The County was settled in the mid-18th century by Welsh, Scotch-Irish, and English farmers, who grew cotton primarily.

The settlement of what is now Darlington County began in earnest after 1736 and 1737 when the province of South Carolina set aside a vast area of land for the Welsh Baptists of Delaware. This Welsh Tract bordered both sides of the Pee Dee River. Soon after the first settlers began to arrive they constituted the Welsh Neck Baptist Church. This church was first located on the north side of the Pee Dee River, opposite present-day Society Hill. For almost thirty years settlers concentrated on the banks and small tributaries of the Pee Dee River. Beginning in the 1760s and continuing into the 1770s other groups slowly made their way into present-day Darlington and were granted lands on the Lynches River, Jeffries Creek, and a host of other watercourses. These later settlers included descendants of French Huguenots, Scots-Irish, and the English.

For three decades following the arrival of the first settlers, local government did not exist for the citizens of the area. All deeds, estate settlements, and other legal matters had to be taken to Charles Town to be recorded. In 1769, by an Act of the Assembly, Cheraw District was established as a Judicial District. A courthouse and gaol (jail) were built at Long Bluff (near present day Society Hill) and were operational by late 1772.

After the Revolutionary War, in 1785, Cheraw District was divided into three counties, Marlborough, Chesterfield, and Darlington. Darlington County was bounded by Cedar Creek, the Pee Dee River, and Lynches Creek (River). To this day there is uncertainty concerning why the county was named “Darlington”. A new county seat was established near the center of the county, Darlington Court House. After 1798 the designation “county” was changed to “district”. In the 1868 South Carolina Constitution, the designation reverted to county.


In Darlington County we have had our fair share of General-interest newspapers typically publish news articles and feature articles on national and international news as well as local news. The news includes political events and personalities, business and finance, crime, severe weather, and natural disasters; health and medicine, science, and technology; sports; and entertainment, society, food and cooking, clothing and home fashion, and the arts. Typically the paper is divided into sections for each of those major groupings with pagination prefixes yielding page numbers A1-A20, B1-B20, C1-C20, and so on). Most traditional papers also feature an editorial page containing editorials written by an editor, op-eds written by guest writers, and columns that express the personal opinions of columnists, usually offering analysis and synthesis that attempts to translate the raw data of the news into information telling the reader “what it all means” and persuading them to concur.

Most newspapers are businesses, and they pay their expenses  with a mixture of subscription revenue, newsstand sales, and advertising revenue (other businesses or individuals pay to place advertisements in the pages, including display ads, classified ads, and their online equivalents). With the list of newspapers below, remember the motto – “Publish or Perish.”  Some newspapers are government-run or at least government-funded; their reliance on advertising revenue and on profitability is less critical to their survival. The editorial independence of a newspaper is thus always subject to the interests of someone, whether owners, advertisers, or a government. Some newspapers with high editorial independence, high journalism quality, and large circulation are viewed as newspapers of record.


  • BUILDER weekly-established 1924, ceased c. 1926. Cited Ayer 1925 and 1926: Thomas H. Coker (editor), Builder Publishing Company. Jun 12, 1924 = vol 1, no 19, Thomas H. Coker (editor), Thomas E. Stokes (manager). Files: SCL Jun 12, 1924.


  • CAROLINA PLANTER  monthly, agricultural, family newspaper—established in Florence as a semi-monthly in 1895, moved to Darlington c. 1897, and cited by Ayer once in Darlington (1897): W. D. Woods (editor), B. O. Bristow (publisher). Ceased c. 1898. No known files exist.


  • CONFEDERATION weekly, anti-secession c. 1860. According to Ervin and Rudisill’s this paper was established in 1860 by James H. Norwood and ceased in 1861 when it was sold to the Darlington Southerner. Horry Dispatch (Apr 11, 1861) contains a prospectus for weekly “Southern Confederation” to be published in Darlington by James H. Norwood, William C. Zimmerman, and Jessee E. Norwood. No known files exist.


