High Hills of Santee: Wikis


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Historic Church of the Holy Cross, High Hills of the Santee, Stateburg

The High Hills of Santee, sometimes known as the High Hills of the Santee, is a long, narrow hilly region in the western part of Sumter County, South Carolina. It has been called "one of the state's most famous areas".[1] The High Hills of Santee region lies north of the Santee River and east of the Wateree River, one of the two rivers that join to form the Santee. It extends north almost to the Kershaw county line and northeasterly to include the former summer resort town of Bradford Springs. Since 1902 the latter town has been in Lee County.

The High Hills of Santee name has been in use since the 1700s,[2] when it became a popular resort for wealthy planters. They built summer homes there to escape the oppressive "heat and malaria of the Low Country".[3] In the 18th and 19th centuries, the High Hills of Santee was the location of many plantations, among which were those of the Singleton family, which produced First Lady of the United States, Angelica Singleton Van Buren.[4]

Planters were joined by more humble settlers, such as Thomas Sumter, who came from Virginia, married a local widow in 1767, and with her became a successful plantation owner. He later became famous as a general in the Revolution. After the war, Sumter represented South Carolina in the United States House of Representatives and the Senate.

South Carolina historian David Duncan Wallace placed the area in what he called the red hill region of the state He wrote: "The High Hills of Santee paralleling the Wateree River on its east attain an almost mountainous appearance. The region contains much good land."[5]

The significance of this history has resulted in designation of three National Historic Landmarks, one National Historic District, and several structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the High Hills of the Santee. The area also includes outdoor recreational areas such as Poinsett State Park and Manchester State Forest.

Historic sites


Historic sites in the High Hills of Santee include three National Historic Landmarks:

Other places listed on the National Register of Historic Places include:

Notable residents

Notable plantations and houses

The High Hills of Santee had many notable plantations, most of which grew cotton. Some of them survive.[7]

  • The Cedars and the Pines, Springhill
  • Summer Home in Bradford Springs, Owned by Capt.James Gaillard of Charleston.
  • Orange Grove at Gaillards crossroads (black river road and 441)
  • Bloomhill, Wedgefield;
  • Borough House, Stateburg;
  • Home House, Stateburg, no longer extant, belonged to General Thomas Sumter, buried there;
  • Brookland Plantation House, Old Charleston Road (State Route 261), Stateburg vicinity;[8]
  • Homefield, Stateburg;[9]
  • James Hill, Stateburg;
  • Magnolia Hall, Hagood;
  • Marden, Stateburg;
  • Melrose, Wedgefield, location of Singleton's Graveyard;[10]
  • Midway, Wedgefield;
  • Miller House, later known as Ellison House, Stateburg;
  • Millford, Pinewood;
  • Moor Hill, owned by Thomas Sumter, grandson of the general, and later by DeSaussure Bull, a descendant of William Bull II;[11]
  • Needwood, Stateburg;[12]
  • The Oaks, Stateburg-Wedgefield Road, Stateburg;[13]
  • Ramsey House, Poinsett State Park;[14]
  • The Ruins, Stateburg, owned by General Thomas Sumter, then by John Mayrant[15]
  • San Souci, Stateburg, home of Edward Rutledge, governor; and [16]
  • Woodlawn, Stateburg.


Places, past and present, in the High Hills of Santee, include:

  • Bradford Springs,
  • Claremont
  • Dixie Crossing
  • Foxville, also known as Camden Junction
  • Garner's Ferry, formerly Brisbane's Ferry, originally Simmons Ferry
  • Hagood, formerly Sanders Station
  • Horatio, formerly Louellen
  • Manchester,
  • Middleton, formerly Clarendon Depot
  • Pinewood, formerly Clarendon
  • Stark's Ferry
  • Stateburg, formerly Stateborough
  • Stateburg Station
  • Wateree Junction and
  • Wedgefield




The Wateree River was one of the first means of access to the High Hills of Santee. Manchester became its gateway river port. There were ferry crossings at Garner's Ferry near Stateburg and further south at Stark's Ferry near Manchester.


The major north-south road in the High Hills of Santee since the 18th century has been Kings Highway. It originally ran from Charleston to Camden. It followed an older trail of the Catawba Tribe. Today Kings Highway in the High Hills is South Carolina Highway 261.[17] The major east west road is U.S. Route 76/US Route 378, a four-lane, divided highway between Sumter and Columbia, which intersects South Carolina Highway 261 just south of Stateburg. This intersection is 32 miles from Columbia and 12 miles from Sumter. The original Sumter to Columbia road was Garner's Ferry Road, a part of which exists north in Stateburg. Most of U.S. Route 76/US Route 378 in Richland County still carries this name.

Despite the short distances from Columbia and Sumter, the High Hills of Santee is still relatively rural and isolated,[18] just as it was in antebellum times. Then Millford Plantation was called Manning's Folly, partly because of its remote location.


An antebellum branch of the former South Carolina Railroad ran from Wateree east across the river to Wateree Junction and then north on the west of Kings Highway through Middleton, Foxville, Dixie Crossing, the former Stateburg Station on Garner's Ferry Road, Claremont, Horatio, Hagood and then into Kershaw County. It ran through Boykin before reaching Camden. At Wateree Junction, it met the Wilmington and Manchester Railroad, which ran from Manchester to Wilmington, North Carolina.

In April 1865 General Edward E. Potter and his Union Army troops "discovered nine locomotives and approximately 200 cars from the rolling stock of the Wilmington & Manchester and South Carolina Railroads. His army proceeded to burn, blow up, and otherwise destroy these trains and tracks." During World War II, much of the scrap metal from the wreckage was salvaged for the war effort. In 1997 the remaining rails and cross ties were removed.[19][20][21]

From Sumter today one railroad line runs west to Wedgefield and across the Wateree to Eastover. Another runs southwest to Pinewood and across Lake Marion to Calhoun County. There is no longer any passenger service on these lines.

Foot trail

The High Hills of Santee Passage is a hiking trail through the area and is part of the Palmetto Trail.



External links


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