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History of the Town of Salley

DURING THE WINTER OF 1735, OUR COMMUNITY WAS SETTLED BY THREE SWISS GERMAN FAMILIES: JOHN CORBITT, SR.; JOHN CORBIT, JR.; AND JOHN SALLEY. THESE THREE FAMILIES POSSESSED LARGE ROYAL LAND GRANTS FROM KING GEORGE II OF ENGLAND. SINCE THE HEADS OF ALL THREE OF THESE FAMILIES WERE NAMED "JOHN," THE SETTLEMENT BECAME KNOWN AS "JOHN TOWN."

THESE FIRST SETTLERS HAD TO HAVE THEIR LAND SURVEYED. THE SURVEYOR WAS A MR. DEAN. IN HIS HONOR SEVERAL THINGS STILL BEAR HIS NAME, SUCH AS "DEANS BRIDGE," "DEAN SWAMP," AND THE "DEAN SWAMP BAPTIST CHURCH."

WHEN THESE SETTLERS ARRIVED IN THEIR COVERED WAGONS, THEY FOUND THE INDIANS (THE EDISTOS) TO BE FRIENDLY. THEY TRADED WITH, AND HELPED THE SETTLERS BUILD THEIR FIRST HOMES (LOG CABINS) ALONG A CREEK (NOW CALLED JOHN TOWN CREEK).

THE INDIANS CLAIMED THAT THE SPRING NEARBY CONTAINED HEALING WATERS, AND THEY CAM E FROM MILES AROUND TO DRINK IN ORDER TO WARD OFF ILLNESS. THE SPRING IS STILL IN EXISTENCE. IT IS KNOWN AS LOCUST HEAD SPRING, AND IS LOCATED AT THE FOOT OF TONEY TILL, NEAR DEVIL'S ELBOW.

THESE EARLY SETTLERS WERE BEGINNING TO PROSPER WHEN THE WAR CAME- THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. IN THE YEAR 1787 A BATTLE TOOK PLACE AT JOHN TOWN. THIS BATTLE IS KNOWN AS THE BATTLE OF DEAN'S BRIDGE. THE BATTLE WAS A VICTORY FOR THE SETTLERS, ALTHOUGH CAPTAIN WATSON LOST HIS LIFE. HE WAS SUCCEEDED IN COMMAND BY CAPTAIN BUTLER. SEVENTEEN (17) TORIES WERE KILLED, AND WERE BURIED AT JOHN TOWN. (THEIR COMMON GRAVE IS STILL UNKNOWN AT THIS TIME.

AFTER THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR THE SETTLERS HAD TO MAKE A FRESH START. THIS TIME THEY WENT INTO THE LUMBER BUSINESS BY FLOATING LOGS DOWN THE EDISTO RIVER TO CHARLESTON. THIS NEW ENTERPRISE WAS A WISE DECISION, FOR THEY PROSPERED GREATLY, AND BUILT COMMODIOUS MANSIONS AROUND 1795. 

IN THE LATE 1700'S AND EARLY 1800'S, OTHER FAMILIES BEGAN MOVING INTO THIS AREA. NAMELY: ABLE, BRODIE, BOYLSTON, COOPER, CORLEY, COURTNEY, CLARK, CAUGHMAN, DAVIS, DOUGLAS, FANNING, FERGERSON, GINYARD, GLEATON, HOLMAN, JORDAN, JOHNSON, JONES, KITCHINGS, KENNERLYM KNOTTS, LECROY, MILHOUSE, MCQUEEN, MACKEY, O'DOWD, PORTER, PROTHRO, PEEPLES, RILEY, SAWYER, STROMAN, TYLER, TOOLE, VANN, WOOLEY, WHITNEY, AND WALKER.

ONCE AGAIN TRAGEDY STRUCK OUR PROSPEROUS COMMUNITY WITH THE COMING OF THE WAR BETWEEN THE STATES. SHERMAN'S MARCH FROM SAVANNAH TO COLUMBIA CAME RIGHT THROUGH JOHN TOWN. THE JOHN SALLEY, AND THE JOHN CORBITT, JR., MANSIONS WERE BURNED TO THE GROUND BY UNION SOLDIERS. THE JOHN CORBITT, SR., HOME, THEN OWNED BY THE BOYLSTON FAMILY, WAS NOT BURNED. LATER IT WAS DISMANTLED BY CHARLIE BOYLSTON. (MARVIN BOYLSTON'S HOME IS LOCATED ON THE SAME LOCATION NOW.)

THESE EARLY SETTLEMENTS ORGANIZED THREE CHURCHES: DEAN SWAMP (1802), ROCKY GROVE (1812), AND SARDIS(1876). DEAN SWAMP CHURCH IS THE OLDEST, BEING ESTABLISHED IN 1802. THE SALLEY BAPTIST CHURCH WAS BUILT IN 1888 AND THE SALLEY METHODIST CHURCH, A FEW YEARS LATER.

MR. DEMPSEY H. H SALLEY WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE RAILROAD COMING THROUGH THIS SETTLEMENT. BEING A MEMBER OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA LEGISLATURE, HE WAS ALSO RESPONSIBLE FOR SALLEY BEING INCORPORATED. THEREFORE, ON DECEMBER 19, 1887, THE NAME OF THE SETTLEMENT WAS CHANGED FROM " JOHN TOWN" TO "SALLY" (SPELLED "SALLY" AT FIRST, LIKE THE OLD FAMILY NAME. IN 1935 MR. DEMPSEY SALLEY WAS ALSO RESPONSIBLE FOR SPRINGFIELD GETTING THEIR CHARTER THE SAME DAY SALLEY GOT THEIRS.

SOME WILL REMEMBER THE BLACKSMITH SHOP RUN BY MR. BOYD YON, AND THE LIVERY STABLE RUN BY MR. D.H. SALLEY. THE HOTEL WAS ONCE POPULAR WITH THE TRAVELING SALESMEN, WHO WOULD ARRIBE BY TRAIN AND STAY OVER NIGHT UNTIL THE NEXT DAY. EVEN COCA-COLA WAS ONCE BOTTLED LOCALLY, AND THESE OLD BOTTLES, WITH THE TOWN'S NAME, ARE COLLECTOR'S ITEMS. MOST OF OUR RESIDENTS WILL REMEMBER SEEING SALLEY'S MOVIE STAR, MADALYN JONES, ON THE SCREEN AT THE OLD H.A. SAWYER THEATER.

FIRST MISS CHITLIN STRUT QUEEN

(PICTURED ABOVE) THE VERY FIRST CHITLIN' STRUT QUEEN IN 1973! THE FIRST STRUT WAS YEARS BEFORE, BUT THE FIRST QUEEN WASN'T UNTIL THE 9TH ANNUAL STRUT! LOOK HOW FAR WE HAVE COME IN THE LAST 50 YEARS!