A Condensed Timeline of Pickens County History Prepared by the Pickens County Museum of 
Art and History
1760-1761 
Cherokee War.

1785 
Hopewell Treaty - the Cherokee forfeited most of their SC land.

1786 
Secona Baptist Church, located two miles west of Pickens, was built.

1789 
Secona Baptist Church organized.

1791 
SC Legislature established Washington District, consisting of present-day Greenville, Anderson, Pickens and Oconee counties. Town of Pickensville established (near present-day Easley).

1795 
Oolenoy Baptist Church, named from a well-respected Cherokee Chief Woolenoy, was built of logs. The first minister was Rev. John Chastain.

1797 
Old Stone Church (Presbyterian) built by John Rusk, Revolutionary War heroes and others. This was the first church in South Carolina to allow slaves to be members. The cemetery has many historical markers, including General Andrew Pickens.

1798 
Washington District divided into Greenville and Pendleton Districts. Pendleton District consisted of present-day Anderson, Pickens and Oconee counties.

1811-1817 
John Caldwell Calhoun served as United States representative

1817-1825 
John Caldwell Calhoun, Secretary of War to President James Monroe

1817 
Andrew Pickens dies (born - 1739)

1825 
Benjamin Hagood built the original Hagood mill around 1825.

1825 
Golden Creek Mill was originally built on the banks of Golden Creek in 1825 by Joseph Woodal to provide cornmeal, grits and flour in early American neighborhoods. In later years it was converted into a Cotton Gin and Press.

1825-1829 
John Caldwell Calhoun, Vice President to President John Quincy Adams

1827 
Pickens Courthouse Post Office established on Main Street on May 16th.

1828 
Pendleton District divided into Anderson and Pickens Districts. Pickens District consisted of present-day Pickens and Oconee counties. A courthouse was built on the west bank of the Keowee River and the town of Pickens Courthouse started.

1829-1832 
John Caldwell Calhoun, Vice President to President Andrew Jackson

1832-1843 
John Caldwell Calhoun, United States Senator

1840 
First hotel at Table Rock.

1844-1845 
John Caldwell Calhoun, Secretary of State to President John Tyler

1845 
Present-day gristmill, Hagood Mill, reconstructed 3 miles north of Pickens, just off present day Hwy 178 on Hagood Mill Road was built by Benjamin Hagood's son, James Hagood.

1845-1850 
John Caldwell Calhoun, United States Senator

1850 
John C. Calhoun dies (born - 1782).

1856 
Hagood-Mauldin House built by James E. Hagood in Pickens Courthouse.

1856 
The Presbyterian congregation for Carmel Church was originally formed in the mid 1700's. Carmel is the oldest Presbyterian Church in the old Pendleton district. The first church was built of logs. The present sanctuary, constructed of hand made bricks was completed in 1856.

1858 or 1859 
The Blue Ridge Railroad reaches the Pickens District.

1860 
Civil War - Pickens District had population of 19,000 persons (22 percent were slaves). Blue Ridge Railroad reaches Pickens District.

1860 
Soapstone Church was built in the late 1860's by freed men who settled here after the Civil War. It is the oldest African-American Church in the Upstate. It is still used for Sunday worship.

1868 
Pickens District divided into Pickens and Oconee counties. The town of Pickens Courthouse relocated to present site and name changed to Pickens. To get the land to relocate, Elihu Griffin $270 for 94 acres, James Ferguson, $50 for 18 acres, Wynn Blassingame $12 for 24 acres and William Allgood $75 for 15 acres.

1868 
Hagood-Mauldin House, built in 1856 by James Hagood, a prominent attorney, was moved from "Old Pickens" to present location (104 N. Lewis St., Pickens)

1868 
The Pickens Courthouse Methodist Episcopal Church South was organized. This was the first church in the new town and people of all denominations attended services. Note: There are quite a few older churches in the area outside the town of Pickens. For example, Secona Baptist Church, located two miles west of Pickens, had its beginning in 1786.

1869 
The Masonic Lodge was dismantled and moved from Old Pickens to New Pickens.

1869 
Pickens first courthouse was built.

1869 
Mercantile establishment of James M. McFall and John Lewis Thornley was built. This is one of the earliest stores built on Main Street in Pickens.

1871 
First issue of the "Pickens Sentinel" newspaper published in July. This newspaper is the oldest continuous business in Pickens County.

