SPOTLIGHT ON: Jerusalem Baptist Church

Jerusalem Baptist Church, located at 6th Street and Laurens Avenue in Hartsville, is one of the oldest African-American churches in Darlington County. Organized after the Civil War, its first church service was held in a brush arbor on Snake Branch, a creek near E. Carolina Avenue. Jerusalem’s first permanent church, a log building, was built…

SPOTLIGHT ON: Edmund H. Deas House

Located at 229 Avenue E in Darlington, the Edmund H. Deas House was named after Edmund H. Deas, who moved to Darlington in 1870. Known as the “Duke of Darlington,” Deas was a very active Republican and served as the county chair of the South Carolina Republican Party in 1884 and 1888. He was delegated…

SPOTLIGHT ON: Senator Kay Patterson

Born in Darlington County on January 11, 1931, Kay Patterson represented the 19th District in the South Carolina Senate from 1985 until his retirement in 2008. Senator Patterson also served in the South Carolina House of Representatives from 1975 through 1985. He was the first African-American to sit on the University of South Carolina’s Board…

SPOTLIGHT ON: Darlington & Liberty Theaters

On April 22, 2015, Frank W. McKeel donated a thick book filled with hundreds of movie ticket stubs from the Darlington & Liberty Theaters. Inside the book, on the very first page, Mr. McKeel wrote a message to the Darlington County Historical Commission: Please remember when! Because I got such a kick out of combing…

SPOTLIGHT ON: John L. Hart

In 1845, a twenty-year-old John L. Hart bought from his brother-in-law Colonel T.c. Law some 491 acres of virgin pine forest. Here he established Hartsville Plantation and thus it was known as late as 1913. The Plantation ran along East Home Avenue to U.S. 15, now known as Fifth Street, which dead-ended on Home Avenue,…

FAMOUS DARLINGTON COUNTY RESIDENTS: Buddy Johnson, jazz musician

Woodrow Wilson “Buddy” Johnson, a renown jazz and New York blues musician, was born in Darlington, SC, on January 10, 1915.  A pianist and bandleader, Buddy performed songs with his sister Ella Johnson.  Among his songs that went into the R&B and pop charts were “Let’s Beat Out Some Love,” “Baby Don’t You Cry,” and,…

SPOTLIGHT ON: Isaiah DeQuincey Newman, clergyman and civil rights leader

Isaiah DeQuincey Newman, a Darlington County native, was an esteemed clergyman and important civil rights leader. Educated in Williamsburg County public schools and Claflin College, he was ordained in the United Methodist Church (UMC) in 1931. In 1943, he helped organize the Orangeburg branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)….

SPOTLIGHT ON: Henry Hannibal Butler, educator and ordained preacher

During the Great Depression, Butler was in charge of the distribution of relief supplies to the African-American community, and as a Mason and an Odd Fellow, he was respected by religious and business leaders both black and white. According to “Rev. Henry Hannibal Butler,” a remembrance written by Horace Fraser Rudisill, Butler, among his many other worthy and laudable accomplishments, was “remembered as always being immaculately dressed in coat, tie and vest with a gold watch chain prominently displayed.”

SPOTLIGHT ON: Harold Brasington, builder of the Darlington Raceway

Darlington Raceway, the first super speedway in NASCAR history, was constructed in 1950 by Harold Brasington, a local race promoter who saw asphalt-paved tracks as an advance over the dirt tracks.  Brasington wanted a 500-mile stock car race that rivaled the Indianapolis 500.  On September 4, 1950, the Darlington Raceway hosted the first Southern 500,…

“A Giver to Everyone”: Remembering Lucile H. Windham

I sometimes think of our files as children, and I bemoan the fact that some are fat and happy and receiving lots of attention, while others are skinny and sad and starved for affection. Ironically, our vast collection of files is housed in the old Darlington County Jail…