Galivants Ferry stump -- Joe Biden

A special spring Galivants Ferry Stump Meeting was held in 2019 in anticipation of the Presidential primaries. Four Democratic candidates spoke at the event that marked 143 years of the event. The Stump is held every other year at the Pee Dee Farms General Store off U.S. 501 on the banks of the Little Pee Dee River, typically in even numbered years. The candidates who spoke were former Vice President Joe Biden; South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg; U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota; and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Candidate U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont canceled his appearance at the event. The S.C. Democratic Primary election was held in February 2020 with Biden coming out on top. 

Although there won’t be any speeches, chicken bog or music on the banks of the Little Pee Dee River at Galivants Ferry May 3, a 144-year tradition isn’t in peril, according to 20-year stump director Sally Howard.

The ever-popular Galivants Ferry Stump Meeting has been postponed until the fall, not canceled, according to Howard.

A new date has not been set.

Because the new date is months away, the director doesn’t know which political candidates might join the fall fun.

But, U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn has been a regular at the stump over the years, and Howard had spoken this year to senatorial candidate Jaime Harrison, who is running against U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham.

Joe Biden, who hopes to be the Democrat’s nominee for President has attended the stump twice in the past and served once as keynote speaker when he was vice president.

Although the stump has traditionally been held on a Monday at the Pee Dee Farms Store, in 2018 organizers moved it to a Saturday.

“It did not prove to bring out more people than what a Monday has done for the last years…We’ll probably get back to looking at dates here in another 30 days or so,” she said.

Howard said it’s “rather historic” for the first time in many years not to have a spring stump in an even-numbered year, but added that the coronavirus has put a stop to everything.

In 2019, organizers added a fall presidential stump speaking.

Myrtle Beach attorney Tommy Brittain served as the event’s master of ceremonies for about 10 years between Bill Davis and John Land.

He is disappointed about the stump not happening this spring.

“It’s heartbreaking that something like the stump is canceled,” he said, adding that Biden had come before and he believes he might come again “because he loved the stump. Now there’s nothing to come to. It’s very sad.”

Stump promoters trace the beginning of the event to 1876 when General Wade Hampton came on horseback to start his historic gubernatorial campaign. Four years later, local businessman Joseph W. Holliday invited county Democratic candidates to speak at his store that was known to be a local gathering place. The Holliday family has continued to host the event since then.

Horry County Democratic Party Chairman Don Kohn says he’ll miss the spring event.

“It’s an opportunity to get with people we know and to hear the candidates...It’s an opportunity for us to get together. It’s a big event,” he said.

The who’s who of the Democratic Party are always there and people get a chance to speak with them, he said, but acknowledged that staying safe is a must.

“We’re excited about our presidential ticket obviously, and we’re just really excited over the senate race with Jaime Harrison…We’ll hopefully get it in here in 2020, so we will keep our every two years for sure,” Howard said.

News of the stump meeting has even made the pages of The New York Times, and the U.S. Library of Congress has recognized it as a “Local Legacy.”

Galivants Ferry, even without the stump, has been recognized by the Horry County Board of Architectural Review as an important historic place. The group cited 24 structures as historic including tobacco packhouses, tenant houses, the John Monroe Holliday house, Galivants Ferry Baptist Church, an old service station, a potato and fertilizer house, a grist mill, several barns, a wagon shed and a supervisor’s house.

Experts believe the development of Galivants Ferry opened the door to the development of Conwayborough.

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I'm the editor of the Horry Independent, a weekly newspaper in Conway, South Carolina. I cover city hall and courts, among many other subjects. Know of a good story? Call me at 843-488-7241.

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