Duke Bernhard’s 1825 Visit

Lafayette’s 1824-1825 ‘Friend of the Nation’ tour of America was the most sensational event of the decade. Lafayette went out of his way to pass through almost every state of the Union, in a giant loop starting in the Northeast, through the South, to New Orleans, upriver to St. Louis, and up the Ohio back to where he started. Crowds cheered him wildly at every place along the way. Lafayette, refusing no invitation, probably shook almost that many hands. He visited Hamburg and Augusta, unfortunately his secretary’s record is skimpy. Of course most of their journals were lost months later in the Ohio River when their riverboat hit a snag and sank in the middle of the night.

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Cotton to Charleston

Augusta existed to collect cotton, and get the cotton to a seaport. The most available seaport for Augusta was Savannah, 231 river miles away. Hamburg existed to collect cotton, Augusta’s cotton if possible, and get the cotton to a South Carolina seaport. That was Hamburg’s drumbeat, to keep South Carolina commerce at home, which was part of the deal for support from the state legislature. So Hamburg boats routinely sailed right past Savannah, and beat their way another 101 miles behind the sea islands to Charleston.


Steamboat and Rail routes from Hamburg to Savannah. The sea islands route from Savannah to Charleston is only my guess. From 1833 Tanner Map of SC, Library of Congress rr002990

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Dock Adams’ Amazing Testimony

Dock Adams was captain of the militia company during the Hamburg Massacre. His testimony covers 40 pages of South Carolina in 1876, the report of the Senate investigation. This is as close as we can get to what the citizens of Hamburg went through that night.

It’s no easier to read than anything else that has to do with the massacre. But this is Dock’s voice, and his actions that night reveal a character of leadership and enterprise that is confirmed by other testimonies.

Read SC in 1876 – Dock Adams (PDF)

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 eight 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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Hamburg Massacre Marker Dedication March 6

At long last, at 2:00 PM on Sunday March 6, 2016, the Heritage Council of North Augusta will dedicate the historical marker to the Hamburg Massacre. This will be in front of the Society Building in the Carrsville neighborhood, at the corner of Barton and Boylan streets. This is near First Providence Baptist Church, 315 Barton Road. Alongside the Hamburg Massacre marker will be a stone monument engraved with eight names: names of the men that died as a result of the events of July 8, 1876.


The public is invited to attend. Following the dedication, there will be a reception in the old sanctuary of First Providence and the opportunity to go into the Society Building. Then, at 4:00 p.m., a panel discussion will be held at First Providence: “Why Hamburg Still Matters.”  Confirmed panelists include Stephen Budiansky (author of The Bloody Shirt), Dr. Leann Caldwell of AU, and Professor Jonathan Bryant of Georgia Southern University.

After the 1929 floods, Hamburg residents relocated to this area, and the
Society Building is believed to have been taken apart and moved here at that time. Providence Baptist Church, organized in Hamburg in 1860, raised their original Carrsville sanctuary in 1930.

Hamburg Clocks

Manufacturing was alien to the Southern plantation spirit, but nevertheless found its way into the freewheeling atmosphere at Hamburg, including – for a few years – the local assembly of clocks. These were  ‘Short Case’ clocks of the type that stood on the fireplace mantles of many, if not most Southern homes. Many Hamburg clocks still exist, one at the Aiken County Historical Museum, and a Huson clock at the Saluda Museum (by the Saluda Theater at 105 Law Range Street). Some are labeled ‘L. M. Churchill & Co.’ and others ‘Huson & Co.’

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