Cool Springs
by
Mary Kate Jones (Mrs. Ludy) Benjamin

A small spring that runs deep and clear, with waters sweet and cool, was referred to by local residents many years ago as the cool springs. Thus, the area became known as Cool Springs. This small section of Horry County lies approximately twelve miles north of Conway, S. C. and about four miles southeast of Aynor, S. C., on highway 319, formerly known as the Galivants Ferry Road. The springs have not been used for years and are almost hidden from view. The water is still flowing and soon we hope to restore this historic place.

Early families of the Cool Springs community include William B. Cooper. There is a long, detailed report of this family and his heirs in the Independent Republic Quarterly (January 1970). This article serves to remind us of the great impact this family had upon the Cool Springs community. Evan B. Jones married Barbara Skipper. He was a farmer and important to the development of the Cool Springs Methodist Church. He was a magistrate of Cool Springs. His children were John, William, Wilson, Margaret and Katie. William and John were both prominent doctors from “the old school” (they trained under other licensed doctors).

Other families important to those early years are Hux (Hucks), Raburn (Rabon), Henry Doyle, W. W. Roberts, Homer Burroughs, Skippers, Barnhills, Squires, Sessions, Nichols, Elvis, Bert W. Spears, Jordan and Lynch. I apologize for names that have been omitted.


Cool Springs Methodist Church

The Cool Springs Methodist Church is rich in its history, dating back before the year 1830. The Quarterly Conference records date as early as 1836. These early worshippers used a covered structure known as a “brush arbor”. This consisted of a number of poles supporting a covering of brush. These “brush arbors” often needed repairs.

Between the years 1795 and 1801 Bishop Francis Asbury, the father of American Methodist, made four trips into this area. Following these trips at least fourteen small area Methodist churches came into existence, one of them being Cool Springs Methodist Church. At one time I was a member of Monumental Methodist Church of Portsmouth, Virginia, the church where Bishop Asbury was ordained. A plaque is there in his honor. It gave me a real sense of Methodist history to be a part of this church.

On July 7, 1875, Burroughs and Collins Company gave two and one-tenth acres on the south side of Chinners Swamp at Cool Springs to Cool Springs Methodist Episcopal Church South. This tract was surveyed by a local resident, Noah B. Cooper. In 1876, the Noah B. Cooper farm was sold for a Methodist parsonage. This farm was located near Cool Springs on the Galivants Ferry Road, which is no designated as Highway 319, about two miles from the present church site. The Cooper family played an important role in the history of Cool Springs. In 1884 in the village of Conway another lot was used as the Methodist parsonage. This lot was purchased from John A. Mayo for $75.00.

The first church was a small building, crudely built; however, it provided adequate shelter for the people. A shed room was added to the building, providing a place for the black slaves to worship. Following the Civil War the old building was too small to accommodate the needs of the people. It was torn down and a new church was built on the property. This structure was burned, circa 1900, and all church records and documents were destroyed, except the big Bible, which was saved by Wm. Irving Jones, Sr. I do not know what happened to the Bible.

A large wooden church was rebuilt about 1909-1910. The benches were made of boards resting on blocks. Eventually the church bought pews which were hand made by Mr. Jesse Jolley of Conway. These pews were hauled to the Cool Springs Methodist Church by Robert Bennet Nichols, father of Maude Jones, Agnes Roberts, and Robert B. Nichols, Jr.

In 1945 the present church was built in the same beautiful piney woods setting. The fellowship hall was constructed in 1976. Complete with kitchen facilities and oversized fireplace, this building has been an asset to the community for bridal parties, anniversary celebrations and special family celebrations. In 1978 a large white steeple with bell was added. The bell is tolled each Sunday morning and can be heard some distance away. Recently the faithful members purchased a tract of land which adjoins the property. This lovely church is located on Highway 319, about four miles east of Aynor, S. C. With the sunlight shining radiantly upon the white steeple, the pine tree setting is one of the loveliest in the entire county.

