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Stinking Stones and Rocks of GoldPhosphate, Fertilizer, and Industrialization in Postbellum South Carolina$
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Shepherd W. McKinley

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780813049243

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813049243.001.0001

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The Creation of Industry and Hope, 1865–1870

The Creation of Industry and Hope, 1865–1870

(p.35) 2 The Creation of Industry and Hope, 1865–1870
Stinking Stones and Rocks of Gold

Shepherd W. Mckinley

University Press of Florida

This chapter describes the birth of the three industries, from the discovery of phosphate rock to the development of a viable if risky land mining business. After the war, Charleston’s gentlemen-scientists (Nathaniel A. Pratt, Francis S. Holmes, and St. Julien Ravenel) discovered that the “stinking stones” along the Ashley River could revolutionize fertilizer manufacture. They convinced local entrepreneurs (including Williams Middleton and F.H. Trenholm) and northern acquaintances to invest and together began to resurrect the local economy through mining phosphate rocks along the Ashley River. The industry did not begin as a colonial relationship with the North. Motivated by desperation, patriotism, and greed, the lowcountry’s entrepreneurs responded enthusiastically to opportunities and developed diversified companies(including the Philadelphian-dominatedCharleston Mining and Manufacturing Company and the mainly southern Wando Mining and Manufacturing Company) that strengthened rather than challenged the region’s agricultural economy.By 1870, land mining was well-established in the lowcountry, and elite whites envisioned the industry as the savior of South Carolina and perhaps the South.

Keywords:   Ashley River, Williams Middleton, F. H. Trenholm, Philadelphia, Charleston Mining and Manufacturing Co., Wando Mining and Manufacturing Company

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