South Carolina was under the Proprietary Governors from 1670 until 1719. In 1682, South Carolina was divided into three counties, namely ; Colleton on the Combahee River; Berkeley on the Stono River; and Craven on the Awendaw River. A portion of the Winyah Bay was not settled at this time, neither was the Savannah River region. This section later became Granville County which actually went far into the reaches of North Carolina.*
By 1779 what is now the northern part of Allendale County, was a part of the Orangeburg District. In 1785 Winton County was formed from part of the Orangeburg District, and in 1868 it was renamed Barnwell County.
The southern part of what is now Allendale County was divided into Prince William in 1745; St. Peters was taken from Prince William in 1765 and St. Luke in 1767. St. Luke was between St. Peters and the Savannah River. With several changes during the interim in 1800, this became Beaufort District, and still later, in 1868 it became Beaufort County. Hampton County was formed from Beaufort County in 1878. *
Allendale County was formed from part of Barnwell County on the north, and part of Hampton County on the south, in 1919.
Origin of the Name - Allendale*
Traditionally, the nucleus of towns has been a crossroad, a trading center, a stage coach stop, or probably a wayside inn. However, Allendale's origin is in striking contrast to the usual.
Excerpts from the pen of the late Dr. John Williams O'Gilvie, in the Southern Christian Advocate of July 20th, 1882 reveal an interesting account of the original town and also the origin of the name, Allendale. Prior to the construction of the C. & W. C. Railroad in the approximate year of 1872, there was a post office called Buddenville about five miles away from the present town of Allendale, situated in a southwesterly direction. Buddenville had been named for a Mr. Budden, a teacher in the community.
Buddenville Post Office was the center of a region inhabited by large planters and land owners where wealth, affluence, culture and high standards of living were reflected in palatial homes and surroundings, of families living there.
Academies of learning, instructors of music, art, and languages were maintained in the community in order to prepare youth for higher educational advantages afforded both within the States and abroad. Also, attesting to the support of religious denominations in this area, are several churches that have withstood the ravages of time, and also church-yard cemeteries where structures once stood.
According to Dr. O'Gilvie, the nearby railroad caused an influx of people from adjoining areas to settle in the new location, later to be called Allendale.
The area surrounding the settlement had been "localized and called Swallow Savannah," because of its topography. There were also several other nearby areas, likewise called Duck Savannah and Heron Savannah.
With the establishment of a post office in this settlement on the new railroad, consideration of a name became a problem. Dr. O'Gilvie stated "Swallow Savannah" would not be a good choice be-cause the word was too long, and, as the Allen's were among the first settlers, consequently, the name Allen, plus the suffix "dale" resulted in a simple word pleasing to the ear, also. Thus, it was decided to name the place Allendale.
Dr. O'Gilvie, a pioneer of this section, a physician of prominence and also an outstanding citizen, died in 1905.
Dr. O'Gilvie's wife was the former Miss Sallie Moye, whose family also was prominent in affairs of their era.
The Buddenville section is often designated as "Old Allendale" by the many people returning to visit the land of their forebears.
*From "Allendale on the Savannah," by Alexania Easterling Lawton and Minnie Reeves Wilson, 1970
**Augustus Theodore Allen, while he has a home at Columbia convenient to the educational centers where his children are being trained, spent practically all his life and has his chief business interests at Allendale, the county seat of the new Allendale County, a name that of itself is a distinct tribute to the long residence and prominence of the Allen family in that community.
Allendale was formerly in Barnwell County, and among the more prominent members of the Allen family there have been Leroy Allen, Wesley Allen and in more recent years the late George Pierce Allen, a banker and influential figure in state politics.
P. H. Allen lived about a mile northwest of the present town of Allendale, and was the first postmaster of that community. When the railroad was completed on July 4, 1872, he was instrumental in having founded the present town .of Allendale, named in honor of the Allen family.
A brother of P. H. Allen was John M. Allen, grandfather of Augustus Theodore Allen of Columbia and Allendale, and who was a state senator from the Barnwell district. A. T. Allen, who is a brother of the late George Pierce Allen above noted, was born near Allendale, April 5, 1864, son of Augustus T. and Jane (Roberts) Allen. His father was a Confederate soldier. Augustus Theodore Allen was a very small boy when the Town of Allendale was established. He still has extensive and valuable planting interests in that vicinity. His efforts and enterprise have made him prominent in that section, and he was one of the men chiefly instrumental in the movement which brought about the organization of the new County of Allendale in January, 1919. This is one of the richest small counties in the state. Mr. Allen is president of the National Motor Sales Company of Columbia, which company is a large southern distributor of automobiles and trucks. He is a director in the First National Bank of Allendale, associated with W. T. Riley, Jr.. who is president.
Mr. Allen is a member of the staff of Governor Cooper with the rank of lieutenant colonel. In order to give his family educational advantages he established a home in Columbia in 1915. This fine home is at the corner of Gervais and Pickens
streets. He and his wife have two children, Augustus T., Jr., and Miss Dorothy Grace Allen.
