Friday, January 23, 2015

Post-bellum Laurens County, SC, smaller towns

Part of a series on Reconstruction-era Laurens County, SC
Cross Hill Township was founded at the crossing of Indian trails on the high ridge from about Chappells to about Greenville and the North‑South path from the fish dams on the Broad River to the dams on the Savannah River. Cross Hill was nine miles of the "most fertile farming land in the county" with springs and Mudlick and Cane Creeks making dairy farming profitable.  Years later Cross Hill would bloom as a railroad town with
a bank, two drugstores, five doctors, a knitting mill, two gins, and two boarding houses. Cotton was king early, however, at this historic crossroads.[1]  
Mountville, SC, also came alive only during its rail years beginning about 1892, but she had a post office established at the home of Dr. Dave Richardson.  "When a star mail route was authorized to connect Laurens with Chappells, it was routed through the Beaverdam section."  Some of the residents complained of having mail addressed as Beaverdam and suggested Mountville since the new settlement was on a slight mount rising from Ginger Creek joining nearby Beaverdam.[2] 

Sullivan Township was "deep‑rooted in stock raising and plantation style living."  Princeton boomed during the rail years.  The favorite drink at the Inn at Hickory Tavern during the period was peaches and brandy.  There was a cotton gin at Owings‑Rapley‑Powers Shop which had a population of sixty in 1888. Renno (originally Reynosa, an Indian name) had a post office and Sardis Methodist Church.[3]
At Dorrohville or Highland Home (later Gray Court) there were four homes, the Dorroh Inn, and a young girl named Mary Yeargin who was firing the boiler of her father's cotton gins at Barksdale to pay her way through Columbia College.  Miss Yeargin finished college in two years (1885) and taught there three years until the Board of Trustees asked "her to resign because of her views on suffrage for women."  In 1891 Governor William Tillman appointed her to a three member commission for a new women's school – Winthrop College.  She would drown in a boating trip on Lake Cayuga, New York, in 1893, while at Cornell and is buried in Laurens City Cemetery.[4]  

Greenpond had only Beulah Baptist Church, established 1838, because it lost its twenty‑five year old post office in 1866.[5]  In 1853 the post office at Huntsville was moved to Martin's Depot (later Joanna), but in August 1869, it "closed because of the general business conditions in the country.  It was, however, re‑established on September 23, 1870."[6]

[1]Scrapbook, p. 45.
[2]Foy, p. 25, Scrapbook, p. 68.  On the opposite slope of the creek was Nuby's Big Poplar, twelve feet in diameter.
[3]Scrapbook, p. 69.
[4]Foy, pp. 25‑26.
[5]Scrapbook, pp. 47‑49.
[6]Foy, pp. 20‑21.