The History of Hartsville, S.C. by Gavin Watford

Hartsville SC, first began around 1760. Hartsville was named after the man who discovered and owned most of the land that’s now Hartsville. His name was Captain Thomas E. Hart. 

After the discovery of Hartsville it then became a successful mercantile business but like all good things it came to an end. The Great Depression (1837–1838) hit and the mercantile business ended and Captain Hart lost all of his land. 

Later on Captain Hart’s son John Hart bought 495 acres of land which is now called downtown Hartsville in 1845. His plans were to turn Hartsville around. “John Hart went on to establish a carriage factory, steam-powered saw mill, grist mill, general store, and Hartsville Baptist Church.”

As Hartsville was prospering Caleb Coker purchased the carriage Factory from John. He did this with intention to give it to his son James Coker.  In 1857 James came to Hartsville from Harvard to try and apply his new methods of farming. 

That was quickly put to a halt as the Civil War broke out and he became a general. When he came back to his plantation in Hartsville he discovered it was demolished. He wanted to quickly rebuild his plantation and make Hartsville prosper again like before the Civil War.

James got to work and built Welsh Neck High School. Which is now named Coker University. “He also established a seed company, oil mill, fertilizer plant, the Coker and Company General Store, a bank, and the Southern Novelty Company, now known as Sonoco Products Company.”

As Hartsville was rapidly growing they wanted more people to come there so they asked the railroad companies to build on that route through Hartsville. Well they said no so James took it upon himself and he made his own railroad company. It was called the Hartsville Railroad Company. It is now sitting for display next to the Hartsville YMCA and across the street from Hampton Inn Hotel.

After that Hartsville still continued to grow into what it is today. A nice family friendly town that has a lot of potential. There are endless opportunities to do here. From Shopping at all the downtown shops to eating nice steaks or even sitting outside and enjoying the family while eating ice cream. There are unlimited possibilities. 

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