Representative Alfred Rush.  The year and place of his birth is unknown to posterity, but in the 1833 U.S. Census, Alfred Rush was found to be the property of Edmund Gee; son of John Gee, one of the first magistrates in Darlington District, present day Florence, S.C., Ebenezer District - with his homestead near Five Points.  His Brother-in Law, Horatio "Rasha" Cannon was a Senator for Darlington District for over 20-years. He  was married to his sister, Parmelia Gee, and wrote a charter for the State Bank of South Carolina. The Gee Family, was very well connected family, and part of the Darlington Distict Aristocracy or  Planters Class.  Edmund Gee served as an Attorney in Darlington employing Alfred Rush; his man-servant; as a farmer, blacksmith, gin, and mill operator on the Gee Plantation earning him trust and responsibility. It was noted early on in his youth that young Alfred had a rarified skill not often found among slaves; he could read. From 1826-1828, Edmund Gee served Darlington in the S.C. House of Representatives. It was during this period while serving in Columbia, S.C., with young Alfred, Rep. Gee planted the seeds of a future life that he could not even fathom in the late 1820s and early 1830s in the Ante-bellum South.  Due to his stewardship and attention to detail as noted from his many responsibilities, his future appeared to be bright. His character molding and christian upbringing were not only attributed to Edmund Gee but also his wife, Martha Harriet Blackwell Gee called "Hannah", Edmund's Brother, Jacquilling "Jack" Gee, and Mother Ebenezer Baptist Church.

 

 

  Gee Family Headstone.

       Courtesy of  Ebenezer Baptist Church

 

After the death of Edmund Gee in 1830, Jack hired Alfred Rush from his brother’s estate to become his most trusted manservant. As found with Edmund and Widow Hannah, Alfred oversaw many chores due to the plantation’s many operations which included the storehouse, smokehouse, milkhouse, rootcellar house, pantry, and toolhouse. Armed with an ample supply of keys, exemplifying trust, Alfred continued to mature in all of his endeavors due to his fidelity, trustworthiness, and good character which many in the Gee Clan desired from their holdings.  The relationship between Jack Gee and Alfred Rush lasted from slavery up until and [well after] emancipation. Alfred Rush continued in the employment of Jack Gee as overseer, long after he had purchased his own plantation in the Savannah Grove-Meadow Prong community in 1869.

 

In May 1848, Alfred was brought before the Ebenezer Baptist Church, as a candidate for baptism, as being slave [of] Jack Gee as noted as “Jack”. Later he was given approval to teach or minister to the slave congregation at Ebenezer Baptist Church, as a Slave Deacon, around 1860. 

 

 

 

 

Copyright 1973 - 2018, CRC INC. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

He, along with Sampson Ham – a full-time licensee of the church ministered to the slaves - helped minister the Gospel to their captive brethren. During the Civil War, and shortly thereafter, Alfred was found at his stay as man-servant to Jack Gee.  The christian edicts and moral underpinnings taught by Mother Ebenezer to Alfred and fellow slave converts, helped insure this period of "great upheaval" was one of respect. On November 3, 1866, due to the Civil War's aftermath, Pastor Sampson Ham, Deacon Alfred Rush, and 11 other souls were granted a letter of dismission to join the black church in Darlington.  On November 3, 1866, Savannah Grove Baptist Church, was birthed on land donated by George W. Pettigrew. Despite the tragedy and trauma rendered by the war, mutual respect between Master and Slave, Jack Gee and Alfred Rush, continued until the former's death on  February 4, 1872.

 

Mother Ebenezer Baptist Church Campus.

 Courtesy of  Ebenezer Baptist Church

Darlington County Historical Museum of Ethnic Culture

 

 

Savannah Grove Baptist Church

Courtesy of Savannah Grove Baptist Church

and Darlington County Historical Museum of Ethnic Culture

 

The upheaval caused by the war and the 1865 Election, sought to re-institute a government that resembled the anti-bellum rule found prior to the war, as envisioned by Abraham Lincoln, the Architect of the Presidential Reconstruction Act, and implemented by Vice President Andrew Johnson instituted a softer more forgiving remedy, allowing for the immediate restoration of the “old-rule” and newly instituted Black Codes.  

 

 

 

Copyright 1973 - 2018, CRC INC. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

Thus, forsaking the newly freedmen with no protection and scarcity of resources to the ill-will of their former masters.  In essence, the election of 1865 throughout the South, made those of African-descent slaves, if not with chains, by circumstance, once again, infuriating Radical Republicans in Congress, prompting the Congressional Reconstruction Act, which sougth to enact and enforce by law, what the Presidentional Reconstruction Act failed to do.

In 1868, Alfred Rush; with the help of the Gee Family and its powerful political connections, was elected during South Carolina’s First Reconstruction Government, the “Forty-Eighth General Assembly”, under the administration of Governor Robert B. Scott. As a member of the House of Representatives, Representative Alfred Rush and fellow legislators, introduced legislations that were passed into law for the state of South Carolina to create and maintain a free Public School System, for all races and classes, with equal access to all Public Schools and Colleges.  This was the single most important achievement or contribution made by the Honorable Alfred Rush and the “Forty-Eighth General Assembly” of South Carolina, and is worthy of note distinction, by all benefactors past and present.

