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Brief History
     by Victoria Proctor

There was no town, per se, in Marion County until 1799 when a location for the new county seat, courthouse and jail was selected. However, we know from Bishop Gregg's History of the Old Cheraws that the area that became the Town of Marion drew settlers much, much earlier. In the 1730s-40s, one "adventurer," as Bishop Gregg called him, traveled up the Big Peedee River and settled on Catfish Creek near the present city limits of Marion.

Historians give 1754 as the earliest date that official documents locate a permanent settler at this site, and John Godbold, an Englishman, is generally credited with being the first white resident of what became known as the town of Marion.

We do not know the names of everyone who may have resided near the county seat before the courthouse was erected, but we do know, from Bishop Gregg, that Col. Hugh Giles, "a distinguished character" during the Revolutionary War, lived just over Smith Swamp, south of the site of the Marion courthouse, and it was for him, after 1783, that the settlement was called Gilesborough.

Located in front of Marion County Courthouse, Marion

(Front) Marion County Originally part of colonial Craven County and Georgetown District of 1769, Marion was created as Liberty County by an Act of the General Assembly in 1785. The name was changed to Marion District in 1798 and to Marion County in 1868. The present lines were established by the withdrawal of Florence County in 1888 and Dillon County in 1910. The area is 480 square miles.

(Reverse) Marion Courthouse Erected in 1853 at a cost of twelve thousand five hundred dollars, this is the third structure built on this site to house the court. Restored in 1970, the original iron work remains and each step bears the name and address of the metal worker, "Hayward Bartlett, Baltimore."
Erected by Marion County Historical Society-1972


Main Street in Marion c. 1916
Main Street c. 1916   
Marion, SC   
Early Homes

Places & Things

Old Town Hall and Opera House
Train Depot

Masonic Temple
Marion Schools

More about Marion - Links to other sites:

Back to Marion History
Marion County, South Carolina Genealogy and History


Copyright Victoria Proctor © 2003, 2004, 2011, 2014
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