Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The South Carolina Sea Islands - from a New Englander's Perspective

Edward L. Pierce, a member of the so-called Gideon's Band, soon after traveling South to the Sea Islands of South Carolina, wrote an article describing the scene for the Atlantic in 1863. Here is a passage from the article, illustrating the newness of the southern landscape in the eyes of those from New England.

“The unaccustomed New England eye sometimes missed the hills of home and saw the landscape at first as rather monotonous and uninteresting, but few lived long in the islands without responding to the somber spell of the great live oaks with their festoons of Spanish moss. In spring the islands became intoxicatingly beautiful, alive with lush greenery and the lush color and fragrance of yellow jasmine, roses and acacia blossoms. In the fall the scarlet cassena berries gleamed across the roadside hedges with the white tuffs of the mockingbird flower. The creeks abounded in fish, oysters, and crabs; on the outer islands wild deer and game birds grew fat and plentiful. One asset the visitor never failed to note was the remarkable song of the mockingbird.” 

This is, visually speaking, very enticing indeed. But what a different world it must have been for traveling reformers such as Pierce and others.


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