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Early Branch – Early Branch, South Carolina


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The post office seen below forms the heart of the rural Hampton County community of Early Branch. Though the origins of the town’s name remain uncertain, Palmetto Place Names, a study compiled in 1941 by the Work Projects Administration, offers two theories to explain why the village is called Early Branch. The first is that, in 1861, a General Early set up camp at a nearby branch, or creek, during the Civil War. The second is that a man by the name of Early surveyed the land for the South Carolina government in 1806.

Early Branch Post Office

Darrell Parker of North Charleston, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

As to the first theory, we have been unable to locate the existence of any Civil War general with the surname “Early” aside from Jubal Early of Mississippi, and there is no record of his having fought near this location during his career. We also have been unable to locate a battle near Early Branch in 1861. The nearest battle to take place that year was at Port Royal, some 34 miles away.

Another theory, offered by Doug McTeer below, states that it was actually an officer in the Revolutionary War for whom the community was named. We have been unable to verify this information either, but records from the American Revolution are much less complete and harder to locate.

Do you know how Early Branch got its name, or do you have any information you can share about the town? If so, please send it to the South Carolina Picture Project. Thank you!

Reflections on Early Branch


Doug McTeer, a native and lifelong resident of Early Branch, writes:

“Early Branch was established in the early 1870s. The Port Royal to Augusta Railroad was being built, and sawmill towns sprouted up along the route. Civil War officers Colonel William Stokes and Captain John Henry Steinmeyer established one such sawmill. Stokes had a home where the Harris family now lives. Steinmeyer had a home where Clark and Daisy lived (the house that burned.) The sawmill manager, Appleby, lived in the house we live in. [My grandparents] moved into the house when they married.

“Regarding the naming of the town, I don’t believe the General Early story is accurate. I have seen a map (undated) that I’m pretty sure predates the Civil War that refers to the area as Early’s Branch.

“I have heard that the name came from a Revolutionary War officer named Early who camped there. I believe this is most likely. I have never heard the story about the surveyor, though maybe it’s possible.

“By the way, the McTeers had already been in the area for about 150 years, but there was no post office or any settlement.”


Early Branch Info


Address: 34 Ficken Road, Early Branch, SC 29916
GPS Coordinates: 32.746171,-80.929926


Early Branch Map




Early Branch – Add Info and More Photos


The purpose of the South Carolina Picture Project is to celebrate the beauty of the Palmetto State and create a permanent digital repository for our cultural landmarks and natural landscapes. We invite you to add additional pictures (paintings, photos, etc) of Early Branch, and we also invite you to add info, history, stories, and travel tips. Together, we hope to build one of the best and most loved SC resources in the world!


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The South Carolina Picture Project is a volunteer project which earns no profit. We work hard to ensure its accuracy, but if you see a mistake, please know that it is not intentional and that we are more than happy to update our information if it is incorrect. That said, our goal is to create something positive for our state, so please make your comments constructive if you would like them to be published. Thank you!



2 Comments about Early Branch

Patty Davis RuneyNo Gravatar says:
October 22nd, 2016 at 6:06 pm

My Grandfather, William Melvin Davis, was born in Early Branch, SC. Graves at Zahler’s Cemetery are of family members…Davis, Youmans, Zahler, Heape, Ulmer, Gatch. Searson Cemetery also has family.

Don SearsonNo Gravatar says:
September 7th, 2016 at 12:47 pm

I lived at McTeer Plantation where my father was manager for L.J.Williams of Yemassee- lived there from five-years-old until about 14. I believe location was NE on/off Mt. Olive Road.





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