Article and Images about Phosphate Mining in Beaufort County

The South Carolina Historical Magazine vol. 109, #4 dated October 2008 (but running about a year behind in publication) carries an interesting article by part-time Beaufort resident, Marty Davis. Come to the BDC to read "Coosaw Rock Alchemy: A Short History of River-Phosphate Mining in Beaufort County," by John Martin Davis, Jr., pp. 269 - 294.

To whet your appetite to learn more, Davis states that:

"The South Carolina phosphate boom... is often described as a Charleston phenonmenon....While phosphates were found near South Carolina's major port, the bulk of the rock mined in the state and the profits generated by it came from Beaufort County. But few fortunes in Beaufort grew from that industry. The county was left with devastated lands... -- and unemployed workers.... In it's short life, the phosphate industry provided the state of South Carolina with millions of dollars in tax revenue. For Beaufort, however, the story is much grimmer. It is one of exploitation and abandonment."

Among the companies mentioned is the Pacific Guano Company based on Chisolm Island. We are fortunate to have photographs by one of the company's engineers, Conrad Donner, posted online as digital images in the Lowcountry Digital Library. Use the "Browse by Subject" button and select "Phosphate Mining," "Phosphate Industry," "Pacific Guano Company," and "Chisolm Islands" as search terms to see the phosphate mining related images in "Phosphate, Farms, and Family: The Donner Collection." Enjoy!

About the Author

Grace Cordial has been responsible for the day-to-day operation of the Beaufort District Collection at the Beaufort County Library since 1999.  The Beaufort District Collection exists to acquire, preserve, maintain and make accessible a research collection of permanent value which records the history, culture, and environment of our part of the South Carolina lowcountry.  Besides the research room, Cordial manages the “Virtual BDC:” the BDC web pages, the Online Obituary Index, two digital collections, a new BDC.BCL Facebook page, and the Connections blog.  
Among her duties is to coordinate or present programs about local history, Gullah culture, and our coastal environment, including occasional instructional sessions about how to perform historical and/or genealogical research.