One of the earliest ancestors of the Cool Springs Methodist Church was my great-great grandfather, Evan B. Jones. He is mentioned as being present at a Quarterly Conference, Nov. 12, 1836 9taken from records of the Waccamaw Methodist Circuit). Evan B. Jones was a class leader and became a trustee on August 27, 1842. Later he was elected as District Steward and resigned this office in 1855, following the death of his wife. Evan B. Jones was one of the first persons to be buried in the Cool Springs cemetery. He died on October 21, 1886; he was 95 years old.

The early records of the Waccamaw Circuit Conference tell of a church member who went to Georgetown, S. C. to buy coffee. Upon his return he told another church member he had bought 3 pounds of coffee for a very small fee. When it was found that the man had lied, the church held a trial and the man was dismissed from the church. Names are listed in the Conference minutes. The Cool Springs Methodist Church cemetery is located behind the present church building and is bordered around its edges by beautiful dogwood trees. During the blooming season, the scene is almost breathtaking. A cool spring is located at the north end of the cemetery. Long years ago when this area was used as a campground, the spring ran clear and cool and was a source of fresh, sweet drinking water. The spring is still there, but it no longer furnished the thirsty with a refreshing drink.

As far as memory and records allow, the church has had 40 pastors and 13 superintendents of Sunday School throughout its long history. In recent years the congregation voted to withdraw its affiliation with the United Methodist Church and is now associated with the Southern Methodist Conference.


Black History

For years the black community had worshipped at the older established white churches. After the Civil War they needed a church of their own. On November 28, 1877, land was granted by J. Hughes and F. Gerrald for one acre (for $5.00) at Cool Springs on the Galivants Ferry Road. St. Peter’s African Methodist Episcopal Church was established on this tract of land.

Later St. Matthew’s Baptist Church was established. Throughout the years these churches have contributed greatly to the Cool Springs community.

The first black school was build on a tract of land given by Burroughs and Collins Company on April 29, 1898 ($1.00 for one-quarter acre) at Bayboro Township near Cool Springs. Some of the early black families are the Gerralds, Dixons, Fores, Beatys, Longs, Johnson, Hemmingways and many others.


Cool Springs Schools

The first area school was probably Pineville School, located near Cool Springs. The school eventually moved to Cool Springs. In the early years Noah W. Cooper taught a two months school at Pineville.

The first school at Cool Springs was a one-room building, not unlike others of the same era. It was located near the Methodist Church and was built of logs with exposed rafters. Mr. Potter was one of the early teachers, about 1878.

In 1916, S. C. Morris came to this section of Horry as president of the Horry Industrial School, “a short-lived but noble Methodist school”. It was located between Cool Springs and Dog Bluff Roads (now Highway 319 and 501).

The last school building was used for 19 years, from 1937 until 1956. It grew from a two-teacher school to six teachers. The large white building consisted of four classrooms, two bathrooms, and a large assembly hall with stage and velvet curtains. Those were the days of yearly school breakings when each school had some special entertainment at the end of the school year. Each grade was asked to participate. That was an exciting time for those of us in the rural sections of the county since it gave us a rare opportunity to sing, dance and to act—on stage! During these years a kitchen was added. At first it was a simple woodshed and the children ate outside. This was the introduction of the hot lunch program to the community. Later a nice kitchen and dining hall was added.

After 1956 this six-teacher school consolidated with other smaller schools in other sections of the county to become the new Midland School. At that point Cool Springs School dissolved into the annals of history.

I think it would be appropriate to mention a few of the teachers. Some names will not be mentioned, not because they were less important, but because I have not been able to get a complete list. The teachers were Adeline Cooper, her sister Ellen Cooper Johnson, Laura Avant, Noah Cooper, Maude Mayo, Herbert Lane, Blanche Norton, Mrs. Carl Sessions, Mrs. Harl Dawsey, Mrs. Gertie Cartrette, Maude Nichols Jones and her sister Agnes Nichols Roberts, Christine Dusenbury Garner, her sister Eugenia Dusenbury Nichols, Leona Lane Graham, Ella Anderson Smith, Mrs. Dennis Martin, Mrs. Travis Smith, Esterlene Reynolds, Mrs. Hazel Floyd Goodale, Venice Kirton Brown, Doris Jones Edmond, Eula Mae Dawsey Ambrose, Hilda Smith Ambrose, Mrs. Helena Thomas, Inez Gore Booth, Myra James, Pauline Floyd Ambrose and Mrs. Rebecca Leo. Also, Nina Lee Allen Skipper.


