Have you ever seen something that’s more than 1,000 years old? There’s a giant oak tree on John’s Island in South Carolina that’s called Angel Oak. It’s believed to be more than 1,500 years old. In chapter 43, Mo and Finchy meet Angel Oak, which is a very wide tree that’s more than sixty-five feet high. That’s roughly five (single story) houses piled on top of each other!
If you want to find South Carolina on a US map, look for a state that’s sort of shaped like a triangle. It shares a border with the Atlantic Ocean to the east, as well as with two states: North Carolina above or to the north, and Georgia to the south and west.
The state can be divided into three regions:
- Blue Ridge Mountains: This province stretches across the northwestern part of the state and includes Sassafras Mountain, South Carolina’s highest point.
- Piedmont Province: This area stretches southeast and covers about a third of the state. Along its eastern edge are sandhills topped with coarse sand that scientists believe were created by ancient oceans.
- Atlantic Coastal Plain: This covers the remaining two-thirds of the state. The land is mostly flat and includes rivers, swamps and Myrtle Beach, which is known as the Golf Capital of the World.
What really happened
- The first Europeans visited South Carolina in 1521. They were Spanish explorers from the Caribbean island of Santo Domingo.
- In 1670, the first permanent English settlement was established. It was named Charles Town in honor of King Charles II of England. At that time, more than 29 Native American tribes lived in the area, including the Chickasaw, Creek, Congaree, Pee Dee, and Shawnee.
- Plantation owners relied on slaves who were brought from Africa to work on their land for free. Colonists also enslaved Native Americans and sold them to the British in the Caribbean and other colonies.
- In 1710, the territory was divided into two colonies: North and South Carolina. European settlers then came to build plantations to grow rice and indigo, a natural dye used to color cotton. (Have you ever heard of jeans that are the color of indigo, which is dark blue?)
- South Carolina and other American colonies wanted independence from England, which led to the American Revolution in 1775.
- Native Americans (who are also called indigenous people) were forced to give up their land by the South Carolinian government. By the 1830s, very few remained in the state.
- In 1788, South Carolina became a US state. However, it was the first state to leave the Union before the Civil War, which started in 1861. Do you know how long the Civil War lasted?
- The first shots fired during the Civil War were by Confederate troops. Their target was Fort Sumter in South Carolina’s Charleston Harbor. By the end of the war, the fort lay in ruins and was then rebuilt and partially redesigned. It was no longer a military post and served as a lighthouse station for Charleston Harbor.
- When South Carolina left the Union, money was printed for the Bank of South Carolina. But the bank failed after the war and was closed.
- After the Civil War, many freed African Americans settled in South Carolina. In 1868, they helped create a new state constitution, guaranteeing men of all races the right to vote. That same year, South Carolina was readmitted to the Union and many African Americans became state legislators. They passed more laws to support freed men than in any other state.
Stuff you should know
- South Carolina’s forests cover more than 67 percent of the state; the forests also represent the state’s biggest natural resource.
- Some towns in South Carolina have funny names. How would you like to live in a place called Coward? What about Due West or Ninety Six?
- Morgan Island, which is nicknamed Monkey island, is home to the only free-ranging colony of rhesus macaque monkeys in the country. Although roughly 3,500 monkeys call the island home, humans are not allowed to live there. Mo and Finchy learn a little bit about these monkeys in chapter 43.
Crazy, funny, or just plain weird
- In case aliens come for a visit or just need a rest from their interstellar travels, the town of Bowman has a UFO Welcome Center. One of the town’s residents, Jody Pendarvis, built a 42-foot-wide double decker flying saucer made out of wood, fiberglass, and plastic in his backyard. Wonder if he puts mints on the pillows in his guest bedroom for them!
- In 1969, there was a plant in the town of Chester that produced Cremora, a powdered, non-dairy creamer that people put in their coffee. That year, the plant had problems with its exhaust vents. When the vents got clogged, puffs of the nondairy creamer escaped into the air. When mixed with rain or moisture, the puffs turned into a sticky mess.
- Frogmore stew is a popular dish in South Carolina. What do you think it’s made out of? Definitely not frogs. The recipe includes shrimp, corn on the cob, new potatoes and smoked sausage.
- Can you solve the mystery on Edisto Island? One scraggly tree on the island is used…well, sort of as a coat rack. Everything from flip flops to a US flag hangs from its No one knows why or who adorns the small tree. What do you think?
Tell me more
- The state tree of South Carolina, the Palmetto Tree, helped protect troops during the American Revolution. This rubbery tree was used to build the walls for a fort on Sullivan’s Island. The tree’s soft wood was spongy and could better absorb the impact of British cannonballs, keeping the troops inside the fort safer.
- Approximately 10 to 15 earthquakes happen each year in South Carolina. The majority are not felt or even noticed by people who live there. However, there is one exception: The Charleston Earthquake of 1886. This was the largest recorded earthquake in the history of the southeastern United States.
- Back in 1988, 17-year-old Christopher Davis got a flat tire while driving near Scape Ore Swamp. When he stepped out of his car to change the tire, he claims a wet, green creature that stood seven feet tall with three fingers, red eyes, and scales came toward him. Davis ran and the creature attacked his car, which was badly scratched. Police found 14-inch long, three-toed footprints at the site. Do you believe the “Lizard Man” is real?
Do you know something interesting about South Carolina’s land or history? Maybe something you learned in school or because you live there? Share it with us by emailing it to email@example.com. We’ll post it on Mo’s social media pages along with your first name, age, and state you call home!