Created By: Lake Hartwell Country - Leadership Pendleton on the Map
Welcome to Historic Pendleton, South Carolina!
It wasn’t enough that South Carolina and other colonists were at war with formal, splendidly uniformed soldiers of England. Upcountry settlers, still showing the scars from the Cherokee Indian war which ended in 1762, found the summer of 1776 about to take on the blood-red hue of another Cherokee uprising at the start of the American Revolution.
This time the frontier people had no British troops to call on for assistance, as they did in the earlier war. This time, for the most part, the Cherokees were pro-British, and along with Loyalists who did not want to separate from English rule, began attacks on settlements in the Long Canes (now Abbeville, SC) and the Spartan Region (now present day Spartanburg, SC).
South Carolina militia forces marched into the Cherokee country and from August through September of 1776 virtually destroyed all the Cherokee towns and crops. The defeat was so bad, the Indians “sued for peace” and gave their land to South Carolina. Little could be done with the new territory with the Revolution in progress, and it was placed in the Ninety Six District with little settlement. By war’s end, however, veterans of the conflict were attracted to the fertile land and by 1789, Pendleton County came into being. A few years later, the name was changed to Pendleton District. Today, that district is Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens counties.
Counties must have a courthouse, and on April 8, 1790, land was bought to establish the town of Pendleton. For over 200 years now, it has been a distinguished community which has played important roles in the development of the state and nation. The entire Anderson County town, along with an area extending into Pickens County, is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Early settlement was by the Scotch-Irish (farmers for the most part) and they soon were joined by wealthy, well-educated Lowcountry families who built summer homes here. R.W. Simpson, writing in a later period, said “. . . the very name of Pendleton became a synonym for refined and beautiful women, and for elegant high-toned and chivalrous gentlemen.”
Pendleton remained as a courthouse town until the end of 1826, when the growing district was divided into Anderson and Pickens Districts. In 1868, districts became counties and Pickens was divided into Pickens and Oconee.
Historic sites are still numerous, and new shops and restaurants add to the flavor of the town. On its outskirts are such sites as an early home of the Revolutionary War General Andrew Pickens, the site of the first treaty with Southern Indian tribes, and the Old Stone Church, begun in 1789 as Hopewell-on-the-Keowee Presbyterian Church and later in the 1797-1802 structure first called the Stone Meeting House.