South Carolina Education - Sumter County

Year County Established

County Webpage Herein

County Seat Webpage Herein

1800

Sumter County

Sumter
 
On March 7, 1789, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the Claremont Society. This organization was authorized to build and manage a seminary of learning in the town of Statesburg. At that time, Statesburg was the county seat of Claremont County, which was abolished in 1800, and all lands of Claremont County were included in the new Sumter District, which was established in 1800.
On December 21, 1811, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act, which included the incorporation of the Sumterville Library Society.
On December 21, 1814, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act, which included the incorporation of the Claremont Library Society.
On December 13, 1817, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act, which included the incorporation of the Mount Clio Academy, naming two (2) trustees, and authorized assets up to $50,000. The trustees were authorized to raise $5,000 via a lottery. The same Act also included the incorporation of the Lodabar Academy (aka Lodebar Academy), again naming two (2) trustees, and authorizing assets up to $50,000.
On December 18, 1818, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act, which included the incorporation of the Woodville Academy in the Sumter District, and authorized the trustees to raise $10,000 via a lottery.

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 located in Greenville County.]

Established by the S. C. Baptist Convention in 1825, Furman opened in Edgefield in 1826. Later sites were here at High Hills (1829-1834), Winnsboro (1837-1850), and Greenville in 1851 (now Furman University). In 1859 the theological department became the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary which moved to Louisville, Ky. in 1877.

The Rev. Jesse Hartwell was director of this school at High Hills, which took its name from Dr. Richard Furman (1755-1825), noted patriot, theologian, and educator. A native of New York state, Furman moved to High Hills with his parents in 1770. The property here was given to Sumter County Historical Commission by Furman University in 1978.

On December 17, 1834, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act, which included the incorporation of the Edgehill Academy of Sumter District, and authorized assets up to $10,000.
On December 20, 1837, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act, which included the incorporation of the Sumterville Academical Society, and authorized all escheated property, up to $10,000 in value, in what was formerly Claremont County to be vested in said society (Section VI).
On December 21, 1839, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act, which included the incorporation of the Bishopville Academy for a term of fourteen (14) years, named seven (7) trustees, and authorized assets up to $5,000 (Section XXXII).
On December 19, 1848, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the Bradford Springs Female Institute in the Sumter District, named five (5) associates, authorized assets up to $20,000, and chartered the institute for twenty-one (21) years.
On December 20, 1853, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act, which included the renewal of the charter for the Sumterville Academical Society for an additional fourteen (14) years (Section XIV). The Act also authorized assets to be increased from $10,000 to $15,000.
On December 21, 1854, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act, which included the incorporation of the Claremont Academy (Sections I & II).

A boarding school for girls located on the northeast corner of Washington and Calhoun Sts. Founded by Laura Fraser Browne and Eliza E. Cooper in 1867. Incorporated in 1888. H. Frank Wilson, president, 1892- 96.

This school inspired Sumter's revival from war's desolation. Beginning as a one-room day school, it became a girls' boarding academy, ranking high among South Carolina educational institutions, a center of the social, spiritual, and cultural life of the community during Reconstruction days.

On March 13, 1872, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the Sumter Academical Society, named six (6) trustees, and authorized assets up to $20,000. This new society is the re-incarnation of the earlier Sumterville Academical Society of 1837. Apparently their school was destroyed by a fire, and this new society was authorized to exchange lots within the town of Sumter Court House.
On February 23, 1875, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act, which amended an earlier Act about the incorporation of the Sumter Academical Society. This amended Act authorized the sale of a lot to benefit said society.
On December 24, 1887, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to establish a new special school district in the town of Sumter Court House, in Sumter 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 24, 1888, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to repeal the 12/24/1887 Act, and to re-establish a new special school district in the town of Sumter Court House, with voters deciding upon an additional special school tax not to exceed two (2) mills on real and personal property, and adding a few new clauses with specificity. On December 23, 1889, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to amend the Act of 12/24/1888, by redefining the annual meetings on new tax, and by authorizing the school district to issue bonds up to $12,000 for the purpose of purchasing a site or sites and erecting one or more public school buildings in the city of Sumter and furnishing the same. On December 16, 1891, the South Carolina General Assembly passed another Act to amend the Act of 12/24/1888, by authorizing the special school tax to continue as long as voters approve it, and by authorizing the school district to issue bonds up to $4,000 for the purpose of completing the white graded shool building and enlarging the colored graded school building in said school district and furnishing the same. On December 22, 1893, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to amend the Act of 12/16/1891, by requiring four (4) new School Commissioners to be elected on 2nd Tuesday of June in 1894.
Also on December 24, 1888, the South Carolina General Assembly passed another Act to incorporate the Sumter Institute, a female college in the town of Sumter Court House, named two (2) principal officers, and authorized assets up to $25,000.

On December 24, 1890, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to establish a new special school district in the town of Bishopville, in Sumter County, named five (5) trustees, and authorized voters to decided upon an additional special school tax not to exceed four (4) mills on real and personal property.

[Note - when the school district was created, the town of Bishopville was in Sumter County. In 1902, Bishopville was the county seat of Lee County.]

On December 18, 1891, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to authorize the trustees of the Bishopville Graded School District to issue bonds or to obtain a mortgage to purchase real estate, consisting of a lot or lots, and building or buildings thereon, in said school district, suitable for the establishment and maintenance of a graded school or graded schools for and in said school district.

[Note - when this Act was passed, the town of Bishopville was in Sumter County. In 1902, Bishopville was the county seat of Lee County.]

Kendall Institute, founded on this site in 1891, was one of the first black schools in Sumter. It was funded by the Board of Missions for Freedmen of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. The institute was named for Mrs. Julia B. Kendall, late wife of Rev. Henry Kendall, secretary of the Board of Missions 1870-1892. It emphasized academics for primary and secondary grades; some students boarded here in a girls’ dormitory or a boys’ cottage.

The pastors of the Second Presbyterian Church of Sumter were also principals of Kendall Institute: Revs. J.C. Watkins (1891-1903); A.U. Frierson (1903-1916); J.P. Foster (1916-1928); and J.P. Pogue (1928-1932). Under Foster’s tenure the institute boasted 272 students in 1918 and added agricultural and industrial classes and athletics. It closed in 1932 after the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. stopped funding its Southern parochial schools during the Depression.

 
 
 
 
 

This forerunner of the modern consolidated rural high school with Colonel John Julius Dargan, noted educator, as founder and principal, offered classes in agriculture, home economics, and music. Day students from four districts were transported by mule-drawn covered wagons.

Acton, built in 1803 on this site by the Kinloch family, housed the Academy from 1905 until 1911 when the building burned. In 1908 the U. S. Department of Agriculture established one of the earliest school demonstration farms here. J. Frank Williams, agriculture teacher, later became the first Sumter County Farm agent.

This two-room African-American school was likely built between 1922 and 1930 for students in grades 1-7. It had 50-100 students and an academic year of four to five months until 1939 and six to eight months afterwards. Janie Colclough and Brantley Singletary taught here from 1932 through 1946. Beulah School closed in 1952 and was merged into Mayesville Elementary School.

 
 
 
 
 


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