African American News and Genealogy

This site was developed to provide you with news that relates to African American Genealogy, History and News. Please feel free to forward this link to others. I hope you enjoy this site and good luck with your research! Cheers, Kenyatta D. Berry Managing Director

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Gillisonville: Holding onto its history

Published Sunday June 5 2005 By SANDRA WALSHThe Beaufort Gazette GILLISONVILLE -- In 1865, as a means to an end of the Civil War, Gen. William T. Sherman marched 60,000 Union troops from Beaufort to Columbia, leveling dozens of towns like Gillisonville along the way. Today, like many sleepy Southern towns, there isn't much in Gillisonville -- a small community just north of Ridgeland in Jasper County -- except a dwindling forest of pine trees, a Baptist church and a community full of old memories about what once was and what will never be again. "All that comes through here now are log trucks," said the Rev. M. Joseph Hethcoat, a new pastor at the Gillisonville Baptist Church. "But this place has so much history." In the 1830s, many rice planting families around Coosawhatchie built summer homes between Coosawhatchie and Beaver Dam Creek, according to "The History of Beaufort County South Carolina, Volume 1, 1514-1861." The Gillison family was one of these wealthy families. Today, across the street from Coosawhatchie Baptist Church on Morgandollar Road sits the church cemetery and the grave of Derry Gillison, the man for whom Gillisonville is named. Gillison was a Coosawhatchie shoemaker and the head of a successful rice-planting family. In 1836, the Beaufort District Courthouse was moved from Coosawhatchie to Gillisonville because lawyers where not happy with the "unhealthy" conditions at the Coosawhatchie courthouse, near marshland insects and fever, according to the book. A courthouse square was developed in the center of Gillisonville. To cater to visiting lawyers and courthouse traffic, in the 1850s, Dedrich Peterman, a German immigrant, built a large brick hotel and tavern on the east side of the square. In 1865, the inn, the courthouse and almost every building except Gillisonville Baptist Church were burned down by Sherman's troops. Source:


  • At 7:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Do you have any old photographs of the Laurel Grove School or Baptist Church?

  • At 1:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I live in Grays a small town about 4 miles from Gillisonville im so interested in the history around there.I'm very interested in what the town looked like,do you have any pics?


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