A History of St. Matthews, South Carolina


Calhoun County Court House - St. Matthews, SC (2008)

Calhoun County seat, the town of St. Matthews, was settled around 1841 in an area that was known for its cotton plantations. Its population was 2,021 in the 2010 census, a decline from 2,107 in 2000.

In 1768, the colonial Commons House of Assembly created St. Matthew's Parish, which included the South Carolina backcountry of the Orangeburgh District at that point in time. Not only an ecclesiastical division of the Anglican Church in South Carolina, St. Matthew's Parish also served as an "election district," from inception in 1768 until 1865, when the new state Constitution abolished all existing election districts and replaced them with countiers.

Since the Parish and "election district" encompassed much of what is present-day Calhoun County, it was almost inevitable for those living in the area to eventually name a village/hamlet after the original parish of St. Matthew's.



Midway Plantation - St. Matthews, South Carolina

Midway Plantation was built circa 1785 by William Russell Thomson, first son of Revolutionary War hero Colonel William Thomson. The plantation is located approximately three miles from the historic community of Fort Motte, South Carolina, where a Revolutionary War battle was fought May 7-12, 1781. The home was built about half the distance between the Thomson family plantation, “Belleville,” and the plantation known as “Belle Broughton,” the home of William Russell Thomson’s new bride, Rebecca Sabb, hence the name “Midway.” By the 1830s, the plantation had become quite large and successful. A substantial addition was made to the front of the house that gave it the appearance it has today.

Over the years, other additions and improvements were made so that by the time of the American Civil War, the house was an estimated 14,000 square feet in size and three full stories tall. Quarters for the house slaves were on the third floor, accessed by a very small back stairway. The property remained in the Thomson lineeage until after the Civil War when, like many other plantations, Midway went into receivership. The land was divided and re-divided between the family members of the subsequent owners and parts of the house were razed to provide building materials for the homes of heirs, bringing the house to its current size of approximately 8,000 square feet. A single out building, the original cook house, is situated close to the main house. It awaits restoration.



Bridge Street Bed and Breakfast - St. Matthews, South Carolina

Established in the Orangeburg District (county), Saint Matthews was granted a U.S. Post Office on November 28, 1835, and its first Postmaster was Mr. David Stack. On October 7, 1841, the Post Office Department officially changed its name to Lewisville Depot with Postmaster Mr. F.W. Fairy, but on February 17, 1842, the name was changed back to Saint Matthews with Mr. David Stack back as Postmaster. In 1908, Calhoun County was created from Orangeburg County, and Saint Matthews was named the new County Seat. Its Post Office has been in continuous operation ever since inception in 1835.



© 2007 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved