Edgefield County Historical Society 



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    "The Spirit of Edgefield"

    This recording of “The Spirit of Edgefield” was found on an original 78 RPM record in the treasured possessions of Mr. Raymond Bloomer (1918-2008) who recorded it to be played at the meeting of the Edgefield County Historical Society on July 30, 1948 in the Edgefield County Courthouse.

    The Spirit of Edgefield was written by Miss Hortense Caroline Woodson (1896-1990), noted historian, author and longtime President of the Society.  It was sung for this occasion by the Reverend John Wimbish (1916-19??), then pastor of the Edgefield First Baptist Church who went on to become pastor of the Calvary Baptist Church in New York and one of the best known Baptist evangelists in the country.

    Mr. Bloomer, an Edgefield resident and electronics and radio expert, recorded this with what was then relatively new recording technology.  Following the death of Mr. Bloomer, his children, Betsy and Tony Bloomer, commissioned Mr. Robert Gray to re-master and edit in digital form the recording.  They have generously given the Society permission to use this recording.

The original recording of the song, "The Spirit of Edgefield" can be listened to at this link. In addition, you can also listen to the lively piano rendition of The Star Spangled Banner by Mrs. M. N. Tillman

The Spirit of Edgefield

The Star Spangled Banner


The Spirit of Edgefield
(Air: The Bells of St. Mary’s)
Hortense Caroline Woodson (1896-1990)
Officer of the Society of Half a Century

Verse 1:
The Spirit of Edgefield,   
Whatever betide,   
Is calling her children,   
From far and from wide;   
In city and village   
Or far out at sea,   
They hear her voice calling,   
“Come back, sons, to me!”       

Old Edgefield, dear Edgefield
Thy children all love thee;-   
Thy great men, thy good men,
Wherever they be,
Turn back to the scenes oft’
Remembered in story
Thy children all come back,
come back
To thee, to thee.

Verse 2:
The Spirit of Edgefield   
Is calling today   
Her young men and maidens,   
Her youth, to the fray   
To build a great nation   
As strong men of yore;   
A challenge she offers:   
“Go forward once more!”       

Repeat Refrain

Hortense Woodson (1896-1990).  Known fondly by many admirers as “The Spirit of Edgefield,” Hortense Woodson spent a lifetime researching and writing the history of Edgefield.  Born in 1896 to the Rev. Tucker Everett Woodson and his wife Agatha Abney Woodson, she was educated in the public schools of Edgefield, at Tubman High School in Augusta and at Winthrop College.  During the course of her long life she worked for the Edgefield Advertiser, the Newberry Herald and News, and the Edgefield Chronicle.  She was also employed for a number of years as secretary for United States Senator Strom Thurmond.  She was the author of a number of books, including Peter Ouzts I and his Descendants (1949), Giant in the Land, the Biography of the Rev. William Bullein Johnson (1950), Charles May and his Descendants (1956), History of the Edgefield Baptist Association (1957), Inscriptions from the Edgefield Village Baptist Cemetery (1958), and Come Out, Brave Men of Edgefield (1960), as well as the anthem “The Spirit of Edgefield.”  She was a member of the Edgefield First Baptist Church, the Old 96 Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Edgefield County Historical Society.  She served as the President and President Emeritus of the Historical Society from 1962 until her death.  She died in 1990 and is buried in Willowbrook Cemetery.

Mamie Norris Tillman (1875-1962):  The daughter of Alfred J. Norris (1839-1900) and Mary Fox Norris (1839-1935), Mamie Norris Tillman was born at her parent’s home, Magnolia Dale, in 1875.  In 1896 she was married to James Hammond “Jim” Tillman, son of Congressman George Tillman and nephew of Governor and United States Senator Benjamin Ryan Tillman.  Following her husband’s shooting of N.G. Gonzales, editor of The State newspaper, in 1903, Mrs. Tillman was estranged from her husband and lived at Magnolia Dale with her mother.  Mrs. Tillman was actively involved with many organizations in Edgefield, including the Edgefield First Baptist Church, the Old Ninety Six Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and the Edgefield County Historical Society.  She became president of the Society in 1940 and continued in that role until her death in 1962.  She was responsible for securing the gift of Magnolia Dale to the Society in 1960.