Dutch Fork

The preponderance of German-speaking settlers, however, gave the area its name—Dutch Fork for deutsch Volk (German people).

The Dutch Fork lies in a fork between the Broad and Saluda Rivers that includes parts of the modern counties of Newberry, Lexington, and Richland. Although a fertile region, the Dutch Fork was not the site of a colonial township, nor was it a way station on the major Indian trade routes. Consequently, European settlement in the region did not begin until the 1740s.

As the good land in nearby Saxe-Gotha Township was claimed, immigrants looked to the Dutch Fork for their bounty grants. Many of the early settlers were German speakers, although other settlers, such as Samuel Hollenshed from New Jersey, came to the Dutch Fork via the Great Wagon Road. Other population elements included Indian traders and soldiers discharged from their companies at Fort Granby. The preponderance of German-speaking settlers, however, gave the area its name–Dutch Fork for deutsch Volk (German people).

During the Revolutionary War, Germans in the Dutch Fork were cool toward the patriot cause, believing that they owed their land (and therefore their loyalty) to George III (who was of German descent). The relative isolation of the area allowed German culture and language to survive into the early twentieth century. The creation of Lake Murray during the 1930s inundated part of the Fork. In the ensuing decades, suburban sprawl from Columbia encroached and converted much of the rural landscape into shopping malls and housing subdivisions.

Able, Gene, ed. Irmo and the Dutch Fork Legacy: A Centennial Celebration. Irmo, S.C.: Independent News, 1990.

Meriwether, Robert L. The Expansion of South Carolina, 1729–1765. Kingsport, Tenn.: Southern Publishers, 1940.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Title Dutch Fork
  • Author
  • Keywords between the Broad and Saluda Rivers, not the site of a colonial township, Great Wagon Road, creation of Lake Murray during the 1930s inundated part of the Fork, suburban sprawl from Columbia
  • Website Name South Carolina Encyclopedia
  • Publisher University of South Carolina, Institute for Southern Studies
  • URL
  • Access Date August 9, 2020
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update September 15, 2016
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