BENJAMIN RYAN TILLMAN, who won a national fame in politics, was born August 11, 1847, in Edgefield county, South
Carolina. He received his education in the Oldfield school, where he acquired the tudiments of Latin and Greek,
in addition to a good English education. He left school in 1864 to join the Confederate army, but was prevented
from doing so by a severe illness, which resulted in the loss of an eye. In 1867 he removed to Florida, but returned
in 1868, when he was married and devoted himself to farming. He was chairman of the Democratic organization of
his county, but except a few occasional services he took no active part in politics then. Gradually, however, his
attention was directed to the depressed condition of the farming interests of his state, and in August, 1885, before
a joint meeting of the agricultural society and state grange at Bennettsville, he made: a speech in which he set
forth the cause of agricultural depression and urged measures of relief. From his active interest in the farming
class he was styled the "Agricultural Moses." He advocated an industrial school for women and for a separate
agricultural college, and in 1887 he secured a modification in the final draft of the will of Thomas G. Clemson,
which resulted in the erection of the Clemson Agricultural college at Fort Hill. In 1890 he was chosen governor
on the Democratic ticket, and carried the election by a large majority. Governor Tillman was inaugurated December
4, 1890. Mr. Tillman was next elected to the United States senate from South Carolina, and gained a national reputation
by his fervid oratory.
A Biographical Record
Of Schuyler County, New York
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
New York and Chicago 1903.
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