Historic Sites

Fort Watson - The first military post in S.C. retaken from the British. The stockade fort on this old Indian mound had controlled the road from Charleston to Camden as well as the Santee River. On April 15, 1871, Gen. Francis Marion and Lt. Col. Henry Lee encircled it with troops. Maj. Hezekiah Maham built a log tower on the old Indian mound that allowed the Americans to fire down into the fort. On April 23, the Americans undermined the works and forced the surrender of Fort Watson.

Santee Indian Mound - This site was probably a burial or temple mound, likely constructed between 1200-1500 AD. The Santee Indian mound is typical of pyramidal, flat-topped mounds that can be found throughout the eastern U.S. The mound complex, the largest ceremonial center yet discovered on the coastal plain, represents a hub of late prehistoric activity in the area. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1969.

Santee Indian Mound, Summerton, S.C.

SanteeNational Wildlife Refuge - Established in 1942, it is located near the town of Summerton in Clarendon county, South Carolina. This 15,000 acre refuge lies within the Atlantic Coastal Plain and consists of mixed hardwoods, mixed pine-hardwoods, pine plantations, marsh, croplands, old fields, ponds and open water. The refuge stretches over 18 miles along the northern side of Lake Marion. The Santee National Wildlife Refuge is one of over 500 refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), an agency of the Department of the Interior.

Palmetto Trail - Conceived in 1994, South Carolina’s Palmetto Trail is the state’s largest bicycle and pedestrian project, running from the mountains to the sea. This federally designated Millennium Legacy Trail is the signature project of the Palmetto Conservation Foundation. It is one of only 16 cross-state trails in the U.S.

The Lake Marion Passage is a 33-mile section of the Palmetto Trail that skirts along the high water mark of the north side of Lake Marion in Clarendon county. Much of the land along the trail is open for hunting and users should wear bright colors during big game hunting seasons, from the middle of August to January. Because of the trail’s proximity to Lake Marion some sections may be flooded during the wet season. However, these wet conditions add to the beauty of the area with a profusion of wildflowers.Learn more about the 3 main sections of the Lake Marion Passage.

Richardson Family Cemetery - This is one of the earliest graveyards in St. Mark's Parish. It is located near the town of Summerton. Buried here are Brig. General Richard Richardson, who fought in the Revolution War, along with James Burchell Richardson, South Carolina Governor (1802-04), and John Peter Richardson, South Carolina Governor (1840-42), and founder of the Citadel.

Scott's Branch School - The school was originally knowns as the Taw Caw School, because classes were taught in the Taw Caw Baptist Church. At the turn of the century, a group of parents decided to move the school into the town of Summerton. They raised money and purchased a lot beside St. Mark A.M.E. Church. They purchased an old cotton gin house, rolled it onto this site and made it into a classroom. The school's name was changed from Taw Caw to Scott's Branch because of its location, by the little brook that runs behind St. Mark Church known as Scott's Branch.

Fire destroyed this "gin" classroom and the church after many years of use. The parents again banded together, raised funds, and built a two story building for classrooms along with an auditorium. As the years passed and the school population grew, the auditorium was converted into classrooms. In the meantime, St. Mark A.M.E. had also been rebuilt, so the church was again used for many school school activities.

In the Spring of 1937, there was another fire and the school building was destroyed. This time the parents decided to purchase the site on which the present Scott's Branch Middle School stands. The white frame building was built by the county, but the parents and teachers had to raise funds to put in electricity and water. Commencement exercises were alternated between Taw Caw Baptist and Liberty Hill A.M.E churches. School plays were presented at Taw Caw. This practice continued until the Gymtorium was constructed.

Today, conditions at Scott's Branch High School are a far cry from where things stood 50 years ago. The current Scott's Branch High School is located on Alex Harvin Highway (Hwy. 301). It is a modern facility with state of the art computer labs, fully equipped science labs, and all of the amenities necessary for modern day education. It has a football stadium, softball field, track, and a large gymnasium that can accommodate graduations, school plays, community events and indoor athletic events. On August 26, 1994, Summerton High School was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Taw Caw Creek Park - A 36-acre recreation area in Clarendon county with fishing piers, boardwalks, a boat ramp, picnic ground, nature trails and playground.

For more detail on the historic class action suit Briggs vs. Elliott that ultimately led to the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision in Brown vs. Board of Education desegregating public schools across America, visit the Historic Clarendon County web site.

The Cantey Place - The Cantey Place has never had a special name but "Town and Country" would suit. The residence was built in the 1820's, and John J. Ragin is the earliest person known to occupy it. There are columns which outline the porch on three sides. It was built by slave labor with bricks made on the place and hand-hewn timbers put together with wooden pegs. The home was eventually acquired by Morgan Saab Cantey, who was a Presidential Elector. Harry Briggs, Sr., one of the plaintiffs in the famous Briggs vs. Elliot case was born in one of the buildings on this property.

