South Carolina Education - Edgefield County

Year County Established

County Webpage Herein

County Seat Webpage Herein

1785

Edgefield County

Edgefield
 

VILLAGE ACADEMY: Organized in 1811, the Edgefield Village Academy was located for many years on this site acquired from Col. Eldred Simkins in 1825. The South Carolina Coeducational Institute was located here from 1903-1913. During Reconstruction, many exciting political meetings were held in the grove near the Academy.

FURMAN ACADEMY AND THEOLOGICAL INSTITUTION: This school, founded by the State Convention of Baptists of South Carolina on March 17, 1826, was originally located on this site. The Institution was the forerunner of both Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

On December 20, 1820, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act, which included the incorporation of the Franklin School House in the Edgefield District, and authorized assets up to $5,000. In the same Act, they incorporated the Society Academy in the Edgefield District, and named five (5) trustees of said academy. This academy was also authorized assets up to $5,000.
On December 21, 1822, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act, which included the incorporation of the Edgefield Academy, with assets up to $10,000 and a charter for fourteen (14) years authorized (Section XVII).
On December 18, 1824, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act, which included the incorporation of the Edgefield Village Academy, and vested all escheated property in Edgefield District, up to $10,000 in value, in the said Edgefield Village Academy and the Society Academy, both in the Edgefield District. (Sections III and IV).

Established in 1825 by the S.C. Baptist Convention, the Furman Academy and Theological Institution opened in Edgefield, 1826, moved to Sumter District, 1829-34, and to Fairfield 1837-1850. Chartered in 1830 as Furman University, it opened in Greenville, 1851, and for over a century, 1852-1958, occupied this site purchased from Vardry McBee. In the summer of 1958, Furman moved to a new campus six miles north of town.

[Note - As described, Furman Academy was originally in the Edgefield District. From 1829 to 1834, it was in the Sumter District. From 1837 to 1850, it was in the Fairfield District. Furman University moved to the Greenville District and opened in 1851. It has been in Greenville County ever since. The marker above is in Greenville County.]

On December 20, 1832, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act, which included the incorporation of the Hamburgh Library Society, and authorized assets up to $10,000.

[When created, the Hamburgh Library Society was in Edgefield District. In 1871, the town of Hamburgh was then in Aiken County.]

On December 17, 1834, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act, which included the incorporation of the Edgefield Village Female Academy, and authorized assets up to $10,000 (Section I). In Section XI of the same Act, they authorized all escheated property, up to a value of $5,000, be vested in the Edgefield Village Female Academy.

On December 19, 1838, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act authorizing the sale of Alexander Downer's real estate in the Edgefield District - which was considered to be fairly poor land - in order to raise money to build a school as close to his plantation as possible, as he provided in his last will and testament of 1820.

[Note - when this sale was authorized, the Downer real estate was located in the Edgefield District. In 1871, it was in Aiken County.]

Downer Institute, founded in 1843, was originally located 1.5 mi. NE of this site and operated until 1865. It was named for benefactor Alexander Downer (1752–1820), whose will established an orphanage and school at Beech Island. By 1898 the General Assembly, at the request of Aiken County citizens, reestablished Downer School for the community at large; the school reopened in 1899.

Downer Elementary School, successor to the Downer Institute, stood here 1924–1950 and 1952–1986. A one-story school built here in 1924 replaced a two-story school constructed ¼ mi. SW in 1899, which burned in 1923–24. It burned in 1950 and was replaced by a second one-story school built in 1952, which served the Beech Island community until Downer Elementary School closed in 1986.

[Note - when first opened, the Downer Institute was located in the Edgefield District. In 1871, it was in Aiken County. The marker above is in Aiken County.]

On December 19, 1843, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to clarify the responsibilities of the Commissioners and Treasurer of the Downer Fund to purchase a suitable tract of land, whereon to erect a school house conformably to the directions of the last will and testament of Alexander Downer.
On December 20, 1853, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act, which included the incorporation of the Curryton Seminary in the Edgefield District. This Act got the name wrong, and it was corrected by another Act passed by the General Assembly on December 20, 1856.
On December 23, 1864, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act, which included the incorportion of the Edgefield Female College in the village of Edgefield Court House in the Edgefield District, named ten (10) associated, authorized assets up to $100,000, and chartered the college for twenty-one (21) years (Section I).

