The White Rose City: a Brief History of York, S.C.
Dr. Eddie Lee
Under a canopy of green, Native Americans roamed the countryside of our area 500 years ago. These Cherokees and Catawbas hunted, fished, and traded with each other until the 1700s.
By the 1760s, hardy Scotch-Irish colonists were making their way down the 700 mile Great Wagon Road from Pennsylvania, bringing with them our community’s name in recognition of England’s 15th Century War Of The Roses between the White Rose City (York) and the Red Rose City (Lancaster). In 1780, our ancestors defended their independence atop nearby Kings Mountain during the American Revolution. Five years later, we were designated the York County Seat and the first county courthouse was built in 1786.
Cotton was king then, and the crop was picked by white and black hands, working by the sweat of their brows from sunrise to sunset. Slavery ended in 1865 with the defeat of the Confederacy, and the South’s president, Jefferson Davis, fled through Yorkville in April of that year. By 1915, a new courthouse (the current one) had been constructed in the community’s downtown as the “ville” was removed from our name. We were growing from a rural paradise to a modern city with excellent schools, diverse neighborhoods, a thriving historic district, recreational facilities, and a solid economic base.
The York of the 21st Century is multi-ethnic. Latinos have joined the descendants of Native Americans, Scotch-Irish, and African-Americans as talented newcomers contribute to our way of life here in the White Rose City, where you can breathe the history.