Manning, a friendly town
When the South Carolina colony was in its infancy, the land on which Manning now sits was bounded by swamps and pine forests. The first settlers were Huguenots, Protestants, who fled France to avoid religious persecution. They were given land by the King of England in what was named Clarendon County for one of the eight Lord Proprietors.
Some of the families who came up the Santee River in the 1700s with land grants were the Canteys, DuBoses, Gaillards, DesChamps, Gourdins, Richbourgs, Lesesnes, McFaddins, Guerrys, Millettes, Sprotts, and Mouzons.
During the Revolutionary War, Gen. Francis Marion’s strategy was to surprise and strike the British forces and then disappear into the swamps.
When British Gen. Cornwallis lost Marion at the edge of a swamp, he commented in disgust, “The devil himself could not catch that fox.” And, Marion became the “Swamp Fox.”
The county seat was located in the center of the county and was laid out with 75- foot- wide streets on six acres donated by Capt. Joseph C. Burgess. The village was named for John Lawrence Manning, governor of S. C. from 1852 to 1854 who had grown up nearby.
Near the end of the Civil War, Sherman’s troops under General Potter raided Clarendon County a few days before Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. A large portion of Manning, including the courthouse, was destroyed during “Potter’s Raid.” Manning and Clarendon County recovered slowly due to their reliance on agriculture.
The 1940s Santee- Cooper Hydroelectric and Navigation Project under FDR’s New Deal program, Eisenhower’s 1950’s Interstate Highway Program, and many of South Carolina’s agricultural and tourism projects have helped Manning’s return to prosperity.
Next Week: Ode to my father