Union County, South Carolina
Union County is a county located in the U. S. state of South Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the population was 28,961, its county seat is Union. The county was created in 1785. Union County is included in the Spartanburg, SC Metropolitan Statistical Area, included in the Greenville–Spartanburg–Anderson, SC Combined Statistical Area; the area that includes Union County was once controlled by the Cherokee Indians and they used it as a hunting ground. Up until recent years, one could find numerous arrowheads with little effort throughout the county; the first European settlers in Union County came from the backcountry of Pennsylvania. It has been suggested that the first group of pioneers arrived as early as 1751, they settled in the northwestern section of the county near a small river that would be named Fairforest Creek. According to tradition, Mr. McElwaine, a member of the party looked out at the thick woodlands and exclaimed, "What a fair forest!" At the time of their arrival, wild buffalo and horses abounded as well as panthers and cougars, which were called "tigers" or "tygers" by the settlers.
This may be. The early settlers established Fairforest Presbyterian Church, the first house of worship in Union County. Around 1754, the Brown's Creek area was first settled, about four miles northeast of the present city of Union. A log church or meetinghouse was built and shared among several denominations that could not yet afford their own separate structures; the county and county seat were named for this "Union" church. Quakers arrived in the mid 1750s and settled the southern portion of the county, establishing Cane Creek Church in the Santuc community, Padgett's Creek Church in the Cross Keys community; the Quakers left in the early 1800s because of their opposition to slavery. Baptists from North Carolina, under the leadership of Rev. Philip Mulkey, reached the Broad River in Fairfield County, SC in 1759, they relocated to Union County in 1762, in 1771 formally organized into the first Baptist church in the South Carolina upcountry known as Fairforest Baptist Church. Many Baptist churches throughout the upcountry are descended from this original congregation.
The congregation moved to a site on present day SC Hwy 18 between Union and Jonesville where it remains to this day. During the first part of the American Revolution, the South Carolina backcountry was quiet. Following the fall of Charleston in 1780, the British began focusing their attention on the Carolinas. At least five battles were fought in or near Union County, including Musgrove Mill and Blackstock; the county produced many notable heroes including Lt. Col. James Steen; the war divided the population between Patriots. This settlers moving out of the area. Personal property was damaged by both sides. Following the war, the county seat was established at Unionville and a courthouse was constructed. In 1791, the South Carolina Legislature established a district court that included Spartanburg, Union and York counties; the area was called the Pinckney District and its headquarters was established at a central location in Union County. Land was cleared and streets were laid out for a new town that would be called Pinckneyville.
A courthouse and jail were built for the new judicial district and a college was to be established in the town. Local tradition states that Pinckneyville was to be home to the United States Military Academy, but lost to West Point by one vote in Congress. Instead, local historians say; this was the source of the legend. In 1799, the General Assembly decided to restructure the state court system. Subsequently, the Pinckney District was abolished. During the early 1800s settlers developed large-scale cotton growing in the fertile soil of southern Union County, based on the use of enslaved labor; the demand for slaves in the Deep South drove the domestic market, more than one million slaves were forcibly transported to the South in the antebellum years. There were numerous plantations in the county, several that are still standing, such as Rose Hill Plantation and the Cross Keys House. Rose Hill was the home of South Carolina's "Secession Governor," William Henry Gist; the northern section of the county was home to yeoman farmers and small scale planters who owned fewer slaves.
The county grew during the antebellum period but remained fully agrarian. Stores and other businesses were established in the town of Union and a new courthouse and jail were designed for the town in 1823 by famed architect Robert Mills, designer of the Washington Monument; the courthouse was demolished in 1911, but the jail is still standing and in use by the City of Union. It is located beside the present courthouse, constructed in 1913; the Civil War brought a standstill to the county's progress. Many local men rushed to enlist in the Confederate Army and numerous units of Union County soldiers served on battlefields across the South. On April 20, 1861 a strange object appeared in the sky above the Kelly-Kelton community of northeastern Union County. A large hot air balloon called the Enterprise descended to the ground, piloted by Professor T. S. C. Lowe, who had left Cincinnati, Ohio the day before, he had attempted to fly from Ohio to Washington, D. C. but instead was swept southward across Virginia into South Carolina.
The locals crowded around this mysterious object, many insisting that Lowe be "shot on the spot," as they believed him to be a Northern spy. Local tradition states that Professor Lowe gave