An Independent State Of Mind

by | Jan 19, 2005

Rosie greets visitors to BFG Communications

I recently had the opportunity to visit the Hilton Head Island area, also known as South Carolina’s Treasured Coast or Low Country. I flew in from Chicago to participate in a “working interview” with BFG Communications, a marketing services firm with spirits giant, Diageo, as an anchoring client.

BFG is located in Bluffton, SC just before the bridge to Hilton Head Island. This entire region is rich with history, and Bluffton is no exception.

According to Our Coast, Bluffton is “a state of mind,” as the town’s slogan goes, and has been since its inception. “It’s a community that really was started historically as a second-home community before the Civil War, where people would come in the summer to get away from the cities,” notes Roberts Vaux, a local attorney and entrepreneur. Because of the heat and bugs that accompanied the summer months, residents of the area saw Bluffton with its breezy bluffs as a perfect respite.

It’s also here, under what’s known as the Secession Oak, that the fires for the South to secede from the North got a little stoking. The tree may already have been two centuries old in 1844 when as many as 500 people met beneath its canopy. According to the Bluffton Historical Preservation Society, those people had come to hear their congressman, Robert Barnwell Rhett, “who had been so vociferously agitating since the 1820s for Secession.” And so began “The Bluffton Movement,” which led to South Carolina’s withdrawal from the Union on Dec. 20, 1860-the first state to secede. The oak is on the left-hand side of Verdier Cove Road at Highway 46, just outside the town limits on the Pritchardville side.