The Earthquake

Noah W. Cooper reported for the Mullins Enterprise on April 5, 1951 (reprinted in IRQ, October 1968) that an earthquake occurred at Cool Springs on August 31, 1886. It came in the night with a great roar and sounded as if “the earth was bellowing in mighty pain”. Following the initial quake many tremors were felt in the local area. During this time of fear people were heard crying, shouting and praying. Some thought it to be the end of time. Mr. Cooper went to the school where he taught. People were gathered there despite some damage. Aftershocks twisted the railroad tracks so that the train could not run. Telegraph lines were down and Cool Springs was cut off from outside news. Travelers finally brought news that Charleston, though suffering some damage, had not bee swallowed up by a tidal wave. Needless to say, a great spiritual revival resulted from this ‘punishing act of God”.


Raids During the Civil War

Cool Springs was not to go unnoticed during the Civil War. An article taken from the memoirs of Ellen Cooper Johnson written in 1924 and reprinted in IRG (October 1967) states that Ellen was staying with her sister, Mrs. Barnhill, while she was teaching school at Cool Springs in the last days of the Civil war, about 1865, when the raids took place. The raiders, who were deserters from our own Confederate Army, would lie in the woods and wait and steal from defenseless families.

Food and corn was put in barrels and hidden, but still the provisions were stolen by the raiders. The raiders were searched for to no avail. A strange woman was seen often in the area as she quietly slipped from one place to another. Local people thought she was carrying messages to the deserters. Ellen Cooper Johnson states they lived in constant fear with the realization that the Yankee soldiers were approaching from the Georgetown side and the raiders from the other. They experienced fires, raids for food and articles of clothing and household goods. Later a strange old man returned much of their provision, though the corn and pork was never recovered. Capt. Ervin of the Home Guard came to search for the raiders and found the “strange woman”. She refused to say where the raiders were, but admitted that she was part of the group. Several of the deserters were eventually found.


Cool Springs Industry

Cool Springs’ first store was owned and operated by Robert Tate Nichols and Joseph W. Kirton around the year 1854. This general store was build of logs. Robert T. Nichols also operated turpentine still on land bought from J. W. Kirton in 1859, land which had previously been owned by W. A. Spivey.

Burroughs and Collins operated a most successful general store in Cool Springs in the early years. They enlarged their holding to include a large turpentine still, a cooper shop that made barrels for the turpentine, a cotton gin and extensive farm lands. Some of the lumber from the gin mill is in use at the farm of Ed Rabon. The remnants of the old rosin bed are still visible and lend itself easily to another time in history.

The local grist mill was run by Burroughs and Collins. It was a weekly gathering place for young men as they awaited their bags of meal. A family had to provide its own meal bags, usually made by the mothers of the household.

R. T. Booth was one of the early employees of the Burroughs and Collins Company at the Cool Springs store.

W. W. Roberts, father of the late N. W. Roberts, owned and operated a sawmill and blacksmith shop in the Cool Springs community around 1866. By 1914 the blacksmith work was being done by Bert W. Spears. People from far and near used Mr. Spears for their blacksmith work. On rainy days when the men could not work outside, farmer gathered at this shop to get work done and to swap their stores. Mr. Bert was loved by his community and it has been said of him that he put no man’s name down on his books for a charge. He said if the man was honest, he would pay his bill. If he was not honest, putting his name down in a book would not make him so. Over the years Cool Springs has had at least two general stores. Some of the storeowners were Berry Mishoe, Fred Graham, Pearly Doyle, Simpson Johnson, Henry Doyle, ?. E. Doyle, Tillman Smith, Jack Tyler, Kenneth Mishoe, L. D. and E. J. Hardwick, E. J. Skipper, Charles Rabon, Raymond Nobles, Jack Martin and Ray’s Barber Shop. Names of owners may not be complete. Farming has always been the mainstay of this rural section, with cotton as king before the Civil War. Rice was planted in earlier years, but was not planted in recent times. Tobacco, corn, and soybeans are the big money crops of 1979. Many local farmers also have large swine operations. Some farms still have cattle and horses which can be seen grazing lazily on the green pasturelands. In more recent years some truck farming has been attempted, with good success.

