Simms, William Gilmore
south charleston wrote
SIMMS, WILLIAM GILMORE (1806-1870), an American poet, novelist, and historian, was born at Charleston, S.C., April 17, 1806, of Scoto-Irish descent. His mother died during his infancy, and his father having failed in business, and joined Coffee's brigade of mounted Indian fighters, which kept him in the Seminole country, young Simms was brought up by his grandmother, who gave him as good an education as her limited means would allow. He was clerk in a drug store for some years, and afterwards studied law, the bar of Charleston admitting him to practice in 1827, but he soon abandoned his profession for literature. At the age of eight he wrote verses, and in his 19th year he produced a Monody on Gen. Charles Cotestoorth Pinckney. Two years later, in 1827, Lyrical and Other Poems and Early Lays appeared ; and in 1828 he began journalism, editing with conspicuous ability and partly owning the City Gazette--a paper opposed to the doctrine of nullification. The enterprise failed, and the editor devoted his attention entirely to letters, and in rapid succession published The Vision of Cortes, Cain, and other Poems (1829), The Tricolor, or Three Days of Blood in Paris (1830), and his strongest poem, Atalantis, a story university of Alabama conferred on him the degree of LL.D. He died at Charleston on 11th June 1870.
In addition to the works mentioned above, Simms published the following poetry : - Southern Passages and Pictures, lyrical, sentimental, and descriptive poems, 1839; Donna Florida, 1843; Grouped Thoughts and Scattered Fancies, sonnets, 1845 ; Arcytos, or Songs of the South, 1846 ; Lays of the Palmetto, 1848 ; The Eye and the lying, 1848 ; The Cassique of Accabee, a Tale of Ashley River, with other pieces, 1849 ; The City of the Silent, 1850. To dramatic literature he contributed Norman Maurice, or the Man of the People ; Michael Bonham, or the Fall of the Alamo ; and a stage adaptation of Timm of Athens, all of which have been acted with success. His tevolutionary romances are - The Partisan, 1835 ; 3/d/id/wive, 1836 ; Katherine Walton, or the Rebel of Dorchester, 1851 ; The Scout (originally The Kinsman), or the Black Riders of the Congaree, 1841 ; Woodcraft (originally named The Sword and the Distaff), and Eutaw, 1856. These tales describe social life at Charleston, and the action covers the whole revolutionary period, with faithful portraits of the political and military leaders of the time. Of border tales the list includes Guy Rivers, a Tale of Georgia, 1834 •, Richard Hurdle, 1338 ; Border Beagles, 1840 ; Beaztchanzpe, 1842 ; Helen Halsey, 1845 ; The Golden Christmas, 1852 ; and Charlemont, 1856. The historical romances are The Yemassee, 1835, by far the greatest of his works, and dealing largely with Indian character and nature ; Pelayo, 1838 ; Count Julien, 1845 ; The Damsel of Darien, 1845 • The Lily and the Totem ; Vasconselos, 1857, which he wrote under the assumed name of " Frank Cooper " ; and The Cassique of Kiawah, 1860. Other novels, belonging to the series of which Martin Faber was the first, and treating principally of domestic life and motive, arc Carl Werner, 1838 ; Confession of the Blind Heart, 1842 •, The Wigwam and the Cabin, a collection of short tales, 1845-46 ; Castle Dismal, 1845 ; and Marie de Berniere, 1853. Simms's other writings comprise a History of South Carolina ; South Carolina in the Revolution, 1854 ; A Geography of South Carolina ; lives of Francis Marion, Capt. John Smith, The Chevalier Bayard, and General Greene ; The Ghost of my Husband, 1866 ; and War Poetry of the South, - an edited volume,-1867. Simms was also a frequent contributor to the magazines and literary papers, six of which he founded and conducted. He wrote on a great variety of subjects, and discussed with spirit and boldness the leading political, social, and literary topics of the day. In the discussion on slavery he upheld the views of the pro-slavery party. He edited the seven dramas ascribed to Shakespeare, with notes and an introduction to each play. In the capacity of lecturer and orator, he was in frequent request on public occasions. His principal orations are The Social Principle the True Secret of Rational Permanence, 1842 ; The True Sources of American Independence, 1844 ; Self-Development, 1847 ; Poetry of the Practical ; The Battle of Fort _Moultrie ; and The Moral Character of Hamlet.