South Carolina Upcountry

The Southeastern United States covers a vast variety of terrains. From mountains to beaches and swampland to sand hills, South Carolina has challenged and nurtured its settlements for many centuries. The first settlers in the present day area of York, Lancaster, and Chester counties were the Catawba Indians. The Catawba’s made their home on the west banks of the Catawba River.

Mount Mitchell is the highest mountain peak this side of the Mississippi River, and with it, the Eastern Continental Divide dictates which rivers will carry the rainfall to the ocean. One of those rivers becomes the Catawba, and flows from the foothills of the Appalachian foothills to the Ashley-Cooper River, where its journey ends in Charleston Harbor, where South Carolina, as a British colony, began its history.

French Protestants established a colony on the May River called Fort Carolina in 1565. As it was, the French and Spain were at odds with one another in the New World. The Spanish came to Fort Carolina and slaughtered the French Settlers within, and claimed it as their own. Soon afterward, the French would return and defeat the Spanish to reclaim the Fort.

In 1670, the English began a settlement on the Ashley River called Charles Towne. As the Settlement grew and more people settled the coastline, the Lord Proprietors claimed the piedmont of South Carolina their own and encouraged the settling of lands in the “up country”. In 1749, settlements were built along Fishing Creek and Rocky Creek near the present day city of Great Falls. In 1755, Waxhaw Presbyterian Church became the first organized church to hold services in the upcountry. Fishing Creek Presbyterian Church was organized shortly afterward.


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