Georgetown Historical Markers
The quaint little town of Georgetown just a few miles down Hammock Coast is positively covered with Georgetown historical markers. The epicenter of these Georgetown historical markers is along a riverfront walkway adjacent to Front Street, where you can lean over the wooden rail and read the markers with the sun on your back, the wind in your hair, and boat traffic coming and going on Winyah Bay.
If you’re from a state where a government agency regulates the size and content of its roadside markers, you’ll be astounded at their diversity in South Carolina. Anyone can put up a marker and apparently everyone has, from historical societies to civic organizations to private enterprises. Markers can be one sentence long or six paragraphs, and some have pictures. Anything goes.
Let’s start along that walkway on Front Street and then fan out to some other areas in town where history going back to the colonial era is prominently posted on almost every street corner.
Historical Markers List of Georgetown
Birthplace of Jeremiah John Snow. “China Grove was the birthplace of the Reverend Jeremiah John Snow (1836-1892), a son of the third James Snow who lived here. He entered the Methodist Conference in 1863, and was a chaplain in the Third Regiment, South Carolina Troops, in the Civil War. Later he was a circuit-riding minister. His grave is at Union Church.” Erected in 1974 by the Dr. Henry Woodward Chapter, South Carolina Society, Daughters of the American Colonists at the intersection of Rose Hill Road (Route 6) and China Grove Lane.
China Grove Plantation. “China Grove, located on the Old Stage Road to Indiantown, near its junction with the Britton’s Ferry Road, was for many years the home of the Snow family. The eighteenth century plantation house has been restored. Its construction is attributed to James Snow (1730-1793), whose grandfather, Dr. Nathaniel Snow, came to South Carolina in 1697.” Erected in 1974 by the Dr. Henry Woodward Chapter, South Carolina Society, Daughters of the American Colonists at the intersection of Rose Hill Road (Route 6) and China Grove Lane.
Clifton Plantation. “President George Washington on his southern tour traveled southward over this road, April 27-30, 1791. While in this vicinity the day and night of April 29, he was the guest of Captain William Allston on his plantation, Clifton, which was originally a part of the Hobcaw Barony.” Erected in 1981 by Georgetown County Historical Society, now part of the George Washington Slept Here series, on Highway 17 south of Hobcaw Road.
Front: Hobcaw Barony. “In 1718 the Lords Proprietors granted 12,000 acres on Hobcaw Point, the southern portion of Waccamaw Neck, to John, Lord Carteret. The barony was subdivided beginning in 1766, creating several large rice plantations which flourished until the Civil War. In 1905-07 Bernard M. Baruch (1870-1965), Camden native and Wall Street financier, acquired these tracts for a winter retreat.”
Reverse: Bernard Baruch “was an advisor to presidents from Woodrow Wilson to Harry S. Truman. Belle Baruch (1900-1965), the oldest of his three children, was a sailor, pilot, and equestrian who shared her father’s passion for the outdoors. She bought the property from him and created a trust devoted to research and education in forestry, wildlife, and marine biology by S.C. universities.” Erected in 2008 by the Belle W. Baruch Foundation at the intersection of Highway 17 and Hobcaw Road.
Lafayette. “A lover of liberty, Lafayette left Bordeaux, France, March 26, 1777, ‘to conquer or perish’ in the American cause, and arrived at Benjamin Huger’s summer home near here, June 14, 1777, where he spent his first night in America. He rendered eminent service in our struggle for independence.” Erected in 1940 by Georgetown County on Highway 17 south of Hobcaw Road.
Prospect Hill. “On his tour south to inspect the defenses of the Atlantic coast, President Monroe reached Prospect Hill, Col. Benjamin Huger’s residence, April 21, 1819. During his stay, April 21-24, he was lavishly entertained by his host and by the citizens and the town council of Georgetown.” Erected in 1991 by Georgetown County Historical Society on Highway 17 near Arcadia Plantation Drive.
Front: Sinking of the USS Harvest Moon. “In early 1865 the USS Harvest Moon, a 193-foot, 5-gun side-wheel steamer, was the flagship of Adm. John A. Dahlgren of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, US Navy. It arrived off Georgetown and anchored nearby on February 26th. Confederate Capt. Thomas W. Daggett, in charge of coastal defenses from Little River to Georgetown, made plans to sink the Harvest Moon with a ‘torpedo’ or mine.”
Reverse: Daggett, “working on the 2nd floor of S.W. Rouquie’s store here at 633 Front Street, built a keg torpedo and floated it out as the Harvest Moon steamed down the bay early on March 1, 1865. The blast blew a hole in the starboard quarter and main deck, and the ship sank in five minutes, with only one sailor killed. The smokestack of the Harvest Moon can still be seen at low tide in Winyah Bay near Battery White.” Erected in 2011 by the Arthur M. Manigault Chapter #63, United Daughters of the Confederacy, and the Battery White Camp #1568, Sons of Confederate Veterans, on Front Street at the riverfront park.
24-Pound Naval Gun, Circa 1800. “Cast by the Hughes Foundry near Havre de Grace Maryland about 1800. The Defense Act of 1794 authorized 180 similar guns to be manufactured. This gun is one of three known to exist today. Two similar guns are in Savannah, Georgia. This gun is marked with the Federal Eagle, serial number and weight. The gun weighs over 5,000 pounds and is similar to guns that were used on the United States Frigate Constitution “Old Ironsides.” Capable of shooting a 24-pound cannon ball about six inches in diameter for about one mile.
“Found on the bank of the Sampit River during excavation for utility improvement behind the Rice Museum-Prevost Gallery in 1991. Its use since 1800 and reason to be in Georgetown are unknown.
“Restored and preserved by the South Carolina Department of Archeology and Anthropology with funds provided by the Winyah Indigo Society of Georgetown,” and erected in 1999 at the intersection of Front and King streets.
City of Georgetown. “September 17, 2005, the City of Georgetown, South Carolina celebrated two events: The Tricentennial of the first King’s Grant in present Georgetown County on September 15, 1705, and the Bicentennial of Georgetown’s incorporation in 1805. The grant to the John Perry family is the land on which Georgetown was founded by Elisha Screven in 1729. Screven never had clear title, so settlement was made in 1737 that returned unsold lots to Mary Perry Cleland and her husband, John. In 1785, forty-nine citizens asked the state legislature for authority to elect three commissioners, which was granted. Georgetown was incorporated December 19, 1805 and John Keith was elected intendant. In 1892 William Doyle Morgan was elected intendant, then first mayor when the local government reorganized. He served until 1906 and was the major force in planning the centennial celebration. The generous support of local civic groups and participating towns made it quite a celebration. About 1,000 witnessed the day’s activities. The day began when a parade marched through town to the ball park and greeted Governor D.C. Heyward. Speaker of the SC House of Representatives Mendel L. Smith gave the principal oration. At 4 pm a boat parade, including two U.S. Navy vessels, was viewed. At Prince and Cleland streets, a fireworks display closed the eventful day. The last set piece ignited, producing the message ‘Come Again in 2005’.” This marker is located at the intersection of Front and King streets.