Colonel Walter H. Andrews
A Brief Biography from
A History of the Lowcountry of South Carolina

Col. Walter H. Andrews     It is impossible to review the career of Colonel Walter H. Andrews without capturing the progressive pioneer spirit that pervaded his life.  He was an astute business man who early demonstrated his abilities and won richly merited success through well-directed effort.  Colonel Andrews was essentially a builder, a man of constructive vision, and will long be remembered as one of the most able and influential leaders of his generation in the affairs of the Lowcountry of South Carolina.  His name was largely known throughout the south, but it was in Andrews and Georgetown County that his interests and activities centered.

Signature of Col. Walter H. Andrews     He was a dominant power for good and many of the things that he accomplished in his life are now living on, a monument to his memory.

     Colonel Walter H. Andrews was born at Montpelier, Vermont, on March 20, 1873, the son of John S. and Mary (Murray) Andrews.  His father was of English ancestry and his mother's ancestors came from Scotland.  He received his early education at the Methodist Seminary, Montpelier, Vermont, and then enrolled in the Green Mountain Seminary at Waterbury, Vermont, where he completed his studies.  Like his father and grandfather, Walter H. Andrews began his career in the lumber industry and for a time was connected with the Hackley Lumber Company of Minneapolis, Minnesota.  In 1899, he came to Georgetown, South Carolina, in association with Freeman S. Farr to become general superintendent of the Atlantic Coast Lumber Corporation and of the Georgetown and Western Railroad.  At that time the Atlantic Coast Lumber Corporation had very extensive operations in the Lowcountry, employing thousands of men in the lumber manufacturing industry.  Mr. Andrews successfully directed these operations for a number of years, and only severed his connections with the corporation when the timber resources became depleted for extensive operations.

     Following his resignation from the Atlantic Coast Lumber Corporation, Mr. Andrews became prominently associated with the Savannah River Lumber Company of Savannah, Georgia, and was instrumental in placing this operation on an extensive, profitable basis.

     The live of Colonel Walter H. Andrews was one of constant activity and he made many contributions to civic progress.  Nothing bears out with greater clarity than the honor afforded him by the citizens of Andrews who practically unanimously voted to give the consolidated town of the old village of Harper's and the new lumbering town of Rosemary his name, and thus perpetuate his memory.  It was he, who first undertook to consolidate the two settlements in 1909, which today is the second largest community in Georgetown County.

     During the time he resided in Georgetown, he served several terms as mayor of that city and also served as mayor of Andrews for eight years.  His dynamic personality was a force and he was always concerned in things political and civic of the movement and became widely known throughout the state because of his activities.  While serving as a "dollar-a-year" man during World War I, he was instrumental in purchasing Fort Bragg in North Carolina for the United States Government.  For several years he served as a member of the South Carolina Forestry Commission, resigning this post to become a member of the South Carolina State Forestry Commission, resigning this post to become a member of the South Carolina State Highway Commission.  For his constructive work and pioneering efforts while a member of the State Highway Commission the W. H. Andrews Memorial Bridge across the Santee River near Jamestown was dedicated in his honor by Governor Strom Thurmond on March 20, 1949.  He served as Federal Emergency Relief Administrator of Georgetown County during the first term of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and capably directed the efforts of this agency of the Federal Government.

     As a community builder his constructive leadership was a decided factor, not only in the physical growth of Andrews, but in its civic development as well.  He organized the Bank of Andrews and later the Andrews Bank & Trust Company which for several years was the only banking institution in Georgetown County.  He was particularly concerned in agricultural interests of the community.  These activities took him into the hearts of the farmers and he not only aided in financing crops, but from his own resources, purchased equipment and installed a vegetable cannery at Andrews for the benefit of the community without hope of profit to himself.

     In other activities, he served as colonel on the staff of Governor Cole L. Blease and had a wide acquaintance with state and national figures of his day.  The universal popularity and respect he enjoyed were due in large measure to the democratic philosophy he had adopted and allowed to guide him throughout his distinguished career.  He met all men on an equal footing and displayed a human and sympathetic understanding in their problems.  His career is a record of richly merited achievement and stands as an immortal tribute to his character.

     In social life, he was a charming and delightful personality, a true friend and a wonderful host.  He was a Mason and as a Christian gentleman, served as Senior Warden of St. Luke's Episcopal Church of Andrews.

     At Bennettsville, South Carolina, on November 10, 1909, Walter H. Andrews married Miss Mayde Matheson, the daughter of the late Alexander J. Matheson and Sarah Ellen (Jarnargan) Matheson.  Her father was a native of Marlboro County of Scotch ancestry and was a prominent planter, banker and civic leader of Bennettsville.  Her mother was born in Marion County of pioneer ancestry.

     Mrs. Walter H. Andrews has long been prominent in the community affairs of Andrews.  She shared fully in the life's work and interests of her husband and served for a number of years as president of the Andrews Bank & Trust Company.  Mrs. Walter H. Andrews continues to reside in Andrews and is active in St. Luke's Episcopal Church.

     Colonel and Mrs. Walter H. Andrews became the parents of three sons:

     The death of Colonel Walter H. Andrews on January 20, 1935, was an irreparable loss to the city which he loved so well and to its people of all classes and in his passing the state of South Carolina lost a beloved and distinguished citizen.  An honorary guard of twenty highway patrolmen was sent down from Columbia to conduct the sorrowing friends as they passed by his bier.  Among those who made up the funeral cortege which numbered thousands, were friends from many points in the state, North Carolina and Savannah, Georgia.

     Colonel Walter H. Andrews is buried in the Andrews family plot in beautiful Andrews Memorial Cemetery.  His influence was felt while he yet lived as a power for good, and his spirit will continue to be a strong force through the years.

The Walter H. Andrews House
South Rosemary Avenue
Andrews, South Carolina

Andrews Old Town Hall Museum
12 West Main / Andrews, South Carolina 29510
Phone: (803)264-3471 / e-mail:

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