Here are a few of the historically significant sights to see in the Stateburg area in Sumter County.
- Ellison House: William Ellison was a slave who earned his freedom in 1816 and became a successful plantation owner with dozens of slaves of his own. He also owned and operated a cotton gin and built gins that he sold throughout the South. His house, which he bought from a former South Carolina governor, is a part of the Stateburg Historic District. Ellison and his family were members of Church of the Holy Cross in Stateburg and, going against custom, the only black family to have a pew on the first floor of the church.
- Church of the Holy Cross: The church was founded in 1770 as part of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. The sanctuary you see today was built in 1850 in the gothic revival style, using the pise de terre (rammed earth) method. In the churchyard are the graves of veterans from almost every major US war, from the Revolution to World War II. One of the most famous folks buried there is Joel Poinsett, who is credited with introducing the poinsettia to the US. The church still has its original organ, which was built by Henry Erben and is one of the few Erben organs in existence in the US. Church of the Holy Cross, 335 N. Kings Highway, Sumter, 803.494.8101.
- Burial place for Gen. Thomas Sumter: Just a few turns away from the church is the graveyard for the Thomas Sumter family. The Revolutionary War hero won his nickname of “Fighting Gamecock” because of his relentless fighting spirit. After the war, Sumter served in the US House and Senate. Also buried there are Thomas Sumter Jr. (1768-1840), who was lieutenant governor of South Carolina and the first US ambassador to Brazil, and Thomas DeLage Sumter (1809-1874), who was a US congressman and who took over the operation of the family plantation in his later years. But the largest grave at the site belongs to the Old General’s daughter-in-law Nathalie deLage Sumter, who was born to French royalty but grew up in the household of US Vice President Aaron Burr along with his daughter, Theodosia, because of the upheaval of the French Revolution. Thomas Sumter Burial site, Acton Road, Sumter, 803.436.2640.
- Borough House Plantation: The original house at Borough House Plantation was built in 1758 and was a headquarters at different times during the American Revolution for both British and patriot generals. The second house on the property was built in 1820 by Dr. William Wallace Anderson. His son Richard Anderson grew up to become a Confederate general. The National Register of Historic Places notes that this complex of buildings on the plantation contains the oldest and largest collection of “high style” pise de terre buildings in the US. Borough House, SC 261, about a mile north of the intersection of US 76 and US 378.
- The High Hills of Santee Baptist Church: This congregation was founded in 1770, and the church was built in 1803, with many renovations over the years. The white clapboard church is an example of Greek revival architecture with its columns across the front. The church is on the National Register of Historic Places and is most noted as the first church for Southern Baptist preacher Richard Furman. Furman was a patriot as well as a minister and joined the fight for independence. He was such a well-respected minister that South Carolina’s first Baptist college was named for him: Furman University in Greenville. High Hills of Santee Baptist Church, Meeting House Road at Kings Mountain Drive, Santee, 803.499.9456.