Friday, February 1, 2008

Early Settlement in the Area Now Kershaw County

Sample article from the Society's January 2008 Update newsletter.
Excerpts from Area Research

In Winter 1969 and Winter 1970 Camdenite Hope Boykin was author of a two-part article in the distinguished scholarly periodical Names in South Carolina, edited by Dr. Claude Henry Neuffer, University of South Carolina. Readers may want to find the complete work online.

Part I by Boykin, describing early settlement in Lower Kershaw County, begins:

“The southern part of Kershaw County is steeped in history, having lands which were granted as early as 1733. For the most part this land below Camden and on both sides of the Wateree River, continues in the traditional use of the past, being primarily an agricultural area. Large farms and timbered swamps prevail, and in some cases one may still find the same property lines which appear on plats over 100 years old.

“The western side of the river has had perhaps undergone greater changes than the eastern side as the original families such as the Englishes, Brisbanes, Dobys, Spears, and Ogilvies has long since become extinct in the area. While there are still large tracts of land here, they are related only by mutual property lines and the pattern of living has greatly changed over the years.

“On the other hand, life on the eastern side of the river remains strongly linked with the past. Much of the land has passed from generation to generation. This area is divided into three communities.

“The first below Camden is Mulberry, named thus as it surrounds Mulberry Plantation. Charlotte Thompson, which is perhaps the fastest growing area, is named after an old school, which in turn was named for one of Camden’s most beloved citizens. Finally there is Boykin, named for the family which settled there and is still inhabited by many descendants of that clan….”

Part II by Boykin, discussing Upper Kershaw County, begins:

“Deep within the reaches of northwest Kershaw County lie the headwaters of ten creeks, along the banks of which are sites spanning nearly 250 years of history.

“This country, bemoaned by [Rev. Charles] Woodmason in 1768 as backwards, uncivilized and worse, was strongly patriotic during the Revolution and produced many fine leaders of Kershaw County. It remained mainly agricultural and timber producing and is laced by three roads, which generally follow their original lines.

“The Beaver Creek Road, running from Camden through Liberty Hill and into Lancaster County, was one of the earliest routes in the county. It gains its name from the creek over which it passes. The road now known as the Flat Rock Road was earlier known as the Waxhaw Road or the Great Road to Lancaster. This was the first northern route from Camden, used first by Indians, they a stage road until the late nineteenth century. Between these roads lies the Graham Road, doubtlessly named for an early settler….”

The author, now Hope Cooper, is widely known today as the director of the National Steeplechase Museum in Camden. Earlier in her career, she worked with the Camden District Heritage Foundation, which surveyed the county area to document its early settlement.

No comments: