In the history of Orangeburg County, it can be said that its black history holds a significant amount of notoriety more so than any other county in the state of South Carolina.
Proof of this fact is the two educational institutions of Claflin and South Carolina State University, which have afforded educational opportunities to blacks in South Carolina since 1869 and 1872 respectively. Also including the churches, businesses and other elements, the stories of black history in Orangeburg are abundantly rich.
Over the years, countless blacks from all walks of life have gravitated to Orangeburg County for various reasons. Take for instance, Fredrick Douglas set foot in Orangeburg County in the 1880s, speaking to the students of Claflin University and Claflin College. In more recent times, Essie Mae Washington-Williams became a black history icon, and she made it passing through none other than Orangeburg.
One individual that came to Orangeburg leaving his mark was Addison Evans Quick who was born of slave parents on Dec. 31, 1857, in Richmond County, N.C. His father, John Harrison Quick, was a house carpenter by trade and hired his time from his master, Benjamin Quick, of Marlboro County, for $300 a year. According to family legend, Quick built a church in Rockingham, N.C., using only wooden pegs, no nails. His mother, Elizabeth Leaks Covington Quick, was a seamstress and belonged to Dr. C.C. Covington, from near Rockingham, N.C. His father died when he was 3 years old in August 1861.
Addison Quick attended the public schools in Rockingham until he entered the State Normal School at Fayetteville, N.C., in 1874, which is now known as Fayetteville State University.
On Dec. 16, 1880, he married Lucy Ann Allman, daughter of Jacob C. Allman, a former state representative for Marlboro County, and Miranda Quick, the sister of John Harrison Quick. Lucy was very active in the Methodist Episcopal Church, North. After the marriage, he decided to become a minister and entered Gammon School of Theology in Atlanta. He was a minister at several Methodist churches in South Carolina, including Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church in Beaufort, Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church in Orangeburg and churches in Darlington and Cheraw.
He and his wife built a home in Orangeburg in the early 1900s when he became the pastor of Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church. That became the family home and was occupied consistently by his widow, who died in 1937, and his children and grandchildren until 2003. The house is located on East Russell Street.
This area where the home was located is known as “Quick Town” and according to “Names in South Carolina,” it “was named for a Negro preacher by that name who was none other than Addison Evans Quick. “Quick Town” ran from Whittaker Parkway up to Dorchester Street and down to the railroad tracks. Quick Street was also named in his honor.
Quick was described as a great evangelistic preacher and an eloquent speaker, a philosopher, a statesman, a deep thinker, and an unselfish, generous character. He had an inquiring mind and had no problem seeking answers. For instance, to find out about the Mormon Church, he went to the source and met with the organizer to get his answers first hand.
Toward the end of his career, Quick switched denominations and became a Baptist minister. He was an active minister for 45 years. He died in Beaufort on June 15, 1926. His remains were transported to Orangeburg, where his funeral was held at Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church. He was interred in the Orangeburg Cemetery.
He was influential among blacks and for that, his legacy will live forever in Orangeburg. The Rev. A.E. Quick is just another example of the greatness in character of Orangeburg, its people and the ones who matriculate through its boundaries.
Richard Reid is president of the Orangeburg Historical and Genealogical Society. His mission is researching Orangeburg history, with a particular emphasis on the role of blacks in that history.