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          James H. Carlisle, LL. D., educator, was born in Winnsboro, of Fairfield County, South Carolina, on May 4, 1825. His parents were William and Mary Anne (Buckanan) Carlisle, who came to America from Antrim county, Ireland about 1818. His father was a physician of excellent character and attainments. His mother, though for many years an invalid, was a woman of firm yet gentle character and exerted a powerful influence on her son.

          In early life, James lived in the county, having no regular chores that involved manual labor. His tastes and interests were those common of a county boy of his age. He studies in the common schools of Mount Zion, Winnsboro, and Camden, South Carolina. After securing his lower education he entered the South Carolina College of Columbia. He graduated with second honors and received a B. A. degree on December of 1844. Lack of money prevented him from taking a post-graduate course and compelled him to seek a active job in life. Conditions, as well as personal inclination, allowed him to become an educator. In January of 1845, he started a teaching in Columbia, South Carolina. His college education, together with his well-directed private reading in the fields of general literature, history and biography, furnished him with a unusually good knowledge for his profession and success as a teacher. In 1854, Wofford College, of Spartanburg, South Carolina, was organized and Mr. Carlisle was elected it’s professor of mathematics. He continued in this position until 1890, when he became professor of moral science and astronomy. In 1875 he was chosen president of Wofford College. He discharged his duties in this office until 1902, when he resigned and became president emeritus.

          In 1872 the degree of LL. D. was given him by the Southwestern University of Georgetown, Texas.

          Having received recognition not only in his line of profession as an exceptional educator, but also, his worth, ability and confidence of wisdom and patriotism, he was chosen as a member of the famous Convention of 1860, which passed the ordinance of secession. He was also elected to the State Legislature, in which he served from 1863 to 1865. His unwavering courage and high determination to faithfully serve his state during those crises in her history were exemplified in such a manner as to place his name high on the scroll of patriots and statesmen who gave their best services to South Carolina, in her greatest time of need.

          The war over, he continued the quite pursuit of educating the young, and precept and example taught his pupils not only the learning from books, but also the great lessons of how to meet and conquer adversities. How to lay broad and deep the foundations on which the South was to renew the structure of its civil life and show the world the most wonderful example of a people triumphing over defeat and oppression that its history has ever recorded.

          Doctor Carlisle led too active a life to have much opportunity for writing books, but he has done some literary work of a high order, among which may be mentioned, the editing of the “Lifes of Arnold and Ascham” for the Chautauqua circle. His religious connection was with the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in which he was an honored and efficient member.

          On December 12, of 1848, James Carlisle married Miss Margaret Jane Bryce, daughter of Robert and Jane (Shand) Bryce, of Columbia, South Carolina. They were blessed with three children.


Men Of Mark in South Carolina, Volume I


James Calvin Hemphill



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