Historical Markers
in Florence County, South Carolina

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Markers are listed below in chrnological order as erected
with links to the marker text, photos, etc.

1. Moses S. Haynsworth

2. William Gee

3. Witherspoon's Ferry

4. Marion at Port's Ferry
Asbury at Port's Ferry

5. Ebenezer Church

6. Young Farm

7. DeWitt Bluff

8. William W. Harllee

9. Browntown

10. Christ Episcopal Church

11. Roseville Plantation

12. William R. Johnson House
The Columns

13. Ney School
Back Swamp School

14. Mt. Zion Rosenwald School

15. Hewn-Timber Cabins

21-1 Moses S. Haynsworth

Road 63 just N of I-95

Born in Darlington District in 1845, this Confederate War veteran witnessed the firing attack on the Union steamer, Star of the West, as it attempted to reinforce Ft. Sumter on Jan. 9, 1861. He participated in skirmishes at Tullifinny River near Yemassee in Dec. 1864. Owner of this plantation, "Idylwild," he died in 1928, and is buried in Florence, S.C. Erected by Governor Robert Gibbes Chapter National Colonial Dames XVII Century-1975

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21-2 William Gee

US 76, 5 miles W of Florence

A veteran of the Revolution, William Gee served as a private with the Continental Line of N.C. and moved to this area before 1797. He was one of the original members of the Washington Society, organized in 1803 to establish an academy on Jeffries Creek at Ebenezer. His grave is located about two hundred fifty feet southwest of here. Erected by Florence County Historical Society-1976

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SC 51 just N of Johnsonville

(Front) Witherspoon's Ferry

In use during the American Revolution, Witherspoon's Ferry was the site where Francis Marion accepted command of the Williamsburg militia in 1780. Ownership of the ferry lands passed from Robert to John Witherspoon in 1787; in 1802 John bequeathed the land to Aimwell Presbyterian Church. The church had closed by 1820.

(Reverse) Johnsonville

In 1819, former South Carolina Governor David R. Williams, son-in-law of John Witherspoon, obtained these ferry lands. In 1842 William Johnson acquired the land and in 1843 a post office, named Johnsonville, was established near here. Erected by Three Rivers Historical Society-1979

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About 3 miles N of Johnsonville on SC highways 41 & 51

(Front) Marion at Port's Ferry

Port's Ferry, 3 miles NE on the Pee Dee, was owned and operated by Frances Port (c. 1725-1812), widow of Thomas Port, who was a member of the Provincial Congress from Prince Frederick's Parish. This was a strategic crossing for Francis Marion, who fortified and used it frequently in his fall campaign of 1780 against British and Tories.

(Reverse) Asbury at Port's Ferry

During his journeys in S.C. from 1801 on, Methodist Bishop Francis Asbury often used the ferry and stayed at the homes of friends nearby. In 1811, the year before Frances Port's death, Asbury "found mother Port keeping house at eighty-seven." His last crossing was in January 1816, a few weeks before his own death. Erected by Three Rivers Historical Society-1980

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About 1.2 miles N of US 76 on Road 112, W side of Florence

(Front) Ebenezer Church

In January of 1778 Ebenezer Baptist Church was constituted by pioneer minister Evan Pugh and Richard Furman, for whom Furman University is named. Admitted to the Charleston Baptist Association in 1778, the church was incorporated in 1791 as "The Baptist Church, Ebenezer, Jeffrie's Creek." Timothy Dargan was an early minister, who served the church until his death in 1783.

(Reverse) Ebenezer Church

Through the years, this church has supported evangelism, missions, and education. One member, Neale C. Young, served forty-two years as missionary to Nigeria. Another, Ruth Pettigrew, was a missionary to China and Hong Kong for thirty-nine years. Miss Young is buried in Ebenezer Cemetery and Miss Pettigrew in Hong Kong, where she chose to spend her last days. Erected by The Congregation-1982

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21-6 Young Farm

About 1.5 miles SW of Florence on US 76

In 1925 U.S. Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover, later U.S. president, inspected Fred Young's dairy farm following recognition of one of its Jerseys, Sensation's Mikado's Millie, as a world champion butter-fat producer. The house here, built c.1877 according to family tradition, was remodeled 1968 by Edward L. Young, S.C. House member 1958-60, U.S. Congressman 1972-74. Erected by Florence County Historical Commission-1983

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SE of Pamplico just N of intersection of Roads 40 and 57

(Front) DeWitt Bluff

Located about 1/2 mile east, this bluff, part of a Royal landgrant to Edward Crofts in 1740, was named for the DeWitt family, who settled nearby prior to 1767. This area of Prince Frederick Parish was one of eleven such townships planned by the British Crown in 1730 to foster settlement and protect the interior of the province.

(Reverse) DeWitt Bluff

The bluff, named for the DeWitt family who settled in this area before 1767, is located about 1/2 mile east of here. By 1840, an adjacent landing for steamboats plying the Pee Dee River was named for the bluff. Members of the DeWitt family served in the Revolution and in the War Between the States; the family still owns land in this area. Erected by Florence County Historical Society-1987

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21-8 William W. Harllee

At Hopewell Presbyterian Church on Road 57, a short distance E of intersection of SC 327 and Road 57

President of Wilmington & Manchester Railroad and a founder of the city of Florence, Harllee (1812-1897) was also a general in the SC militia, signer of the Ordinance of Secession, lt. governor (1860-62), member of the General Assembly, and president of the SC Bar Association. Both he and his daughter, from whom Florence takes its name, are buried here in Hopewell Cemetery. Erected by Florence Heritage Foundation-1990

