Friday, May 08, 2015

SPC Senior Pastors: N.J. Holmes

SPC Senior Pastors: N. J. Holmes, 1847-1919

 Nickels John Holmes was born to Catherine (Nickels) and Rev. Zelotes Lee Holmes on September 9, 1847. At the time of his birth his father was the minister of the Nazareth Presbyterian Church in Spartanburg County, South Carolina. Zelotes was originally from New York and had moved south seeking a warmer climate. He settled in Columbia where he pursued his sense of ministerial call studying in the Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Catherine was a native South Carolinian born in Laurens County. Nickels was the oldest of the children except for an older sister named Olive.

In 1852, Zelotes moved his family to Laurens County where he supplied the First Presbyterian Church, Clinton, when it was organized in 1855 and supplied several other churches in the area. The family continued to live in Laurens County while Zelotes, along with his ministerial duties, operated a farm, built his own concrete home, and taught in a school for women. Nickels enjoyed growing up on the farm and sometimes, as did many boys, played hooky to engage in the more Tom Sawyer-like activities of rural life.

At an evangelistic meeting in 1863 held by Rev. W. P. Jacobs, Nickels professed his faith in Christ and united with the Clinton congregation. He almost immediately believed that he should become a minister, but he would wrestle with his call for several years. Not long after he joined the church, Olive died, which was a heavy blow to Nickels because they had been very close. Just before her death Olive encouraged Nickels to become a minister. Olive’s counsel played a significant part in shaping N. J. Holmes in his later years.

Monday, April 06, 2015

SPC Charter Members: The Allen Brothers’ Families, Part 3 The Brothers’ West End Businesses

SPC Charter Members:  The Allen Brothers’ Families, Part 3
The Brothers’ West End Businesses

When Robert E. Allen moved to Greenville and began working for Ferguson and Miller around 1880 the city population was 6,160.  By the time he died in 1909 the number of residents had increased to about fifteen thousand.  The textile industry was providing jobs and people were moving to Greenville for work.  Not only was the growth true for Greenville east of the Reedy River but also for the West End.  When Robert and his brother Henry became founding members of Second Presbyterian Church in 1892 their move from what is now First Presbyterian Church into the West End business district showed their commitment to the spiritual interests of the community.  Robert Allen lived in a home on River Street behind his grocery store and Henry lived further to the west at 529 Perry Ave.  In 1890, President Henry Briggs, and directors Robert Allen and Walter Gassaway organized the American Bank.  The building exists today with its 1920s appearance at the intersection of Pendleton and Augusta.  A close look at the lettering at the top of the front façade will uncover the shadow of the words, “American Bank,” hiding behind the letters, “Legal Services Agency.”

Friday, February 27, 2015

SPC Charter Members: The Allen Brothers’ Families, Part 2

SPC Charter Members:  The Allen Brothers’ Families, Part 2
Robert E. and Cornelia Allen

            The Greenville Daily News reported that on Wednesday, Sept. 29, 1909, two rival and pioneering aviators, Glenn H. Curtiss and Wilbur Wright, had competed with their aeroplanes over the city of New York before thousands of spectators.  In the morning, Wilbur had circled the Statue of Liberty, flown above Governor’s Island, and then along the North River.  As Wilbur navigated his way along the waterway, he could see boats log jammed with each filled with passengers and the ferries’ decks overflowing with fare payers cheering wildly.  Curtiss was only able to accomplish a brief flight that morning, but he promised he would follow a longer route in the afternoon.  Score one for Wilbur Wright.  Wright had sped along at the blistering rate of 40 miles per hour while achieving the nosebleed altitude of 300 feet.  The Daily News commented further that there was “considerable rivalry between Wright and Curtiss as to which [one] shall capture the honors of the exhibition.”  It was observed that Wright’s flight was faster, but Curtiss’s aeroplane “retained its equilibrium better.”  In 1929, the business competition between the aviators ended when Curtiss-Wright Corporation was formed by merging Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Corporation with Wright Aeronautical Corporation.  However, any excitement felt by many Greenville readers was dampened by the disheartening report a few pages later announcing the death of R. E. Allen.
    Robert Emmet Allen was born on July 2, 1857 and grew up in Due West with the love and discipline of his Irish Presbyterian parents.  He attended, but it is not clear if he graduated, Erskine College before relocating to Greenville where he found employment with Ferguson and Miller, who were leading grovers in the area (see below note about “grovers”).  He worked for them for several years until in 1882 he joined with his brother, Henry, in the grocery business.  The two brothers continued providing retail groceries to the West End until 1898 when they left the retail store to go into wholesale groceries and formed R. E. Allen, Brother, & Co.  Robert was also the vice president of the American Bank for several years.

Friday, January 30, 2015

SPC Charter Members: Allens

SPC Charter Members:  The Allen Brothers’ Families, Part 1
Henry W. and Martha “Mamie” Allen

            For those three or four of you who consistently read this blog and have waited with bated breath for the next posting, your wait is over.  The next three postings will be a series about the Allen brothers and their families.  The current article covers Henry Wilson and his wife, Mamie (Mary), the second one will tell about Robert Emmett and his wife Cornelia, and the third will briefly recount the brothers’ business ventures in Greenville.

            Henry Wilson, who is the “& Bro.” in the advertisement, was born September 26, 1861, in Abbeville County to William and Martha (McClure) Allen who were both born in Ireland.  He grew up in Due West and moved to Greenville when he was twenty-one years of age.  His first employment was with Ferguson & Miller, but then he joined with his brother Robert to operate a retail grocery store that grew over the years to include wholesale distribution.  Following his brother’s death in 1909, Henry’s business interest changed from grocery sales to partnering with his sons in 1914 to operate Eagle Roller Mills, which was a flour and gristmill business that had been Robert’s.  Henry continued in the processing of grain until his retirement in 1922.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

SPC Charter Members: Pack Family

Dr. William S., Mary, and Sarah Pack

The following obituary for Dr. Pack is from
The Greenville Daily News for Dec. 13, 1921.

Well Known Physician Passes Away At Age of 60:
Had Practiced His Profession For Over 30 Years

            Dr. William Simonton Pack, 60 years of age, for more than 30 years a practicing physician of Greenville, died at the family home, 1304 Pendleton Street, yesterday afternoon at 1:49 o’clock after a lingering illness extending over the past year.  Funeral arrangements have not been completed.
            Dr. Pack was one of the oldest and best-known practitioners in this section.  If he had lived until February 16, he would have been 61 years of age.  He graduated in medicine from the Charleston Medical College in 1889 and practiced at Manning, South Carolina, three years before moving to Greenville.
            He was a regular member of the Greenville County Medical Association and the American Medical Association.  The first named society yesterday afternoon passed resolutions deploring his death.
            Prior to taking up the study of medicine, Dr. Pack was an extensive planter in Clarendon County, S. C.
            William Simonton Pack was born February 16, 1851, in Clarendon County, the son of Charles Simonton and Sarah Montgomery Pack.  In 1883 he was married to Miss Mary Louise Wilder of Sumter, S. C.
            Dr. Pack moved to Greenville in 1891.  He was an elder in the First Presbyterian Church and for over 20 years Dr. Pack was a member of Rowena Lodge, Knights of Pythias.
            While the deceased had been in declining health for a year when his condition forced him to abandon his practice, he was frequently seen on the street and was not reported in a critical condition until two weeks ago.  The end was not entirely unexpected, his condition having been extremely low for the past several days and early yesterday afternoon when he breathed his last all members of the immediate family were present.
            Besides his widow, Dr. Pack is survived by two sons:  William Marion Pack and Dr. Alva S. Pack, of Greenville.  Three daughters:  Mrs. H. Warren McCollum, of Sumter; Mrs. W. Lawrence Bentz and Miss Edna Pack, of Greenville; and one brother, C. H Pack of Greenville.
            In his 30 years practice here Dr. Pack had built up a large professional clientele and numbered his friends in the hundreds who extend tenderest sympathy to the bereaved family.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

SPC Senior Pastors: Flournoy Shepperson

Rev. Flournoy Shepperson, D.D. (1883-1966)

            Flournoy was born to Joel Alexander and Lucetta Cheatham Shepperson in Columbus, Arkansas, January 10, 1883.  His education included a Bachelor of Arts from Arkansas College, and a divinity degree from Union Seminary in Virginia.  He completed his theological studies at Union in 1908 under the direction of faculty that included, G. B. Strickler, T. C. Johnson, W. W. Moore, and T. R. English.  He was also a student associate editor of the seminary’s journal, Union Seminary Magazine.
   Having been prepared educationally for the ministry, young Shepperson sought experience and a pastoral call.  He was licensed on Oct. 10, 1908, and ordained the following day.  His first ministry was a dual call to churches in Magnolia and Mt. Holly, Arkansas.  After his service to the two churches for three years, he moved east in 1911 to Monticello for a nine-year ministry.  It must have been during one of his first calls that he met Nellie McGill of Camden, Arkansas, whom he courted and then married in 1912.

            Dr. Shepperson left his home state and headed east to South Carolina having been offered a call on November 7, 1920, to serve the Purity Church in Chester.  According to the Minutes of the Synod of South Carolina for 1921, Purity Church had 11 elders, 15 deacons, 29 new members, 550 communicant members, and was the third largest church in Bethel Presbytery behind First Church, Rock Hill, and First Church, York.  The Sheppersons left Purity in 1925 after a short but fruitful ministry so that Flournoy could take the call to Second Presbyterian Church, Greenville.

Friday, October 17, 2014

SPC Senior Pastors: Rev. Dr. S. Dwight Winn

Rev. S. Dwight Winn, D.D. (1881-1954)

            During Rev. Paul P. Winn’s ministry at the Concord Church in Iredell County, North Carolina, he and his wife Sue (Anderson) Winn of York County, South Carolina, were blessed by the birth of Samuel Dwight on August 27, 1881.  Within a few months, Paul Winn left the Concord Church to teach in an academy in Statesville.  He had already taught for five years at his alma mater, Davidson College, and then briefly in a high school in Finley.  Within two years, young Dwight was joined by a sister named Emily Anderson.  Dwight and Emily had at least two siblings, both boys.  Dwight’s mother died the year before he entered seminary.

            Dwight Winn entered Union Theological Seminary in Virginia in 1908 to study for the ministry.  He completed his education in 1911 and graduated from Union with highest honors.  Later that year, he was licensed and then later ordained on his birthday in the antebellum brick sanctuary of the New Providence Church in Moffat’s Creek, Virginia.  The Staunton Spectator of Sept. 1, 1911, reported that Winn had been ordained for a call to be an evangelist in Korea.

Monday, September 29, 2014

SPC Charter Members: Ellison A. and Julia Smyth

Ellison A. and Julia Smyth 

  Ellison A. Smyth, his wife Julia Gambrill, their son James Adger, and daughter Margaret Smyth McKissick were all original members of Second Presbyterian Church when it was organized in Greenville, South Carolina, in 1892. During the organizational meeting it was recorded in the minutes that two motions regarding the church name and location in the West End along with the men selected deacons and elders were made by E. A. Smyth and adopted. In the minutes, the name is spelled “Smythe” instead of “Smyth,” but his grave monument inscription in Charleston is spelled “Smyth.”

Joseph Ellison Adger Smyth was born in Charleston, October 26, 1847. He chose not to use “Joseph” and instead went by Ellison. His mother was Margaret (Adger) Smyth, whose family was involved in business enterprises associated with shipping, warehousing, hardware, and merchandising. Young Ellison was educated privately including studies in Columbia, and he must have been helped by the extensive library of his bibliophile, even bibliomaniac father, Rev. Thomas Smyth, D.D., who was the minister of the Second Presbyterian Church. Ellison attended South Carolina Military College, The Citadel, until 1864 when he left to join the Confederate army. He had seen the first shot fired on Fort Sumter in April of 1861.

            Following the war, E. A. Smyth’s interests led him not to become a minister like his father but instead he went into business as an entrepreneur and investor.  It was natural that with the experience and resources available through his connection to his mother’s family’s enterprises that he became a junior partner with the hardware establishment of J. E. Adger & Co.  It was while he was on a business trip to Baltimore that Ellison saw Julia Gambrill riding in a trolley car that he followed to her home where he asked her father’s permission for courting.  Ellison and Julia were married in 1869 and lived initially with his mother and father in their house on Meeting Street.  However, his sense of the future of business and technology and the changing situation at J. E. Adger & Co. led him to consider a new business venture.

Monday, September 08, 2014

SPC Charter Members: Frank and Mary Hammond

Frank and Mary Hammond


Frank Hammond was born in Tipton, Iowa, July 22, 1852, to Willard and Susan (Gower) Hammond.  He went to school in Iowa but was not able to complete his education as he would have liked due to poor health causing eratic attendance.  When he was twelve years old, he worked in a local printing business for about a year.  He moved to Greenville in November 1869 when he was seventeen years of age and found work as a hand on a farm.  In 1877, he married Miss Mary B. Caine, who had moved with her family when she was very young to Greenville from her birthplace in Abbeville County.

