby we can make their union perpetual and place a check upon the growth of abolition sentiment in their borders.”

The Anderson Intelligencer ceased publication in the spring of 1861 due to the financial constraints of its owners and their involvement in the Palmetto Riflemen. Both editors fought in the war. Humphreys volunteered for and helped to organize Company C, nicknamed the Palmetto Riflemen, of the Palmetto Sharpshooters Regiment, commanded by Colonel Micah Jenkins. The Palmetto Sharpshooters were assigned to General James E. Longstreet’s Second Division of the Army of Northern Virginia. The Palmetto Riflemen was composed entirely of men from Anderson County. Humphreys was promoted to captain of Company C in May 1861. He led his company in several engagements including First Manassas (the opening battle of the war, July 21, 1861), Williamsburg (May 5, 1862), Seven Pines (May 31-June 1, 1862), Gaines’ Mill (June 27, 1862), and Frayser’s Farm (June 30, 1862), where he was seriously wounded by a ball in the shoulder. The Sharpshooters, in fact, suffered heavily at Frayser’s Farm. Of the 375 engaged in the battle, sixty-eight percent died.

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William W. Humphreys in Uniform (Jake Phillips, Hiram Lodge)

Unfit for duty, Humphreys suffered for months as he slowly recovered from his wound, nearly dying several times. After healing he reenlisted and was promoted to Major of the Palmetto Sharpshooter Regiment, S.C. Volunteers. He held the rank of major until the end of the war, and fought in the battles of Spotsylvania Courthouse (where he received a slight wound, his second in battle, May 8-20, 1864), Second Cold Harbor (May 31-June 12, 1864), Bermuda Hundred (May 1864), the siege of Petersburg (June 9-March 25, 1865), and finally at the surrender at Appomattox (April 9, 1865). His leadership was admired by his men, and he was often in command of the picket and skirmish lines.

Upon returning home to Anderson, he found his town devastated not by war but by Union invaders. From May 1-3, 1865, Anderson was occupied in an unprovoked invasion by Union troops. They ransacked the city, tortured leading citizens, and nearly burnt the town down. Anderson had never been a military target during the war, and this attack, three weeks after the surrender, stoked a real hatred in the hearts of the many of its citizens. Humphreys resumed his legal practice and editorship of the Anderson Intelligencer.

The Palmetto Riflemen were remembered often and fondly in Anderson. The first event honoring the company was a barbecue held in their honor on July 29, 1865, at the farm of J.C. Keys, located about two miles outside of Anderson. This was but one of the honors and celebrations held for this unit for the next few decades. Humphreys was always present at the reunions and celebrations. He was also a leader in the Riflemen veterans group.

His reputation from the war and his status as the editor made Humphreys a likely candidate for public office which he accepted but only on a local level. From 1865 to 1882, he held two positions, which were basically the same function. He was elected Commissioner of Equity from 1865 to 1868. The title changed to Probate Judge in 1868, and Humphreys was reelected, serving until he resigned in 1882.

On February 27, 1868, Humphreys married his wife, Anna Josephine McCully. She was the daughter of an Irish immigrant called Stephen McCully who was one of the early settlers in the Anderson District. They had two sons and three daughters. He was also appointed a brigadier and a major general in the State Militia.

While he was probate judge, Humphreys was also elected intendent of Anderson in August 1878. The position is the equivalent of today’s mayor. He served for one two-year term. In 1882, Humphreys was appointed President of the Savannah Valley Railroad which ran from McCormick to Anderson. The railroad was a major accomplishment for the time. It also resulted in some changes. Ten miles south of Anderson was a small village named Twiggs. The new railroad would pass through the town so its name was changed to Starr, in honor of one of the railroad engineers.

Humphreys was, throughout his life, a mason and a longtime member of the Hiram Lodge No. 68. In 1877, he was appointed Worshipful Master, and from 1883 to 1884, he was the Grand Master of the Ancient Free Masons of South Carolina.

For several weeks before his death on October 6, 1893, Humphreys’ health had been in decline. About two weeks before he died, he went north for treatment, but after making the journey and hearing of the surgical procedure needed, he decided to return home. He had no confidence that the procedure would help him and he wanted to be near his family. He knew in his heart it was time. By the time he reached Anderson on Wednesday, October 3, he was in a semi-conscious state. He never regained full consciences and died on Friday.

The funeral services were held at First Baptist Church on Sunday. Even though Humphreys was not a member, the church offered the sanctuary because the seating offered more that at Roberts where he was a member. The service was standing room only. The entire sanctuary plus the Sunday school rooms were filled to capacity.

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William Humphreys’ Tombstone, Old Silver Brook Cemetery (Author’s collection)

Humphreys’ body was escorted by fourteen members of the Hiram Lodge. As the body was brought into the church, a soloist sang “Nearer My God to Thee,” followed by the choir singing “In the Sweet Bye and Bye.” After a short address and another hymn, the congregation was dismissed and the body was taken to Old Silver Brook. James A. Hoyt, longtime friend and co-editor of the Anderson intelligencer, delivered a heartfelt eulogy for his friend at the graveside. Hoyt emphasized two aspects of Humphrey’s life: his dedication to his Masonic brothers, and his devotion to his fellow Confederate soldiers. Humphreys, Hoyt recalled “was born a soldier, endowed by nature with a martial spirit and with an ear attuned to the call of duty.”

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Restored Iron Cross, placed in 2013 (Author’s collection)

Humphreys and his wife share a large monument which bears their names and dates on opposite sides. On May 6, 2013, an iron cross was placed by the ladies of the Emmala Reed Miller U.D.C. Chapter 2694, to replace the missing cross.

While delivering the eulogy, Hoyt also called for a monument to be erected in Old Silver Brook. This monument was to be dedicated to the Confederate dead of Anderson County. “What more appropriate service can we render to them,” he asks, “than to rear a marble shaft in lovely Silver Brook as a testimonial to the gallant dead of Anderson County?” The cemetery seemed the appropriate place since it was the city’s new public burial ground, and there were already a number of Confederate veterans buried there.

As history would have it, such a monument was never erected in Old Silver Brook, but rather in downtown Anderson. The story of the monument to Anderson’s Confederate Dead is told in Part Two.

George McDuffie, the Mad Governor

Many of the streets in Anderson, South Carolina, were named for famous locals: Whitner, Benson, Orr, and Murray to name a few. One prominent street, however, was named for a man who never lived in Anderson, although he did visit on occasion. He was born dirt poor, grew wealthy in business, fought in a duel,

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George McDuffie (Library of Congress)

held numerous public offices, had racial views that were extreme even for his time, and died insane. His name was George McDuffie, and this is his story.

George McDuffie was born in Columbia County, Georgia, August 10, 1790. Unlike many politicians of his day, McDuffie was not born into a well-to-do family. He was one of at least nine children born to parents who had emigrated from Scotland. It was his intellect set him apart from everyone in his family.

