Bettis Academy and Junior College, established in 1881 and closed in 1952, is significant for its role in the primary, secondary, and higher education of African Americans in what is now parts of Edgefield and Greenwood Counties from the late nineteenth through the mid-twentieth century. Alexander Bettis (1836-1895), founder of Bettis Academy, was born a slave on a nearby Edgefield District plantation owned by a Widow Jones and worked as an overseer and sawmill manager during the Civil War.
In 1868, after the local Baptist association refused to ordain him, Bettis and a group of seventeen other free blacks, helped by three ministers affiliated with the association, organized Mt. Canaan Baptist Church. Bettis Academy was an outgrowth of the Mt. Canaan Education Association, founded in 1880 by Bettis, other ordained ministers, and representatives of various black Baptist churches in the area. The complex now consists of three historic buildings and one triangular historic landscape, all dating from the last twenty years of the institution – Alexander Bettis Community Library (1939), The Classroom Building (1935) and Biddle Hall (1942). It was listed in the National Register on May 20, 1998.
The site is located at the junction of Bettis Academy Road and Nicholson Road (Trenton vicinity).
Other sites of interest include Old Edgefield Pottery in Edgefield, SC where pottery made by Dave, a slave in the 1800’s, is on display and the McGowan-Barksdale-Bundy House in Abbeville, SC where three servant cabins are preserved on the grounds.
To the best of our knowledge, the information contained herein is accurate & reliable as of the date of publication; however, we do not assume liability for the accuracy & completeness of information. This is not an all-inclusive listing.