Category Archives: News

Pickens native authors book detailing South Carolina’s last lynching

By Dr. Thomas Cloer, Jr.

Special to The Courier

In an age of technology, one need only to look at images of lynching victims to start wondering about the stories behind the images.

Pickens native William B. “Will” Gravely — an erudite scholar, renowned historian, polished author and professor emeritus at the University of Denver — has written the most comprehensive book ever on the barbaric lynching of young Willie Earle, a black Pickens County native killed in South Carolina’s last lynching after being taken from the jail by more than two dozen white men in 1947.

Early in America, before the Civil War, lynching referred to hanging. The term “lynching” gained broader meaning when hanging was replaced by easier and other acts of violence and torture, such as burnings, shootings, knifings, etc., of someone suspected of a crime. Lynching no longer means hanging only.

The 24-year-old Earle, who suffered from epilepsy, was taken from the old Pickens County jail, now the Pickens County Museum of Art and History. He was taken by a mob of taxi drivers from Greenville County in February 1947. Earle was beaten, stabbed repeatedly and shot at very close range in the head with a 12-gauge shotgun; his was a horrific murder. Gravely’s book, “They Stole

Him out of Jail,” is very recently published by the University of South Carolina Press ( The book is not only about the lynching, but is also about our Southern history, and how this lynching reverberated throughout America.


There were 26 men who gave confessions. However, there were differences in their testimonies that were troubling. A same incident can be interpreted many ways. When there is no tangible evidence to verify or disqualify an interpretation, how can one know what is

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SWU dedicates Joiner-Hilson Complex

CENTRAL — Southern Wesleyan University’s new living and learning community now has a name.

Southern Wesleyan dedicated the Joiner-Hilson Complex April 10, celebrating the visionary idea for a facility that’s more than just another place to house students.

The complex is named in honor of the Joiner and Hilson families and their generosity toward Southern Wesleyan. Both families have left indelible marks on the university, as evidenced by numerous generations of students and a decades-old tradition of leadership.

Southern Wesleyan University president Dr. Todd Voss recalled sketching on napkins concepts for a living and learning community

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The results are in

After readers cast thousands of ballots and members of the Courier family spent many hours hand-counting and tabulating the results, the time has finally come to officially unveil the businesses who were honored as the best at what they do in Pickens County in the first-ever Readers’ Choice Awards. Get this week’s printed copy of the Courier for a special keepsake section listing the winners and honorable mentions across more than 100 categories.


Aerospace manufacturer planning to invest $19M in Pickens County facility

By Jason Evans

Staff Reporter

LIBERTY — IPSUM Technologies announced plans to invest $19.2 million to build what one company official calls a “factory of the future” at the Pickens County Commerce Park.

The announcement was made Wednesday morning at the Alliance Pickens office. It is expected to create 55 new jobs.

“We are really, really excited for the future that we are going to share with one another,” Alliance Pickens executive director Ray Farley said.

Co-chairman and president C. Ashley Heaton said his company focuses on advanced manufacturing for “aerospace, space, defense and the high-technology sectors.”

“We are dedicated to bringing the next generation of manufacturing, and Pickens (County) is our first location for

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250 jobs leaving

Central plant announces plan to close in June

By Greg Oliver

Courtesy The Journal

CENTRAL — A plant that has spent nearly a half-century in Central is set to close its doors by the end of June — affecting 250 employees.

Shaw Industries Group Inc. announced Thursday it plans to shift production from its extension yarn facility on S.C. Highway 93 in Pickens County to other Shaw facilities throughout the Southeast. Plant officials said the consolidation process would begin immediately, with operations at what is

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Nuclear station to host event with free tree giveaway

SENECA — Duke Energy’s World of Energy at Oconee Nuclear Station will host a free Earth Day in May festival, partnering with Keep Oconee Beautiful Association (KOBA) to highlight the shared responsibility of taking care of our piece of the planet.

The festival, open to the public, is set to take place from 10 a.m.-noon Saturday at the World of Energy. Activity stations will be in the World of Energy butterfly garden to teach children and families what small steps they can take to make a positive impact on our environment. Guests can take home a free tree to plant, too.

“KOBA is excited to be partnering together with Duke Energy’s World of Energy for the third Earth Day in May celebration,” KOBA executive director Danielle Pankuch said. “Last year, we had a great turnout, and the kids really enjoyed the different

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Scaly Adventures films at Easley elementary school

EASLEY — Scaly Adventures filmed at Forest Acres Elementary School in Easley on April 24, marking the local show’s first stop in a Pickens County school for its broadcast television series.

The TV spot will highlight teachers making a difference in the lives of students, according to Tanya Curren, who runs Scaly Adventures alongside her husband, Rick, and son, Pierce.

Scaly Adventures, a family-friendly educational television show that features the Curren family as they learn and teach about a variety of animals, partnered with AirWorx Unmanned Solutions, based in Easley, who filmed overhead drone footage. The entire student body went outside for the filming, and the drone flew overhead to include as many students as possible in the TV spot.

“We are grateful for the dedication of our teachers and are

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Nuts put crunch into pie crusts

By Olivia Fowler
For the Courier

If you would like to turn a good pie into a great pie, rethink the crust.

Using these nut-based pie crusts will really jazz up an old favorite. The pecan and almond crusts are delicious with a chocolate or banana cream filling. And pairing them with coconut cream is also a winner.

Lemon meringue pairs well with the pistachio crust, and pumpkin or apple go the extra mile with the walnut crust.

Actually, it’s hard to come up with anything that wouldn’t taste good with nuts. So go ahead and knock their socks off.

Come up with your own pairings. Don’t be afraid to experiment a little with these.


In mourning

Pickens woman shot to death, niece kidnapped and killed

By Jason Evans

Staff Reporter

PICKENS — A community already in shock over the shooting death of a 54-year-old woman and her niece’s kidnapping was struck another blow Saturday, when police found the suspect and the kidnapping victim dead in North Carolina.

In a release, Pickens Police Chief Travis Riggs said his agency and the Columbus County (N.C.) Sheriff’s Office learned Saturday that the suspect, Marco Vaught, and the kidnapped woman, Rebecca Purry, were possibly at Vaught’s Columbus County home.

Rebecca Purry went to the Pickens Police Department at 3 p.m. April 16 and told officers her ex-boyfriend, Vaught, had called her and “made threats to come to her house and get her,” Riggs

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2 arrested in hospital credit union robbery

By Jason Evans

Staff Reporter

EASLEY — Two men have been charged in connection with a Friday robbery at a credit union branch inside Prisma Health–Baptist Easley hospital.

Billy Joe Bush Sr., is armed with one count of entering a bank to steal and one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, Easley Police Chief Tim Tollison said.

Marcus Dane Cook, 24, is charged with one account of accessory before the fact of a felony and one count of accessory after the fact of a robbery.

Tollison said a man entered the Palmetto Health Credit Union at the hospital Friday afternoon, told a teller he had a gun

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