1871 
First Pickens Physician, Dr. Francis A. Miles opened his practice on July 27th.

1871 
The first academy built in Pickens, located on the west side of South Catherine Street, used until 1881.

1872 
Village of Calhoun started (became Clemson).

1873 
Pickens Graded & High School / Pickens Institute started by Mrs. Spartan Goodlet.

1874 
The town of Easley was chartered along the new Atlanta and Charlotte Railroad (later called Southern Railway).

1875 
Town of Central incorporated.

1876 
Town of Liberty chartered.

1876 
On August 18th, the citizens of Pickens County traveled to the various polling places, casting ballots in a Democratic primary, the first in South Carolina.

Late 1870's 
Soapstone Church & School organized (first African American school in Pickens County).

1870's 
The Atlanta and Charlotte Air Line Railroad (later the Southern Railway) was built.

1873 
On September 28th the town of Central had its beginning with the arrival of the Atlantic and Richmond Air-Line Company through Pickens County.

1874 
The town of Easley, named form General W. K. Easley, was chartered.

1880 
The Griffin House, (location) was built by J. C (Calhoun) Griffin. This is the site that Elihu Griffin built his home decades earlier.

1889 
Clemson University was founded.

1890's 
108 Glassy Mountain St., built in the late 1890s, this house is one of the oldest homes in Pickens.

1890 
On Dec. 24, 1890, the South Carolina General Assembly granted a charter for the Pickens Railroad Company.

1891 
Second Pickens County Courthouse built (used until 1959).

1891 
McKinney Chapel was built and used for regular services until the late 1930's. Today there are services held one Sunday a month conducted by the Grace United Methodist Church in Pickens.

1892 
The Pickens Inn boarding house was built, across from the train station at the corner of Cedar Rock St. and Hampton Ave. The tearing down date is unknown.

1893 
First Baptist Church was built.

1894 
The name of the post office was changed to Pickens on January 30th (from Pickens Court House)

1895 
First modern cotton mill was called Cateechee, built by Col. D.K. Norris and others, was established on the shoals of Twelve Mile River.

1898 
Maiden run (and wreck) of the Pickens "Doodle". Railroad called Doodle by locals because it could not turn around on the tracks so to return from Easley it backed into Pickens "like a doodle-bug".









Pickens County: a brief history

by Anne Sheriff

Article Written for "Pickens County Heritage"
(Reproduced with permission from the author)


Pickens County was Cherokee Indian Territory until the American Revolution. The Cherokees sided with the British, suffered defeat, and surrendered their South Carolina lands. This former Cherokee territory was included in the Ninety-Six Judicial District. In 1791 the state legislature established Washington District, a judicial area composed of present-day Greenville, Anderson, Pickens, and Oconee counties, and then composed of Greenville and Pendleton counties. Streets for the court-house town of
Pickensville (near present-day Easley) were laid off, and soon a cluster of buildings arose that perhaps included a large wooden hotel, which served as a stage
coach stop. In 1798 Washington District was divided into Greenville and Pendleton districts. The latter included what eventually became Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens counties. A new courthouse was erected at Pendleton to accommodate the Court of General Sessions and Common Pleas, and soon thereafter Pickensville began to decline.

In view of the growing population and poor transportation facilities in Pendleton District, the legislature divided it into counties in 1826, and a year later decided instead to divide the area into districts. The legislation went into effect in 1828. The lower part became Anderson and the upper Pickens, named in honor of the distinguished Revolutionary soldier, Brigadier General Andrew Pickens, whose home Hopewell was on the southern border of the district. A courthouse was established on the west bank of the Keowee River, and a small town called Pickens Court House soon developed.

By 1860 Pickens District had a population of over 19,000 persons of whom 22 percent were slaves. The district was largely rural and agricultural. Its small industry consisted mainly of sawmills, gristmills, and a few other shops producing goods for home consumption. The district's Protestant churches were numerous, but schools were few. The Blue Ridge Railroad reached the district in September of 1860. During the Civil War the district suffered little from depredations of regular Yankee troops but was frequently plundered by marauders and deserters who swept down from the mountains.


The war left the region largely destitute. The South Carolina Constitutional Convention of 1868, meeting during the first year of Congressional Reconstruction, changed the name district to county throughout the state. The Convention also established Oconee County out of the portion of Pickens District west of the Keowee and Seneca rivers plus a small area around the Fort Hill estate that formerly belonged to John C. Calhoun. This small area around the Calhoun property was transferred to Pickens County in the 1960s.

