Galivants Ferry Stump: 143 years of political and family tradition

Published: Sep. 13, 2019 at 5:46 PM EDT
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GALIVANTS FERRY, S.C. (WMBF) - For 143 years, the Galivants Ferry Stump has grown into a national campaign stop for Democrats.

On Monday, it will add a new chapter to its history by hosting the first-ever Democratic Presidential Primary Stump in Galivants Ferry.

Former Confederate Gen. Wade Hampton made the inaugural stop in Galivants Ferry during his campaign for governor of South Carolina on Sept. 30, 1876, standing on a stump while speaking with voters.

Since then, hundreds more have followed as the Holliday family coordinates the event every other spring for nearly 150 years.

Now, not many people would have probably thought a campaign stop in 1876 would spark one of the longest-running political events in the country.

Yet here they are, 143 years later, where not too much has changed.

“This place that doesn’t have a stoplight and doesn’t have a school right here, and all this press is coming to see this event, which is the last of its kind in the United States,” said Russell Holliday.

For 143 years, the Holliday family have organized the political event, sending candidates to city halls, the state capital and even Washington D.C. Today, the Stump still holds true to its original roots.

“Our father just campaigned that this is a family tradition and we will continue it,” said Russell Holliday.

John M. Holliday would also create “the myth” that if you did not appear at the Gallivants Ferry Stump, you wouldn’t get elected.

Even as South Carolina’s voting history has shifted from Democrat to Republican, the Stump Speaking has still held its place on the political campaign trail.

“To win the Democratic primary, it was always very important to be at the Stump and then your nominees would come a month or two after that,” said Sally P. Howard, director of the Stump Speaking.

From signs, stickers and pictures, the Stump’s history has been well documented for nearly a century and a half.

They will now add to that history on Monday, welcoming in five Democratic candidates who have their eyes set on the White House.

“This is true Americana, this is the only place where people can come in for free and they can have eyeball-to-eyeball politics,” said Russell Holliday.

The Stump Speaking is free and open to the public. It will kick off around 5 p.m. on Sept. 16, and candidates will take the stage around 6 p.m.

The Stump will also hold its annual spring event in May 2020.

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