Edgefield, South Carolina - Historic Sites & Points of Interest
Edgefield, South Carolina - Historic Sites & Points of Interest
Edgefield, South Carolina
The historic courthouse was built in 1839 and faces
a town center that was selected in 1785 to be the
government center of the Edgefield District.
Edgefield, South Carolina
Ten governors have called
Edgefield home, as did U.S.
Senator Strom Thurmond and
General Martin W. Gary.
Edgefield, South Carolina - Historic Sites & Points of Interest
Edgefield: Home of 10 Governors
Copyright 2012 and 2013 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.

Last Update: August 13, 2013
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Historic Oakley Park
Beautiful old Oakley Park in
Edgefield was the home of
General Martin W. Gary of the
Hampton Legion. He refused
to surrender at Appomattox.
The Edgefield Ghost
This old road in the Edgefield
District leads to the site of the
most famous haunting of the
19th century.
Edgefield on a Rainy Day
The Edgefield Courthouse
Square has been a feature of
the community since the end
of the American Revolution.
Founded in 1785 as the interior of South
Carolina calmed from the brutal fighting that
swept across the landscape during the
American Revolution, Edgefield is known for
its historic architecture and Old South charm.

Until 1785, Edgefield County was part of the
Ninety Six District. This was a region of brutal
neighbor against neighbor warfare during the
Revolution. Patriots on one side and Tories
on the other attacked each other with ferocity
during the final years of the war.

Regular battles also took place in the area,
including two major engagements that took
place at Ninety Six just 30 miles from
downtown Edgefield. Ninety Six National
Historic Site now preserves the scene.

There was some speculation that an ill-fated
British or Tory soldier from those days could
have been involved in the bizarre case of the
Edgefield Ghost. America's most notorious
haunting of the 19th century, the incident took
place fifteen miles northwest of Edgefield.

The ghost appeared at the home of Isaac
Barnett in 1829 and was witnessed by
hundreds of people who flocked to the farm
as news spread of the haunting. The ghost
engaged in conversations with ministers,
reporters and neighbors, imitated animals
and whistled tunes. The incident was widely
reported in American newspapers of the time.

Please click here to learn more about the
Edgefield Ghost.

Edgefield County, curiously, was also the
birthplace of Grancer Harrison, the "Dancing
Ghost" of Coffee County, Alabama. He died in
1860 and was buried in his dancing clothes.
People claim that his ghost has been seen
dancing near his grave.

As the years passed and additional counties
were carved away, modern Edgefield County
took form. The historic Edgefield County
Courthouse was built facing the historic
Courthouse Square in 1839. It is designed by
an associate of the architect who designed
the Washington Monument and is beautifully
preserved today.

Edgefield developed a name as a place of
considerable political power during the 19th
century, a reputation that has carried over into
the modern era. It was the home of Senator
Strom Thurmond, who held a seat in the U.S.
Senate for 48 years.

One of the most powerful politicians in the
history of the United States, Thurmond had
represented his home town as School
Superintendent, State Senator and Circuit
Judge prior to World War II. He resigned his
judgeship to volunteer and rose to the rank
lieutenant colonel during the war, having
fought during the Normandy invasion.

By the end of the war, Thurmond had been
decorated 18 teams and was the recipient of
the Purple Heart, the Legion of Merit with Oak
Leaf Cluster, the Bronze Star with Valor
device and other significant honors. He
remained in the U.S. Army Reserve after
World War II and eventually retired with the
rank of Major General.

Thurmond returned home to Edgefield after
the war and once again entered politics. He
was elected governor in 1946.
Historic Sites in South Carolina
Two years later in 1948, Gov. Thurmond ran
for President on the "Dixiecrat" ticket. He
carried four states and received 39 electoral
votes in one of the most successful third
party runs in American history. Thurmond
would go on to be elected to the U.S. Senate
in 1954 and would continue to serve until his
death in 2003 at the age of 100. His statue
stands on the square.

Remarkably, Strom Thurmond was one of
only ten governors to hail from Edgefield. The
others included: Andrew Pickens (1816-
1818), George McDuffie (1834-1836), Pierce
M. Butler (1836-1838), James Hammond
(1842-1844), Francis W. Pickens (1860-
1862), Milledge L. Bonham (1862-1864),
John C. Sheppard (1886), Benjamin R.
Tillman (1890-1894) and John Gary Evans

Edgefield today is a thriving and beautiful
town in the Peach belt of South Carolina. The
30-minute drive up U.S. 25 from Augusta
passes through vast peach orchards.

In Edgefield itself, visitors are almost always
stunned by the beautiful homes, scenic
square and historic ambiance of the town.
One of the most beautiful homes,
Park, overlooks U.S. 25 as it enters town.

Oakley Park was the home of General Martin
W. Gary, an officer in South Carolina's famed
Hampton Legion. He fought for the South
from First Manassas until Lee surrendered at
Appomattox Court House in 1865. Gary and
200 of his cavalrymen refused to surrender
with Lee and escorted Jefferson Davis south
during part of his flight from Richmond.

Oakley Park is now a museum and is open
to the public Thursday - Saturday from 10-4.
Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for

Please click here to learn more about historic
Edgefield, South Carolina.