  • COUNTY MESSENGER weekly—established in Hartsville as Hartsville Messenger Mar 8, 1893, moved to Darlington Mar 17, 1898, and became County M In 1903 moved back to Hartsville and in 1909 became the Hartsville Messenger. May 5, 1898 = vol 6, no 8, T. J. Drew (editor and publisher). Note: This issue contains precise data on establishment and move to Darlington. Files: Darlington County Historical Commission (1900-1907) 10; SCL May 5,1898 (fragment), Jan 18,1900.county messanger.JPG


  • DAILY INDEX daily—established Jun 1896, ceased c. 1896. Not cited in Ayer. June 29, 1896 = vol 1, no 1, C. F. Salisbury (editor). Files: Darlington County Historical Commission Jun 29, 1896.daily index.JPG


  • DAILY OBSERVER daily-established Jul 1912, ceased c. 1912. Not cited in Ayer. Jul 26, 1912 = vol 1, no 3, Stokes Printing Company. Files: Darlington County Historical Commission (Jul-Sep 1912) 25daily observer.JPG


  • DAILY RECORD daily-established Sep 1896 by owners of semi-weekly Darlingtonian, soon ceased. Not cited in Ayer. Sep 9, 1896 = vol 1, no 3. Files: Darlington County Historical Commission Sep 9, 1896.daily record.JPG


  • DARLINGTON DEMOCRAT     weekly—established 1868 by E. P. Lucas (editor and publisher), ceased 1871. Clarendon Press (Aug 6,1868) contains proposal by Lucas to start Darlington Democrat about Aug 19. Nov 18, 1868 = vol 1, no 8, E. P. Lucas (publisher). Cited in Rowell 1869 and 1870. According to Camden Weekly Journal (fragment), Darlington Democrat was sold early in 1871 and succeeded by the Darlington Files: Darlington County Historical Commission (Oct 1869-Jul 1870) 10; SCL Nov 18, 1868, Jan 26,1870.darlington democrat.JPG


  • DARLINGTON FLAG weekly-established 1851, ceased 1861. Mar 5, 1851 = vol 1, no 1, J. H. Norwood (editor), John F. DeLorme (publisher). By Oct 1851 Norwood and DeLorme (publishers). For a brief time in 1850s issued as Family Friend (see). According to Ervin and Rudisill’s T. C. Evans, F. F. Warley, and A. J. Rugg also associated with paper. Rugg, who purchased the Darlington Flag in 1858, ceased operations in 1861. He planned to move his press to Marion after the war, but died in battle. Files: Darlington County Historical Commission (1851-1860) 30; Florence CL mfin Mar 5, 1851-Apr 15, 1852; News and Press Apr 11, 1861; SCL (1851-1860)9, mfin Mar 5, 1851-Apr 15, 1852.darlington flag.JPG


  • DARLINGTON HERALD weekly-established Jul 16, 1890, destroyed by fire Dec 15, 1890, re-established Feb 11, 1891, ceased c. 1895. Cited by Ayer 1890 thru 1895. Ayer 1890: A. S. Mclver (editor and publisher). Sep 30, 1891 = vol 2, no 4, W. D. Woods and T. J. Drew (editors and proprietors). Files: Darlington County Historical Commission ((1892-1894)); SCL Sep 30, 1891, Apr 6,13,1894.darlington herald.JPG


  • DARLINGTON INDEX weekly—established May 1871, ceased c. 1871. Not cited by Rowell. Jul 13, 1871 = vol 1, no 10, Ira E. Hill (editor), John R. Liles and Thomas W. Westbury (proprietors). Files: SCL Jul 13, 20, Aug 10, Sep 14, Oct 5, Nov 2, 1871.Index.JPG


  • DARLINGTON NEWS weekly-established 1875 by J. W. Hammond, merged with Darlington Press Apr 20, 1909 to form News and Press. Nov 28, 1878 = vol 4, no 44, J. W. Hammond (publisher and proprietor). Cited in Rowell and Ayer 1877 thru 1909. W. and Henry T. Thompson, George W. Brown, D. D. Evans, and Alex G. Kollock also associated with paper. Files: Darlington County Historical Commission ((1878-1909)); Florence CL ((1886-1895)), mfm Jun 1890-Dec 1895; Francis Marion mfm Nov 28, Dec 26, 1878; SCL (1879-1907) 9, mfm Nov 28, Dec 26, 1878, (1886) 48, 1888-1895; Sumter County Museum-Archives Apr 1, 1897.darlington news.JPG


  • DARLINGTON PRESS    weekly—established 1903 as New Era, changed name toDarlington Press Jul 4, 1906 = vol 3, no 32, A. J. Bethea (editor), merged with Darlington News in 1909 to create News and Press. In addition to Bethea, Thomas H. Coker, Jr., S. C. King, T. E. Stokes, and J. Monroe Spears also associated with paper. Files: Darlington County Historical Commission (1906-1908) 10; SCL mfm Jul 1, 1906-Dec 16, 1907.darlington Press.JPG


  • DARLINGTON SOUTHERNER weekly-established 1859 by J. M. Brown, ceased c. 1883. Cited by Rowell and Ayer 1869 thru 1883. Apr 6, 1863 = vol 4, no 1, J. M.Library mfm (1894-1907) 10, 1908 +; Hartsville Messenger 1961 + ; SCL (1895- 1952) 50, mfm (1894-1907) 10,1908 + .darlington southerner.JPG


  • HARTSVILLE NEWS  semi-weekly—established 1938, ceased c. 1938. Not cited in Ayer. Apr 2, 1938 = vol 1, no 1, Thomas H. Coker (editor). Files: SCL Apr 2-26, 1938.