McDuffie took his first job at the age of twelve at a country store owned by a man named Hayes. From there he secured a position with the mercantile establishment of Wilson & Calhoun in Augusta, Georgia. James Calhoun, a brother of John C. Calhoun, was one of the owners. In 1807, the business failed and William Calhoun, another brother, came to help settle the affairs. He noticed the young McDuffie and offered him room and board as long as he was in school. McDuffie was so poor, that all of his belongings, including clothing, fit into a small blue box. While he did not realize it, his life of poverty would soon be behind him. Calhoun sponsored his education at Moses Waddel’s famous Willington Academy, where many of South Carolina’s political leaders, such as John C. Calhoun, received their education. McDuffie soon came under the influence of John C. Calhoun, and he looked to him as a mentor.

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Site of the law building used by Simkins and McDuffie, located in Edgefield, South Carolina. The marker lists the names of men who practiced law at the site: Eldred Simkins (congressman and lieut. governor), George McDuffie (congressman, governor, U.S. senator), Francis W. Pickens (congressman, governor, minister to Russia), Francis H. Wardlaw author of ordinance of secession), John C. Sheppard lieut. governor, governor), and James O. Sheppard (lieut. governor). (Author’s collection)

McDuffie excelled at the academy and developed an outstanding reputation among his peers. His graduation speech was entitled “Permanence of the Union,” and it was printed at the request of the students. He later attended South Carolina College, graduating in 1813. He was admitted to the bar in 1814 and entered a partnership with Colonel Eldred Simkins in Edgefield, South Carolina. Simkins introduced him to the cream of Edgefield society and it was not long before McDuffie began his rise.

His political career began in 1818, when he was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives from the Edgefield District. He was also named a Trustee of the South Carolina College in the same year. In 1821, McDuffie published a pamphlet which denounced a strict states’ rights approach. Within ten years, McDuffie would become transformed into one of the great “nullifiers” of the 19th century, largely by the influence of Calhoun. He held this seat for one term, ending on November 27, 1830.

McDuffie was next elected to the United States House of Representatives from two districts. He first represented the 6th District from March 4, 1821 to March 3, 1823. A year into his term, McDuffie, still not a supporter of nullification, got into a very public argument with Colonel William Cumming over the issue. Cumming was a veteran of the War of 1812, was well known nationally, and supported nullification. In short, nullification is the political theory that holds that individual states can nullify acts of Congress by declaring them to be null and void within their boundaries. While nullification is not the same as secession, the former can lead to the latter.

The argument between McDuffie and Cumming escalated into a feud, and the two first met June 2, 1822, near the Savannah River in Georgia. Traditional dueling pistols were the selected weapons. McDuffie fired his shot into the ground; Cumming fired at McDuffie and hit him in the rib cage. The ball lodged itself near his spine. Physicians determined that it would be too dangerous to remove it, so the ball remained for the rest of his life. This caused damage to McDuffie’s spine, and he walked with a limp the rest of his life. A second duel was fought in late November, and this time McDuffie’s arm was broken by a shot from Cumming. Both men declared themselves satisfied.

The 6th Congressional District was renamed the 5th Congressional District in 1823, and McDuffie represented it from March 4, 1823 to 1834. McDuffie had originally been a supporter of Andrew Jackson, but in 1824, he delivered a twenty-four page speech on the floor of the House against Jackson and his banking policies. More importantly, McDuffie threw his support behind nullification.

In 1829, he married Mary Rebecca Singleton, daughter of Colonel Richard Singleton, but the marriage was short lived. The new Mrs. McDuffie died less than a year later, shortly after giving birth to a daughter, Mary Rebecca. Later in life, she married Wade Hampton III and was the First Lady of South Carolina. McDuffie sent his only the child to her grandparents who raised her. He would never remarry and threw himself into his political career.

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1832 South Carolina Nullification Convention Document (Author’s collection)

McDuffie was a leader of the 1832 South Carolina Nullification Convention and wrote its official address to the citizens of the United States. The convention was one part of South Carolina’s response to the Nullification Crisis which took place from 1832 to 1837, during the presidency of Andrew Jackson. The crisis was brought about by the Tariff of 1828, known as the “Tariff of Abominations” by its detractors. Enacted during the administration of John Quincy Adams, it was roundly detested in the South, and for good reasons. The South imported much of their goods, and the tariff set a 62% tax on 92% of the goods the South imported. Of the sixty-eight House members from Southern states, sixty-four voted against the tariff. It was up to Adams’ successor, Andrew Jackson, to deal with the fallout, and many expected him to lower the tariff. When he failed to do so, his vice president, John C. Calhoun, resigned on July 14, 1832. Calhoun ran for a senate seat and began to fight for nullification through legislative means.

As a compromise, Jackson signed into law the Tariff of 1832 which restored the tariff levels to pre-1828 levels. South Carolina, which had borne the brunt of the harm from the 1828 tariff, was still not pleased. At a convention held on November 24, 1832, an Ordinance of Nullification was adopted, declaring the Tariffs of 1828 and 1832 unconstitutional and unenforceable in South Carolina, effective February 1, 1833. Congress responded by passing two bills on March 1: the Force Act which authorized the president to use military forces against South Carolina, and the Compromise Tariff of 1833 which was agreeable to South Carolina, and the nullification ordinance was repealed two weeks later.

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Monument erected in honor of George McDuffie, located in Edgefield, South Carolina, on the Ten Governors Rail Trail. The monument emphasizes McDuffie’s importance in the Nullification Movement. (Author’s Collection)

In 1834, McDuffie was elected the 55th Governor of South Carolina and made a major general of the South Carolina Militia. The chief executive of the state was not popularly elected, but selected by the South Carolina Senate until the election of James Lawrence Orr in 1865. The position was usually given to one of the Assembly members for a term of two years. On some occasions members would serve two terms. McDuffie served as governor from December 9, 1834 to December 10, 1836. As governor, McDuffie was de facto President of the Board of Trustees of South Carolina College. In 1835, he completed a total reorganization and modernization of the college which had been struggling for several years.

Regarding the question of slavery, in a message to the General Assembly in 1835, McDuffie had this to say:

“No human institution, in my opinion, is more manifestly consistent with the will of God, than domestic slavery…That the African negro is destined by Providence to occupy this condition of servile dependence…is marked on the face, stamped on the skin, and envinced by the intellectual inferiority and natural improvidence of this race.”

McDuffie’s racial views were demonstrated in the new laws passed by the General Assembly.

  • The legal rights of free blacks were restricted
  • Any free black returning to South Carolina to be sold back into slavery
  • Port officials were to arrest any free blacks serving aboard vessels docked in South Carolina harbors
  • Slaves from north of the Mason-Dixon Line were barred from entering the state

McDuffie resigned from the governor’s office at the end of his term, ostensibly for his health. For six years, he was not politically active, but he answered his state’s call and represented South Carolina in the United States Senate from December 23, 1842 to August 17, 1846, upon the resignation of his predecessor William C. Preston. McDuffie was the junior senator to his longtime mentor, John C. Calhoun.

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George McDuffie in his later years

Despite only being in the Senate for three years, he had several leadership roles. He was instrumental in drafting the legislation outlining the annexation of Texas; however, he strongly opposed the annexation of Oregon. It was said that his reason for not supporting Oregon was that he did not believe that the territory could be effectively governed from 3,000 miles away. He was had a key role in the passage of the Tariff of 1846.

