Tuesday, November 24, 2015

St. Matthias Episcopal Church 56th Annual Christmas Bazaar

Mark your calendar - St. Matthias Episcopal Church will hold its 56th Annual Christmas Bazaar on December 5th, from 10am-2pm, in Summerton. 

The following is a brief history of the church and a link to their web site.

St. Matthias Episcopal Church - A meeting in the yard of The Presbyterian Church, marked the beginning of the establishment of St. Matthias in 1889. The land to build the church and rectory was given by Mrs. R. H. Belser. The church was built and paid for through donations and accumulated funds. On St. Mathias Day, February 24, 1899, the church was officially consecrated by Bishop Capers. The rectory adjoining the church was built in 1903. In 1910, the church was remodeled and rebuilt on concrete blocks and stained glass windows were added. A valuable Felgenmaker organ was installed in 1917. The organ was purchased from the Washington Street Methodist Church and has the date of February 23, 1870, on the bellows. It is one of only two remaining Felgenmaker organs - both of which are in Episcopal churches in SC.  A bronze tablet, given by members of the congregation and bearing names of the church's founders, was dedicated on September 9, 1956, by Rev. Richard Patton. Visit the church on N. Duke Street in the heart of Summerton.

* See information on other Historic Churches in Summerton, SC

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Brief History of the Wilson & Summerton Railroad

The Wilson & Summerton Railroad (W&S) Railroad was first chartered by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1888.

The railroad line was built by Thomas Wilson and started at Millard Junction, just to the west of Summerton, where it connected to the Charleston, Sumter & Northern Railroad (CS&N). It ran 16.5 miles to Wilsons Mill, just to the east of Manning, where it connected to the Central Railroad of South Carolina.

The W&S began operations on September 10, 1889. Towns along the line between Wilson's Mill and Millard's Junction included Wilson, Bloomville, Jordan, Davis Station, and Summerton. The primary purpose of the W&S Railroad was to bring lumber to Wilson's Mill.

In 1890, the Eutawville_Railroad changed its name to the Charleston, Sumter & Northern Railroad. In October 1894, the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad bought the Charleston, Sumter & Northern Railroad and it was renamed the Charleston & Northern Railroad. In 1895, property, franchises, and rights of the Charleston & Northern were sold, and a good portion of the line was acquired by the Wilson & Summerton (W&S) Railroad.

In 1899, the W&S Railroad was merged with the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad and became the Northwestern Railroad of South Carolina and Thomas Wilson became its president. The railroad line ran all the way from the town of Camden to Wilson's Mill, a distance of more than 61 miles. It remained in business until the mid-1930s when it folded due to competition from the growing trucking industry.

* Be sure to visit the US Railroad & Rail Worker History web site

Key Resources

Friday, November 20, 2015

Brief History of South Carolina Railroads

The history of South Carolina railroads first dates back to the South Carolina Canal and Rail Road Company (SCCRR) which was formed back in 1827.

On December 4, 1827, Alexander Black introduced "a bill to incorporate a company to establish a railway or railways between the City of Charleston and the towns of Hamburg, Columbia, and Camden." The bill was passed and finally approved on December 19, 1827. It authorized the organization of the South Carolina Canal and Rail Road Company.

The stockholders officially formed the South Carolina Canal and Rail Road company on May 12, 1828. It was the second railroad company in the US. Surveys were then conducted to determine the best route from Charleston to Hamburg - near present day North Augusta, SC.

A local businessman E. L. Miller provided $4,000.00 to purchase the first locomotive for the Charleston Hamburg Railroad. It was called “The Best Friend of Charleston” and was the first practical working steam locomotive built in America. It was first built in New York, then disassembled and transported down the Atlantic coast by ship. The locomotive arrived in Charleston on October 23, 1830. The locomotive weighed about 4½ tons and produced only six horsepower.

In January of 1830, construction of the railroad tracks began. The tracks started in Charleston and reached San Souci area by December of that year. On Christmas Day, 1830, 141 passengers rode in two passenger cars up to San Souci, traveling at speeds of up to 25 miles per hour. That first trip of “The Best Friend of Charleston” was reported around the world. This was the first regularly scheduled passenger train to operate in America.

The railroad experienced several problems during 1831. These included train derailments and the burning of a freight car by hot ashes from the locomotive. The biggest setback was the explosion of the iron boiler that exploded, killing the fireman and destroying “The Best Friend of Charleston.” The death of the fireman was the first fatality on an American railroad. Parts were salvaged from the wreckage and another engine was built and named “The Phoenix”.

By the end of 1831, the railroad was eighteen miles long and reached the area of Woodstock. The tracks reached Summerville in the summer of 1832. On October 3, 1832, the company started running two daily passenger trains from Charleston to Summerville. The railroad kept slowly expanding across South Carolina. The Charleston Hamburg Railroad also became the first railroad to carry the US mail. Many towns along the train route were named for railroad people. For example, the town of Aiken was named for William Aiken, the first president of the railroad.

The train finally reached Hamburg, SC, on October 2, 1833. The Charleston Hamburg Railroad was the longest railroad in the world at that time. The track was 126 miles long from beginning to end. The train reportedly could run between 15 and 25 miles an hour, but had to stop every 10 miles for fuel and water. By October 1833 the railroad had completed its entire line, a massive system for its time easily making it the largest such company in operation.