A new courthouse for Pickens County was erected at its present location, and many of the residents of Old Pickens on the Keowee moved to the newly created town, some with their dismantled homes. The loss of the Oconee area greatly reduced the county's population. It did not again reach 19,000 until 1900.

The county's growth was accelerated by the building of the Atlanta and Charlotte Air Line Railroad (later called the Southern Railway) in the 1870s. The town of Easley, named for General W. K. Easley, was chartered in 1874. Liberty and Central sprang up along the railroad about the same time and were soon incorporated. Calhoun (now part of Clemson) came into being in the 1890s, to be followed in the early 1900s by Six Mile and Norris as incorporated areas.

A major factor in Pickens County's growth was the coming of the textile industry. The county's first modern cotton mill, organized by D. K. Norris and others, was established at Cateechee in 1895. By 1900 the county could boast of three cotton mills, two railroads, three banks, three roller mills, thirty-seven sawmills, ten shingle mills, and four brickyards.

Yet until 1940, with a population of 37,000 (13.2 percent black), the county remained primarily rural and agricultural. Like many other Piedmont counties, Pickens had a one-crop economy. Its citizens were engaged mainly in growing cotton or manufacturing it into cloth. A notable change in the Pickens landscape was the coming of paved highways; one completed across the county, about 1930, ran from Greenville to Walhalla by way of Easley, Liberty, and Central.

The most significant developments in the county's history have occurred since World War II. By 1972 there were 99 manufacturing plants in the county employing almost 15,000 personnel and producing not only textiles but a wide variety of other products. The population today [at the time this article was written] is estimated to be 93,894 residents. There is a heavy in-migration to Pickens County because of its climate, industrial opportunity, proximity to Greenville's labor market, and scenic beauty.


The illustrations on these pages include many which we believe to be in the public domain. If an image appears to which you have exclusive rights, please contact rick@altonmedia.com so that the image may be removed from the website, or proper credit given.


Last Ride of the "Pickens Doodle"




Soapstone Baptist Church Slave Cemetery





Old Pickens County Gaol, built 1902

1900
 
By 1900 the county could boast 
of 3 cotton mills, 2 railroads, 3 banks, 3 roller mills, 37 sawmills, 10 shingle mills and 4 brickyards.

1900's 
Babb's House, 231 Ann Street, this house was built in the early 1900s by Andrew Babb and his brother.

1900 
First Fire Department in Pickens, which used a two-wheel cart with a two and a half inch hose around the drum of the cart.

1902 
Pickens County Jail (present-day Pickens County Museum) built.

1902 
Easley Publishing Co. (Easley Progress) founded.

1903 
Colonial House, a Greek Revival-style house, (206 Griffin St, Pickens) was built by Ben A. Hagood.

1903 
The Hiawatha Hotel (which is currently the Pickens Hotel) was built and was a popular summer resort for the low country people. Presently the building is offices, but still has a few rooms upstairs for weekly or monthly boarders.

1904 
Pickens Centralized High School was built. Used at first for first through tenth grades, then combined junior and high school until 1954 when current Pickens High School was built, at which time it became a junior high until January 1968. This building was torn down in the 1970s.

1906 
Central Wesleyan University opened (renamed Southern Wesleyan, 1995).

1906 
On May 4th, The Pickens Cotton Mill was chartered.

1907 
First bridge across the Keowee River (Chapman Steel Bridge).

1908 
The McFall House, (location), built by the former Vesta Mauldin, the widow of Waddy Thompson McFall. She was the daughter of the first sheriff and the sister to Judge Mauldin.

1908 
Pickens Mill Baptist Church was built.

1908 
First brick house built in Pickens. This house was built for J. T. Taylor.

1909 
Last legal public hanging at Pickens County Courthouse.

1910 
Town of Six Mile chartered.

1912 
The Pickens Sertoma (Service to Mankind) Club was founded.

1916 
The Keowee Flood, when Toxaway Dam broke, destroyed many homes and the original steel bridge at Chapman's Ford. The 130-foot long Chapman's Covered Bridge, consisting of 50,000 board feet of heart pine lumber replaced the bridge the next year.

1919 
Dr. J. L Aiken was one of the first dentists in the area, practicing from 1919 to 1961.

1919 
The Cureton Home, 230 Ann St., Pickens, was built by Mayor C. L. Cureton. Cureton served as Mayor of Pickens in the 1920s and 1930s.

