Local Event Marks Beginning of Sesqui-centennial of the War Between the States
Several events in the upstate have been held to mark the beginning of the Sesquicentennial of the War Between the States. Abbeville, SC was the site of many of the secession speeches held throughout the state in 1860. And November 20, 2010, was the 150th anniversary of these speeches. Mr. Robert Hayes of Abbeville was in charge of the Olde South Thanksgiving weekend in Abbeville. The weekend included vendors on the square, a parade , a dedication on Secession Hill, and a Grand Secession Ball in the evening.
Around noon on November 20, a large crowd gathered at Secession Hill in Abbeville for the dedication of the Marker which makes the Hill a historical site.
Mr. Hayes presided over the ceremony. Special guest speaker was David Rutledge whose ancestor was one of the original Signers of the Ordinance of Secession. Mr. Hayes presented information on his ancestor and the reasons behind the decision of South Carolina to secede from the Union. Also on the program was Michael Hill, President of the League of the South. Mr. Hill said that we are in more danger of losing our freedoms today than they were in 1860. He encouraged all present to take a stand as our ancestors did in 1860 for the freedom that America was born for.
The marker was unveiled by Mr. Rutledge and the Chaplain General Children of the Confederacy Charlotte Mitchell. Also attending the ceremony was SC Division UDC President Eloise Verdin and the SC Division 3rd Vice President Carol Leake. Other representatives of the UDC, SCV, and other historical organizations were present, also.
Secession Hill has fallen into the hands of different people over the years. In the past few years, there was threat of a developer purchasing the land and building on it. The Southern Cultural Center purchased the land and has since made many improvements on it. Underbrush and dead trees have been cleared and a flagpole has been erected on the site. The original marker erected by the UDC has been moved and preserved marking the closest proximity to the spot where the first secession speeches were made in Abbeville.
That evening The Grand Secession Ball was held in the newly remodeled Livery Stable of Abbeville, lending ambience and historical authenticity to the evening. Ladies and gents danced to the 1860’s music provided by Un-Reconstructed, a period band from Talladega, Alabama. Food was plentiful and the evening closed with the singing of “Dixie.” The Sesquicentennial of the War had begun in Abbeville.