On May 10, 1662, the Lord Proprietors issued instructions for the laying out and naming of three counties in Carolina, namely: Berkeley, Craven, and Colleton. Apparently the counties were named for the three eldest of the Lords Proprietors. Colleton County as one of the these three original counties is rich in unusual, interesting, and historic names. The county began at the Stono River and extended south to the Combahee. In 1706 when the Church Act was passed the counties were divided into Parishes, each Parish being an ecclesiastican and a political subdivision. Colleton County was divided into two parishes: St. Paul's, which extended from the Stono to the Edisto (St. Paul's later being divided into St. Paul's and St. John's), and St. Bartholomew's, which extended from the Edisto to the Combahee, the present day Colleton County. Our rivers all bear Indian names; the Edisto got its name from a tribe of Indians found living on Edisto Island by the expeditions under William Hilton and Robert Sandford when they explored the coast in the early 1660's. Ashepoo River, Chee-ha (Chehaw) Combahee (pronounced COM-BEE) and the Salkehatchie. It is anybody's guess why this section bears this name unless it pertains to the hunting of deer and other game which were abundant there at one time.
During colonial times those places most frequently mentioned in Colleton County were Pon Pon, Parkers Ferry, the Round O, Edmundsbury, the Horseshoe, Jacksonborough, Chee-ha, and Combahee. These places derive their names as follows:
Pon Pon from that section along the Edisto where quite a few people re-settled after the Indian uprising of 1715. As early as 1732 it was reported that there were 44 plantations belonging to members of the Church of England within eight miles of the Church (Pon-Pon Chapel).
Parkers Ferry for John Parker who lived there as early as 1736 and operated a ferry, the Parker's Ferry Road being the first road laid out in this county.
Jacksonborough (now spelled Jacksonboro) is named for John Jackson who was granted a tract of land on the Edisto in 1701.
The Round O section has been known as such since 1709. According to the late Mr. Alex S. Salley, it was named for the Round-O Creek which preserved the "moniker of a famous Indian Chief who had a purple medallion tattooed on his shoulder. The English traders found it easier to call him by his ornament than by his lengthy name."
All three of the above named places are in the same general area but separated by swamps, and the same applies to the Horseshoe. Many of our early settlers referred to their home as being on the Horseshoe: in fact, many of the first settlers of Walterboro came from this area from which they were supplied by their plantations with fresh meat, dairy products, and vegetables.
Edmundsbury on the Ashepoo was laid out on land given Edmund Bellinger, the second Landgrave, and named for him. Today nothing is there except a few graves that surround the site of the church.
I'on's Crossroads, now frequently referred to as "Irons." was named for the I'on family.
Neyle's is another crossroads named for the Neyle family, Dr. Philip Neyle who married into the Ford family and lived nearby.
An unusual name is Sandy Dam, this small community a few miles from Walterboro has one of the oldest Methodist churches in this county. Probably it was named for a small creek nearby by the same name.
In 1826 there was in this county a post office named Godfrey's Savannah with a tavern nearby named Blue House, where it is said that General George Washington dined as he traveled from Duharra, the plantation home of O'Brien Smith, where he spent the night before continuing his trip to Savannnah, Georgia. No doubt Blue House Tavern was painted blue from the blue indigo that was cultivated in this section. Even today many of the Gullah Negroes have their homes either painted blue or the windows and doors are trimmed in blue "cause haant cant go obuh blue".
All of the tide water rivers and creeks were lined with plantations, each having a name but many have lost their identity and the reason for their names we cannot explain. However, a few will be mentioned that still exist.
Duharra Plantation mentioned above, was named by its owner for his home in Ireland; it means "Castle on the Hill." It was inherited by O'Brien Smith from his maternal uncle, James parsons, Esq. Along the Combahee there were White Hall and Boardhouse (later known as Blake's for the family wich owned it for many generations). It is now known as Cherokee - a beautiful place.
