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The Beaufort Republican and sea island chronicle. : (Beaufort, S.C.) 1869-1871
Alternative Titles:
  • Beaufort Republican
Place of publication:
Beaufort, S.C.
Geographic coverage:
  • Beaufort, Beaufort, South Carolina  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Alfred Williams and David Thomas
Dates of publication:
  • Began in 1869; ceased in 1871.
  • English
  • Beaufort County (S.C.)--Newspapers.
  • South Carolina--Beaufort County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01209379
  • Description based on: Vol. 1, no. 34 (May 21, 1870).
sn 92061879
Succeeding Titles:
View complete holdings information

The Beaufort Republican and Sea Island Chronicle, Beaufort Republican, Port Royal Commercial and Beaufort County Republican, Port Royal Standard and Commercial, The Tribune, The Beaufort Tribune and Port Royal Commercial and The Crescent

The fortunes of the weekly Beaufort Crescent may have paralleled those of Republican reformers in South Carolina during the Reconstruction era (1865-77), but the political and social conditions in Beaufort that led to its establishment could not have been more different. Prior to the start of the Civil War, Beaufort was regarded as one of the wealthiest communities in the antebellum South. It was also, ironically, the first Southern city to fall into Union hands. Beaufort became a focal point for Northern philanthropists eager to educate the newly emancipated slaves on the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. In the years immediately following the war, Beaufort's black majority population exercised a level of economic and political strength that set it apart from the rest of the state. The post-war years saw Beaufort's economy diversify, the district reorganize as Beaufort County, and the South Carolina Republican Party rise to political prominence, led by Beaufort native Robert Smalls.

The Beaufort Crescent began as the weekly Beaufort Republican and Sea Island Chronicle in 1869. Publishers David Thomas and Alfred Williams confidently asserted that "In due time they [Republicans] will bring liberty, safety, fair play and justice to every man in South Carolina." In truth, their enterprise faced an uphill battle for survival. In 1871, the Beaufort Republican and Sea Island Chronicle came under the ownership of former Union war correspondent George W. Johnson and became the Beaufort Republican (also briefly known as the Beaufort County Republican). In 1872, Philadelphia native James Gordon Thompson took over as editor and owner. Under his leadership, the Beaufort Republican steered a surprisingly independent course, speaking against corruption in South Carolina's Republican-dominated government and endorsing Liberal Republican candidate Reuben Tomlinson for governor over the South Carolina Republican Party's chosen candidate, Franklin Israel Moses.

In 1873, the Beaufort Republican merged with the Port Royal Commercial and became the Port Royal Commercial and Beaufort County Republican, an independent newspaper published in nearby Port Royal. A year later, the Port Royal Commercial and Beaufort County Republican merged with the Beaufort Southern Standard and became the Port Royal Standard and Commercial. In 1876, the Port Royal Standard and Commercial merged with the Beaufort Tribune and became the Beaufort Tribune and Port Royal Commercial, edited and published by Ohio native Winchell Mansfield French.

In its final iteration, the Beaufort Tribune and Port Royal Commercial became the Beaufort Crescent, a Democrat paper. Although only one issue of the Crescent, dated September 11, 1879, is known to exist, contemporary newspapers including the Abbeville Press and Banner, Anderson Intelligencer, and Yorkville Enquirer are rife with references to it. A news item appearing in the Sumter Watchman and Southron on December 6, 1881—a report that former editor Samuel Henry Rodgers had started another newspaper, the Port Royal Palmetto Post --suggests the Crescent ceased sometime that year.

The Beaufort Crescent appears to have struggled with many of the same obstacles as other Reconstruction-era Republican newspapers in South Carolina: little support from Southern whites, difficulties generating adequate advertising revenues, and the challenge of reaching a sustainable target audience of largely poor and illiterate African Americans. From the vantage point of history, however, the Crescent succeeds in offering a window into an economically vibrant and socially dynamic chapter in Beaufort's history.

Provided by: University of South Carolina; Columbia, SC