Johnston’s first school opened on this site in 1873. The Male and Female Academy was a boarding school, with Rev. Luther Broaddus as its first principal. Alternately a private and public school during its early history, it was reorganized in 1884 as the Johnston Male and Female Institute. It became Johnston High School when it was sold to the town in 1906. A three-story brick high school was built here in 1910; it was torn down when the school closed in 1961.

Henry Simms Hartzog (1866-1953), superintendent of the Institute 1895-97, left Johnston to become the third president of Clemson College. Dr. John Lake, who succeeded Hartzog as superintendent, was later a Baptist missionary to China. Joseph Earle Jacobs (1893-1971), a graduate of Johnston High School who taught there 1914-15, was a career diplomat in the U.S. Foreign Service 1915-57, most notably as Ambassador to Czechoslovakia (1949) and to Poland (1955-57).

On December 24, 1879, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act, which included the establishment of a new special school district in the town of Johnston's in Edgefield County, and authorized the voters to decide upon an additional special school tax up to one and one-half (1-1/2) mills on real and personal property. On February 4, 1882, the South Carolina General Assembly passed another Act to amend the Act of 12/24/1879, by redefining who and how the voters could levy and collect the special school tax.

On February 4, 1882, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to establish a new township and a new special school district in the town of Ridge Spring in Edgefield County, and authorized voters to decide on a a special school tax not to exceed two (2) mills on real and personal property.

[Note - When created, the school district and town was in Edgefield County; in 1895, the town of Ridge Spring would be in Saluda County.]

On December 24, 1887, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to establish a new special school district in the town of Edgefield Court House, in Edgefield County, and to authorize voters to decided upon an additional special school tax not to exceed one and a half (1-1/2) mills on real and personal property.
On December 22, 1888, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to establish a new special school district in Edgefield County, to be known as the Centennial School District with Centennial Academy at its center, and to authorize voters to decide upon an additional special school tax not to exceed three (3) mills on real and personal property.
On December 24, 1888, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to establish a new special school district in Edgefield County, to be known as the Ridge Spring School District, and authorized voters to decided upon an additional special school tax not to exceed one and a half (1-1/2) mills on real and personal property. On December 23, 1889, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to amend the 12/24/1888 Act, by increasing the special school tax to three (3) mills on real and personal property.
Also on December 24, 1888, the South Carolina General Assembly passed another Act to establish a new special school district in the town of Butler in Edgefield County.
Also on December 24, 1888, the South Carolina General Assembly passed anothr Act to establish a new special school district in Edgefield County, to be known as the Holley School District, named five (5) trustees, and authorized the voters to decide upon an additional special school tax not to exceed three (3) mills on real and personal property.

Established as a result of the inspiration and efforts of the Reverend Alexander Bettis, this coeducational institution was incorporated in 1889 and provided elementary, high school, and junior college training for blacks. A.W. Nicholson succeeded Bettis as president and served about fifty years. The school, which closed in the 1950s, was located about 1 1/2 miles southeast.

On December 24, 1892, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to establish a new special school district from portions of Edgefield County and Abbeville County, to be known as the Union School District, named three (3) trustees, and authorized voters to decide upon an additional special school tax not to exceed three (3) mills on real and personal property.

On May 23, 1895, the Edgefield County Clerk of Court recorded the charter for the Emery High School in the town of Mount Willing and identified $1,400 in capital stock.

[Note - when first chartered, the school was in Edgefield County. On September 16, 1895, Saluda County was established and the school was now in Saluda County.]

On February 12, 1898, the South Carolina General Assembly passed a Joint Resolution to require the Edgefield County Treasurer to pay over to the County Treasurers of Greenwood County and Saluda County certain public school funds, and for those funds to be apportioned to the appropriate school districts in Greenwood County and Saluda County.
On February 28, 1899, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to amend the Act which created Greenwood County out of part of Edgefield County, by allocating the portion of Liberty Hill School District heretofore created, and now composed of territory from Edgefield and Greenwood Counties, lying and situate within the boundaries of Greenwood County, be added to and included within the boundaries of School District No. 30 of Yeldell Township, and form a part of said township.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


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