History of Pumpkintown & Oolenoy

Land of Grain and Clear Water

By Bert Hendricks Reece, Pickens, South Carolina

Originally published by Miracle Hill Print Shop.
© 1970 by the author. Edited for the net by John Reece
Contact: reece@pobox.com

Origin of Names

When the first white man Cornelius Keith with his wife, Judith Thompson Keith, and baby, Cornelius, came from Virginia and settled in this Cherokee Indian land in 1743 he made a treaty with the Indian tribal Chief Woolenoy. In after years the English dropped the "w" and the name be­came "Oolenoy" for the community, the river, the church and the school.
An old Indian Chief and his squaw, whom he called Sal, lived in their hut near the bank of the river. He drank heavily and when drunk was cruel to his Sa l ! When he would beat her she would leave and go down the river to the camps of other tribes or hide in cane breaks. Once when drunk he had beaten her too heavily and he knew it. She left the hut and went down the river to join another tribe. The old Chief knew she was badly hurt and feeling uneasy started searching for her. As he went along the bank of the river he kept calling, Sal- you - dah? Sal- u - da h ? So the name Saluda fell on the river.
Wildcat Hollow was so called because wildcats denned in the rock caves.
Molly Creek was named for the witch, Molly Hanks, who lived in a hut near its head in Wildcat Hollow.
Adams Creek was named for Jesse Adams who lived at what is now Mr. Rob Morris place.
Named for Abraham Hester who first owned the land.
Named for Cherokee Indian Warrior Chief Huwharrie, spelled Uwhar­rie, Huwharrie or Hughwarri.
James Keith married Elizabeth Sutherland and they lived at Pumpkin­town. He owned slaves and their quarters (huts) were across the river where the Dales built and lived. They crossed the river by footlog to Pumpkintown. This place has always been called The Quarters.
William LaFoone acquired a grant of land in the Peters Creek area. His daughter, Mary LaFoone, married Cornelius Keith, Jr. who became a Colonel in the Revolutiona r y War. She was many times a heroine during this war. If she heard the British were approaching she would ride evcn great distances to warn the Americans. Once when she was on this kind of mission, some Indians who were loyal to the British burned her hut. A slave escaped with her children and hid in a cave by the river. They lived on berries, grapes and herbs until their Mother returned and rescued them. This cave is located across the river from Miracle Hill School. So much of the rock has been blasted and chiseled away for mill rock for grinding water ground meal and building chimneys that it scarcely looks like a cave. Too, it has filled up with soil in these 200 years. Only the imprint of the river bed is there with large trees growing in it. The river overflowed the area around the cave and Cornelius Keith had his slaves dig a new channel for the river. He sat under a tree supervising. When he would see a slave growing tired he would exchange places with him. He would dig while the slave rested.
See the chapter on Table Rock.
An old woman was the sole inhabitant of the mountains. She owned several cats, one of which was named Caesar. As Caesar grew older he became mean and loved to fight so she decided to kill him. She took him to the edge of the great rock and threw him over thinking he would never live to get back. But Caesar came walking back. She repeated this treatment eight times on as many days but each time the cat came back. On the ninth day Caesar failed to return. The old woman said, "Well, Caesar's headed" so the name Caesar's Head was given to the rock and mountains.
Table Mountain is the flat top hill almost in front of Mrs. Frank Barnes store. Table Mountain post office was located in the Matthew Hendricks J. B. Hester store which stood across the highway from J. T. Edens place.
Weavers Creek was named for DanieI Weaver who owned land on each side of the creek.
Lynch's Creek derived its name from Captain William Lynch, a Revolutionary soldier. The first map of Pickens District published in 1820 has the word Linch at this creek. Captain William Lynch, born in 1742, died 1820. According to the Pendleton Messenger newspaper he was a Revolutionary soldier and came to Oolenoy in 1798 at which time he was given a land grant of 328 acres. He was a member of Legislature from (Pittsylvania) Virginia 1787-1788. September 22, 1780 Captain William Lynch organized the Lynch Law which was a law to deal with criminals before the establish­ment of courts. (This information was obtained~from Mr. Van Clayton's papers. )
Mt , Nebo Baptist Church took the name of Mount Nebo from the Bible.
The history of the naming of Pumpkintown is told in another chapter.
Douthit's Cove was first owned by Solomon Douthit, my great, great grandfather, hence given his name.
Just back of the church is a mine of soap stone where many tombs have been cut from the stones.
It was the custom in early days to locate residences, churches and schools near a spring for this was the only way to have water for drinking. In locating the church they found two springs with a beautiful holly growing between so they called the church Holly Springs Church.
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