Augustus T. Allen, Jr., went with the first thirty from the University of South Carolina to Camp Hancock in the machine gun service and had finished about half of the course when the armistice was signed. He returned to the college and graduates with the class of 1921.
**From; History of South Carolina, Volume 5
Yates Snowden, Harry Gardner Cutler
The Lewis Pub. Co., 1920
The area presently known as Allendale County was first a part of Colleton County when it was formed in 1682, although presumably inhabited only by Indians at that time. The area was part of Granville County c. 1708. The township first called Edisto was laid out to encourage emigration into the interior, later called Orangeburgh by its Swiss, German, and French settlers. In 1765, the Orangeburgh Township was included within St. Matthew's Parish by an act of the General Assembly.
In 1778, Orangeburgh Township was separated into Orange Parish. Orangeburgh District, including Orange County and Winton County, was created in 1785. Winton was formed as a judicial county in 1785 within the Orangeburg District. Winton's separate court was abolished in 1792, and in 1798 Winton was transformed into Barnwell County. In 1878, Hampton County was formed from the northern part of Beaufort County. Allendale County was formed in 1919 from part of southern Barnwell County and part of northern Hampton County.
The area was settled in the mid-eighteenth century by English, German, and Scots-Irish farmers, and it remains primarily agricultural. The plantation of Confederate General Johnson Hagood (1829-1898) was in what is now Allendale County, and the artist Jasper Johns spent his childhood years in Allendale County.
Allendale County is a Savannah River county of the Lower Pine Belt, midway between the fall line and the coast, and is one of the best examples of the lowcountry county. The 435 square miles of its area are almost uniformly level or slightly rolling save to the northwest, where the cool swift current of the Lower Three Runs, flowing into the Savannah, has cut the land into considerable hills. The Sa1kehatchie River bounds the county on the east, and the Coosawhatchie River has its source in the center, each taking its independent course to the sea. Both these small rivers have swamp areas from a hundred yards to a mile wide, and the Savannah River a larger stretch. The alternation of cotton fields with lanes of tall trees, or masses of underbrush of the swamp with its dark but clear waters, makes the characteristic and pleasant, even beautiful, scenery of the county.
Most of the area, outside the swamp regions, is Norfolk sandy loam, which is easily cultivated, absorbs rainfall quickly, yet withstands drought well. The growing season is long, 245 days, on the average, between frosts. The winters are mild, and the summers tempered by the daily ocean breeze.
Agriculture is the almost universal occupation, about 75 per cent of the population being engaged in it. Approximately 65 per cent of the county's area is cultivated, although large swamps and shallow ponds, the richest portions of its soil, remain to be made available. Cotton is the main crop, and Allendale stands fifth among the counties in yield per acre. Corn, hay, and oats produce heavily, but are chiefly raised to feed the stock. Watermelons, cantaloupes, cucumbers, asparagus, and other varieties of truck are an important adjunct to cotton, as market crops, and any one of them can be made a main product. The pine forests and swamps of cypress, poplar, and gum make lumbering a considerable source of revenue.
Three railroads, with a mileage of 59, two from Columbia to Savannah, and one from Augusta to the coast, were formerly the dependence of Allendale for transportation, and caused the growth of several towns, Allendale, Fairfax, Appleton, Ulmers, Seigling, and Sycamore, ranging in population from 1,893 to 113. Two towns have electric lights, and Allendale has an excellent sewerage and light system, and a mile of paved streets. Allendale and Fairfax have accredited high schools; the former has recently provided for ii $100,000 high school, and the latter one to cost $40,000.
Four state highways traversing the county, improved county roads, automobiles, and individual light and water systems, are making country life more attractive. This and the economy of living upon the farm promise more and better rural homes. The tradition of country life is strong, and a number of families are still living in ante-bellum homes.
Allendale's population is 16,098, estimated 1925 at 16,215. Most of the negroes are tenants; a few own their farms. The white population is much the same in its composition as at the end of the Eighteenth century-predominantly English, with a large German and somewhat smaller Scots-Irish element.
The county was formed in 1919, and takes its name from the town, Allendale, the county seat, which had its name from the elder Paul Allen, the first postmaster.
Immediately above, published in "South Carolina: A Handbook," prepared by The Department of Agriculture, Commerce, and Industries and Clemson College, Columbia, South Carolina, 1927. Copyright not claimed.
The original site of the town of Allendale was not the present town center. There is an historical marker at the original location, which is southwest of Allendale at the intersection of roads 107 and 47. The historical marker is in the southwest corner of the intersection. It reads: "Original site of Allendale, named for its first postmaster, Paul Allen, in 1849. Sherman's troops under Gen. Kilpatrick camped here. Town moved to present site by 1873." The marker was erected by the Allendale County Museum.
