It had been a rough week. We’re getting ready for our Chorale Concert, our district is getting ready for its accreditation visit, and I’ve been working on projects for a graduate course. On Friday I had a state tech leaders meeting, and on Saturday we had a paddling trip scheduled with my friends from Lowcountry Unfiltered. So, I loaded up the boat early, and Friday morning headed southward.
The meeting proceeded about as well as expected, which was not well. I came away with a stress-related headache. Rather than head to lunch with my colleagues, though, I parked myself in an Atlanta Bread Company with my laptop and worked through conference calls that had to be made. My plan had been to head on down to Santee for the night, taking photos along the way. My friend Dwight suggested dinner with his family, so I had a couple of hours to kill. I thought I would see what could be found of the town of Granby.
The town of Granby was first settled in the early 1700s on the western bank of the Congaree River, across from present-day Columbia. The trading post established by James Chestnut and Joseph Kershaw in 1765, became an important gathering place. It was captured by the British during the Revolutionary War. The town served as the county seat for Lexington County until 1818. On Robert Mill’s atlas the town shows up just southeast of Columbia on the other side of the Congaree River.
According to the Lexington County entry on Wikipedia…
In 1785, Lexington County was established, with the township of Saxe Gotha renamed to “Lexington” in commemoration of the Battles of Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts. The county’s first courthouse was built at Granby, located just south of present day Cayce. From 1800 to 1868, the county was organized as a district with the same name.
With the clearing of upriver lands for the spreading cotton culture, Granby became plagued with floods. The district seat was moved in 1820 when the present town of Lexington was laid out on a high, healthy sand ridge near Twelve Mile Creek.
The town declined as Columbia grew. Eventually the town was subsumed by present-day Cayce, and little is left of the old town. However, the name persists. In the 1890’s W. B. Smith Whaley used the name for his textile mill and the surrounding village. When folks in Columbia here the name, they now think of that mill village, rather than the defunct town across the river.
I started on the west-south side of the river. I think I found the location of the old Granby Ferry, which is now developed as a boat ramp and river access. I walked down to get the views of the river.
From the landing I headed back upstream as close along the river as I could. The “Cayce House” had been located at Fort Granby. The old house no longer exists, but a replica has been built at the Cayce Historical Museum.
I decided to cross the river to take a look at Granby Park. But first, I paused to check out the old Guignard Brick Works. These beehive kilns were used to make bricks for construction in Columbia. At first I thought they might be part of the old Granby town. However, these were constructed in the early 20th century. Still, they were quite cool.
I crossed the river and found Granby Park. There were walking trails and there was a river access. There was one old circular structure, but nothing I could tie to the old town.
Granby has long been on my list of ghost towns to visit. I’m sure I was at the right location, but I’m not sure it should remain on my list. If a town declines, then is subsumed by another town, does it still count as a “ghost town?” I’m not sure. The town of Hamburg is another one of those. It died out, but was later replaced by North Augusta.
I headed over to Dwight’s and had a nice meal with him, Sue, and Adam, then set off for Santee for the night.
2 thoughts on “Finding Granby”
I am a Granby historian. Check out my website. http://www.historysoft.com/granby or Google Finding Granby. Also, Chestnut has no T in it. It is Chesnut. Granby is located South West of Columbia in modern day Cayce. Part of the old town is located in the Quarry. Part is located in Riverland subdivision at the end of the Riverwalk.
I am interested in Granby. One of my ancestors is buried there. CaptainJohn Hart is buried in the cemetery there. I want to plan a trip there.