Sometimes I find in my research that Brethren have already been exquisitely described and there’s really nothing more to say ! Without further due, I present our Brother and former District 13 Grand Attorney, Major John H. Fordham:

From Richard Reid of the #TimesandDemocrat:

“Major John Hammond Fordham was probably one of the most distinguished black men to ever live and serve the Orangeburg community. A man of many explicit talents, he used them to make Orangeburg and South Carolina a better place and for the improvement of mankind.
Fordham was born in Charleston in 1856.
While living in Charleston, he was able to obtain an education from the Avery Institute. He continued his studies under the Rev. J.B. Seabrook, rector of #StMarksEpiscopalChurch. Seabrook also taught him law and ‘he’was admitted to the South Carolina State Bar in 1874.

J.H. was called “Major” because he became one of the organizers of the #CarolinaLightInfantry in #Charleston, which was the first colored brigade organized in the South. He was appointed #JudgeAdvocate with the rank of major.
In the early 1870s, he came to Orangeburg and was elected as coroner in 1874. Fordham also served as a #postalclerk in #RailroadMailService, Deputy Collector of the IRS and foreman of the black fire departments. J.H. led the fire companies called the “comet,” which did fire duty for several years and was for a time disorganized and was later called the Enterprise, the Independence, the Palmetto and finally the #PhoenixReelCompany, which was located on Treadwell Street.

In the early 1900s, the lynching of blacks became a hot topic in South Carolina. Almost daily, reports of blacks being lynched covered the pages of the newspapers. With this epidemic of mob justice, prominent blacks from around the state formed the Negro Council and held a meeting in Columbia in September 1903.

From the time Fordham was elected coroner to becoming the first fire chief of the Comet Reel Company (black) to postal clerk to collector for the IRS and politician, he played an intricate role in assisting black #Orangeburg in the long transition from slavery to freedom. He set a remarkable example of black achievement.”


Hail him thrice!