  • LAMAR BULLETIN weekly-established 1891.     According to Rudisill, First One Hundred Years: Lamar. South Carolina. 1872-1972. created by local businessmen, ceased c. 1892. Jan 28, 1892 = vol 1, no 16. Files: Darlington County Historical Commission Jan 28, 1892.lamar Bulletin.JPG


  • LAMAR LEADER weekly c. 1898. According to Rudisill, First One Hundred Years: South Carolina. 1872-1972. established 1898, but soon ceased. No known files exist.


  • LAMAR SENTINEL weekly-established 1922, ceased c. 1926. Cited Ayer 1923 thru 1926: Jack Wells (editor and publisher). Only known copy is at the Darlington County Historical Commission.lamar sentinal.JPG


  • PRESENT TRUTH weekly, Seventh Day Adventist—established c. 1900, ceased c. 1904. Cited Ayer 1901 thru 1904: A. B. Cargile (editor and publisher). Printed at office of Lamar Leader. No known files exist.
  • X RAYS weekly—established 1897, ceased c. 1898. Cited once in Ayer (1898): Walter L. Wilson (editor and publisher). No known files exist.



  • SOCIETY HILL NEWS weekly, black publication, Republican—established 1910, ceased c. 1911. September 23, 1910 = vol 1, 23 S.B. Thompson (editor and publisher).  Cited once in Ayers (1911): S.B. Thompson  (editor and publisher). Files: Darlington County Historical Commission Sept 23, 1910.Society Hill.JPG


Macedonia Baptist Church -Formed From Darlington First Baptist

Today in Darlington County History – Macedonia Baptist Church was created when 13 members of First Baptist Church, Darlington petitioned for rights to withdraw their membership to form a new congregation on February 11, 1866.

0_0_0_0_185_292_csupload_53881230_largeFebruary 11,1866 – Macedonia Baptist Church was organized under the leadership of Dr. I. P. Brockenton, a former slave from Lee County. He was assisted in this effort by a northern missionary, Dr. Corey. These pioneers were able to procure the names of the thirteen charter members from the First Baptist Church of Darlington; Evans Bell, Adam Brockenton, Peter Dargan, Fred Duncan, Lazarius Ervin, Hamilton Keith, Samuel Keith, Antrum Mclver, Samuel Mclver, Samuel Orr, Samuel Parnell, Jesse Williams, and Augustus Smalls.

The fervent little congregation met under brush arbors and in homes before building any permanent structure on the corner of Hampton and Russell (now South Main).  Dr. Brockenton was successful in building two houses of God before his death in 1908. Dr. Brockenton stated that when he told his congregation that it was time to build a church, he placed one lone quarter on the offering table. That quarter, he said was laughed to scorn, however, one year later the congregation was walking into a new house of worship, despite the laughter. The first permanent structure was located at Hampton and Russell Streets  in Darlington. Macedonia used this structure until 1935.

Old Church Structure located on the corner of Hampton & Russell Streets.


Street Map 1902 - Darlington - Macedonia
Sanburn Insurance Map showing the Site of previous Church.

0_0_0_0_170_280_csupload_553456101908 -1916 Rev. P. A. Callaham assumed the pastorate of Macedonia. The church grew numerically and spiritually under his leadership.






0_0_0_0_179_282_csupload_55345728 1916-1920 Dr. James E. Kirkland became the third pastor of Macedonia. He was a man of great vision, who planted the seed that inspired the congregation to build the present church structure. Under his leadership, after members began to solicit funds and make many personal sacrifices, they were able to buy the land at Lee and South Main Street for $2,500. Rev. Kirkland resigned in 1920 when he accepted the pastorate of the White Rock Baptist Church in Durham, NC.



0_0_0_0_201_292_csupload_55345768_large1920-1925 Dr. Kirkland was succeeded by Dr. C. D. Hubert. Dr. Hubert’s pastorate is best remembered for his keen interest in the youth of the church and his unfaltering effort to begin the erection of the present edifice. Crop failure and unemployment prevented him from seeing the church completed during his pastorate which ended in 1925, when he resigned to assume the presidency of Morehouse College in Atlanta.



