Shown above is a 24mm brass token issued circa 1886 in Batesburg, South Carolina. Its uniface strike and incuse lettering are indicative of a style of token manufacture often seen in the last two decades of the nineteenth century. Few tokens of this style were utilized in South Carolina, as token usage did not become widespread in the state until the early 1900s, when a different style prevailed.
Not much is presently know about the issuers of this month's token. Directory listings from the late 1880s shed little light on the business, but do offer something to go on. No listing could be found for the partnership alluded to in the inscription of the token, but both men are listed separately in an 1886 directory. Thomas S. Fox and Edward K. Hardin are both shown as being physicians, practicing in the town of Batesburg, South Carolina. Seven years later, in 1893, Hardin is listed as operating a drug store. There is no mention of Fox in that directory. Local sources have located an advertisement which shows the duo as being in medical practice together and co-owning a drug store. The ad promotes "drugs, chemicals, medicines, fine stationery, soaps, paints, oils, putty and window glass," as well as "fine cigars and fine chewing tobaccos," and "a fresh line of Peter Henderson's celebrated garden seeds." The date of the ad is unknown, but is thought to be from the early 1890s. A local historian indicated that Dr. Hardin had originally come to Batesburg to be the principal of a school there, but was encouraged to enroll in medical school and become a physician. After returning to Batesburg, he entered into practice with Dr. Fox and also practiced with a Dr. Bates for a period of time.
This ad appeared in a copy of The Way, a publication distributed by the Batesburg Y.M.C.A. circa 1890.
A small number of the Hardin & Fox tokens were found in a drug store in Batesburg about 15 years ago. They were mixed in among a much larger group of tokens bearing the name of the Batesburg Drug Company, which operated circa 1905, or about 10-20 years after Doctors Hardin and Fox were practicing in Batesburg. Due to the length of time interspersed between the issuance of the two tokens, it seems doubtful that there was a connection between the two businesses, other than the likelihood that they probably operated in the same building. The building in which the tokens were found had been a drug store on and off for almost 100 years. The name of the business at the time that the tokens were discovered was The Fair Drug Company. Prior incarnations in the same building included The Ridgell Drug Company, The People's Drug Store, and undoubtedly The Batesburg Drug Company, and Hardin & Fox. An elaborately decorated soda fountain still occupies the premises, although no business has operated in it for about 15 years. A picture of the fountain, with a fine ceramic Coca-Cola dispenser sitting on a marbled bar, appears below.
Photograph taken circa 1930 inside J.M. Ridgell's drug store in Batesburg, S.C. The man standing is C.B. Spradley, a clerk employed at the time by Ridgell. Hardin & Fox most likely had their business on these same premises, and specimens of this month's token were probably tendered across this same marbled bar for glasses of soda water.
During the late 1880s, the town of Batesburg had a population of around 500 people. The town was named for Captain Tom Bates, a prominent citizen of the community and a veteran of the Civil War. Located in the extreme western portion of Lexington County, Batesburg was situated 21 miles southwest of the county seat (Lexington), 33 miles from Columbia, and 52 miles from Augusta, Georgia. The South Carolina State Gazetteer and Business Directory for the year 1886 notes "the amount of cotton shipped will average 3000 bales annually. It has a railroad and express office, several churches, a high school, a hotel, and several mills." Of note is the regional cotton production. The presence of the express office and railroad connections helped to make the town a hub of business activity in the region, with area farmers bringing their crops to Batesburg, where they could be easily shipped to distant markets.
A postcard view of Batesburg's Main Street, circa 1905.
JUNE UPDATE: I have recently received some information from a descendant of Dr. Edward K. Hardin, as well as two photographs. Here is that information, most of which is adapted from an old “who’s who” type reference.
Dr. Edward King Hardin, one of the leading physicians of Batesburg, Lexington county, South Carolina, was born in Chester county in the year 1851. His father’s first name was Peter, and that of his mother was Rebecca, her surname being King. They were both natives of South Carolina, the Hardins being of English descent. Peter Hardin was a planter by occupation, following that employment until his death in 1885. He was a soldier in the Confederate army during the war, and was the father of five sons, none of them being professional men except the subject of this sketch. Dr. E.K. Hardin received his early education in the schools of Chester county, and continued it at Wofford College, Spartanburg, SC, graduating from that institution in 1873. After his graduation, he engaged in teaching for ten succeeding years in the schools of Batesburg, Blackville male seminary, and Williamston. He was compelled to abandon his calling on account of failing health, and began the study of medicine in 1882 under W.D. Hutto, entering Charleston College in the winter of 1883. After remaining there one year, he entered the University of Maryland at Baltimore, and graduated from that institution in 1885.
A photograph of Dr. Edward King Hardin, circa 1900.
After his graduation from the university, he immediately began practice at Batesburg, and has continued his practice at that place up to the present time. In 1890, he established a drug store in connection with his medical practice. He was married in 1875 to Miss Clinkscales, of Williamston, and five children have been born to this marriage. Dr. Hardin has never taken an active part in politics, preferring to devote his entire energies and a faithful devotion to the practice of his chosen profession.
A photograph of Dr. Hardin with the horse and buggy which he used for making house calls, circa 1900.
Dr. Hardin was known to be in practice in Batesburg for a total of 20 years. In the early 1900s, after the publication of the above biographical sketch and in failing health, he moved to Clover, SC to be near his daughter. He died there in 1905.
Next month we continue our look at South Carolina's classic nineteenth century tokens.
Copyright 2001 by Tony Chibbaro.
South Carolina State Gazetteer and Business Directory - 1886 published by Southern Directory and Publishing Co., 1886.
South Carolina Tokens by Tony Chibbaro, The Token and Medal Society, 1990.
Palmetto Place Names compiled by Workers of the Writers' Program of the W.P.A., The Reprint Co., 1975.
Telephone Conversation with Louise Riley, President of the Batesburg-Leesville Historical Society.
Cyclopedia of Eminent and Representative Men of the Carolinas of the Nineteenth Century, Volume I compiled by Brant & Fuller, Democrat Printing Co., 1892.
Personal Correspondence with Mrs. M. Smith of Clover, SC.
If you collect or have a casual interest in South Carolina tokens or tokens issued by cotton mills, lumber companies, or other types of businesses, you may want to purchase my book, South Carolina Tokens and its two supplements. To read a description of these standard references, please click on this link: Books.
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