One hundred and fifty years ago, the people of South Carolina called for a special convention to debate the issue of seceding from the United States of America. Delegates were elected from every district and assembled in Columbia on December 17, 1860. Due to a smallpox scare in Columbia, the convention adjourned to reassemble in Charleston.
The men of the South Carolina Secession Convention were the most respected, learned, and distinguished in the state. Among this group were five graduates of Yale University, nine from Princeton, five from Harvard, and many others from South Carolina schools such as South Carolina College and The Citadel. They were planters, lawyers, judges, doctors, ministers, college presidents, educators, merchants, railroad presidents, politicians and founders of colleges. They were willing to risk their fortunes, homes, families and lives for the independence of the people of South Carolina.
Upon meeting in Charleston on December 18-20, and after much debate, these delegates voted unanimously to secede from the Union. The South Carolina Ordinance of Secession was signed on the evening of December 20, 1860. Following this convention was a rush of other Southern states that also saw their rights in danger. Holding their own state conventions, they joined South Carolina in leaving the Union. The war which followed was the most costly war in U.S. history.
Many of the signers answered the call to arms. Some perished in the horrors of battle, while others returned home to rebuild South Carolina and lead the state through the years of reconstruction and beyond. By their actions then, we benefit today from their leadership in education, religion, law, agriculture and medicine.
As the years passed, many of these men were forgotten or lost to time. Many of their gravestones were lost or destroyed. Regrettably, only one small plaque and a historical marker remains in the city of Charleston to mark the location of the South Carolina Secession Convention.
For this reason, the South Carolina Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans will be erecting a monument in the greater Charleston area which will ensure their deeds and efforts will be remembered by future generations of South Carolinians as well as our visitors from around the world.