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Book Tour Exclusive // The Santee Canal: SC’s First Commercial Highway

June 6 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

The Santee Canal: the first inland navigation route from the Upcountry of the South Carolina Piedmont to the port of Charleston and the Atlantic Ocean, finished in the early 19th century. The Charleston Library Society and Buxton Books are honored to host Dr. Richard Porcher, one of three authors of The Santee Canal: South Carolina’s First Commercial Highway, for a book tour exclusive presentation and discussion on his comprehensive story of SC’s historical accomplishment. Dr. Porcher, a former Citadel professor and researcher of 33 years, will be introduced by co-author and former Citadel colleague Elizabeth Connor, M.Ed, who in 2019 took a sabbatical to conduct background and field research for the publication with Dr. Porcher. Led by Dana Beach, Founder & Director Emeritus-South Carolina Coastal Conservation League, the discussion will dive into the research on the canal and divulge never-before-published historical plans, maps, and photographs from the book.


$10 – Members or $15 – General Admission

About the Book:

A history of one of America’s earliest canals and its impact on the people of the South Carolina Lowcountry

Completed in 1800, the Santee Canal connected the Cooper, Santee, Congaree, and Wateree rivers: the engineered waterway transformed the lives of many in the state and affected economic development in the Southeast region of the newly formed United States. In The Santee Canal, authors Elizabeth Connor, Dr. Richard Dwight Porcher Jr., and William Robert Judd provide an authoritative and richly illustrated history of one of America’s first canals.

The Santee Canal connected distant settlements, reversed the economic fortunes of planters who altered the relationships between enslaved and enslavers, and represented an important engineering achievement of the early canal-building era in the United States. This remarkable economic, social, and political story is brought to life by the stories of the many individuals who had a hand in building the canal. From the landowners through whose property it cut, to the enslaved laborers who carved its path, to the enigmatic chief engineer Johann Christian Senf—the individual and local perspectives on this grand undertaking ground this history in the life and times of late 18th-century South Carolina.

Connor, Porcher, and Judd tell a comprehensive story of the canal’s origins and history. Imagery from historical and personal archives, field research, and technical drawings enhance the text, allowing readers to appreciate the development, evolution, and effect of the Santee Canal on the land and the people of South Carolina.

About Dr. Richard Porcher:

Richard Dwight Porcher Jr., a native of Pinopolis in Berkeley County, South Carolina, currently resides in Mt. Pleasant. He graduated from Berkeley High School in 1957 and earned a BS in biology from the College of Charleston in 1962. Porcher received his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1974, where he studied field botany under the noted botanist Dr. Wade T. Batson. In 1970, he began a thirty-three-year tenure as a biology professor at The Citadel.

In 1995, he published Wildflowers of the Carolina Lowcountry and Lower Pee Dee (USC Press). He is the senior author of Wildflowers of South Carolina, published in October 2001 with Doug Rayner (USC Press). Porcher, now Professor Emeritus at The Citadel since retiring in 2003, previously served as Adjunct Full Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Clemson University. There, he established the Wade T. Batson Endowment in Field Botany to support students studying the state’s flora and plant ecology.

Porcher is currently photographing the wildflowers and plants of South Carolina, with 1,600 different species already documented. These photographs have been placed in the public domain.

Porcher’s most recent publication is tonight’s subject matter, The Santee Canal, which he produced in collaboration with an assembled a team of historians and archaeologists. Porcher’s accolades include the 2006 Charleston Horticultural Society’s 1830 Award, the 2008 South Carolina Environmental Awareness Award, the 2015 Citadel School of Science and Mathematics Faculty Award, The Order of the Palmetto in 2019, and the Tom Dodd, Jr. Award of Excellence by the Cullowhee Native Plant Conference in 2023.

About Prof. Elizabeth Connor, M.Ed.:

Elizabeth Connor, MLS, MEd is Professor Emerita of General Education at The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina. Prior to joining The Citadel, Ms. Connor worked as an academic medical librarian in Maryland, Saudi Arabia, Connecticut, South Carolina and the Commonwealth of Dominica. She has published numerous peer-reviewed articles, chapters and books on a variety of library subjects including evidence-based practice, building design, reference services, instructional services and Web 2.0 technologies.


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Charleston, SC 29401 United States
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