Prince Rivers: Black Prince of Aiken County

 In the bond of Friendship Love and Truth I greet you

Getting harder to find pictures of these #carolinaoddfellows but I do what I can…..Born into slavery in South Carolina during the early 1820s, Prince Rivers worked as a carriage driver on a plantation along the Coosaw River near Port Royal in the Beaufort District. Yet despite being enslaved, Rivers stood out as a natural born leader. He learned how to read and write, and headed up a mutual aid society, that collected secret money to be used for medical and other emergencies involving any black person in the area.He escaped from slavery in 1862 after his master moved with his slaves to Edgefield County. #GUOOF #guoofof #flt

On January 1, 1863, Prince Rivers celebrated his freedom in Port Royal, South Carolina before an admiring national audience.  That day the well-known former #slave also vowed to make others free by fighting in the Union army as one of his country’s first black sergeants.In 1863, Rivers became a non-commissioned officer in the newly formed 1st South Carolina Volunteers of the United States #Colored #Troops. His commanding officer, Colonel Thomas Wentworth Higginson, wanted to promote him to a commissioned rank but was prevented by his superiors because of Rivers’ race. Higginson said of Rivers in an 1865 article in #TheLiberator, “No #anti-slavery novel has described a man of such marked ability. “He makes #Toussaint perfectly intelligible; and if there should ever be a black monarchy in #SouthCarolina, he will be its king”

He was elected as a state legislator and later as a trial judge, and was deeply involved with Reconstruction politics. Rivers was one of three African-American founders of Aiken County, established by the state legislature in 1871 during #Reconstruction, he helped pick the site for the county courthouse. After a redistricting in 1872, Rivers was the state representative from the newly organized #Aiken County. He later served as mayor,county coroner and justice of the peace, all local offices newly available to black candidates……he was also a witness to the tragic #hamburgmassacre and often the subject of death threats due to his inability to stand idly by while his people suffered #oddfellows

#Googlehim

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