“The man who inspired and nearly single handedly built the thriving business center of Hamburg, S.C., Hiram Hutchison.”
City Directories and History: Mr. Hiram Hutchison of York Co., S.C. was one of S.C.’s most interesting entrepreneurs of the mid 19th century. He was born in the
upcountry to Scots-Irish parents, on the banks of the Catawba River in York County, S.C., Hiram Hutchison became one of the state’s most influential financiers in the South, traveling extensively for weeks at a time exploring the region and making wise business investments. He regularly worked with John Springs of Fort Mill, S.C., Charles Beck of Columbia – builder & manufacturer, as well as William Gregg of Charleston – Graniteville. As head of the Bank of S.C. at Hamberg, S.C., a state sponsored financial institution, Hiram Hutchison was able to widely travel and purchase substantial holdings. He traveled widely throughout the South and invested wisely in stocks, railroads, gas light companies, land and anything he felt was a wise investment. At the time of his death, Hiram Hutchison was living in New York City, a man of considerable financial means.
Though there is nothing remaining of the town in 2016, as late as the 1890 census the town had some 484 residents.
Prior to moved to New York City in the early 1850s, he also purchased hundreds of thousands of dollars in Southern railroad, mining, gas light companies and manufacturing concerns. Upon his death a significant amount of his fortune was left to two of his closest York County relatives. However, they were unable to collection of their inheritance until after the Civil War, a financial blessing for the families.
The loan of $40. to William Kelly in 1827, is one of his earliest documented transactions. His papers are at the Un. of South Carolina and Lacy Ford’s excellent publication dealing with his extensive work, is available by clicking on Mr. Hutchison’s highlighted name or opening the MORE INFORMATION link on this page.
AMERICAN’S FIRST RAILROAD: The railroad was constructed during the period from 1830 to 1833. It extended from Charleston to Hamburg, which was situated on the eastern bank of the Savannah River, opposite what is now the City of Augusta, Ga. This was the first effort in America to build a railroad of any length. Shortly before the South Carolina Railroad was constructed, the Delaware & Hudson Canal Company had built a very short railroad out of Homedale, Pennsylvania, which was steam propelled, and the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad had constructed a fourteen mile stretch which was operated entirely by horse power. (Thompson in his History of American Railways.)
The moving spirit in this then gigantic task at rail-roading and its first President was William Aiken, Sr., who had been born in Ireland and had been brought to Charleston as a lad by his parents. He became a prosperous cotton merchant and was prompted by the need of better transportation facilities for the development of the cotton trade with the interior of the State, to think of a railroad. Financing the project was a colossal undertaking, which only a man of Mr. Aiken’s genius could effect. however, states correctly and authoritatively that “the Charleston and Hamburg in point of performance is entitled to precedence in the list of railways operated by steam in the United States.” It was then the longest continuous railroad in the world, 136 miles long. It was the first railroad to transport the United States Mail.
In May, 1834, it was reported to the stockholders of the company that “there were built at nearly equal intervals sixteen turnouts of an average length of six hundred and fifty feet. At each of these there was established pumps and wood sheds.”
Information from: Names in South Carolina by C.H. Neuffer, Published by the S.C. Dept. of English, USC
R&R Note: Two of the largest investors and proponents of the Augusta and Charlotte Railroad were none other than Hiram Hutchison and John Springs, III. They had seen the benefits of having a railroad from Charleston to Hamburg and helped design and implement the new line across the S.C. piedmont.
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