0_0_0_0_167_252_csupload_553453511927-1945 Dr. H. W. Long was called to Macedonia in 1927 and enjoyed a long successful pastorate. It was through Dr. Long’s leadership that the congregation was able to secure adequate funds to resume construction on the present edifice. After 13 years of building, and even though the structure was not complete, the members were happy to be able to walk into their new home and they did so on a very cold February morning in 1935. In 1945, Dr. Long assumed the leadership of Salem Baptist Church in the city of Darlington.


0_0_0_0_178_249_csupload_553459631945-1990 Continuing the great tradition established by his predecessors, Rev. C. L. Bowens became the sixth pastor of Macedonia and was a catalyst for great positive change in Macedonia. Many physical improvements were made. The edifice was completed and decorated, a central heating unit was installed, church school, nursery, dining area, musical instruments, and rest room facilities were provided. Rev. Bowens and his lovely wife were two great educators who were well loved and greatly respected by the Darlington community. They gave of themselves tirelessly and are greatly missed.


0_0_0_0_181_256_csupload_553461301990-2008 Rev. Donald Hughes brought to Macedonia an emphasis on education. As a former math teacher and football coach, he was especially interested in the intellectual development of the church. He and his lovely wife, Mrs. Hattie Hughes, worked with the Sunday School Department of the Pee Dee Baptist Association and the State & National Congresses of Christian Education. Under Rev. Hughes pastorate, the Life Skills 501c3 was established to enable Macedonia to qualify for various grants to help better serve the youth and disadvantaged in our church and community. Many physical improvements and repairs were made as well. Rev. & Mrs. Hughes are still actively involved in the Pee Dee Baptist Family and they reside in Hartsville.

0_0_0_0_204_314_csupload_539594892009-present Rev. Cecil L. Bromell, M.Div. became the eighth pastor of our church on the second Sunday in February 2009 and was installed in April of the same year. Pastor Bromell, a graduate of Morris College and the Morehouse School of Religion, is a full time pastor who commits himself to serving the needs of our congregation and even finds time to assist persons not affiliated with our church.




Page 15 of Macedonia’s Church Records dated August 2, 1874 – referencing the acquiring of land for the purpose of building a new Church.
Page 16 of Macedonia’s Church Records dated August 2, 1874 – referencing the acquiring of land for the purpose of building a new Church.


Page 17
Page 18
Photo by Bill Segars, Hartsville, SC 
Macedonia Church #15
Photo by Bill Segars, Hartsville, SC

Doves Depot becomes “Dovesville

Today in Darlington County History – Dove’s Depot is incorporated as Dovesville on February 9, 1882.

The official petition for incorporation for Doves Depot.

The startling news that citizens of the Dovesville area are seeking incorporation for their village, brings to mind the old adage “there is nothing new under the sun”. Any such action would be a reincorporation, since Dovesville was first incorporated more than one hundred years ago, and at that distant period, had a Mayor, Town Council, Police Chief and Jail.

The area that is being proposed for incorporation was, at the close of the Revolutionary War, part of the immense plantation of Nathaniel Sanders, whose lands extended Eastward to the Pee Dee River. Sanders’ home stood on or about where the present historic McIver Williamson House now stands.

John Dove came to Darlington County in the year 1792 and purchased a sizable tract of land from Sanders, situated on Horse Branch. At that time, his land was bounded on the East by Sanders and later Dr. Thomas Smith; on the North by McIntosh; on the West by Dr. Nathan Leavenworth; and on the South by Black Creek (after he acquired adjacent tracts).

By 1850, most of John Dove’s property had passed to his grandson, Daniel Dove, who should probably be considered the founder of Doves­ville. In 1853, construction was underway on the first railroad to be built in this section of South Carolina, connecting Darlington with Cheraw, and Daniel Dove granted the railroad company the right to build its line across his plantation. The legal agreement pro­vided that “a Depot

Note the reference to Dove’s Depot.

shall be constructed” on his land and that he should have the refusal of the job of Depot Agent. He did not refuse,for existing records indicate that a Depot was built, and he became first Agent. Within two years, the Dove family had been instrumental in having a United States Post Office — called “Dove’s Depot” — opened, and Daniel’s son-in-law, Charles H. DeLorme, was the first Post Master.

