About South Carolina's Old 96 District
Why is this area of South Carolina called the Old 96 District?
From all reports our region was named after a judicial district dating back to the Colonial era when law and order came to the South Carolina backcountry. This area was 96 miles down the Cherokee Path from Keowee, a major Cherokee town in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains on the plot of land called South Carolina.
How did the name Ninety Six Originate?
One legend says that at one time there were 9 creeks running east and west and 6 creeks running north and south and they came together at one central point. This point was named Ninety Six. The Cherokee Path was a primary trade route between the coast and the backcountry Indian villages and these creeks seem to form at this spot. Along with many other Indian paths, several of the routes crossed near the trading post of Ninety Six. Hence, another numerical explanation for the name.
The Best Legend of All
Folklore tells us that Issaquena, an Indian maiden, fell in love with David Francis, a silversmith who lived in what is now the town of Ninety Six. Learning that her tribe planned a surprise attack on the settlement, Issaquena mounted her horse to warn the settlers and her soulmate, David. Issaquena and David fled to what is now Stump House Mountain north of Walhalla, 55 miles west of Greenville, to escape the fury of her betrayed tribe. The lovers lived in a large, hollowed-out tree, or “stump house.” Eventually, she was tracked down by her tribesmen. Issaquena raced to a nearby falls (now Issaquena Falls) and plunged out of sight into the cataract. Believing her dead, the warriors gave up the search. However, Issaquena later joined her husband and fled to Alabama to live happily ever after. Or so the story goes!
All information above is solely based on folklore and tales that have been handed down through the centuries. We do not guarantee that they are correct. But, it sure does make a good story.