Saturday, January 18, 2014

Catfish Creek

I was looking at some old research about my Rowell family this week and came across a reference to this place. A letter dated October 4, 1915 from John C. Sellers of Sellers, South Carolina was relaying what he knew of the Rowell family. My grandmother was Ila Rowell Green.
Catfish Creek Baptist Church

John Sellers said that his late father, W.W. Sellers had originally done the research for a book he published called "A History of Marion County South Carolina" in 1902.

As part of this book he interviewed an old man named Valentine Rowell who's grandfather Jacob Rowell settled in Marion County in the 1700s.

Valentine Rowell was then 82 years old and had been born in 1821. He said the Rowell family first came to South Carolina in 1736 and settled on the bank of Catfish Creek.

They were originally part of the Welsh Settlement created in 1703 in New Castle County Pennsylvania.

Valentine Rowell's marker 1821-1906

Thirty years after landing in Pennsylvania they were induced by available land to move to South Carolina. The Colony eventually gave the Welsh control of over half a million acres and that started a large migration south. The Rowells were part of this group who first settled on Catfish Creek.

Most of them didn't like the Southern climate they found (think mosquitoes, humidity, etc.) and left Catfish Creek after a couple years to form the Welsh Neck Settlement in Darlington County.

The Rowells stayed behind and apparently there are family members who descend from the first ones still in the area today. There are 15 Rowell families listed in the phone book for this rural community with a population of 1,357.

The Catfish Creek Baptist Church was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. The nomination form said the present building dates to 1883 but the first Catfish Creek Baptist Church had been built on the same site in 1802.

Catfish Church Marker

The first church was built in the area around 1740 as part of the Welsh Neck Baptist Church and renamed Catfish Church in 1752. It lasted until about 1790 and then the present church was formed a couple miles upstream.

This marker is about 400 feet from I-95 and SR 17 in Dillion County, South Carolina. The original Catfish Creek settlement and Church location is a couple miles south.

1 comment:

Jamie said...

Cant really blame them for leaving that Southern style living.. haha I hate the bugs and insects too.. and the humidity. This was a cool history lesson about that creek that goes by the name of Catfish creek. I was actually doing some research on this creek and came about this. Are you from the area or what interested you regarding the creek?