Hyam Hymes


Darlington, SC


Hyam Hymes (1833-1907) was born in Plymouth, England and immigrated to Darlington County in the early 1850s. From 1854 to 1856, he operated a general merchandise store with German immigrant A. Nachman (d. 1886) which was aptly named Hymes & Nachman. A year after closing the store, Hyam married Caroline Rugg (1841-1899). Together the couple welcomed at least three children, including: Theresa (1859-1933), Minnie (1861-1936), and Hamilton (b. 1865). As his family grew, Hyam also continued to invest in his developing business empire and took an interest in local politics. In 1872, he was elected intendant of Darlington, essentially functioning as the town’s mayor for a time, and in the 1880s, he operated a liquor store and the Carolina Hotel on Public Square. In 1888, his health began to deteriorate, and his daughter Theresa assumed charge of his hotel the following year. By 1892, he was also renting out two commercial buildings just south of the Carolina Hotel, one of which may have previously housed his liquor store. In March of 1892, a fire destroyed these two buildings—then home to R. M. Nixon’s barbershop and W. T. Sanford’s jewelry store—along with the hotel and twenty other buildings along Public Square and Pearl Street. The damage to Hymes’s buildings was estimated at $3,000, only a third of which was covered by insurance. He later moved to Florida with his daughter Theresa’s family and worked as a tailor.

Main Image: Diagram depicting damage from the 1892 Darlington fire with Hyam’s buildings outlined in red. Reprinted from The Darlington News, March 3, 1892.

The Jewish Merchant Project is supported by the generosity of the Henry & Sylvia Yaschik Foundation and the Stanley B. Farbstein Endowment at the Coastal Community Foundation.

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