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Buzzing Around the SC Statehouse: The Hiker

Posted by Ryan Morgan on October 11, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Hidden behind the tall stately trees that surround our Statehouse is a statue of a young man known as "The Hiker."

Created by Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson, the Hiker is actually a series of statues that commemorate the American soldiers who fought in the Spanish-American War, the Boxer Rebellion and the Filipino-American War. The original Hiker stands at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, "[depicting] a hero stripped of his parade uniform and shown as a soldier reacting to the challenges of the battlefield."

"Hiker" was the name that soldiers during the conflicts gave themselves. Spanish-American War veteran Leonard Sefing, Jr (PA) posed for the statue after being selected from a national search. After the initial statue was unveiled in 1906, more than 50 copies were made and distributed throughout the US.

The Hiker statue series are currently being used by scientists to study air pollution, due to the wide distribution of the originals, consistent alloy chemistry and long period of exposure to the elements.

South Carolina's Hiker was dedicated on the Statehouse grounds on October 22, 1941 by the State of South Carolina and the United States Spanish War Veterans. The plaques read as follows:

Front: Official Symbol of the United Spanish War Veterans

Left: "Remeber the Maine". - "Fire When you are Ready, Gridley" Dewey at Manila, U.S.S. Olympia. "Don't Cheer Boys, The Poor Devils are Dying." Captain Phillips, U.S.S. Texas, at Santiago."

Right: "South Carolina Troops in the Spanish American War, First South Carolina Volunteer Infantry, Second South Carolina Volunteer Infantry, Anderson's Battery Heavy Artillery, South Carolina Naval Militia. South Carolinians who Volunteered for the Yellow Fever Test in Cuba were honored by the United States Congress with a Special Gold Medal and a Lifetime Pensions, Tech Sgt. Levi E. Folk, Newberry; Pvt. James L. Hanneberry, Orangeburg; Pvt. Charles G. Sontag, Columbia."

Back: "Erected by the State of South Carolina and her Citizens to Honor the Memory of Her Sons who served in the War With Spain, The Philippine Insurrection, and the China Relief Expedition, 1898 - 1902. Dedicated October 22nd, 1941, by the Department of South Carolina, United Spanish War Veterans."

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