The cost of building the railroad was just under $1 million. Elias Horry was president of the Charleston Hamburg Railroad company from 1831 to 1834. On December 28, 1837 the Louisville, Cincinnati, and Charleston Railroad purchased the South Carolina Canal and Railroad company for $2,400,000.

By 1840, the South Carolina town of Branchville asserted that it was the "first railroad junction" in the world, and the Branchville & Columbia Railroad was well into its construction (completed 1842). The Camden & Branchville Railroad was completed in 1848.

At the start of the U.S. Civil War, there were thirteen railroads with over 985 miles of track laid within the state of South Carolina. Railroads played a significant role during the Civil War with troop movement, but their greatest use was for transporting goods and material to aid in the war effort. Many miles of track were destroyed by General Sherman on his march through South Carolina.

After the Civil War, South Carolinians quickly repaired its railroads and by 1870 had added another 300 miles of new track. By the end of the century, South Carolina had over 2,800 miles of railroad tracks, criss-crossing every county within the state. The end of the century also brought the merger of many railroad companies into large "conglomerates".

The railroad transformed the state of South Carolina like nothing had before. In the 1840s, the first "railroad towns" began to emerge along the snaking steel rails where farmland once held firm. Thousands of little depots, hamlets, and thriving cities began to evolve along the railroad well into the early twentieth century.

Railroads reached their peak in South Carolina around 1920, with over 3,800 miles of track in operation. However, with the coming of the automobile and the freight trucking lines, highways began to assume dominance over the railroads. When the US Interstate Highways came along in the 1950s and 1960s, many railroad lines became unprofitable and were ultimately abandoned. Many "railroad towns" also began to fade away. Quite a few did not survive into the twenty-first century.

At its peak, South Carolina had almost 4,000 miles of track.Today, South Carolina's rail network includes nearly 2,300 miles of track. Expect the network to begin growing again as high speed rail systems and intermodal freight trains gain traction over the coming decade.

SC State Rail System Today

Class I Railroads
  • CSX Transportation (CSXT)
  • Norfolk Southern Railway (NS)

Class III Railroads
  • Carolina Southern Railroad Company (CALA)
  • Greenville & Western Railway Company (GRLW)
  • Hampton and Branchville Railroad Company (HB)
  • Lancaster and Chester Railway Company (LC)
  • Pee Dee River Railway Corporation (PDRR)
  • Pickens Railroad Company (PICK and PKHP)
  • S.C. Central Railroad Company (SCRF)
  • Carolina Piedmont Railroad (CPDR)
  • S.C. Public Railways (SCPR)

Passenger carriers

* Make sure you visit the web site on History of Railroads & Rail Workers

Key Sources

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Crowdfunding, Crowdsourcing, or Open Source Solutions?

You've probably started to become aware of the relatively new phenomenum called 'Crowdfunding'. But what exactly is crowdfunding or crowdsourcing all about? Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a public or private venture by raising monetary contributions from a large number of people, often via Internet-based platforms. Crowdsourcing is the process of soliciting needed services, ideas, or content via the Internet from people around the world.

Crowdfunding is a form of alternative financing which has emerged outside of more traditional financial systems. In 2013, the crowdfunding industry raised over $5.1 billion worldwide and is expected to reach $1 trillion by 2025. However, the key to the success of crowdfunding over the long term is 'trust' - and that has become an issue as many crowdfunding struggle to actually ever produce a product.

As of 2012, there were over 450 crowdfunding platforms - some of which are somewhat questionable. Examples of current crowdfunding platforms include: CircleUp, Crowdcube, Emerging Crowd, Eureeca, Funding Circle, Kickstarter, Lending Club, Microventures, OurCrowd, Ulule. CrowdEngine, Cashare, Daily Deed, DealGlobe, EquityNet, GoFundMe, Indiegogo, iFunding, InvestX, Zopa and many more. So, you had best check them out carefully before you start handing over your hard earned money.

Some of the many recent articles cautioning people about crowdfunding include:

However, there are starting to be a growing number of news articles on reputable crowdfunding projects that actually produced a product. For example:

Perhaps a better alternative to crowdfunding or crowdsourcing for those interested in developing new technologies or solutions would be to participate or contribute to some of the well established, reputable organizations focused on developing collaborative 'open source' solutions. 

This would include such well known non-profit organizations such as Apache, CAMBIA, Creative Commons, Eclipse, Free Software Foundation, Linux Foundation, Mozilla, Open Source Initiative, Open Source for America, Project Gutenburg, Sunlight Foundation, Wikimedia Foundation and so many more.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Local Clarendon County Football Team Scores and Schedules - November 6, 2015

The following are the latest scores for all the local Clarendon County high school football team games as of November 6, 2015:
  • Manning HS Monarchs lost to Darlington 41-34.
  • East Clarendon defeated by C.E. Murray 49-6.
  • Laurence Manning Academy (LMA) Swampcats beat Porter Gaud 28-24.
  • Summerton's Scotts Branch Eagles season win/loss record is now 4-5.
  • Clarendon Hall Saints win/loss record for the season is now 5-5.

The following are links to the 2015 Football schedule, roster, and detailed stats for local high schools in Summerton and across Clarendon County, SC:

* Check out MAXPREPS, a CBSSports.com web site for football team standings, other sports teams at your school, and more detailed statistics.