McDuffie resigned at the close of the session and was seldom seen outside of his home Cherry Hill in Willington. The plantation was begun by the Noble family but after a fire destroyed the main house, the property was bought by McDuffie. He build a grand two-story home and enlarged the plantation to over five thousand acres. Today, the only remain of Cherry Hill is the Noble family cemetery. The plantation overlooked the Savannah River and was run using the labor of over two hundred slaves. A historical marker is located near the site.

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Cherry Hill Marker, Willington, South Carolina (Author’s collection)

McDuffie’s health had begun to worsen during his years as governor. The old bullet wound caused his health to rapidly deteriorate. and McDuffie fell into a deep depression which eventually drove him insane. He died at his home March 11, 1851. He was buried in the Singleton Family Cemetery, Wedgefield, South Carolina.

Due to his prominence in state and national affairs, the leaders of Anderson felt it was appropriate to honor him and so McDuffie Street was born. Originally known as East Boundary Street, it is one of Anderson’s original streets. From its earliest days, the street was dedicated to grand residences and was a jewel for young town. Many of the older homes on the street once belonged to business leaders who helped build Anderson. Sadly, only a handful of these remain.

The date on which the street was named McDuffie is not known, but it took place prior to 1860. The Anderson Intelligencer noted the improvements being made to the street and the Methodist church on September 18, 1860, which indicates that the street had been so named for some time. The Intelligencer described McDuffie Street in glowing terms, saying, “[that] there is no street within our corporate limits better adapted by nature for handsome display of art.” Early residents on McDuffie were the Wilhites, the Brocks, and the three sons of Samuel Brown: John Peter Brown, E.W. Brown, and Samuel Brown, Jr.

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Historical Marker at McDuffie’s Birthplace

In addition to McDuffie Street in Anderson, George McDuffie was also honored by his home state when McDuffie County, Georgia, was created on October 18, 1870. A historical marker stands at his birthplace.

The Orrs of Anderson Pt 3: The Governor’s Children II

The final part in the series on the Orr family will cover the lives of James Lawrence Jr. and Dr. Samuel Marshall Orr, both giants in their respective fields. The two men were the first sons born to James and Mary Orr and they left a lasting mark on Anderson in the form of a textile mill.

Orr, James Lawrence Jr

James Lawrence Orr, Jr.

James Lawrence Orr, Jr. (August 29, 1852-February 26, 1905) Named after his father, James Lawrence Orr, Jr. was the eldest son of the James and Mary Orr. He was born in Abbeville at the home of his grandfather, Dr. Samuel Marshall, August 29, 1852. His maternal uncle was Col. Jehu Foster Marshall, hero of the Mexican War, notable figure of Abbeville, and commander of a Confederate regiment. Col. Marshall died during the Civil War.

Orr was a tall man. He stood six foot six inches, towering over nearly everyone he knew. Most of his contemporaries only reached his shoulder. He was physically very strong, weighing nearly 275 pounds. His strength was not only physical, however. His had a keen mind which marked him for future success.

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Orr’s Passport Application, completed in 1873, when his father was minister to Russia. (National Archives)

At the age of twenty, he accompanied his father to Russia where he served as his private secretary. He returned to Anderson in 1873, and on the twelfth of November, married Bettie B. Hammett, daughter of Colonel Henry P. Hammett, a local textile leader. After a few years as an attorney, was elected to the South Carolina House as a representative from Anderson County. He was a young and ambitious politician. Early in his career he became a redeemer under Wade Hampton and was a vocal supporter of Hampton’s campaign to redeem South Carolina from Reconstruction. Orr played a pivotal role in the weeks after Hampton’s election.

Hampton’s election as governor caused a split in the state’s government. The sitting Republican governor, refused to give up his office and the there were two General Assemblies, each supporting their candidate. Each assembly met in a different location and each claimed to be there by the people’s will. It was Orr who led the “attack” on the Republican Assembly, and it was he, with a great show of force, who torn down the locked door they were meeting behind.

In 1878, Orr was elected solicitor of the Eighth Circuit, and as a prosecutor he had a marked success. Orr was not known for his speaking abilities and, in his own words, would “murder the King’s English” on a regular basis. Orr did not follow any certain grammatical or rhetorical rules, but he spoke with a common sense that was easy for everyone to grasp. It was not uncommon for many young lawyers in the Anderson and Greenville areas to “swear by Lawrence Orr.”

Orr resigned from the solicitor’s office in the early 1880’s and moved to Greenville where he began practicing law under the firm Wells & Orr. This was eventually expanded to Wells, Orr, Ansel & Cothran.

In 1890, Col. Hammett, Orr’s father-in-law died. Hammett was at the time one of the most successful textile pioneers in the state. The industry was still in its infancy and Hammett’s company, Piedmont Manufacturing Company, was in need of leadership. Despite his lack of experience in the business world, the company’s board of directors selected Orr as the next company president. It was here that Orr found his greatest success.

Under his leadership, Piedmont Manufacturing doubled in size and its stock was sold at the highest price for a mill in the state. His success at the mill prompted him to enter politics one more time. This time, however, he was up against the populist force known as Benjamin Tillman. Against his best wishes, he agreed to run on the 1892 gubernatorial ticket for South Carolina as lieutenant governor along with Sheppard for governor. Many of the state’s leading businessmen had begged Orr to run against Tillman himself, but he refused due to the responsibilities placed on him with the mill.

Like Tillman, Orr believed that reform was needed in the state. Unlike Tillman, Orr did not believe in the extreme and racial measures Tillman would take to see it happen. The campaign of 1892 was brutal and speaking engagements often descended into a battle of lung power: whichever side could yell the most. Orr, it was remarked by a contemporary observer, stood out. Despite his lack of speaking skills, his sledge-hammer logic and straight-from-the-hip speaking style actually swayed voters from supporting Tillman, but it wasn’t enough. In the end, Tillman won the election. After this defeat, Orr retired from political life and he dedicated his time to the growth of the Piedmont Company.

Between 1899 and 1900, Orr organized and built a new state-of-the-art mill south of Anderson, the second textile mill in the town, and the first textile mill in South Carolina to use electricity for all its power. Called Orr Mill, it and the surrounding mill village became a fixture of life in the town. Orr was the mill’s first president, John E. Wigington was the first manager, and John Lyons served as mill superintendent until the 1950’s.

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Orr Mill, Historic Postcard

Orr’s leadership of the mill was very successful but sadly shortened by his death on February 26, 1905. Orr died after suffering for a week from erysipelas brought on by a skin infection. He was laid to rest in the churchyard of Christ Church (Episcopal) in Greenville, South Carolina. He was survived by his wife and six children.

Later that year, a cenotaph to James Orr was placed near the Orr Mill on South Main Street where it stood behind a wrought iron fence until 2008 when it was damaged in a storm. The monument was later moved to the Anderson County Museum, and is on display near the entrance. A nearby tablet provides historical context to the monument.

