Beaufort, South Carolina: Pages from the Past (American Chronicles) by Gerhard Spieler.
Reviewed by Kraig M.
is awarded four carbines
The author, a longtime resident of Beaufort, a writer for the Beaufort Gazette, and an historian, provides a very entertaining almost Lake Wobegonish look at Beaufort – pronounced Bew-furt – South Carolina.
One can read through it in a couple hours with just 120+ pages. It’s really meant to whet ones appetite more than anything else. There are generous pictures.
It lacks even a basic bibliography or an index. Keep the bibliography but gimme an index, c’mon. The book also lacks maps. One map is provided (1721) but the author teases the reader by trying to describe a part of Beaufort from maps made in 1716 and 1729.
The book is sourced with numerous firsthand quotes from explorers and pioneers as far back as the 16th century.
Of the more interesting things I learned is:
– Where the term ‘cowboy’ originated in 1741. The answer is surprising.
– The origin of the word ‘buckaroo’ (apparently sourced in the Gullah culture).
– Many 18th and 19th century plantation houses in the Beaufort region were not the palatial Gone-with-the-Wind types.
– Beaufort even has a National Cemetery were between 6,000 – 7,000 Union soldiers are buried; including about 120 Confederate soldiers. And guess what? The cemetery still has burial plots available for veterans of service.
Overall, this is a fun book but not one would cite in a serious bibliography. Nonetheless, impress your friends by being one of the very few to know the real origin of the ‘American Cowboy’.