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Brief History of
St. Stephen

Settled in 1754

The Town of St. Stephen, South Carolina is seeped in community and history that is as rich as its beautiful natural surroundings of Low Country.


The enthusiastic, innovative officials meet regularly to ensure that St. Stephen, South Carolina remains a place that will thrive for generations to come. This passion continues with the devoted community members, who are quick to welcome all with a warm smile. Come visit and feel at home.

     St. Stephen's history is closely tied to the Santee River. By 1700, French Huguenot settlers were established along the banks of the Santee, chiefly engaged in trade with the Native Americans. Large plantations were laid out along the Santee banks as the fertile flood plain soils were recognized as prime areas for growing indigo. Supported by a healthy bounty on the production of Indigo offered by the British government and the transportation provided by the Santee River, St. Stephen planter grew increasingly prosperous. 


     In 1754, St. Stephen Parish was established for both religious services and governmental administration. The construction of the St. Stephen Episcopal Church followed in 1767.


     The American Revolution brought an end to the British bounty on Indigo and to the productivity of many of the area's plantations. It was until 1796 that cotton was introduced to the area, and plantation began to spread inland from the Santee River. As cotton became dominant, the railroad was introduced and St. Stephen was reborn as a whistle stop on the Charleston to Florence route. 


     The civil War also took its toll on the St. Stephen area. Not until the early 1900's did revitalization occur as lumber companies began to exploit the dense stands of cypress growing along the Santee River. The forest products industry, textile and electrical firms all played an important role in the local economy.


     St. Stephen is located in the norther portion of Berkeley county in coastal South Carolina, at the intersection of US Highway 52 and SC 45. 4 miles east of Lake Moultrie. The town is 27 miles from interstate 256, 47 miles from Charleston, 95 miles from Columbi, and 15 miles north of Moncks Corner, the County Seat.

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