The view of the creek, the dam
and the rocks seen on the webcam looks
peaceful and quiet. You might think that it had always looked this way
but you would be very wrong. If you could have been here, looking at
this beautiful view and the area surrounding it, you could have seen
some astonishing sights. When this area was a howling wilderness and
the South Carolina Upstate still had a sizeable Indian population, an Ironworks was built upstream not far from
the dam. Native Americans had been using the
resources of the Lawson’s Fork area
for thousands of years before the white Europeans came to build their
Ironworks. They were using the fish and other animals of the river.
Closeby, there were soapstone
deposits that the Indians used to make many useful objects such as
bowls and water containers.
When the Europeans came to settle in the Upstate and build their Ironworks, they generally gave little regard
to the fact that they were taking land that already was inhabited by
the Indian tribes. Finally, just before the Revolutionary War,
the Cherokees struck back at the settlers. Entire white families were
killed within 25 miles of what is now Glendale.
A secure house, called Wofford’s Fort, was
in the vicinity of the Ironworks.
This allowed the settlers to group together and find refuge from the
warring Cherokees. Some families had to stay there for several weeks.
During this time, groups of South Carolina militia men passed through Wofford’s Fort on the way to and from
fighting the Cherokees and burning their villages and crops. It is hard
to imagine in today’s peaceful scene seeing a large group of rough,
armed men passing by to kill Cherokees.
A little later, men shot and killed each other during the Revolutionary War around the Ironworks.
of their graves still exist along the Creek.
The British officer, Col. Patrick Ferguson, marched his Tory army back
and forth across Lawson’s Fork Creek not
long before he and many of his army were killed at Kings Mountain. The
Ironworks was an important place
during the Revolution.
Just before the Battle
Cowpens, you could have seen Col. William Washington and his
cavalry come to the Ironworks to have new horseshoes put on their
Some years after the end of the Ironworks,
came to this area to find
mine gold. Almost certainly men climbed over the rocks you are
looking at trying to find gold dust in the cracks and crevices where
the water had deposited it. There were actual gold
mines in the vicinity. “Gold Mine Road” that runs closeby, near
Bethesda, is a reminder of that time. This was many years before
the California gold rush.
Not long after the gold
mines, another wave of technical change came to the Shoals.
Starting with Bivingsville, the
textile industry came to stay for about 150 years. During some of that
time, supplies were made at the shoals for the use of the Confederate
army. People came from near and far to find jobs at what was to become
Glendale Mills. Glendale Mills was a
thriving and bustling industrial site for well over a century.
Almost two hundred years after the Iron Works and
Wofford’s Fort, the Shoals was again
visited by men passing through on the way to fight a war. This time it
was men from nearby Camp Croft during World War II. Some men from there visited the
Shoals for a brief period of relaxation before going overseas to fight
in Europe. Some of these men never lived to return to the United
States. One such man was Sgt. Robert P.
Emerson. He had his photo taken on the rocks just below the dam in
1941. Sgt. Emerson was killed in France in
August, 1944. If the Glendale Shoals webcam had existed when Sgt. Emerson posed for his photo he would have
been clearly visible to its viewers.
Today, the sense of inactivity at the Shoals is misleading. There have
been such periods before followed by episodes of development and the
use of technology that earlier residents of the Shoals could not have
dreamed of. The full story of the Shoals is yet to be written.
This web site has been started as a
public service to share the story of Glendale. The web master and
person to contact about putting information on the web site is Mary
McKinney Teaster. Contact her at:
or by telephone at (843) 873-8117. See
more information about Mary and her Glendale connection at Mary McKinney Teaster.