For the history deprived, Sherman's troops burned the buildings at the old location of Allendale to the ground, and probably attempted to burn the very ground itself. In Georgia they burned Atlanta and books, in South Carolina, they attempted to burn the very dirt. War may be hell, but Sherman, his associates, allies, and their ilk, have been wished there ever since by all who were in his path. He forever changed the literal face of everything in his path.
There is also an historical maker in the center of Allendale, in front of the county administration building on US-301. It reads: "Town of Allendale. In 1810, pursuant to an Act of the South Carolina General Assembly, the state conveyed a 1,000 acre land grant signed by governor John Drayton to Benjamin and G. Washington Allen. The acreage included the present town of Allendale, which is presumed to have derived its name from the Allen family. (Reverse) Allendale post office was established here July 11, 1849; Paul H. Allen was the first postmaster. By 1873 the Port Royal Railroad had completed a line through Allendale, and that same year the town was incorporated by the South Carolina General Assembly. The town limits extended in a three-quarter mile radius from the depot. Erected by Allendale Civic League-1980."
The first large community in this section was about six miles from the present town and was called "Old Allendale" or "Buddenville." This community had four stores, one academy (established in 1870 - which was the pride of the countryside), and a Baptist Church with a Parsonage. During those days the mail was brought to Buddenville by horseback from Barnwell.
As the neighborhood became more thickly settled, they applied for a post office. After securing the post office, it was necessary to secure a name for their village. Many names were discussed and finally the name "Allendale" was chosen. An act to charter the town of Allendale was passed by the State Legislature on December 20, 1873. The first town hall was located on the same lot where the present town hall stands. This was a small one-room frame structure with a piazza across the front. In 1901, the present town hall was built, and a town government was set up.
In the middle 1940s, the much traveled north-south Federal Highway 301 brought a tourist trade that has always been of considerable value to the town's economics. Also, being on the fringe of the Savannah River Plant in recent years has brought many people from all over the country to live in Allendale. This influx has added to the community and has brought additional enrollment to our schools, churches, and business community.
Established in Barnwell District (county), Allendale was granted a US Post Office on July 11, 1849, and its first Postmaster was Mr. Paul H. Allen. It has been in continuous operation ever since.
Louis Arthur Searson sends us a most interesting account of the naming of Allendale:
"I am particularly interested in the article by (Mrs.) Xania E. Lawton, entitled `Origin of the Name Allendale.' "The writer (now 84 years of age) is a native of Allendale, where he was born February 16, 1879.
My father, Dr. Robinson Plato Searson (postmaster in the town from about 1876 to 1916, inclusive) and my mother, Juliana Bonita (Arnold) Searson, were living at Campheilton (now Fairfax) while the Port Royal Railroad (later Port Royal and Augusta, Charleston and Western Carolina, and now Atlantic Coast Line) was under construction. My parents also spent some time in the Big House on Duck Branch Plantation (of Colonel Lawrence Youmans' vast land holdings); and father moved, with his little family (one infant) from that location to Allendale (as pioneers) after the railroad reached there. He remained there until his death in 1916. My mother died in 1936. They are buried in Swallow Savannah Cemetery.
"I am not, personally, in a position to furnish any authentic statement concerning the `Origin of the Name-Allendale,' and I am quite willing for the credit to rest with the memory of that fine old gentleman, the late Paul H. Allen (and with my life-long friends among his descendants) as cited in the article furnished by Dr. John W. Ogilvie, in July, 1882. I do feel, however, that another well remembered story, in this connection should be likewise recalled-as we think of the names `Old Allendale' and `Allendale,' in common. (It would rather seem that `Old Allendale' must have existed before `New Allendale' was named.)
"I am not quite sure when the Port Royal Railroad track was opened (1874 or 1875, I believe). Allendale, as a town, was organized after the railroad reached this area. "As far back as I can remember, it was well known that Mrs. Henry Warren Richardson (wife of Major `Hal' Richardson, who owned a plantation in the community) was said to have arrived here in the cab of a locomotive, as the first woman to reach the village by rail. It was also well known that my mother, Juliana Bonita Arnold Searson, was the first passenger to arrive at the station, after passenger service was commenced by the Port Royal Railroad.
So, from this point stems a very interesting and (I think) important angle:
"When the Town of Allendale celebrated its fiftieth anniversary, Mrs. Henry Warren Richardson (the former Miss Sarah Aldridge), as one of the early settlers, addressed the assemblage. I heard Mrs. Richardson state at that time that an appreciative visitor to one of the Plantation Mansions suggesed that the community be called Allandale. This was the section in which the S. G. Lawton mansion; the Estes place, the W. V. Gill place, and others (all about four miles from Allendale) are located. It was said that the name Alan Adale was accepted but was soon changed to Allendale. As long as the writer has lived, that old stamping ground of Lawtons, Willirighams, Esteses, Woods, and others has been called Old Allendale.
"Mrs. Richardson's version is as follows: `When the railroad settlement was organized the name Allendale was given to the new town with its post office thus designated. Old Allendale in consequence remained as the name for the other community.'