The James Home - This home is located on N. Duke Street in Summerton. It was built in 1840 by J. H. Colclough on land owned by W. C. Dukes. In 1904, Joseph Alston James, known as the "Cap'n", became the new owner. "Cap'n" James was a railroad conductor for the Northwestern Railroad. The James family added four large upstairs rooms to the original story and a half structure as well as a handsome front stairway, an outstanding feature of the house. The present owners, Mr. & Mrs. Lionel Stukes, have extensively restored the home.

James Building - Also known as Summerton Hardware, it is a historic commercial building located in the heart of downtown Summerton. Built in 1905, it is a two-story brick building with a cast-iron storefront. The building has two storefronts and interior spaces with single-story sections to the rear. The building used to house the telephone exchange and a hardware store and was a central focus of the town in the early-20th century. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.

Francis Marion Murals

Edgewood / Orange Hill - Formerly known as Orange Hill because of the back ground of Mock Orange trees, it was once owned by Mrs. Mary Gentry Sprott, a direct descendant of Mr. Thomas Connor, Jr. who erected the beautiful home. The architecture is peculiar to this part of the lowcountry with double steps leading to the first floor piazza. The timbers are all hand sawed and pegged together. the bricks used in the basement and in the chimney were made on the place by slave labor and the clay pits may still be seen. The kitchen, that stands some distance from the house, is very much in evidence. The large home sits in a grove off Hwy. 15, just 2 miles out of Summerton.

The Burgess Home - Prior to 1881 the original three-room one-story house faced a small lane, now called Burgess Street, in Summerton. On Jan 21, 1881, W. B. James sold the land and house to Dr. Thomas Lesley Burgess. The original pillars on the back porch remain, as do the original hand turned banisters. The solid pine boards inside, put together with wooden pins, are six inches wide, and there are no joints in the floors or ceilings in its rooms. It was from this home that Miss Anne Custis Burgess, a music teacher, composed the lovely melody to accompany Timrod's poem, "Carolina". It was adopted as the South Carolina 'State Song' in 1911. Miss Burgess died on October 15, 1910. She is laid to rest in Summerton's Evergreen Cemetery while her beautiful melody lives on.

The Harvey Belser Home - Located on N. Duke St. in Summerton, the Belser home was built in 1830 by V. H. Colclough for Mr. William C. Dukes. James Dingle acquired the house in 1883 and Mrs. Gulielma Belser bought it in 1886 and added a second story. It was originally a summer house with large front and rear doors which could be folded back to allow for the breeze. The house has 14 rooms with a wide center hall on the first floor.

The John McCuen Rowe Home - Located on Rowe Street in Summerton, S.C., this house was originally constructed around 1860. The bricks for the foundation and chimney were made from clay dug nearby while the timbers were hand-hewn. Around the turn of the century, in keeping with the current architectural style of the times, porches were built around 3 sides of the house. In 1990 Bob Davis purchased this home from John S. Anderson, Jr., great grandson of the original owner.

“Taw Caw”Gentry – Grayson Home - “Taw Caw” is situated on the road leading to a creek by that name. This plantation home was built for Ezra Tindal. Members of the Sublett family and relatives of the Tindals lived there until T.H. Gentry bought it. It is now the home of his great granddaughter, Mary Anne Grayson Moore. Double steps lead to the second floor piazza, and the banisters and hand rails are all hand-turned. Built with slave labor from plantation timber, hand-sawed and hand planed, the massive girders underpinning the house are pegged together. Wide planks run the length of the large rooms without joints. The bricks in the enormous fireplaces and the hinges used for the doors and windows were all processed on the estate. The trees on the spacious grounds are in their third century of growth. This dignified home has double front doors adding to its hospitable atmosphere.

Camp Bob Cooper - It's history dates back to the 1930s, when the South Carolina Public Service Authority repurposed the former farmland as a construction labor camp for the Santee-Cooper Hydro-Electric and Navigation Project. More than 12,500 workers cleared over 177,000 acres of farms, forests and swamps to create Lake Marion and Lake Moultrie - at the time, the largest land-clearing project in U.S. history.

Clemson University leased the property in 1942, and a Clarendon County 4-H camp was held there the following year. In 1945, Camp Bob Cooper was listed as a statewide 4-H campsite. For almost 70 years, thousands of people of all ages have enjoyed camps, conferences, retreats and other special events on the shores of Lake Marion. The property was named for Robert Muldrow "Bob" Cooper (1887-1966), who served as chairman and former director of the Public Service Authority.

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