A New South Hunt Club

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Softcover, 142 Pages.

Hilton Head Island is a world-class resort, a playground for the wealthy, a golfer’s paradise. Or at least it has been for the last tiny fragment of its long history. A lucky few businessmen-turned-hunters were among the last people to know the South Carolina sea island in its natural state, before it became famous. The Hilton Head Agricultural Society, incorporated in 1917, was comprised of mill owners, bankers, physicians, and other local leaders from three communities: Gastonia, North Carolina; Clover, South Carolina; and Chattanooga, Tennessee. Every year, these men sloughed off their high-powered business concerns, piled into their cars, made the long drive to the coast, arranged for a boat to Hilton Head, and crossed the wild island to the simple hunting camp they built. Their journey traversed not only distance, but time as well. The men traded their suits and ties for rough clothing, forswore communication with the outside world, lived communally, and ate only what they managed to kill. The few permanent inhabitants of the island were African-Americans, Gullah-speaking descendants of the slaves who had once grown cotton. They worked as hunting guides and cooks during the hunters’ pilgrimage. The island teemed with fish, birds, and game animals to a degree unimaginable today. A New South Hunt Club tells the story of a time, a place, and a way of life that should not be forgotten. Author Richard Rankin conducted personal interviews and sought out papers and photographs from private and company archives to compile this entertaining and eye-catching account.

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