Tag Archives: Greenville SC

All the adornments that taste and money can afford

The Gassaway Mansion in Greenville, SC is still the largest house in the Upstate at 22,000 square feet. Here’s a profile of its owners, Walter & Minnie Gassaway, taken from  “History of South Carolina, Volume 4,” from 1920: “Walter L. Gassaway is one of the very well known bankers and financiers of Upper South Carolina, […]

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How the poinsettia got its name

His public service was legendary. In 1821, South Carolinian Joel Roberts Poinsett had founded the Academy of Fine Arts in Charleston. In 1838, when he was the Secretary of War under Martin Van Buren, he had a northeast county of Arkansas named after him by that state’s governor. At that point in his career, he’d […]

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When he drew his magic bow against his violin’s strings

During the 1870s, William Murphy of Greenville, S. C., wandered through these mountains making music every day. He, like Stephen Foster, was regarded as a half-vagabond, but he was tolerated for the pleasure his enchanted violin gave whenever he drew his magic bow across its strings. There can be little doubt that men of his […]

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The Swamp Rabbit engineer had to back up a mile to retrieve a lost cow-catcher

GREENVILLE OF OLD by Charles A. David Greenville News July 18, 1926 You may name your boy Percival, Algernon, or Montmoresst, but if some chap at school dubs him “Sorrel-top,” “Bully,” or “Buster,” the nick-name will stick and his real name forgotten. So it has been with this little railroad–its owners christened it the Carolina, […]

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New play ‘The Last Lynching’ chronicles largest lynching trial in US history

In February 1947, Willie Earle hired a taxicab to take him home from Greenville, SC, to Liberty, about 20 minutes away. Early the next morning, the driver, Thomas Watson Brown, lay dying in a Greenville hospital. Soon, Earle was charged with stabbing Brown and was taken to the nearby Pickens jail. About the same time that Watson finally succumbed to his wounds, Earle’s body was found mutilated by the side of a lonely, frosty road.

Willie Earle was black. Only hours after he’d been arrested at his mother’s home and taken to jail, 31 white cab drivers snatched him from his cell, drove him to a vacant lot next to a slaughterhouse and blew his brains out. In subsequent statements to federal authorities, they all confessed.

Three months later, an all-white jury acquitted all 31 defendants.

The trial drew international and national attention.

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