In colonial times, roads were almost non existant
and much travel was done by water. Even though it had several shoals,
the Pacolet River was an attraction for early settlers. The river rises
on the slopes of the Blue Ridge in North Carolina. The two branches of
the river join in northern Spartanburg County. It then flows in a southeastern
direction for a distance of about 50 miles until it empties into the Broad
River in Union County. Grindal Shoals is
on the river. The shoals or fords where people and wagons could
cross were very important places. In addition to Grindal Shoals there were
Skull Shoals is on the River in Union and
Cherokee Counties. It is about seven or eight downstream from Grindal
Shoals. A church and community was started here before the Revolution.
Easterwood Shoals or Ford is on the river
about five or six miles upstream from Grindal Shoals. The ford is also
about two or three miles downstream from the present town of Pacolet Mills.
Tarleton and his army crossed at this ford in the early morning of January
16, 1781, the day before the battle of Cowpens. The Pacolet River was used
for transporting farm products, particularly cotton, down to Columbia in
the period between the Revoutionary War and the Civil War. Long, flat bottomed
boats were used. The Mills Atlas map of 1825 shows Easterwood Shoals as
being the upper limit of navigation of these boats on the river.
Trough Shoals (Troft Shoals) was on
the Pacolet River about eight or nine miles upstream from Grindal Shoals.
A town was established here when a textile mill was built at the shoals
about 1882. The name of the town was changed to Pacolet Mills in 1930.
Hurricane Shoals is on the river in what is
now Spartanburg County. The Georgia Road crossed the river here. Later
became the site of the town of Clifton.
The Bridges across the Pacolet River have been very important to the
people of the Pacolet area. Click on this link
to read about these bridges.
In 1903 a devastating flood happened on the Pacolet River. It killed
many people and did incredible damage. Click on this
link to read about this flood.
There was a place in the river at Pacolet Mills known simply as "The Island" that was very important to many of the
boys of the community. Click on that link to read more.
There are two important initiatives about the river that have been proposed.
Both of these would help develop tourism in Pacolet and stimulate the economy.
Click on the links below for more information.
Scenic River Proposal
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