Colonel Charles James Elford, Commander, 16th Regiment

Born: May 11, 1820, Charleston, SC
Died: May 20, 1867, Greenville, SC

Col. Charles James Elford was born May 11, 1820 in Charleston, SC and died May 20, 1867 in Greenville, SC. He was the son of Captain James Maud Elford and his second wife, Ann Louisa Marsh. His father had been Captain of a vessel trading between London and Charleston and was a native of Bristol, England. Jefferson's Embargo Act prohibited trade between this country and England causing him to establish himself in Charleston where he taught navigation and invented a system of communication between vessels at sea. For this he received a patent and his book on the subject was published in Charleston in 1823 as Elford's Universal Signal Book.

Both parents died when Charles was a boy, but he managed to pass the Bar Examination and settled in Greenville as a lawyer. He was a close personal friend of South Carolina's future Governor Benjamin F. Perry. In 1844 he married Sara A. Sloan, daughter of Alexander Sloan and his wife Elizabeth D. Mauldin. Charles Elford was Superintendent of the Sunday School of the First Baptist Church for some 20 odd years, started a church paper called "Kind Words," was editor or publisher of the Greenville Mountaineer, and was probably on the committee which was in charge of erecting the present First Baptist Church as indicated in a letter to his daughter in Mississippi.

During the early part of the Fall of 1861, having obtained authority form the Governor of South Carolina to raise and organize a Regiment for State service, he proceeded with the organization of what was to become the 16th South Carolina Regiment. Upon the Regiment being mustered into service, he served as its Colonel from early in 1861 until April 28, 1862. Col. Elford was Mayor of Greenville in 1860 and 1861 and was otherwise prominent in the civic and religious life of Greenville. After the close of the War for Southern Independence, he was one of a committee of 4 or 5 sent to the White House to assure President Johnson that South Carolina would cooperate in the rebuilding of the nation.

His house was on North Main Street about where the Carolina Theater now stands. The street immediately beyond his home is Elford Street and tradition says the he furnished the land upon which the city Cemetery is now situated. His grave in Springwood Cemetery bears the simple inscription:
Col C. J. Elford
Our Beloved Superintendent
Born - May 11, 1820 --- Died - May 20, 1867

Reprinted from "16th South Carolina Regiment, CSA" by John S. Taylor, 1964.