Rep. Alfred Rush's December 1869 Election Notice.

Courtesy of Darlington County Historical Commission

 

 

Copyright 1973 - 2018, CRC INC. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

Rep. Alfred Rush had the Effingham Communities of Elim, Meadow Prong, and Savannah Grove, named “Rush Township” after himself in 1868, which

lasted through 1877, when it was changed to “Effingham Township”.  He was a strong and ardent supporter and promoter of Free Education.  For all those

that desired it, to include Church Education, Primary Education, and Higher Education at the State Level. His legislative body, was the first to open the doors

to the University of South Carolina at Columbia, to enrollment for the newly freed freedmen, throughout the state. During his second term in the Fifty-First

General Assembly, in early 1874, a new Free Public School in the Long Branch Community was named the Rushtownship Free Public School

District #20, in honor of his Township. This is only a brief summary of the many contributions made toward education that was advocated by the Honorable

Alfred Rush and the First African-American Legislative Body to serve our state during the period of Reconstruction.

 

Alfred Rush Academy.

Courtesy of Florence School District #1 and

Darlington County Historical Museum of Ethnic Culture

  Alfred Rush’s integrity and zeal for Education were the virtues that he passed on to posterity through his only known son, Walter C. Rush, whom became a

School Teacher in the early 1880s, in Darlington County, wihin the Effingham Community. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright 1973 - 2018, CRC INC. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

As the writer of Ecclesiastes would pen many centuries ago to the finality of this life, there is a time to live and a time to die. On the evening of May 13, 1876, Rep. Alfred Rush and his wife, Aggy, were returning home in their horsedrawn buggy from a re-election campaign at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church when they stopped at the Long Branch Stream to water their horse, about a one and half miles, from their home.  It was just before sunset.  Suddenly, gunshots rang out from behind a nearby tree stump.  An assassin's bullet struck Rep. Alfred Rush in the heart, killing him instantly.

 

 

Rep. Alfred Rush Historical Marker - side 1.

Courtesy of Florence County Historical Commission

and Darlington County Historical Museum of Ethnic Culture

Rep. Alfred Rush Historical Marker - side 2.

Courtesy of Florence County Historical Commission

 and Darlington County Historical Museum of Ethnic Culture

 

 

Lastly, the Honorable Rep. Alfred Rush left his mark upon Darlington and Florence Counties and the Pee Dee Region, by instilling the importance

of education, the educational process in both Community and Church, and in one's life, which has remained steadfast and unmovable.

 

 

                                                                                                                                            Composed by Randy McAllister, descendant of Alfred Rush,

                                                                                                                                           and Darlington County Historical Museum of Ethnic Culture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright 1973 - 2018, CRC INC. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

CHRONOLOGICAL PUBLIC SERVICE RECORD TIMELINE

OF THE HONORABLE ALFRED RUSH

 

1866 – 1876

 

1866 – Savannah Grove Baptist Church, Darlington, South Carolina established on November 3, 1866.

1867 – Candidate for the Legislature, Darlington, South Carolina

1868 – Crop Lien Agreement with General Robert K. Scott, Charleston, South Carolina, April 27, 1868.

           - Voters Registration, Timmonsville Precinct, Darlington, South Carolina, June 30, 1868.

1869 – First Session in the General Assembly, Columbia, South Carolina, January 5, 1869

         - Purchased Plantation at Effingham, South Carolina, Darlington County, July 23, 1869.

         - State Census Numeration, Rush Township, Darlington, South Carolina, November 1869

         - Effingham Township was named for the Honorable Alfred Rush, 1869

         - One of the first deacons at Savannah Grove Baptist Church, Tansbay Township, Darlington, South Carolina, August 15, 1869.

         - Recommendation of students for the State University, Columbia, South Carolina, December 10, 1869

1870 - Purchased land, at Effingham, Rush Township, Darlington, South Carolina, November 7, 1870

         - Voting record in the legislature March 1, 1870, Columbia, South Carolina

         - Darlington County Jury Duty (Petit Jury), Darlington, South Carolina, June 20, 1870

          - Pardon Petition for Sheriff Thomas C. Cox, Darlington, South Carolina, August 16, 1870

1873   - Darlington County Jury Duty (Petit Jury), Darlington, South Carolina, June 14, 1873

1874    - Re-elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives for Darlington County, South Carolina, November 24, 1874

1875 – Election results in the town of Florence for Candidate Alfred Rush during the election, During the election – Rush 17 Votes,             Darlington, South Carolina, November 24, 1874

          - Tax forfeitures of Property, Rush Township, a list of 21 Farms are published, Darlington, South Carolina, October 31, 1875.

1876 – Representative Alfred Rush appointed to House Committee to report on the House Treasurer, Columbia, South Carolina,

            April 13, 1876.

           - Representative Alfred Rush is assassinated in Rush Township, Darlington, South Carolina, May 13, 1876.

 

                                                                                                                      Prepared by Randy McAllister, Spring 2004, Descendant of Alfred Rush

 

Copyright 1973 - 2018, CRC INC. All rights reserved.