Dove’s Depot was burned in March of 1865 by a detachment of Gen. Sherman’s Army under command of Col. Reuben Williams; it was rebuilt soon after the war, and soon became a

A letter from Major J.L. Coker showing Dove’s Depot on the official Letterhead of J.L. Coker & Company.

busy terminal. Transferring much freight, it was the shipping point for the Coker Mercantile interests in Hartsville, who hauled their goods by wagon directly from the Dovesville depot.

During the post-Civil War period, the town boasted of a popular general store, operated for years by C. H. DeLorme as a partnership (among his partners were Evander Byrd, Alexander Pitts and J.C.Dove); the Dovesville Institute, which had the respect of area educators as a school of highest standards; and, alas, a Bar Room.

By 1882, inhabitants of the village of Dove’s Depot felt that they should be incorporated, and they forthwith petitioned the S.C. Legislature which in those days granted incorporation by special Act. This Act was passed and signed into law by the Governor on Feb. 9 1882. The Act provided for a change of name from Dove’s Depot to Dovesville, and provided for a governing body of “an Intendant and four Wardens”. The Act further provided, that the town limits would extend “one-half mile in each direction from the center of the crossing of the road leading to Smith’s Mill

Early Letter showing postmark for Dove’s Depot.
Early letter showing the postmark for Dovesville. Dated June 1 1898.

and the C&D Railroad”. Election for the first town officers was set for the first Tuesday in March, 1882?  Unfortunately, results of this election have not been found, although we know that J. C. McCallman (Daniel Dove’s son-in-law) was elected in the 1888 election.

By the Act of Incorporation, the Town Officers were vested with the power to “establish rules respecting the streets, ways, public wells, springs of water, markets, and police” and they were further empowered to “impose an annual tax not to exceed the sum of fifteen cents on the hundred dollars. The Act spe­cifically prohibited the Town Council from imposing fines in excess of twenty five dollars and jail imprisonment of more than five days.

The most controversial provision in the Act was the right given the Town Council to “grant license to keep a tavern or to retail spiritous liquors within the town limits”. This caused an uproar in the staunch Baptist community, and the Act was amended the following year by striking out this clause and in its stead inserting a prohibition article.

This original incorporation was for twenty one years, so in 1902 incorporation was renewed. Interest in municipal government began to wane with the decline of commercial activity in the town, and finally, on June 19, 1936, the Town Charter was officially surrendered.


Slate roof tile from the C & D Depot in Dovesville.  This railroad dates back to late November 1853.
1974 photo showing the Dovesville Depot.
Moving of the Dovesville Depot.

Long Bluff

Long Bluff

Darlington County Historical Marker

Marker ID: SCHM 16-3
Location: 101 N. Main St (#15)
City: Society Hill
County & State: Darlington County, South Carolina
Coordinates: N 34° 30′ 47.24″   W 79° 51′ 00.11″




Erected by: Darlington County Historical Society in 1965.



Long Bluff, 314 mile east on Great Pee Dee River, was the site of the first courthouse and jail for old Cheraws District in 1772. The town was known as Greeneville after the Revolution and remained the seat of justice until the formation of Darlington, Marlboro and Chesterfield Districts. Circuit courts and elections were conducted for a while longer.


At a Circuit Court held here on November 15, 1774, more than a year before the Declaration of Independence, the Grand Jury of Cheraws District denied the right of Parliament to levy taxes on them and declared themselves ready to defend with their lives and fortunes the right to obey only those laws made by their own elected representatives.

Welch Neck High School / Coker College

Welch Neck High School / Coker College

Darlington County Historical Marker

Marker ID: SCHM 16-32
Location: 311 E. Home Ave. (DT)
City: Hartsville
County & State: Darlington County, South Carolina
Coordinates: N 34° 22′ 41.65″   W 80° 04′ 09.60″




Erected by: Hartsville Heritage Commission in 1995.



The Welsh Neck Baptist Association initiated this institution as a coeducational boarding school. It opened Sept. 17, 1894, through the generosity of Maj. James Lide Coker, Civil War veteran, local industrialist, and the school’s first chairman of the board of trustees. Enrollment peaked at 267 in 1902. When the 1907 public high school act reduced the need for this school, it became a four-year college for women.



The trustees of Welsh Neck High School converted their institution into a non-sectarian Baptist college. It opened Sept. 30, 1908, as “Coker College for Women, founded by James L. Coker.” Baptist control ended in 1944, and in 1969, the college became coeducational. The Governor´s school for Science and Mathematics opened on the campus in 1988. Throughout its history, Coker has emphasized liberal arts.

For ETV’s Video on Coker College..