Sunday, February 26, 2017

Old Pickens Court House SC Confederate Sights

Spent a few days recently in the upstate of South Carolina and stopped by the Old Pickens Presbyterian Church which overlooks the Oconee Nuclear Plant and Lake Keowee in Pickens County SC.  The church is all that remains of the town of Pickens Court House which was established in 1828 on these grounds.  The town served as the county seat of the Pickens District and was situated on a knoll overlooking what was then the Keowee River.  A recent addition to the site is a covered educational kiosk which provides a brief history of the town and the church including a map of how the town was laid out in a a play eight blocks long by 4 blocks wide and included a jail and courthouse, stores and homesites.  The town thrived as it was situated along historical Cherokee Indian trading routes.  With the onset of the War Between the States, thousands of men joined the Confederate Army from this SC upstate, many mustering from Pickens Court House. Following the War, the Pickens District was divided into Oconee and Pickens County and the county seats were located in the geographic centers of Oconee county in Walhalla and in Pickens for that county and so residents dispersed to settle in these new population centers.  A hundred years later, the Keowee River valley was flooded for the construction of Lake Keowee which serves as a cooling reservoir for the Duke Power Oconee Nuclear Power Plant.  The Presbyterian Church was built of brick from clay found in the nearby Keowee River and was completed in 1847.  The cemetery on the church grounds serves as the final resting place for 217 souls but many more were moved to land adjacent to the church when the Keowee River valley was flooded - historic footage of the grave relocation can actually be viewed in the movie "Deliverance" which was an infamously fictional story surrounding the creation of the lake.  The oldest grave is that of a Revolutionary War veteran Lt. Joseph Reid but a number of Confederate veterans are also buried in the cemetery including Jesse Richard Ross of Orr's Regiment of the South Carolina Rifles.  The church remained a focal point for the small number of residents in the Old Pickens community and intermittent services were held there albeit without a permanent pastor til 1968 when Duke Power purchased the land including the church in proximity for the construction of the power plant.  In 1999 the Historic Old Pickens Foundation a 501.c.3 was formed to provide perpetual care for the church and grounds. provides great additional information on this historical treasure.  The grounds are open daily and the church on Sundays. 

No comments:

Post a Comment