Meriwether Community in McCormick County, South Carolina
The Meriwether family emigrated to Virginia from Wales during the seventeenth century. Thomas and Elizabeth Margaret Barksdale Meriwether migrated in after the American Revolution. The Meriwether family eventually accumulated over 5,000 acres of land. Meriwether was the name given to the railroad station in honor of Dr. Snowden Meriwether. Dr. Meriwether was an early investor for the construction of the Augusta to Greenwood rail line, and he was the first station agent and postmaster for Meriwether.
Dr. Robert Lee Meriwether, born in Meriwether, is buried in the Asbury Church cemetery. Dr. Meriwether founded the South Caroliniana Library at the University of South Carolina in 1931.
William Scott Middleton of Meriwether was elected on the first ballot as the county’s first representative in the South Carolina General Assembly upon the formation of McCormick County in 1916. Middleton was a descendant of Hugh Tear Middleton and of Patrick Calhoun, patriarch of the Long Canes Scots-Irish settlement.
William Scott Middleton was a pioneer in commercial production of peaches on his Meriwether plantation Locust Hill. At the time of his death, he owned the largest peach orchard in South Carolina, containing over 35,000 trees. He and W. M. Rowland of Meriwether were the first commercial peach producers in South Carolina. The peach orchards covered about a hundred acres of the plantation. The orchards were divided into five or six locations with names Big Orchard, Cottage Orchard, Little Orchard, Church Orchard, etc. mostly on ridges where damage to blooms from late frost was less likely. The tree plantings began early in the 1910s. Peaches were shipped in carload lots by rail from the station at Meriwether. William S. Middleton and Roland frequently pooled shipments. Varieties produced were Hiley Belle, Georgia Belle, and Elberta. Elbertas shipped best, but Georgia Belles, the most delicate, tasted best. The peach producers shipped by rail exclusively for the first six or seven years of production before trucks came into use. Packers received ice by rail from Augusta. Ice was placed in bunkers at each end of the refrigerator car. Filling a car often required two or three days. Commercial peach production caught on quickly in the state. W. M. Rowland was a moving force for founding the South Carolina Peach Growers Cooperative with T. B. Young as its executive director in Florence. Disaster struck in 1928 or 1929 in the form of a “blight” that marked the surface of peaches with dark specks, which made the fruit unsuitable for shipping. Peach production in Meriwether was soon abandoned.
P.O. Box 938, McCormick, SC 29835
100 South Main St., McCormick, SC 29835
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