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Orr Monument, Anderson County Museum (Author’s collection)

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Dr. Samuel Marshall Orr (Anderson Intelligencer, 1896)

Samuel Marshall Orr (June 5, 1855-April 14, 1909) Named after Mary Orr’s father, Dr. Samuel Marshall, Dr. Samuel Marshall Orr was born in Anderson June 5, 1855, the second son of James and Mary Orr. Dr. Orr was reared in Anderson and studied at Professor Ligon’s private school at Anderson, the King’s Mountain Military Academy in Yorkville, and Furman University.

From 1873 to 1876 he gave his attention to mercantile pursuits before beginning to study medicine at Jefferson Medical College in 1877. Orr graduated in 1879, and opened a practice in Anderson as the partner of Dr. Waller Hunn Nardin. Dr. Orr at once found himself in possession of an active practice which has steadily grown until it now extends over a considerable portion of upper South Carolina. He practiced medicine for twenty-five years. His practice was not only successful, it was extensive. He was frequently consulted in medical cases from Abbeville, Greenwood, and Walhalla.

He took a post graduate course in 1892 in New York Polytechnic. He was the president of the Anderson County Medical Society, a member of the American Medical Association, and of the Board of Medical Examiners of South Carolina. He is also first vice president of the South Carolina Medical Association and was formerly lecturer on anatomy and physiology at Patrick Military Institute of Anderson. He is also surgeon of the Blue Ridge and the C. & W.C. railroads.

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Dr. Samuel Marshall Orr House (Author’s collection)

He was married in October 1875 to Charlotte Althea Allen daughter of John E Allen of Abbeville County and granddaughter of the late Dr. Charles L Gaillard of Anderson County. They have four children. Ten years later, in 1885, Dr. Orr built a magnificent two-story Greek Revival house at 809 West Market Street. The house was a smaller replica of his father’s home on McDuffie Street, and is an example of a plantation style home in an urban setting. This speaks to Dr. Orr’s stature and leadership role in the community.

As a physician, Dr. Orr grew to care not only about his patients but his community as well. As such, Dr. Orr was very involved in Anderson’s development. He was president of the Anderson Water Light and Power Company, and in this position improved and extended the power system which eventually replaced the old steam powered system the city had been using. He was also the treasurer and director of the Anderson Cotton Mills, vice president of the Anderson Building and Loan Association, vice president of the Farmers and Merchants Bank, and a partner in the Hill-Orr Drug Company of Anderson. After his brother death, Dr. Orr was selected as president of Orr Mill, a position he held until his death. Under his leadership, the mill grew to 57,496 spindles, 1,504 looms, and 600 employees.

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Dr. Samuel Marshall Orr Tombstone, Old Silver Brook Cemetery, Anderson, SC (Author’s collection)

Dr. Orr died April 14, 1909, while seeking treatment at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. He was surrounded by members of his family. They had traveled to Baltimore in anticipation of Dr. Orr not recovering. He had been suffering from several illnesses for some time, and they had gotten worse a few weeks before his passing. He was the last surviving son of Governor Orr. His elder brother James had died in 1905; his younger, Christopher, had died in 1888. His sister, Mary Orr Earle, was now the last surviving sibling. Dr. Orr was laid to rest in Anderson’s historic Old Silver Brook Cemetery.

The Orrs of Anderson Pt 2: The Children of the Governor I

The life and ancestry of Governor James Lawrence Orr has been covered in an earlier post. The esteemed governor and his wife Mary Marshall had seven children. This part continues the history of the Orr family by examining the lives of five of the seven. (The two remaining sons are discussed here.) From education to textiles to medicine, the surviving children of Governor Orr led lives as illustrious as their father’s. This is the first part of their story.

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Eliza Foster Tombstone, First Presbyterian Churchyard (Author’s collection)

Eliza Foster Orr (October 25, 1844-January 7, 1851) Eliza was the first child born to James Lawrence Orr and Mary Jane Marshall. She was born in Anderson, South Carolina, and named after Mary’s mother, Eliza Compton Foster.

Very little is known of Eliza because she died at the age of seven, the first Orr child to not survive to maturity. She was laid to rest in the Orr family plot in the churchyard of the First Presbyterian Church of Anderson. Her grave is marked by a handsome tablet monument crowned by elaborate scroll work.

Martha Orr (Patterson) (December 24, 1846-November 12, 1905) Christmas of 1846 was a special time for the young Orr couple. They celebrated on Christmas Eve with the birth of a second child, a daughter they named Martha after James’ mother. Given Governor Orr’s activity in the Confederacy it may seem odd that Martha marry who she did, but love is often mysterious. Martha’s husband was William Chamberlain Patterson, Jr. of Philadelphia. Patterson’s father was a colonel in the Union army and his uncle was Union General Francis E. Patterson. One child was born to the couple, Lawrence Orr Patterson, who was named after Martha’s father. The Pattersons lived in Greenville, South Carolina.

Martha was very involved in many social organizations, most notably the United Daughters of the Confederacy. She was also close friends with Elizabeth Bleckley, wife of Anderson businessman Sylvester Bleckley. The two had become friends through their mutual social organizations. Martha served as president of the South Carolina Division, United Daughters of the Confederacy, and of the South Carolina federation of Women’s Clubs.

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Martha Orr Patterson Tombstone (Christ Church (Episcopal), Greenville, South Carolina) (Find-A-Grave)

Martha’s death on November 12, 1905, was particularly tragic. She and Elizabeth had taken a trip to San Francisco, California, to attend the National Convention of the United Daughters of the Confederacy about a month earlier. While they were out enjoying an afternoon of horseback riding, an accident occurred. The horses became spooked and both ladies were thrown violently to the ground. Martha was badly bruised and taken to the San Diego Hospital for treatment. Elizabeth quickly recovered from her fall and returned to Anderson. Before she arrived, however, a telegram was received from the hospital that death had taken Martha. This was wholly unexpected and a great shock because she was recovering when Elizabeth left.

Martha had been a widow since 1901, and she was buried beside her husband in Christ Church (Episcopal) in Greenville.

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Mary Marshall Orr Prevost Earle (Daughters of the American Revolution)

Mary Marshall Orr Prevost Earle (August 1, 1858-April 15, 1912) Named after her mother, Mary was born while her father was Speaker of the House, and she was perhaps the most intelligent of the governor’s children. Many compared her intellect to that of her father’s. She was married twice: first to John Blair Prevost of Anderson, and they had one son, Marshall Blair; after Prevost’s death, she married William Edward Earle of Greenville. Her husbands’ lives were just as eventful as Mary’s.

John Prevost was the son of a Haitian sugar plantation owner who had been killed by his slaves. His mother had fled the island and arrived in Charleston with John and her two other children. Prevost married Mary Orr in 1876, but died less than a year later of pneumonia. His death took place a few months before his son Marshall Blair was born in 1877. At the time, the Prevost family lived in Anderson, and John Blair was buried at First Presbyterian. (Their son, Marshall Blair Prevost, would later become a leading figure in the Greenville art community and was a forefather of the Greenville Arts Museum.)

Mary’s second husband was Civil War veteran Captain William Edward Earle of Greenville. Earle was a direct descendant of John Earle, a Royalist from Virginia who is the ancestor of the upstate Earle family. He had previously been married and was the father of four children. His first wife, Bette Price, died in 1878.

