NOW AND THEN
For Black people who resided in the Pacolet and Pacolet Mills area.
By Mary Littlejohn Knox
As I allow myself to think of these
memories I treasure them and what comes to mind is the term that "it
takes a village to raise a child". As spiritual beings created by a
spiritual God we all benefit when we assist and support one another. In
the Pacolet and Pacolet Mills area whether we realized or
not we gave
gifts of time and talent from our hearts and we prayed and relied on
God for our change to come. We were all a village of people who
spiritually supported each other, prayed for each other, and gave love
and encouragement to one another. In John 15:12 God said "This is my
commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you."
In 1935 I was born at "The Rock Quarry"
which was a part of Pacolet.
Today I thank God as I look back on the days of my beginnings and I say
thank you to the people of Pacolet and Pacolet Mills who have blessed
and inspired my life. Especially to my parents, Wofford (Cat) and Marie
Littlejohn and also to two extra special people that resided in my
household, my Uncle Willie Boy (Willie Shands) and my grandma Mary
Shands Dogan (who was known by whites and blacks of that community as
Most of the people were employed by the Rock
Quarry or Pacolet
Manufacturing Company. There was a sense of love for each other
although there was segregation. The white folks who lived at the
beginning of the village, to name a few: The Patricks, who collected
the rent for the residents of the village, the Crockers, Ridings,
Fowlers, Gibsons, Mabrys and the Kirbys. The black folks were the
Shippys, Shands, Gists, Smiths, Goods, Rogers, Means and Williams. Also
at the back of the quarry were the Bookers, Lipscombs, Palmers,
Thackers, Means and McBeths. I played with all the children and had no
understanding of color until I began school. My white friends rode the
bus and the black kids walked several miles to and from school. The
white kids would throw objects out the bus window at the black kids.
I attended Pacolet Mills Colored School which was in a village named Marysville. One of the teacher's that
ran the school and taught many
generations was Daisy Lee Davis and all the kids referred to her as
Miss Daisy. My mother and many others were blessed to have her as their
teacher. The village was named Marysville
in honor of Mary Knuckles.
Her daughters were special friends to my mother and her sister.
Especially Ruby Knuckles Smith who gave me part of my name.
None of the colored schools had central heat or a janitor. If you came
to school early, you waited outside for the teacher to arrive and the
older boys made the fire and also acted as the janitor.When you
completed the grades that the colored school offered if your parents
were financially able you attended Sims High in Union, SC, Granard in
Gaffney, SC or Carver in Spartanburg, SC or you became employed in the
white folks kitchen. Later what amazed me was that you could clean
their homes, cook - with them and if you rode the bus with them you sat
in the back of the
bus, but if the bus had no vacant seats the driver would request that
you give the white folks
preferences and the black folks would stand.
There was a doctor who attended to the health needs for everyone. If
you went to the clinic the white folks were upstairs and the black
folks were in the basement. All
whites were treated first and the blacks last, but they said they knew
The church that was in Marysville was
named Montgomery Chapel in honor
of Ben Montgomery who gave the land for the building. The black
families who resided in
Marysville were Knuckles, Rice, Porter, Wannamaker, Shippy, Henderson,
Vanlue, Smith, Littlejohn,
McBeth, Morgan, Curry, Williams, Wyatt, Hill, Shands, Brown and Rogers.
lived by the law "it takes a village to raise a child".
I attended the schools in Pacolet on two occurrences, first in
elementary and later in high school. I lived with my grandmother and
there were three girls, Eloise Norris,
Maybell Lindy and Aileen Smith who treated me very special and I loved
them as family. They
attended Zion Hill School in Pacolet and my request was granted to
attend school with them. Due to
the illness of my grandmother later that year I moved to Marysville and
there until I completed the seventh grade. Again God answered my prayer
and I completed eighth
through tenth grade at Zion Hill in Pacolet. All black schools in the
rural areas were named
for the black churches that were built near the school. I enjoyed my
school days in Pacolet and I
knew most of the children therefore I attended Gethsemane Baptist
Church and walked on Sunday two
miles each way to be spiritually fed.
In 1953 there was a new beginning in Pacolet
and Pacolet Mills area,
the completion of Benjamin E. Mays
Consolidated School for black
children. There were black
children bused in from the outline areas that made up District Three.
They were bused to the
village near Marysville.
Segregation continued in the south which included poor housing and
unfair labor. In Pacolet Mills the
black employees were called "the
outside workers" and were not
taught how to operate the equipment that manufactured the cloth. There
were two jobs that black
workers performed: operating the boilers and the dummy.
transported cloth to
Pacolet for shipping by train to other states.
I forgive all people for the inhumane treatment and I often think when
you learn better, you will do better. Desegregation was the beginning
of equal treatment for black
folks in housing, employment and public education. Daily we continue to
I thank you God for your Mercy, Guidance and Love.
This web site has been
started as a public service to share the story of Pacolet. The web
master and person to contact about putting information on the web site
is me, Gerald Teaster. Contact me at:
or by telephone at (843) 873-8117. My regular
mail adress is:
1311 Jahnz Ave.
Summerville, SC 29485