Saturday, March 25, 2017

Bernard Baruch: Son of the South


On the morning of July 5, 1880, Colonel E.B.C. Cash and Colonel William M. Shannon faced each other with pistols near Du Bose’s bridge in Darlington County, S,C. At a word of command, Shannon fired quickly, splashing the muddy ground at the feet of his adversary. Colonel Cash, an experienced duelist with a sinister reputation, coolly took aim and fired. Seconds later, Colonel Shannon, believed to be the last man shot in a “high-toned” pistol duel anywhere in the United States, lay dead.

The killing of Colonel Shannon sent shock waves across the state and spurred the South Carolina legislature to enact strict new laws prohibiting dueling and disqualifying from public office anyone who had taken part in one. The incident also had a profound effect on one of the men in attendance that fateful morning. Dr. Simon Baruch, a close friend of Shannon, had reluctantly agreed to witness the affair. Hoping to avert bloodshed, Dr. Baruch had secretly alerted the local sheriff. But the intervention of the law came too late. Haunted by what he believed was a needless and tragic death, Simon Baruch decided to move his family and his very successful medical practice to New York City.

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