            Frank Hammond became a man of varied business interests as he moved from farming into local financial and industrial interests over the years.  His business endeavors included, vice president of the Greenville Savings Bank, a director of the Piedmont Savings and Investment Company, an investor in South Eastern Life Insurance Company, a director in the Greenville and Knoxville Railway Company, and he was a director in several other area businesses.  He was the president of People’s Bank, which opened in 1887 at the corner of Main and Washington Streets in the Ferguson and Miller Building.  In the era before synthetic fertilizers came to dominate the market, investors made fortunes from importing bat guano (droppings) from South America for fertilizer, which was an opportunity that Frank Hammond took advantage of as vice president of the Greenville Fertilizer Company.  By 1905, he was not only the president of People’s Bank, but also the Carolina Loan and Trust, Co., and vice president of Brandon Mills.  His listing in the Greenville city directory for 1910 shows a reduced business listing with his presidency of People’s Bank and Carolina Loan and Trust mentioned along with his work as vice president of Brandon Mills.  By 1912, only two years before his death, his bank presidencies and official positions at Seneca Cotton Mills and Pine Creek Manufacturing kept him busy.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Genetic History of Chicora College

The following diagram describing key events in the history of Chicora College has been compiled from information found in Greenville newspapers, Second Presbyterian Church records, History of the Presbyterian Church in South Carolina Since 1850 by Jones and Mills, and Chicora publications. The postcard image reproduced bears a one-cent stamp and is postmarked Nov. 1, 1907. The college building is shown before the third story and central dome were added. The fine print in the lower left hand corner of the postcard reads “Wm. H. Cobb Co., 5 and 10 cent Stores.” According to Walsh’s Directory of the City of Greenville, S. C. for 1905-1906, p. 353, the Cobb store was located at 209 N. Main. The image of the postcard was made from one owned by Second Church. While Chicora was located in Greenville its property was delimited approximately by the current streets of South Main, River, Rhett, and West Camperdown Way. A 1913 map of the West End of Greenville can be found in the online digital collection of Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of the South Caroliniana Library in Columbia.

Aug. 12, 1893—E. A. Smyth was elected president of the Board of Trustees for establishing a college for women to be chartered as “Greenville Female Seminary.” Other board members were G. A. Taylor, W. A. Hudson, O. P. Mills, W. H. Cely, G. H. Chapin, W. J. Graham, J. S. Cothran, J. A. Russell, Rev. N. J. Holmes, R. E. Henderlite, and T. M. McConnell.

Sept. 20, 1893—The school opened as “Chicora College” with J. F. McKinnon as its president.

May 1899—Rev. S. R. Preston, D.D., became the second president of the college. Preston had been doing part-time work for Chicora since he became pastor of Second Presbyterian Church in December 1895.

1906—The presbyteries of Enoree, Bethel, & South Carolina of the Presbyterian Church in the United States (P.C.U.S.) purchased Chicora.

May 30, 1906—Chicora was re-chartered as a Presbyterian college.

June 1, 1906—Rev. Samuel Craig Byrd, D.D., became Chicora’s third president.

1914—In need of a larger campus, Chicora College sought union with The College for Women in Columbia. The funds obtained from the sale of the Greenville campus would be used to retire the debt of the college in Columbia.
1887—The Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, Dr. N. M. Woods, along with W.A. Clark, and Dr. George Howe of Columbia Seminary, secured a charter for “South Carolina Presbyterian Institution for Young Ladies,” but nothing further was done until 1890.

1890—Presbyterian College for Women was established. The Hampton-Preston house was purchased from the Ursaline Sisters (Roman Catholic). The location was conveniently located across the street from Columbia Theological Seminary (convenient for the men of the seminary and the women of Chicora to socialize). Dr. W. R. Atkinson spearheaded the labors to organize the college and became its first president.

1913—Two new buildings were added to the campus. Miss Euphemia McClintock assumed the presidency for a brief term during which she changed the name to The College for Women.

1914—In financial difficulty, The College for Women sought consolidation with Chicora College.

1915—The Greenville and Columbia institutions were united and the freshman class matriculated at the newly named Chicora College for Women in Columbia. Dr. Byrd continued as the college president.

1921—Continued growth made Chicora College for Women the largest Presbyterian college in the South. The increasing needs at the Hampton-Preston house campus led to the purchase of 55 acres in east Columbia. However, this grand effort led to financial trouble for the institution.


1930—Continuing financial difficulties led to the P.C.U.S. merging Chicora with its newly acquired Queens College in Charlotte, NC. The newly united institution was briefly named Queens-Chicora College. President Byrd became president emeritus with the merger.