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VINTAGE ORANGEBURG COUNTY/DAY 7: History of town once called Vance's Ferry goes back to 1766

VINTAGE ORANGEBURG COUNTY/DAY 7: History of town once called Vance's Ferry goes back to 1766

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At one time, Vance was very much on the map.

Incorporated in 1887, the town traces its history back to 1766.

Sir William Vance built a ferry on the Santee River in the founding years, prompting the town to first be called “Vance’s Ferry.”

Near what is now the intersection of S.C. Highway 6 and Highway 310, stood a large, wooden tavern called Vance’s Southern Express Company.

Just down from the tavern, along the banks of the Santee River, was the ferry service.

Vance’s Ferry was once a bustling crossroads, where the stagecoach stopped. It served as an important shipping link between the surrounding communities and Charleston.

On Dec. 24, 1851, a notice in the Charleston Mercury newspaper reported a boat from Vance’s Ferry had arrived with 103 bales of cotton.

The first post office was established in Vance’s Ferry in 1827.

Daniel Avinger, the town’s first postmaster, ran the first ferry boat across the river with records indicating the ferry had to be pulled across with a cable.

Old letters indicate the town was still named Vance’s Ferry in 1883.

However, because of the mosquito-infested swampland, the town was moved a few miles from the river. “Ferry” was dropped from its name as a result. In 1900, the town’s name was shortened to Vance’s. In 1907, the town was simply called Vance.

The area was busy and prosperous thanks to its large number of farmers and the many travelers who passed by on Old Number Six Highway, which began as an Native American trail.

Vance, by all indications, was a center of Charleston commerce and at one time boasted 14 buildings.


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