Also along the combahee were the Heyward plantations, some of which bore European names, Hamburg, Lewisburg, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Copenhagen, The Bluff, Myrtle Grove, Cypress. Then there were Oakland, Cedar Bluff, Buncome and Laurel Springs, all owned by the Lowndes family. Corkfield and Vineland are Marvin properties. Riverside and Hickory Hill are owned by the Chaplins; Hazelwood and Tar Bluff by the Fripps; Fields Point by the Field family; Calf Pen and Tipperary were Heyward places. Warrne Island, contained a large acreage, was owned by the Warren family for over 200 years. On the Chee-ha we find Social Hall and The Bluff, which was the home of James Skiving, Esq. On the Ashepoo River we find Airy Hall, originally a part of the hutcherson grant, which is now owned by the well-known hotel man, Mr. Barringer. Next we come to The Oaks, originally a part of the Bellinger barony; the name has been changed to Lavington and is now owned by Mr. David Maybank of Charleston.
A pretty place that retains its original name is Poco Sabo, the home site of Edmund Bellinger, the fourth Landgrave, who is buried there. The following places were also a part of the Bellinger barony - Bolton Point, White House, Tomotley ( not to be confused with a place of the same name in Beaufort County), Dawn of Hope and Bellevue. Cinnamon Hill was the home of Henry Hyrne at the time of the American Revolution; he also owned Clover Hill and Walnut Hill. Near Walterboro is a place named Cooks Hill, owned during the Revolution by the Hon. John Lloyd, who was an ardent patriot and later became the first senator from this county. The place later became the first senator from this county. The place later came into possession of the Glovers, who owned it for about a hundred years.
Nearby is Beech Hill now owned by Mr. E. B. Sanders, Jr., one of the very few plantation homes left standing by Sherman's troops. The Bonnie Doone plantation includes Dehon, Sterling, Ashland, Chessey, and Neyle. Until a few years ago this was one of the show places of the county.
Marcello was the name given his plantation by General Wm. H.
Fishburne, but it is better known as Ashepoo. It is on the eastern side
of this river as Screven Hill and Creighton Hill, which are
family names. Further up the Ashepoo, we find Whitmarsh, once owned
by the Walters family for whom Walterboro is named. Other plantations,
owned by the Ford family, were Ravenwood, Barracada, and Woodford, which
was the place where the Revolutionary martyr Col. Isaac Hayne was captured.
Nearer to the Jacksonboro area there was Buzzard's Roost, the home
of the Rev. William O. Prentiss, the last Rector of the colonial Parish
of St. Bartholomew; his brother-in-law, robert Boone Jenkins, lived at
Mt. Pleasant, the home of the Croskeys for over a century, is
now a part of the vast holdings of the West Virginia Paper and Pulp Company
(1965) as is also known as Forlon Hope and Green Meadows.
About four miles from Walterboro in the highway to Charleston are perhaps
a dozen houses hugging the highway which form a community known as Mashawville.
This place bears the name of Henry Michaux, a Frenchman who probably lived
around there in 1755. His widow, nee Maybank, married Dr. James
Reid, and one of her daughter married into the Pringle family; thus, now
we have Pringle Bend.
Since Mr. Webster describes a Savanna as "an extensive open plain
or meadow in a tropical region, destitute of trees, and covered with grass
or reeds," such places as Cow Savanna, Horse Savanna, Spoon
Savanna, and Jack Savanna need no further explanation. Neither does
Ruffin, Smoaks, Hendersonville, Otter Island, Pine Island, Fenwick Island,
Mosquito Creek, Bowles Island, Beet, or Ashe Island. One of our voting
precincts is called Rum Gulley - a name that no one can account
Ireland Creek on the north entrance into Walterboro, according to Miss Beulah Glover in her Narratives of Colleton County is so called by present-day citizens "because their forefathers said that it got its name from a man by that name who lived along its banks. All early records have spelled it Island Creek."
A rural section of the county and a school is known as The Pynes. The word, contrary to some belief, is not an incorrect spelling of the word pine but refers to a family from Ireland who lived there prior to the Revolutionary War, one of whom married the sister of O'Brien Smith of Duharra Plantation.
Colleton County with so many interesting, unusual, and historical names will always keep alive those people, places, and events, which have left their marks.