During the Civil War, Earle was a captain and major the famed Earle’s Battery which provided protection along the coast. Earle’s Battery was one part of the Horse Artillery Brigade, Butler’s Division, Wade Hampton’s Cavalry Corps. He served throughout the Civil War, and surrendered with General Joseph E. Johnston. After the war, he practiced law in Greenville. His success as a trial attorney resulted in his appointment in 1877 as an Assistant United States District Attorney. By 1880, Earle was practicing law in Washington, D.C. He married Mary Orr Prevost on January 13, 1881. For nearly fifteen years, Earle was a successful attorney, but his failing health began to take its toll. While on a family vacation in Portland, Maine, Captain Earle died in August 13, 1894. He body was returned to Greenville and was laid to rest in Christ Church (Episcopal).

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Mary Orr Patterson Tombstone (Christ Church (Episcopal), Greenville, South Carolina) (Find-a-Grave)

While the Earles lived in Washington, Mary was a star among the social circles. She was a leading figure in the Daughters of the American Revolution, being a direct descendant of Robert Orr, a captain of Pennsylvania troops. She was one of the early D.A.R. vice presidents and a member of the first National Board. A contemporary account credited her with a “rare mental and social qualities.” Mary spoke five languages fluently and this made her very valuable among the Washington diplomatic corps.

With the death of her second husband, Mary returned to Greenville where she lived out her remaining years, continuing to be active in her social groups. She died after a brief illness at her home in Greenville April 15, 1912. She was laid to rest at Christ Church (Episcopal) along side Captain Earle.

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Amelia Orr Tombstone, First Presbyterian Churchyard (Author’s collection)

Amelia Orr (July 1, 1860-December 5, 1872) The youngest daughter of Governor Orr, she died at the age of thirteen and was buried at First Presbyterian Church. Unlike the other Orr children, it is not clear who she was named for. The name Amelia does not appear in either the Orr or Marshall families.

The news of the child’s death came at the same time as Orr’s appointment as minister to Russia. In fact, the the obituary of young Amelia appeared on the same page of the Anderson Intelligencer as the formal announcement of Orr’s appointment to the position.

According to her short obituary, she was “a bright, intelligent child – the pet of the household.”

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Christopher Hugh Orr Tombstone, First Presbyterian Churchyard (Author’s collection)

Christopher Hugh Orr (February 4, 1862-January 23, 1893) Named after his grandfather, Christopher Orr, he was the youngest son of the governor and was known as Christie to his friends. He was born shortly before Orr began his term in the Confederate Senate. As a youth, Christie attended the Yorkville Military School and later studied at the University of Virginia. After studying law in the office of his brother James, Christie was admitted to the bar. He lived in California for several years before returning home to take care of his aging mother.

Christie died after a long illness January 23, 1893 just a few days before his thirty-first birthday. His health had gotten worse in the early 1890’s, and took a sharp turn for the worst about three weeks before his death. During this time, Christie was stricken with paralysis and he died in this state. He was laid to rest in the Orr family plot at First Presbyterian Church. He never married.

The second part of The Children of the Governor will concern the lives of the remaining two sons, James Lawrence Orr, Jr., and Dr. Samuel Marshall Orr.

The Orrs of Anderson Pt 1: From an Inn to the Governor’s Mansion

There has been an Orr family living in Anderson since its founding, and their actions helped shape not only the development of the town but of the state as well. From one of the first executions in Anderson County to the Court of St. Petersburg, this is the first part of the story of an Anderson family and the street that bears its name.

The Orr family of Anderson County traces its line back to one Jehu Orr who built a two-story home in the Craytonville area of Anderson County in the early 1800’s. This was one of the first such homes in the county, and it also served as a stagecoach stop for travelers. Jehu Orr was born in 1763, in Wake County, North Carolina. He served in the Revolutionary War as a Captain of Dragoons in the North Carolina cavalry. It was after the war that Orr moved to what was then called the Pendleton District, which comprised present-day Anderson and Pickens Counties.

It was in Craytonville that Orr settled with his family, his wife, Jane Clinkscales, and their children. The business of innkeeper was very profitable for Jehu. His inn was situated not far from what was called the General’s Road which connected Andrew Pickens’ Hopewell Plantation in Clemson to Abbeville. This was a widely traveled road and served as the main north-south thoroughfare in the district. Stagecoach inns such as Orr’s were necessary part of travel in those days.

On December 20, 1826, under the leadership of Joseph Whitner, the Pendleton District was divided into two smaller, more manageable districts. They were named Anderson and Pickens. Almost a year later, on the evening of December 5, 1827, a man named Uriah Sligh entered Orr’s Inn seeking lodging. As customary, he was granted a room. Orr was a likable man. He knew that goodwill was the secret of any successful business, and he would often spend time with his guests. After a few drinks, Orr and Uriah began playing cards. The drinks continued and for reasons not exactly clear there was a confrontation between the two in which Sligh stabbed Orr. The wound was deep and mortal. Jehu Orr died December 14, 1827. He was buried in the Ruthledge/Emerson Cemetery west of Starr on private lands.

Sligh was arrested, tried for the murder, and found guilty. He was sentenced to be hanged. In his defense, Sligh claimed not to remember harming Orr, such was his drunkenness, but he expressed remorse for his actions and asked for those hearing him to avoid the dangers of drinking. Sligh was hung on March 22, 1828. According to contemporary accounts, he was the third execution in the district.

Among the Orr children, it is Christopher which next put his stamp on Anderson. He was born in Craytonville May 2, 1794. In 1820, Christopher, at the age of 24, married a local girl called Martha McCann. Orr was influential in the layout of the town. In fact, his was the first map of the downtown area and for the next twenty-four years, the Orrs were a fixture in the life of downtown Anderson.

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Christopher Orr House, Manning Street, Anderson, SC (Author’s collection)

Like his father, Orr was an inn keeper. He established an inn/tavern near the courthouse. This two-story Greek Revival Style house was built in the early 1830’s and served not only as the Orr’s home, but was a bar, inn, and retail establishment. Eventually, this building was moved to its present location on Manning Street. The Christopher Orr House is one of the oldest residences in Anderson and is listed on the National register of Historic Places as part of the Anderson Historic District. In place of the home, Orr built another building, known as the Orr House. This was a lavish hotel for its time and stood until the 1880’s when it was torn down.

In 1844, Christopher Orr sold the hotel and moved most of his family to Pontotoc County, Mississippi. The advertisement for the hotel stated that it had twenty rooms and twelve fireplaces. On the ground floor were two law offices and a kitchen. Stables, a carriage house, and small orchard were also part of the property. Christopher Orr died in Mississippi May 17, 1864. His eldest son, James Lawrence Orr, remained in Anderson.

