Category: south carolina history

TODAY IN DARLINGTON COUNTY HISTORY: Coker College opens

The trustees of Welsh Neck High School converted their institution into a non-sectarian Baptist college. It opened September 30, 1908, as “Coker College for Women,” founded by James L. Coker. Baptist control ended in 1944, and in 1969, the college became co-educational. The Governor’s…

Spotlight On: Stephen Presley

Father Stephen Presley was born a slave in 1820. He was owned by Boykin Witherspoon, a prominent planter from Society Hill. Presley was a carpenter by trade. He married another slave by the name of Phyllis McIver Presley. Welsh Neck Baptist Church records indicate…

Spotlight On: Long Bluff

One of the first settlements within the boundary of present day Darlington County was that at Long Bluff in 1748. It also was the site of the historical Long Bluff Courthouse established by the Circuit Court Act of the Legislature of 1769, making it…

Spotlight On: Society Hill Library

Old Society Hill Library is now located on the grounds of St. David’s Academy. The oldest lending library in South Carolina (exclusive of those in Charleston and Georgetown), it was built by the Society Hill Library Society, which was organized in 1822. The library…

Spotlight On: Arthur W. Stanley, veteran, activist, and councilman

Arthur W. Stanley, a native of Darlington, was a WWII veteran. He served in the Pacific Theater. Stanley was the president of the Darlington Chapter of the NAACP and held the position for 40 years. He led the efforts to desegregate the Darlington County…

TODAY IN SOUTH CAROLINA HISTORY: The Patriot with Mel Gibson

On June 30, 2000, The Patriot, a feature film starring Mel Gibson, is released in theaters. Mel Gibson plays Benjamin Martin, an American swept up in the Revolutionary War when a sadistic British officer murders Martin’s son.  The script writer Robert Rodat claims that Benjamin Martin…

SPOTLIGHT ON: Rosenwald Consolidated School/Rosenwald High School

The Julius Rosenwald Fund was established in 1915 to provide grants to African Americans for school construction. Rosenwald, the president of the Sears Roebuck Company, worked closely with Tuskeegee Institute in Alabama to develop the program. 

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…

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…

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…

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….

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…