In colonial times, roads were almost
non existent 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 Revolutionary 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
The Bridges across the Pacolet River have been very
important to the people of the Pacolet area. Click on this link to read about
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
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
Information and photos have been received about building a
railroad bridge across the Pacolet River in 1909. Click on
this link Rail Road Bridge
to read more.
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