Saturday, November 17, 2007

Ninety Six, South Carolina

From The Road to Guilford Courthouse, by John Buchanan, ©1997, John Wiley & Sons, page 140:

    Ninety Six was a fortified village more important than hundreds of far larger American towns today, second only to Camden as a Back Country outpost. It got its name because it was thought to be ninety-six miles from the Cherokee town of Keowee in the southwestern corner of South Carolina. It was described a few years later in the diary of the northern Tory, Lieutenant Anthony Allaire, as containing "about twelve dwelling houses, a courthouse, and a jail . . . situated on an eminence, the land cleared for a mile around it, in a flourishing part of the country, supplied with good water, enjoys a free, open air, and is esteemed a healthy place." Ninety Six began in the 1730s as an Indian trading post on the Charleston Path, the route from Indian country to the coast, along which moved furs and millions of deerskins. When the Rice Kings, aroused by actual and threatened force, finally deigned in the late 1760s to provide the Back Country with judicial districts, the first courthouse was established at Ninety Six.