South Carolina Education - Florence County

Year County Established

County Webpage Herein

County Seat Webpage Herein

1888

Florence County

Florence
 

About 1843 Robert Rogers (1808-1882), a planter at "Blooming Grove" in the Back Swamp community of what was then Darlington District, built a plantation schoolhouse and hired Peter Stuart Ney (d. 1846) to teach his children. The original building, moved here in 1870, was later the library for Back Swamp School (1921-1950). In 1970 it was moved to the home of Evander McIver Ervin.

This school, the second on the site, was built in 1921 by Back Swamp residents. An elementary school sometimes known as St. Winifred's, it boasted as many as two teachers and sixty students in some years. When it closed in 1950 its students were transferred to Florence schools; it has since served as the Back Swamp Community Center.

[Note - The Ney School was originally in the Darlington District. In 1888, it was in Florence County. St. Winifred's was always in Florence County.]

Wilson School, later Wilson High School, was the first public school in Florence, and stood here from 1866 to 1906. At first a private school for black children, it was established by the New England Branch of the Freedmen’s Union Commission and operated by the Freedmen’s Bureau. Thomas C. Cox, its first principal, later served as Darlington County sheriff. The school became a public school after the S.C. Constitution of 1868 authorized a system of free public schools.

Rev. Joshua E. Wilson (1844-1915), a Methodist minister, was an early principal of what was long called “the Colored Graded School.” It was most likely named Wilson School for him. The school on this site, a frame building, was torn down in 1906 to make was for Central School. A new Wilson School was built on Athens Street. Wilson High School was on Athens Street 1906-1956 and on North Irby Street 1956-1982. It has been on Old Marion Highway since 1982.

[Note - The Wilson School was originally in Darlington County. In 1888, it was in Florence County.]

This school, built in 1925, was the first public school for African American students in the Mars Bluff community. One of more than 5000 schools in the South funded in part by the Julius Rosenwald Foundation, it features a standard two-classroom plan typical of the rural schools built by the foundation between 1917 and 1932.

The first school here, a private school built by Mt. Zion Methodist Church in 1870, burned in the early 1920s. Mt. Zion Rosenwald School usually operated on a four- or five-month calendar in which two or three teachers taught grades 1-6. It closed in 1952 when a new Mars Bluff Consolidated School opened. This school was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2001.

[Note - the first school of 1870 was originally in Marion County. In 1888, it was in Florence County.]

On February 14, 1873, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the Florence Educational Association, of Florence, South Carolina, named six (6) members, authorized assets up to $20,000, and chartered the group indefinitely, until repealed.

[Note - the town of Florence and this organization was in Darlington County until 1888, when Florence County was established.]

On December 24, 1883, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to establish a new special school district in the town of Florence in Darlington County, and authorized voters to decide upon an additional special school tax not to exceed two (2) mills on real and personal property. On January 4, 1894, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to amend the Act of 12/24/1883, by changing the name of the school district from the Town of Florence School District to the City of Florence School District, and by increasing the special school tax from two (2) mills to four (4) mills on real and personal property.

[Note-when the original Act of 1883 was passed the town of Florence was in Darlington County. In 1888, it became the county seat of Florence County.]

Also on December 24, 1883, the South Carolina General Assembly passed another Act to establish a new special school district in the town of Timmonsville in Darlington County, and authorized voters to decide upon an additional special school tax not to exceed two (2) mills on real and personal property. On December 22, 1886, the South Carolina General Assembly passed another Act to amend the Act of 12/24/1883, and modified the boundaries of the school district in the town of Timmonsville.

[Note - the town of Timmonsville will be in Florence County in 1888.]

On December 24, 1889, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to regulate the term of office of the four (4) School Commissioners in the town of Florence, in Florence County. On December 24, 1890, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to amend the Act of 12/24/1889, by ensuring the one School Commissioner's term was up each year, and staggering the election of new commissioners.
On December 23, 1890, the South Carolina General Assembly passed a Joint Resolution to direct the Marion County Treasurer to transfer all funds associated with school districts which were formerly within Marion County, but are now in Florence County, to the Florence County Treasurer. On December 22, 1892, the South Carolina General Assembly passed a Joint Resolution to amend the Joint Resolution of 12/23/1890, by clarifying the previous resolution.
On December 24, 1890, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to authorize the sale of a certain building in the City of Columbia, with the lot on which it stands, known as Agricultural Hall; that four-acre lot in said city known as the Fish Pond tract or lot; that tract of land known as the Experimental Farm at Columbia, with the personal property belonging thereto; that certain farm and tract of land, containing two hundred and twenty-seven 21-100 acres, in the County of Darlington, known as the South Carolina Agricultural Farm and Station in Darlington County, together with the personal property thereon and appertaining thereto; and that certain tract of land in Spartanburg County, near the City of Spartanburg, containing 14 4-100 acres, more or less, with the buildings and with the personal property thereunto belonging, known as that part of the South Carolina Agricultural Farm and Station situated in Spartanburg County. That the proceeds of such sale or sales, whether in money or securities, shall be turned over to the State Treasurer, to be by him held subject to the draft or order, as the case may be, of the Trustees of the Clemson Agricultural College, for the use of the said Clemson Agricultural College, to which college the said proceeds are hereby appropriated, except for the Darlington County Farm and Station and property - the funds shall be distributed to Darlington County and Florence County for general county use.
Also on December 24, 1890, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to amend the Act of 12/24/1883 above pertaining to the town of Florence, by authorizing the school district to borrow $10,000 for the purpose of erecting a school building, or school buildings, within its limits, by issuing from time to time the bonds of the corporation. Also authorized an additional special tax not to exceed one (1) mill on real and personal property to pay the interest on said loan/bonds. On December 24, 1892, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to amend the Act of 12/24/1883 and the Act of 12/24/1890, by clarifying the authorization to issue bonds up to $10,000 and to levy an additional one (1) mill tax on real and personal property to pay interest on bonds.
On December 16, 1891, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to establish a new special school district in Florence County, to be known as the Beulah School District, and authorized voters to decided upon an additional special school tax not to exceed five (5) mills on real and personal property.
On December 20, 1892, the South Carolina General Assembly passed a Joint Resolution to authorize the town of Florence School District to liquidate the general indebtedness of said school district, with specific instructions given.
On December 24, 1892, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to authorize the Florence School District in the town of Florence, in Florence County, to issue bonds up to $5,000 for the purpose of erecting a school building in said school district for the accommodation of the colored pupils of said school district. The Act also authorized the voters to decide upon these bonds and an additional special school tax not to exceed one (1) mill on real and personal property to pay the interest on said bonds.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


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