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Spectator at 1992 Galivants Ferry Stump
Spectator at 1992 Galivants Ferry Stump

Galivants Ferry Stump Meeting

Galivants Ferry Stump meeting has grown into a statewide event, kicking off the Democratic political season since it began in the late-1800s. The precedent for this occasion reaches back to the 1876 candidacy of former Confederate General Wade Hampton for South Carolina governor, when he spoke to local democrats at Galivants Ferry in Horry County. Four years later, local businessman John W. Holliday invited county Democratic candidates to speak from his Galivants Ferry store, which was a local gathering place. The ferry is gone, but the Holliday family has been hosting the event on their property on the banks of the Pee Wee River every biennial since then.

Originally the Galivants Ferry Stump meetings were only for white male Democrats. Now it is attended by men and women of all races, ages, and political parties, but only Democrats are allowed to "stump" or to speak. In fact, this stump is a "must show" for any serious Democratic candidates. U.S. Senator Ernest "Fritz" Hollings (Dem.-S.C.) has attended every Galivants Ferry Stump since 1954, when he was running for state lieutenant governor. Before he switched parties in 1948, U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond (Rep.-S.C.) attended for many years.

The term "stump" refers to early political rallies when candidates may have stood on tree stumps to address the public. The tree stumps were replaced by platforms on wagons, and finally by stages. Held in May, Galivants Ferry Stump meetings were once the first of about a dozen other stumps throughout Horry County. With the advent of television political coverage, Stump meetings began to die out in the 1960s , yet Galivants Ferry Stump meeting has grown larger. It once was attended by 60 to 70 citizens, but now draws up to 5,000 residents from across the state.

During the stump, the Holliday area is festive with balloons and political flyers, and entertainment, which is typically cloggers, and country and gospel music. The famous Stump cuisine, chicken bog-a low country peppery dish similar to jambalaya-is traditionally served by the local Masons chapter. The official ceremony begins at 6 p.m., followed by as many as fifty democratic speakers.

After Holliday's death, his son George J. Holliday continued the stump meetings. In 2000, the tradition was still kept alive by the families of George J. Holliday's sons, John Monroe Holliday, and the late Joseph W. Holliday.

Documentation includes a text legacy overview; 30 photographs; nine newspapers and one regional magazine containing reports on the event; a videotape composite from television coverage on various news and educational programs; and bumper stickers.

Originally submitted by: Ernest F. Hollings, Senator.

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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