The Hamburg Massacre

Since 2008 my original Wikipedia article has passed through many hands, gained some interesting facts, and lost quite a bit of cohesion. This is mostly a repeat of the original, FWIW.

The Hamburg Massacre (or Hamburg Riot) was a key event of South Carolina Reconstruction. The racially motivated incident grew out of a dispute on July 4, 1876 when a company of black militia marched down the main street in Hamburg. Two white farmers tried to ride through the ranks. It ended four days later with the with the death of seven men. [An eighth death has recently been confirmed.] The Massacre launched the furious 1876 Democratic campaign for South Carolina’s ‘Redemption’, leading to the downfall of Reconstruction and nearly a century of “Jim Crow” denial of civil rights.

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Floods

Both Augusta and Hamburg were built on low ground for easy access to the Savannah River. And the river threatened their existence with a damaging “freshet” or flood about every 15 years. (Page 7 of this report has a great rundown on Savannah River floods since 1796.) While both cities suffered equally for many years, Augusta finally gained an advantage in 1915 with the construction of its first levee. While both this levee and the power canal occasionally failed the test in following years, the levee proved its worth in 1925 when a modest flood passed Augusta by, but hit Hamburg as usual.

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Official Report of the Hamburg Massacre

Columbia, S.C., July 12, 1876.

SIR: — According to your request of Monday last, I have visited Hamburg for the purpose of ascertaining the facts connected with the killing of several men there on the night of the 8th of July.

My information has been derived chiefly from Trial-Justice Rivers, and from the testimony of persons who have been examined before the coroner’s jury now in session, and from those who received wounds from the armed body of white men who had taken them prisoners. From this information the following facts seem to be clearly established:

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1876 Hamburg Militia Muster Roll

Muster roll of 18th Regt, A Co, National Guard of the State of South Carolina. From South Carolina in 1876, Volume III, pages 582 and 583. I invite a promising high school student to attach some humanity to these names. A lot could be discovered using no more than U.S. Census reports and SC in 1876. I pledge my support to anyone taking this on!

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The Sixth Hamburg Mechanic’s Festival

In addition to describing an unusual and interesting event, this article gives a nice rundown of Shultz’s career in the Augusta area.

Article by Peter Hughes
Originally published in The Carolina Herald and Newsletter
Official Publication of the South Carolina Genealogical Society
Vol. XXXVIII No. 2 (April, May, June 2010)

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