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History: 1900's


The following are key historical events that took place in and around Summerton, S.C., in the 1900's:
  • In 1902, electricity came to Clarendon county. This was followed in 1911 by the introduction of telephone service.
  • Tom Johnson wrote "Fragments of Fallen Flags: Railroads of Clarendon County, S.C. 1886-1940". These included the Alcolu Railroad, Paroda Railroad, and the Wilson & Summerton Railroad. The line served as a link between the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad and the Central Railroad of South Carolina.
  • World War I began on July 28, 1914, and finally ended on November 11, 1918. More than 70 million military personnel were mobilized and over 9 million combatants and 7 million civilians died as a result of the war.
"Summerton in 1917 - A Brief History of the Place" - The Manning Times, November 14, 1917Archives
  • With the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920, women across the U.S. finally obtained the right to vote in elections. It was the culmination of the women's suffrage movement in the U.S., which fought for decades to achieve the right to vote. However, South Carolina didn't officially ratify the 19th Amendment until July 1969.
  • In July 1921, a tornado passed through the center of Summerton ripping the tops off seven houses and blowing down the walls of three brick stores in town.
  • In 1922, the first school bus to be used in Summerton was built by members of the Davis Crossroad community.
  • In 1926, a fire nearly destroyed the entire business district on Main Street in Summerton.
  • In the 1930's, the Great Depression affected everyone in Summerton. The only bank in town, the Bank of Summerton, closed its doors in 1932 leaving nearly everyone destitute.
  • The 1930 census gives us a view of the living conditions in Clarendon County. Of the 4,256 farms in the county, only 978 reported having automobiles and only 46 (about 1.1%) had electricity. Telephones were found in 72 farms and 96 had piped water into their houses.
  • In 1939, the Bank of Clarendon was officially chartered by the state of South Carolina. Prior to this, during the 'Great Depression', it was known as the Clarendon Cash Depository.

The history of the United States in World War II covers the war against Axis Powers of Japan, Germany and Italy - starting with the December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor by Japan. This deadliest global conflict in human history ultimately resulted in an over 50 million fatalities. The Second World War finally came to an end on August 15, 1945, with the surrender of Japan to the US and Allied Forces.

  • In November 1941, Lake Marion was created by the construction of the Santee Dam. The dam was built across the Santee River to supply hydroelectric power, as part of the rural electrification efforts initiated under President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal during the Great Depression.
  • Lake Marion and the Santee Dam were part of the Santee Cooper Hydroelectric and Navigation Project. This project also included the construction of the Pinopolis Dam (also known as the Cooper River Dam) which created Lake Moultrie. It also consisted of a diversion canal seven and a half miles long that connected the two lakes.
  • Santee National Wildlife Refuge was established on May 5, 1941 to alleviate the loss of natural waterfowl and wildlife habitat caused by the construction of hydro-electric projects on the Santee and Cooper Rivers.
  • In 1951, the African American community in Summerton joined NAACP efforts to file a class action suit, Briggs vs. Elliott, in U.S. District Court. They sued the local school board over the issue of unequal education opportunities being provided for their children. It was ultimately combined with four other desegregation cases, collectively known as Brown v. Board of Education, and brought before the U.S. Supreme Court. This resulted in the 1954 landmark decision desegregating public schools across the U.S. - see Brown vs. Board of Education.

  • In 1964, the Civil Rights Act was passed by Congress officially ending racial segregation across the U.S.
  • In 1965, integration of a few token black students into formerly all-white Clarendon county schools began.
  • In 1965, the Summerton Baptist Church founded the Summerton Baptist Church School, now known as Clarendon Hall.
  • In 1973, the Clarendon County Area Vocational Center was built. In 2003, the facility was renovated and substantially expanded and was officially renamed the F.E. DuBose Campus of Central Carolina Technical College.
  • In 1979, the weeklong Annual Striped Bass Festival was started in Clarendon county. The county is home to the first population of landlocked striped bass in the U.S.
  • In 1989, Hurricane Hugo hit South Carolina wreaked tremendous havoc across the state, including Clarendon county and many communities surrounding Lake Marion.
  • In April 1995, the Clarendon Memorial Hospital opened an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) sub-station in Summerton.
  * Read an article published in The Item newspaper about the town of Summerton's Centennial Celebration.


 * Remember to also check out the Historic Clarendon County web site.


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Peter Groen,
Jun 12, 2015, 7:57 PM
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