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James Lawrence Orr (Matthew Brady Collection, Library of Congress)

James Lawrence Orr was born at the Orr Inn in Craytonville, May 12, 1822. Of Christopher Orr’s children, James was by far the most successful. His political career would span just twenty-four years, but he would serve his state and country honorably. He attended the Anderson Academy where he excelled at Latin and Greek. He also worked with his father as a shopkeeper and bookkeeper. After graduating from the University of Virginia in 1841, Orr returned to Anderson entered the firm run by Judge Whitner. In 1843, at the age of twenty, Orr was admitted to the state bar. After dabbling as a newspaper editor for the Anderson Gazette, Orr returned to the law and represented clients in Anderson, Greenville, Pickens, Abbeville, and Laurens Counties.

Orr was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1844 and remained there for two terms. In 1849, Orr was elected as a Democrat to the United States House of Representatives, representing what was then South Carolina’s Second Congressional District (later the Fifth). He held this seat until 1859, and for the last two years, 1857-1859, he was the thirty-fifth Speaker of the House, the second (and so far last) representative from South Carolina to do so. He was also the chairman of the House Committee on Indian Affairs from 1853 to 1855.

Orr married Mary Jane Marshall of Abbeville in the 1840’s. They would have five children.

Had the Civil War not happened, it is likely Orr would have continued to hold his seat. However, Orr was politically astute and he foresaw South Carolina’s secession. Orr was a strong supporter of states’ rights, but he was concerned about the actions in his home state. He personally opposed secession and would often warn others about the possible consequences. Still, his loyalty to South Carolina caused him to resign his seat in the House and return home.

Five men were appointed delegates from Anderson to the state’s secession convention in December 1860. They were Benjamin Franklin Mauldin, James Lawrence Orr, Jacob Pinckney Reed, Richard Franklin Simpson, and Joseph Newton Whitner, Jr. Abraham Lincoln had been elected president a month earlier; in response, and by a unanimous vote on December 20, South Carolina seceded from the United States.

After the vote, Orr is reported to have said, “Friends, you are headed for hell, but if you are determined to go, I’ll go with you.”

Of primary concern to the new South Carolina government was the status of federal properties in the state most notable were the forts in Charleston Harbor. Orr was one of a commission of three that was sent to Washington to negotiate a peaceful transfer of the properties. The failure of this commission was a direct cause of the later bombardment of Fort Sumter, the first shots of the Civil War.

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Marker at the old Muster Ground Site. The other side speaks of a Methodist Camp which also used the location. (Author’s collection)

Orr’s social and political status gave him the rank of colonel in the new Confederate Army. He formed his own regiment, the First South Carolina Rifle Regiment, or Orr’s Rifles, Sandy Springs. A historical marker stands on the site.

Orr’s Rifles did not see much action for the first year of the war. They were nicknamed the “Poundcake Regiment” because of their easy assignments. Orr resigned from his command in January 1862, when he was elected to the Confederate Senate. He held this seat until May 10, 1865, serving on both the First and Second Confederate Congresses.

Incidentally, the regiment he formed was reassigned in April 1862, to the Army of Northern Virginia and fought in most of the major engagements of the war. Orr’s rifles began the war with over one thousand enlisted men and officers; it finished at Appomattox with just nine officers and one hundred and forty nine enlisted men. According to legend, Orr’s Rifles yelled the loudest in protest when Lee surrendered.

Orr focused his attention to rebuilding his state, and he turned his eyes to the governor’s seat. His opponent was none other than state hero Wade Hampton III. In November 29, 1865, Orr became the seventy-third Governor of South Carolina, the first governor to be directly elected. Prior to Orr, the governor was elected by the state senate. Orr remained in office until July 6, 1868, when the state adopted a new constitution based on Reconstruction.

One of the main accomplishments of his administration was the conversion of South Carolina College to South Carolina University. Otherwise, the state was under Federal military occupation and Orr largely served as a figurehead.

Like most politicians of his day, Orr was a mason. He was a member of Hiram No. 68 in Anderson but never served as grand master of the lodge. He did serve as Grand Master of Masons in South Carolina from 1865 to 1868. He refused another election as grand master, although it was clear he would have won again.

After leaving the governor’s office, Orr retired from public life, hoping to live quietly in his home on McDuffie Street called Forest Home (but locally known as Arlington). The people of Anderson, however, had other plans. Although he did not campaign for it, he was voted a circuit court judge in 1868, and established a reputation for a fair and balanced bench. He remained a judge until, in a gesture of post-Reconstruction healing, President Ulysses S. Grant appointed Orr the Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States to Russia, an exalted title which is the equivalent to being an ambassador today. He took office on December 12, 1872 but unfortunately died in St. Petersburg on March 5, 1873, shortly after arriving, presumably due to the harsh climate.

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Governor James L. Orr Monument (Author’s Collection)

Orr received a funeral in St. Petersburg at the English chapel. All English speaking and American residences attended and the casket was draped in flowers placed there by Maria Alexandrovna, the Empress of Russia. Afterwards, the body was packed in ice for shipment back to Anderson, but there were several stops on the way. First, Governor Orr’s body was received in New York by members of the Masonic Lodge. His body lay in state in the New York City Hall before being sent by rail to South Carolina. At major stops along the way, the train was met by other groups of Masons before arriving in Anderson in June 1873 and being taken to Hiram Lodge. Such was the condition of the body that dozens of sprays of flowers were needed to fill the rooms of the lodge.

After laying in state again in the Hiram Lodge, and receiving a funeral full of honors, the body of James Lawrence Orr, the seventy-third governor of South Carolina, was finally laid to rest on the June 19, in the First Presbyterian churchyard. His grave is marked with a tall column with an engraved base, and iron cross denoting his Confederate service.

To honor Governor Orr, the city of Anderson named Orr Street in his honor. This was one of the original streets laid out in the town and had previously been called First Street on the original Christopher Orr Map.

Edwards Bobo Murray, the Golden Boy of Anderson, South Carolina

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Rev. John Scott Murray, father of Edwards Bobo Murray (First Baptist Church of Anderson)

If there was ever a “golden boy” in Anderson, South Carolina’s history, it was Edwards Bobo Murray. He had looks, money, family background, and a brilliant legal mind. But sadly, none of these could save Murray from the dangers of his swimming pond. His life, death, and the avenue that bears his name are the subject of this tale.

Edwards Bobo Murray was born in Newberry County, February 5, 1854, while his family was on a short visit. His farther, the Rev. John Scott Murray, was a well-known Baptist minister. His mother was Claudia Rebecca Edwards. Rev. Murray had been ordained in the fall of 1851, as the first full-time pastor of the Anderson Baptist Church, now called First Baptist Church.

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Advertisement for the Rev. Murray’s Law Firm from 1866 (Anderson Intelligencer)

Like many ministers of his day, Rev. Murray had a second occupation: he was one of the most successful antebellum lawyers in Anderson. In his later years, the Rev. Murray would hold several elected positions at the local and state level, deftly mixing religion and politics. The Murrays placed a high value on education, being well educated themselves. They saw to it that their son was to receive the best education and training possible.

A life devoted to study very much pleased young Murray. He was an excellent student, excelling at nearly every topic he studied. Even when stumped with a subject, he would not stop his lessons until they were completed. He had a hunger and thirst for knowledge that seemed to know no bounds. Murray joined the Anderson Baptist Church in 1866. Three years later, at the age of fifteen, Murray was accepted to the 1869-70 term at Furman University. His classmates at Furman recognized his talents, and he was elected as the adversary essayist and session orator. Murray was able to hone his debating and reasoning skills.

From 1870 to 1871, Murray attended the University of Virginia, but due to ill health, he was forced to return home to Anderson to recover; he did not, however, stop studying. In 1872, after spending nearly a year at rest, Edwards entered his father’s law office and began reading and studying the law. At the age of nineteen, in 1873, Edwards passed a exam that is the equivalent of today’s state bar exam, receiving an order admitting him to the bar in 1875, when he reached the age of twenty-one. That same year, Edwards became an editor of the Anderson Conservator, a small paper which later merged with the Anderson Intelligencer, which Murray was also the editor of.

On March 3, 1874, the General Assembly passed an act empowering Edwards B. Murray to practice law in the state of South Carolina at the age of twenty. He is the only person in the state’s history to receive such an honor. The firm of Murray & Murray, partnered by the Rev. John Scott and his son Edwards Bobo Murray, was open for business. Murray quickly rose to a prominence that few lawyers attain. His skill at speaking and his argumentative prowess gave confidence to his clients and dread to his opponents. Murray approached the law differently. He relayed not on musty precedents but on original ideas and common sense. He fought to win and represented clients not just in state and federal courts. He was also well known in the surrounding counties, and his legal aid and advice was often sought by firms across the state and beyond.

Murray had always taken an interest in politics and was heavily influenced by his father. The Rev. Murray had been a staunch secessionist and served as a Confederate chaplain in the Civil War. The situation in the south after the war was distressing to many as Reconstruction continued to devastate the state. Murray was among those who resented the control the “carpetbaggers” had over South Carolina’s affairs. He believed that the state needed to make a change, and he wanted to be part of it. In 1872, Murray was elected as a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives from Anderson County. He held this seat until 1884.

Four years after he was first elected, Murray wed. His bride was the young, beautiful, and intelligent Eva Sloan, and the two were married on July 10, 1876. They had six children, two daughters and four sons.

As a representative, Murray was very popular, and the Anderson Intelligencer dubbed him “the real representative of Anderson County.” The citizens of Anderson respected him, although his actions were often misunderstood by the folks back home. His primary goal was the welfare of Anderson County, and he was a major factor in the economic growth of the town during this period. Murray respect among his peers was such that he was the leading voice of the upcountry representatives.

His life was not without controversy. The Intelligencer also noted the following:

“We should not be understood as saying he made no mistakes, for it is human to err, and he was human; but few men have ever been able to overcome their mistakes and errors with the power and ease that he did. Several incidents in his life would have relegated an ordinary man to the past forever, but he with his wonderful mental power and indomitable energy rose above them all, and continually went higher and higher, in the scale of life, leaving his mistakes below him.”

They are referring to a feud between Murray and Benjamin Tillman.

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Democratic Nomination List (Anderson Intelligencer under Murray’s Editorship)

Murray was also a major supporter of Wade Hampton III during his run for the governorship in 1876. He campaigned for Hampton as what was called a “straightout” in Anderson County and beyond, often traveling day and night to speak on behalf of Hampton. Murray unabashedly used his reputation to ensure the votes for Hampton were there. In doing so, Murray put himself first among the young rising political stars in post-Reconstruction South Carolina.

In 1886, the citizens of Anderson County elected Murray to the state Senate, a seat he held until 1890, the same year his political career ended when he was defeated in the U.S. Senate race against George Johnson. Although he officially retired from politics, he did not retire from public life. He was chosen in 1891 as a deacon of First Baptist, having been active his whole life in the church’s Sunday School. Having been the beneficiary of a good and sound education, Murray was passionate about the issue. He was a trustee of Furman University and the Greenville Female College, and held a seat on the board of Converse College.

Murray incurred the wrath of no less than Benjamin Tillman in the 1890’s. Murray was selected as a candidate for the position of delegate to the State Democratic Convention of 1892. He supported John Calhoun Sheppard as opposed to Tillman. While speaking at Cedar Grove in Abbeville County, he was attacked by a mob. Although injured, when asked about pressing charges, he declined, stating that he bore the men no ill will. He knew that they were receiving orders from Tillman, a man Murray had nothing in common with personally or politically.

While both Tillman and Murray sought reformation in South Carolina, Murray was more conservative for his time. He was a member of the Bourbon Democrats, a branch of the Democratic Party in South Carolina which had risen to power with Hampton. Bourbon refers to the fact that they were returning to power, much like the Bourbon dynasty did in France. They called themselves the Redeemers because they had redeemed the state from Reconstruction. In essence, the Bourbons believed that power should reside with the old established families in the state. Tillman took a more populace approach and, not surprisingly, it eventually led him to the governor’s office.

Death Announcement

The Announcement of Murray’s Death, Anderson Intelligencer, July 11, 1894, page 2

Less than two years later, Edwards Bobo Murray was dead. He died on July 7, 1894. The Murray estate was located just a few blocks north of Anderson to the west of Main Street. On the property was a large pond that was fed by an underground stream. Murray loved this pond and would often retreat to it and study. He was also an excellent swimmer. On this Friday afternoon, Murray, his daughter, Felicia, and two of her friends, Mary Preer and Helen Sloan, were all enjoying the pond. Murray and Preer were excellent swimmers and they were teaching the other two.

After about an hour in the water, the three girls headed for shore to rest. Murray remained in the water. He had pulled a boat out in the middle of the pond and was holding on to one side when he began to struggle. The girls noticed him and realized he was in trouble when he disappeared below the water. Felicia ran into the water but was unable to help due to her gossamer. Helen Sloan ran to the house which was about seventy-five yards away. Little Edward Jr. was sent into town for help.

Back at the pond, the ladies were working to try and save Murray. At one point his daughter was able to grab Murray hair and it was short and slipped out of her fingers. Frantic she began to paddle through the water, screaming for her father. But he did not reappear. The water calmed and then, as if a last breath had entered his lungs, Murray reached out of the water and grabbed his daughter. The boat tipped and as if he knew that he was endangering his daughter’s life, Edward Murray let go and sank to the bottom of the pond.

Edward Jr. returned to the house with several men from the town. J.L. Tribble, Lawrence Maxwell, and Williams Giles were the first to arrive. After some work, Giles was able to finally retrieve Murray from the water. By this point, he had been under water for half an hour. Drs. Wilhite, Frierson, and Harris all worked for an additional hour to try and save Murray but he was gone.

Anderson had not seen such a funeral since the death of Governor Orr. Cards and letters poured in from all over the state. At five in the afternoon of Monday, July 9, 1894, hundreds gathered at the Murray home before marching in solemn procession to First Baptist Church. Every seat in the church was occupied and there were many standing outside in the gentle rain which had been falling for some time.