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21-9 Browntown

On SC 341 about 5 miles W of Prospect Crossroads

This area is part of several royal landgrants to Moses Brown in 1768-69 which developed into a family community known as Browntown. Family holdings here eventually comprised over 8,000 acres. Many indications of pioneering ingenuity and farm-related industry remain, including a notable cotton gin with wooden gears which continued operating through the late 19th century. Erected by Three Rivers Historical Society-1982

Browntown Museum Photos

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Christ Episcopal Church

At the church, S.C. Hwy. 327, 2.5 mi. S of I-95

(Front) First organized as a chapel in 1843 by the Rev. N.P. Tillinghast of Trinity Church, Society Hill, this church was formally established as Christ Church, Mars Bluff, in 1856. The Rev. Augustus Moore, who took over the chapel in 1854, became the first rector of Christ Church and served until 1876. This sanctuary, on land donated by Dr. Edward Porcher, was consecrated in 1859.

(Reverse) By the 1890s Christ Church became a mission church rather than a parish church, but continued monthly services until they were suspended in 1918. The church began an annual homecoming service in 1927 and held special services such as baptisms and weddings during the 1930s and 1940s; it was officially reorganized as a mission church in 1950. Erected by the Pee Dee Committee, National Society of Colonial Dames of America in the State of South Carolina-1997

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Rosevill Plantation

3636 Williston Rd. (Old Georgetown Rd.), Florence vicinity

(Front) Roseville Plantation was established by a royal grant before the American Revolution and a house was built here ca. 1771 for the Dewitt family. Richard Brockinton (d. ca. 1843), planter and state representative, purchased Roseville in 1821. Most of the house burned ca. 1832, and a second

house was built on the original foundation for Brockinton and his wife Mary Hart about 1835.

(Reverse) In the 1850s the plantation passed to the Brockintons' nephew Peter Samuel Bacot (1810-1864), a planter, whose daughter Ada White Bacot Clarke (1832-1911) was born here and was later a Confederate nurse and diarist. The Clarkes remodeled the house ca. 1885 and ca. 1910. Roseville was restored by the Tucker family and listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.

Erected by the Ellison Capers Chapter, United Daughters of the Confederacy, 1998

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William R. Johnson House
S.C. Highway
24, Mars Bluff vicinity

(Front) This Greek Revival house was built ca. 1854 for William R. Johnson, (1813-1893), physician, planter, and legislator in what was then Marion District. Johnson, an 1838 graduate of the Medical

College of S.C., later served in the S.C. House of Representatives 1852-55 and the S.C. Senate 1860-63; he died here in 1893 and is buried at nearby Hopewell Presbyterian Church.

(Reverse) The Columns

After Walter L. Rankin of N.C. acquired the house in 1902, Mrs. Rankin named it "The Columns"; it is still owned by his descendants. It has been called "Carolina Hall" since 1934, when it was the model

for the plantation house in the movie Carolina, starring Janet Gaynor and Lionel Barrymore. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

Erected by the Pee Dee Committee, The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in the State of South Carolina, 2000

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Ney School

at the school, Pocket Rd., Florence vicinity

(Front) About 1843 Robert Rogers (1808-1882), a planter at "Blooming Grove" in the Back Swamp community of what was then Darlington District, built a plantation schoolhouse and hired Peter Stuart Ney (d. 1846) to teach his children. The original building, moved here in 1870, was later the library for Back Swamp School (1921-1950). In 1970 it was moved to the home of Evander McIver Ervin.

(Reverse) Back Swamp School

This school, the second on the site, was built in 1921 by Back Swamp residents. An elementary school sometimes known as St. Winifred's, it boasted as many as two teachers and sixty students in

some years. When it closed in 1950 its students were transferred to Florence schools; it has since served as the Back Swamp Community Center.

Erected by the Darlington County Historical Commission, 2000

Backswamp School Photo

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Mt. Zion Rosenwald School

Liberty Chapel Rd., Mars Bluff

(Front) This school, built in 1925, was the first public school for African American students in the Mars Bluff community. One of more than 5000 schools in the South funded in part by the Julius Rosenwald Foundation, it features a standard two-classroom plan typical of the rural schools built by the foundation between 1917 and 1932.
(Reverse) The first school here, a private school built by Mt. Zion Methodist Church in 1870, burned in the early 1920s. Mt. Zion Rosenwald School usually operated on a four- or five-month calendar in which two or three teachers taught grades 1-6. It closed in 1952 when a new Mars Bluff Consolidated School opened. This school was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2001.

Erected by Mt. Zion United Methodist Church, 2002

Rosenwald School Photo

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Hewn-Timber Cabins

U.S. Hwy. 301/76 at Wallace Woods Rd., Francis Marion University campus, Mars Bluff

(Front) The African Americans who built the two hewn-timber cabins that stand 200 yds. S on Wallace Woods Road were brought to Mars Bluff as slaves in 1836. They lived in these cabins on the cotton plantation of J. Eli Gregg, in what was then Marion District. These cabins are the last two of eight that originally stood in a cotton field at what is now the center of the university campus.

(Reverse) The cabins, built of 4x9 hand-hewn timbers, feature precise full-dovetail joints and pine plank floors. They were enlarged after the Civil War. Freedmen and later tenant farmers lived in these houses until the 1950s. Relocated several times, one cabin was moved to this site in 1980, the other in 1990. They were listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

Erected by Francis Marion University, 2002

Cabin Photos

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The South Carolina Department of Archives and History site contains basic information
about the S.C. Historical Marker Program and not texts, photographs, or other information
about individual markers.


Pee Dee Resource Conservation and Development Council

2002 Pee Dee Resource Conservation and Development Council.

This page was last updated on October 2, 2002