F R o

Flat Rock of the Old Time
Letters from the Mountains to the Lowcountry,
Edited by Robert B. Cuthbert
The intoxicating “champagne air” of Flat Rock, North Carolina, captivated residents of
lowcountry South Carolina in the nineteenth century because it offered them respite
from the sickly, semitropical coastal climate. In Flat Rock of the Old Time, editor Robert
B. Cuthbert has mined the collections of the South Carolina Historical Society to publish a documentary history of the place and its people. While many visitors came and
went, others chose to become permanent residents. Among the Flat Rock settlers were
some of the most distinguished South Carolina gentry: Blakes, Rutledges, Hugers, and
They established the Episcopal parish church of St. John in the Wilderness Church,
where many of them are buried. They also supported a local economy that helped provide livelihoods to native residents who supplied them with goods and services. Visiting each other daily, they swapped news and gossip, sharing their joys and burdens.
Some lowcountry families who refugeed to Flat Rock during the Civil War wrote letters
describing the delicious weather, the activities of their neighbors, and the entwining
relationships of family, faith, business, and recreation that sustained Flat Rock.
The century chronicled in Flat Rock of the Old Time is viewed with a combination of
nostalgia and clear-sightedness, not only by Cuthbert but also by his correspondents.
Guided by the editor’s copious introduction, annotations, and textual apparatus, readers
experience the conjunction of people and place that was Flat Rock.
June 2016, 320 pages, 29 b&w illus.
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Robert B. Cuthbert, a native of Summerville, attended Clemson University
and graduated from the College of
Charleston. He served on the staff of
the U.S. Vegetable Lab at Charleston for
more than forty years. He is the coeditor with Stephen G. Hoffius of Northern
Money, Southern Land: The Lowcountry
Plantation Essays of Chlotilde R. Martin,
published by the University of South
Carolina Press.
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