After the Revolutionary War, South Carolina had the largest war debt or any other state, nearly reaching $5.5 million dollars. To promote its new nation, the federal government assumed the entire debt for prosperity. South Carolina’s commitment to independence and cotton set the pattern for York County’s growth and culture. From the time of York County’s first settlers, there was strong opposition to the institution of human slavery among Indian Land Presbyterians, but the economics of cotton, wheat, and corn bore witness that “one good crop will sell for as much as the ground on which it was raised.” One acre of land could bring in profits of $6 for wheat, $8 to $10 for corn, and up to $13 for cotton. South Carolinians, and York County landowners firmly believed that since the southern states were mainly agricultural in its way of life, which the industrial technology being pushed in the north would not do well in vast plantations, and with the cost of selling cotton to northern states, slavery was an economic necessity.
Along with cotton, many varieties of fruits and vegetables were grown in York County. The Indian Land Agricultural Society was formed in 1808, and one of its founders, Major Andrew Springs, was described in the Yorkville Enquirer in 1858 as having an orchard of the most rarest and delicious fruits.
After the Revolutionary War, The Catawba Indians made efforts to the new Continental Congress to be granted their land back from the onslaught of new settlers. The issue was deferred to their state government, who then prohibited land to be sold in Indian territories, but was hardly enforced. George Washington toured the area and noted the Catawba’s feeling on the matter. By 1808, South Carolina passed laws to allow the Catawba Indians to grant and lease their land. Eventually, white superintendents were supervising land transactions in the Indian Land, and were granted authority to prosecute settlers who would not pay their leases. By 1828, most of the Indian land was leased out. The Catawba’s would collect the rent, but would be observed as poor by the end of each year. The state government would pursue and abandon efforts to persuade the Catawba’s to give up their land, but the Catawba’s would finally give in to the state by signing the Treaty of 1840, which transferred the ownership of the land to the state for a lump sum of money, land in Hayward County North Carolina, and annual payments of money for nine years. At this time, the population of the Catawba Indians was only 88.
In the early 1800’s there were no roads in South Carolina that were considered “good” by any means, but farmers and planters wanted to find quicker ways to get their harvest to the port of Charleston. The Catawba River was looked at as a means of transportation by way of a barge, but shallow and rocky areas made the trek impassible. In 1819, the state legislature allocated one million dollars to provide for an architect to construct canals around these obstacles. Robert Mills, who would later design the Washington Monument, was contracted to complete canals across the state. A canal at Land’s Ford began in the spring of 1820, completed November 7th, 1823, and was nearly two miles long. It also had 76 chains, one guard lock, 6 culverts, 2 abutments, a stone house for the lock keeper, and cost $122,900. Other canals along the Catawba at Great Falls were not complete until the 20th century and as a result, no cotton ever used the Catawba waterway to get to Charleston. Elsewhere in the state, canals at Lockhart and near Columbia were completed and allowed a flourishing trade to Charleston 25 years before the first railroad was ever built.
Religion has always been strong in the up country. Some of the area’s first churches included Waxhaw Presbyterian (1755), Fishing Creek Presbyterian, and Unity Presbyterian Church, established in 1788 in a village settled where the Trading Path crossed Steele Creek. Indian Land Church was organized in 1785, and was the center of a community to be known as Ebenezerville. The church was later named Ebenezer ARP Church and still exists today. Ebenezerville was the first white settlement in the Rock Hill Area. The children in this and nearby areas were schooled at the Ebenezer Academy, located on the grounds of the church. Ebenezerville leaders protested the surveying of a new railroad slated to be laid between Charlotte and Columbia in 1846. The Scotch-Irish contractors surveying were requested to move the planned track to lands to the east where the trains would not disturb the Ebenezerville community, and would not disrupt crops since lands to the east were ‘blackjack’ lands that were not capable of growing cotton. The surveyors, with the state’s blessings, honored the request to move the tracks east. Ebenezerville established a U. S. Post Office from 1822 to 1866, and was incorporated as a town in 1893.
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