In the early years of our community, about 1900, the U. S. Post office was at Justice, S. C., located on land owned and operated by W. Boyd Jones, near Chinners Swamp and a few hundred yards off Jones Road. This was the first known U. S. Post Office. A rumor has it that one may have been at a place called Joppa or that Justice may have been called Joppa. I can find no one who remembers anything about this and nothing to document it. The Justice post office was located in the store. The mail was delivered by horseback from Adrian. The old store was a large, three-story building, a general store. The first floor was used for the post office, groceries, bolts of cloth and general merchandise. The second floor had some articles stored there, but Agnes Nichols Roberts and Maude Nichols Jones remember it as having a good floor for skating. The third floor was known as the men’s floor, selling suits, hats, overcoats and shoes. Mr. Jones, who was my great-uncle, knew the needs of the local people and kept large supplies of farm plows and farming equipment. Extending from one side of the old store was an open shed which ran the length of the building and served as storage for the ambulance of the area, a buckboard.

This old store served as a meeting place where local folk got together to hear the news events of the day. It must also have been the place for local shows. My mother, Maude Nichols Jones, remembers as a very young girl (she was about four years old), she saw a Punch and Judy show. Her memory is quite vivid concerning the last line of the show. ‘The devil’s got me. I’m gone.” This must have been said with great enthusiasm and has been a part of her memory over the years.

Four years ago the top floors were removed from the old store and a new roof put in place. The store remains standing, but does not have the look of importance it once had. In November 1978, I went inside the deteriorating building. The old stairway is still intact. It is a study within itself. The steps are worn thin in the center along the front edges where over the years so many feet have trod. As I stood in this quiet place, I was overcome with the presence of its history. For a special moment I thought I could hear the laughter of children as they played and skipped around. I could hear the murmured sounds of the women as they visited over the latest bolt of cloth. And the men, how they must have enjoyed their smokes around the old potbellied stove. I dared not move, lest I lose this moment. Suddenly the wind blew through the boards and I awoke to the world of today.

The post office moved to Cool Springs about 1916 and it was in this port office that my father, William Irving Jones, Sr., received his mail from my mother before they were married. Some of the old boxes are preserved in the old Hardwick store at Cool Springs.

In March of 1897 Burroughs and Collins Company began preparation for a telephone line from Conwayboro to Cool Springs. On January 25, 1906 the Herald newspaper carried an article stating that the railroad station at Cool Springs had been named Iola after one of ‘Conway’s charming and popular society leaders, Mrs. F. G. Burroughs – formerly Miss Iola Buck. Before the automobile came into use Dr. Burroughs rode a three-wheeled bicycle on the railroad tracks. Someone would meet him at a spot near the patient’s home. The bicycle had a high large front wheel and two small rear wheels joined together by an axle that fit the railroad tracks. Dr. Burroughs would complete the last leg of this house call on horseback or horsedrawn vehicle. It was in this way that Cool Springs had medical care.

Several Conway families had summer homes at Cool Springs. It was considered a health resort because of its higher, sandy land. Health was said to improve when the families came to their “resort homes”. The springs were thought to be good for one’s health.

The information in this article has been documented as to land dates and deeds at the Horry County courthouse. Other information has appeared in IRQ, while still other material has been from the memories of those who have lived it. For whatever error may be found, I do offer my apology. I wish this history could have been more complete. Truly those people who have walked this land before me deserve to be remembered in a very special way. (Editor’s note: This paper was read for Mrs. Benjamin at the HCHS April 1979 meeting by Mrs. N. W. Roberts).

Transcribed by Beverly Cole

The Independent Republic Quarterly
Vol. 13 Summer 1979 No. 3; Pgs 27-33
(Mislabeled as Vol. 130 Summer 1979 No. 3)

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