Three ministers, Oscar L. Martin, Charles Manly, and I.M. Mercer, conducted the funeral. The list of pallbearers and honorary was a “who’s who” of Anderson’s elite. The pallbearers were W.W. Keys, Jefferson Davis Maxwell, James Albert Brock, Frank T. Wilhite, J.P. Duckett, James L. Orr, William Laughlin, J.L. Tribble, and H.H. Watkins. The honorary was Sylvester Bleckley, Benjamin F. Whitner, Aaron R. Broyles, Col. J.B. Patrick, Baylis F. Crayton, A.B. Towers, D. Sloan Maxwell, W.F. Barr, Patrick K McCully, J.F. Clinkscales, W.G. Watson, A.J. Stringer, J.W. Poore, Dr. W.H. Nardin, J.T. Green, J.S. Fowler, N.O. Farmer and George W. Sullivan.

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Edwards B. Murray Monument, Old Silver Brook Cemetery (Author’s Collection)

Resolutions of respect were passed by the Vanderbilt Benevolent Association of Charleston, the Board of Trade of Anderson, the Sunday School of First Baptist Church of Anderson, and the Pickens Bar. Nearly every major state newspaper from Walhalla to Charleston published an editorial praising Murray for his legal knowledge, skill, and compassion.

Murray was remembered for many things, but his love of Anderson was the most important thing to him. He was taken with honors to Old Silver Brook Cemetery where a handsome monument now stands over his grave.

One of the many memorials had this to say:

“The most beautiful trait, however, in Maj. Murray’s character was his fidelity to his friends and devotion to his family. To his friends he was frank, generous and sincere, and no man who ever hard a claim on him was turned away unrequited. He tied men to him with hooks of steel, and probably enjoyed the ardent friendship of more men than any man in South Carolina. To his family he was most affectionate. No personal sacrifice was too great for him to make for their happiness, no exertion too much for their pleasure – a dutiful son and loving husband, a devoted father. In Church and State, in politics and religion, in business and family affairs, he filled the full measure of duty: a gentleman, a scholar, a patriot and a Christian.”

Murray Avenue 1901

1901 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map Showing Original Murray Avenue prior to the bridge built over the railroad cut. The Murray property includes the area bounded on the west and south by Spring Street, the east by Main Street, and the north by Bleckley Street.

During the early twentieth century, when a new road was added to the north of the Blue Ridge Railroad Cut, the land through which the road would travel was the of Murray property. It was agreed at that time to name the road Murray Avenue, in honor of the late Edward Bobo Murray. For the first few decades of its existence, Murray Avenue did not connect across the railroad cut with the southern street, at the time called Peoples Street. It was not until the 1940’s that a permanent bridge between the two streets was completed.

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Murray Avenue Today (Author’s Collection)

John E. Peoples, the Viaduct, and a Lost Street

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John E. Peoples, First Baptist Church (Author’s Collection)

In my home town of Anderson, South Carolina, there are three statues of prominent Andersonians in the downtown area. Two are on the square: William C. Whitner and William W. Humphreys (atop the Confederate Monument). Both of these deserves their own story, but it is the third statue which concerns the first post of Under the Kudzu. The third statue is hidden behind a tree in the graveyard of the First Baptist Church on Manning Street. This life size statue of a man facing downtown is of John E. Peoples, and his name was once used to denote the southern part of what is today Murray Avenue.

 

Peoples was born in Newberry County, 20 March 1853. His father died when he was two, and his mother moved to Greenville. He lived with her until he moved to Anderson in 1875, at the age of twenty-two. Peoples quickly became one of Anderson’s youngest and most successful businessmen. He started working for his uncle, a Mr. Gilreath at the firm Gilreath & Burgess, dealing in stoves, tin-wear, etc. Within a few years, Peoples, bought our Burgess’ share in the company and it was renamed Gilreath & Peoples. Within a few years, Peoples bought out his uncle. His wealth continued to grow, and he made wise investments. Peoples seemed able to convert just about anything into money matching the skill of any medieval alchemist.

Peoples married into one of Anderson’s most prominent families in March 1887. His wife was Miss Josephine Bleckley, the eldest daughter of Sylvester Bleckley, a business pioneer in the town. They had two children.

During the fall of 1889, Peoples’ health began to suffer and he was diagnosed with  consumption. Around the first of February 1890, acting upon the advice of his physician, he, along with his brother-in-law G.W. Howell, went to Thomasville, Georgia, for a few weeks of recovery. For a couple of weeks, Peoples’ health got better, but it was only temporary. On the morning of March 12, just ten days after celebrating his thirty-seventh birthday, Peoples passed away.

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Hand Holding Hat (Author’s Collection)

His body was bought back to Anderson by his brothers-in-law, and his wife. It was met by and escorted with honors the Board of Trade, the Knights of honor, and the Hiram Lodge, all of which he was a active member.

Peoples was buried in the First Baptist Church Graveyard. His funeral was lead by the Rev. Charles Manly, D.D., of Greenville, who preached what was described as an interesting and impressive sermon. Out of respect, all businesses were closed during the funeral service. The Hon. J.L. Tribble, Master of Hiram Lodge, delivered the graveside eulogy.

The statue that marks his grave was commissioned by his wife, Josie, and was carved in Italy from a photograph. The statue faces west, looking towards the downtown of his adopted home, holding his hat in his hand. Peoples’ prominent muttonchops dominate the now weathered face. To honor this young and much respected business leader, the city fathers of Anderson named the street beginning at the railroad cut and extending south Peoples Street.

Unlike its namesake, however, Peoples Street was never a great street. It not a widely used road because of its location. The main reason Peoples Street was difficult to use was because of the 1854 railroad cut that was made as part of the Blue Ridge Railroad. In about 1900, a new street that began north of the railroad cut was planned. It was named Murray Avenue, after Maj. Edwards Bobo Murray, whose property the street ran through. There was no bridge over the railroad cut between the two streets. The only way to go from Murray Avenue to Peoples Street was by cutting through downtown. This often caused traffic problems and bottlenecks, so work began on a bridge connecting the two streets. By 1919, a wooden bridge was constructed but it was not used because the angle on the Peoples’ side was too steep.

The solution to the problem? The Viaduct. The term viaduct is a combination of two Lain words, “via” meaning “to go,” and “ducere” meaning “road.” They are characterized by graceful arches which support the roadbed, and they very much resemble the aqueducts.

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G. Cullen Sullivan, Mayor of Anderson (Anderson Daily Mail, 50th Anniversary Edition)

The first viaduct was completed during 1940 during the mayoral administration of G. Cullen Sullivan. Murray Avenue and Peoples’ Street were now connected but this only generated confusion. Where did one street begin and the other end? The city fathers took a hard look at the situation. There were dozens of homes were located on Murray. No one lived on Peoples. Businesses were established on Murray. There were train depots, and the coal yards. There was not much in the way of commercial activity on on Peoples Street.

These factors weighed in the decision, and, sadly, Peoples disappeared from the city map. The entire road south of the railroad cut became Murray Avenue. Incidentally, the original viaduct was torn down within five years, and a new four-lane viaduct was erected. Construction was completed during the summer of 1945 and dedicated on September 16 of that year. The official name of the viaduct is the G. Cullen Sullivan Memorial Viaduct, named after Sullivan who had died while in office. The present bridge was completed in 1955 and is technically not a viaduct, although it is still locally so called.