Let's Travel Up The Path


Carolina's "Harbor of History", Charleston, is the starting place for the "Holy City", and The City is the starting point for a trip up the Path. Buildings still stand from the early 18th century. Start at the Exchange Building to get a feel of a government meeting house for the "Commons", and see the Half Moon Bastion in the basement. Our city was one of three walled cities in North America at the time. Visit the Powder Magazine to see where powder was kept - a far away from the main part of town as possible. Powder and muskets were major trade items. See Colonel Rhett's house on Hazel Street - his wife was quite a shrewd business woman, with other people's money. St. Michael's, St. Phillips, and the Circular Congregational Churches are cornerstones of the City as well as the resting places of our early colonial settlers and some real pioneers - Mary Cloud, for instances. Let's leave The City via the Carriage House on Calhoun Street, where the city wall was located in the mid 18th century.

Now we begin to follow the Path up Meeting Street. A "path", by the way, was a road, not merely our concept of a narrow walk way in the garden. Even before 1700 land grants were given to settle up to St. Matthews. Counties, parishes, baronies, and plantations were laid out in chain lengths. Moving up Meeting Street to 4 Mile House, sitting in the marsh by the Cooper River. On to the Quarter House at the juncture of now I-26 and Dorchester Road - Loyalist stayed there over a year in Rawdon Town; the place is still a motel!

Travel up past 10 Mile Tavern to Goose Creek on old Highway 52 - early seat of power of the "Goose Creek Men". Cross Goose Creek and visit the beautiful St. James Anglican Church, attacked by the Yamassees, now restored by a grant from the "Society of Colonial Wars: South Carolina Chapter". His Majesty's Arms are still in place inside.

Follow Old 52 on to Monck's Corner; Berkeley Museum is good, and Stony Landing was the upper limit of navigation for the Cooper River. (The CSS David is there.) Much military activity was at Stoney Landing.

The orginal Path is now under Lake Moultrie, going up to 45 Mile House before turning left and coming to cross on Old Number Six close to The Pond, often mentioned and still there, now Lawson's Pond. Note the "plantation plain" architecture of the home in Cross and one just outside of Eutawville - just before the state marker. Follow Old Number Six northward through the pines and flat land. While still in Berkeley County notice a state marker pointing out Thomas Sumter's store close to the path. Another marker at the Berkeley/Orangeburg county line again mentions the Path. One Berkeley County house, the Hanover House built c. 1716 now sits at Clemson University.

And on to Eutaw Springs, site of the last major set-piece battle in South Carolina in September, 1781, although the shooting went on until December, 1782. Several roads (common name by 1775) crossed here. Stay on Old Number Six going north to Santee. Across the river is Fort Watson, a built-upon Indian mound - used as a Redcoat defense in the American Revolution.

St. Matthews Church (1737) is followed by a monument to Mary Sterling and a major land grant from the early 18th century. Now, on the left side of Old Number Six is a long section of the original Cherokee Path. Just before St. Matthews is Lyon Creek - Ox Creek -, home of George Hunter's Captain Charles Russell.

A marker at St. Matthews Courthouse from 1704 mentions the Path. Calhoun County Museum has a portrait of Emily Geiger who made a "Paul Revere Ride" for General Greene to warn General Sumter. Highway Six is now Old State Road, and Big Beaver Creek will be crossed with no notice unless it is remembered how much of an obstacle water was. Sandy Run Lutheran Church with a marker is followed by Sandy Run Creek, another travel obstacle.

Traveling through Eastman Kodak - uninvited - can be a hazard, with the law. The Geiger Cemetery is located there along with a monument to Herman Geiger.

Old State Road is now dirt and is the original Path and road. Cross under I-77 and stop at Congaree Creek. Fort Congaree was to your right, now state land to be explored. The remains of Confederate earth works, hard to see among the trees, may be visible across the creek as they resisted Sherman's destruction of our state in February, 1865. The dirt road becomes paved and is now State Road. Go past an excellent public boat landing and past Fridig's Ferry, where President Washington crossed the Path and the river in May 1791. Follow it around the plants and railroad yard into Cayce. The Cayce House Museum is located on 12th Street - another plantation plain house, beautiful as always.

State Road - the Path - runs through West Columbia and the Path turns left following Highway #1 to about Kroger, where it heads right and soon becomes Mineral Springs Road. It crosses Twelve Mile Creek on this road, and the original road bed is visible. At Highway #378 turn left and go to the new Wal-Mart Superstore. The "Old Cherokee Road" - the Path - runs behind it. Follow Old Cherokee Road parallel to Lake Murray - the Path always followed the high ground- to Beechwood Drive which goes to US #378, where a right turn is needed to get to Saluda County. Old Cherokee Road can be followed down to the lake, and parts of the old bed are still visible, but then the Path goes - again - under water.

In Saluda County the Path can be seen close to St. Mark's Lutheran Church. It follows St. Marks Road and crosses state road 391 and again may be viewed as it crosses Little Saluda River and passes Philippi Church, where a granite mile marker was located until recently. The Path follows state road 194 and is visible at several places. At one place a mile marker - number 42 - was found several years ago and is now in the Saluda County Historical Society Museum.

The Path becomes Old Cherokee Trail just off state road 395 - the Newberry road. The Path follows Robinson Road, dirt, just off state road 39 - Chappels road, to state road 702 at Halfway Swamp Creek, a major camp site. The original Path is visible as it goes to "96", originally pronounced "nine-six" along state road 246, and crosses 96 Creek. The Path, here called the Charleston Road, goes through Historic 96 and on east of Greenwood.

Road 254 crosses Coronaca Creek, and the original Path is visible behind Tabernacle Cemetery - see state marker on 254. The original bed is visible for a long stretch just before the town of Cokesbury on county road 257 - Ashbury Road - on the left. It runs behind Cokesbury College.

Continue to Hodges; the Path ran in that area between Hodges and Donalds. In Due West - DeWitts Corner - a Cherokee Path blue Indian-head marker is still "is situ" and is quite attractive, after twenty years. A state marker by an A. R. P. Church explains the way. Proceed north on state road 20; the original bed is on the left and right for several miles, best at the stream crossing at the county line where the 1777 Treaty of DeWitt's Corner was signed - with the Cherokee making the usual sacrifice of land. Continue to Craytonville and turn left onto state 252 which becomes US 76 and 178 to and through Anderson which was the main trail.

Through Anderson, and on to Pendleton still on the trail. Out of Pendleton on US 76 (SC 28) stop at the Old Stone Church and Cemetery. On to Clemson and north on state road 133 toward Six Mile. Turn left onto state road 157 and find Gap Hill Church; the original bed is just in back of the church. At the end of the road the Path remains are visible coming down the steep hill and leading to Fort Prince George. Today a play area and boat landing cover the site; the fort is under water. A mulberry tree was planted on the site; it remained into the 20th century.

The Cherokee town of Keowee is close to the fort, originally across the Keowee River; now both under Lake Keowee. To reach the site of this once extensive town, drive around the lake, past the nuclear power station and along state road 130 and on along county road 128 to the historical marker/boat landing. The site is all wooded and beautiful, and the boat landing is usually peaceful. A walk along an abandoned paved parking area will lead to a beautiful D.A.R. monument which recounts a basic history of Keowee.

The Path divides at Keowee and proceeds to the numerous towns of "The Nation" in North Carolina and Tennessee. Walking averaged about 23 miles daily.

A visit to the Pickens County Museum and the Keowee-Toxaway State Park will illustrate Fort Prince George and Cherokee culture.

1999 - 2009 The South Carolina Genealogical Society, Inc.

2002 2009 Roy Vandegrift, III


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