1920 
The Pickens Garden Club was founded with education and beautification as goals.

1924 
Hiott Printing Company was established.

1925 
First hospital in Pickens County - Dr. Peek's Hospital in Six Mile.

1927 
First 4-H Camp in U.S. (present-day Camp for the Blind) in Rocky Bottom.

1927 
The Woodruff House, 250 Ann Street, Pickens, was built in 1927 by Dr. Paden Woodruff. Dr. Woodruff opened his practice in 1919 and was Mayor of Pickens in 1929-1931.

1927 
The Findley House, 206 Hampton Ave, Pickens, was built by William Elbert Findley, later occupied by his son Earle W. Findley. The honorable Earle W. Findley was mayor of Pickens from 1956-1977.

1927 
The Aiken House, 256 Ann Street, Pickens, was built by Dr, J. L Aiken, this home served as the Presbyterian Manse from the early 1940s to 1972.

1928 
Pickens County joined the Greenville Council of Boy Scouts (Name changed to Blue Ridge Council in 1932).

1929 
Six Mile devastated by tornado.

1930 
The first paved highways completed, ran from Greenville to Walhalla by way of Easley, Liberty and Central.

1930 
Built in the late 1800s, and originally known as Gravely Mill, it became known as Meece Mill with its new owner Bob Meece. The mill was reconstructed by Mac Walker in 1930 and operated until 1964. Today it is home to Yoder's B-B-Q and is known a Yoder's at Meece Mill.

1934 
The city purchased a 1925 model Seagrave Fire Truck from the city of Danville, VA, which was the first fire truck Pickens ever had.

1936 
First Girl Scout Troop.

1938 
The Brackett Home, 111 Glassy Mountain St, Pickens, was built by Dr. W. C. Brackett.

1939 
The Singer Company purchased the Appalachian Lumber Company (started in 1927).

1939 
The Poinsett Lumber and Manufacturing Co., a division of The Singer Company (now OWT) purchased the railroad.

1941 
World War II - Pickens County population - 37,000 (13% African American)

1942 
The Bivens Home, 112 Glassy Mountain St, Pickens, was built by A. W. Bevins.

1943 
Last reunion of Confederate veterans at home of Matthew Hendricks (he was 101 years old).

1945 
Oolenoy Baptist Church, which was originally built in 1795 of logs and rebuilt in 1840 of planks, was again rebuilt in 1945. This church is still in use today.

1946 
A. W. Bivens is mayor of Pickens from 1946 to 1952.

1954 
The current Pickens High School was built.

1958 
Pickens County Historical Society organized.

1958 
Pickens County YMCA was chartered.

1958 
The "Liberty Monitor" newspaper founded.

1959 
Third and present courthouse built.

1959 
The Singer Company consolidated its sawmill and cabinet operations with the woodworking operations from Arkansas and the Craftsman power tools from New Jersey to the Pickens location.

1962 
The Easley YMCA building built.

1963 
Poinsett Lumber and Manufactur-ing co. announced that the "Doodle" was for sale. James F. Jones of North Carolina purchased the "Doodle" for approximately $50,000. It now has a home as a tourist attraction in that state.

1964 
Mayfair Mill acquired The Pickens Cotton Mill and operated it as the Mayfair Mill until it closed in 2002.

1966 
Archaeological excavations at Fort Prince George site on Keowee River.

1967 
Work in progress for Keowee Toxaway Nuclear Project

1968 
Pickens County Centennial.

1973 
Behavioral Health Services of Pickens County established (renamed from Pickens County Commission on Drug & Alcohol Abuse).

1975 
Old Pickens County Jail reopened as Pickens County Museums.

1980 
The Concerned Citizens for Animals (CCA) was founded.

1981 
Pickens Civitan Club started to be involved in community projects and develop new friendships.

1983 
Pickens Area Junior Assembly started as a civic and social group that has supported many recreational and health projects.

1988 
Ryobi Limited purchased the former Motor Products Division of The Singer Company renaming it Ryobi Motor Products Corp here in Pickens. The facility is now home to OWT Industries.

1993 
Legacy Square was built which features a fountain constructed with bricks sold to individuals.

1994 
Hanover House, built in 1716 for French Huguenot Paul De St. Julien in Berkeley County, SC was moved to Clemson University in 1941, and moved again to the South Carolina Botanical Garden in 1994.

1994 
Pickens Post Office moved to its present location on Johnson Street.

1995 
Present Pickens County Administration Facility built.

1999 
The YMCA building in the town of Pickens was built.

2003 
Pickens County population 113,097.

© 2013 Pickens County, SC