At times referred to as Belfast and Londonderry, the 22,000-acre Londonborough Township was laid out on Hard Labour Creek in 1762.
At times referred to as Belfast and Londonderry, the 22,000-acre Londonborough Township was laid out on Hard Labour Creek in 1762. Originally designed to provide a buffer between the Cherokees and lowcountry plantations, it was primarily populated by poor Palatine Protestants, previously living in England, who had been recruited by Johann Heinrich Christian von St├╝mpel, a “too hopeful immigration agent.” Sponsored by a group of London philanthropists, granted land, and provisioned by the colonial government, these Germans began to arrive in Charleston in December 1764, with the first group of settlers departing for the township in early January 1765. Subsequent groups followed in the spring and early summer, and by autumn 1765 some 250 Germans were settled in and around the township’s boundaries.
Despite direct assistance from the colony’s government, the township never prospered. Lieutenant Governor William Bull suggested growing hemp and sent several bushels of seed to the Germans, but no significant hemp cultivation developed. Reports described Londonborough Township as “desperately poor” and “their children having ‘grown up like savages.’” Mindful of their debt to their benefactors, many of the Germans immigrants sided with the British in the Revolutionary War and apparently left the area at its conclusion. By the time of the 1790 census, most of the original families were no longer listed, and the entire community disappeared in the first decades of the nineteenth century. A historical marker on S.C. State Road 48 in Greenwood County marks the site of settlement.
Bittinger, Lucy Forney. The Germans in Colonial Times. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1901.
Meriwether, Robert L. The Expansion of South Carolina, 1729–1765. Kingsport, Tenn.: Southern Publishers, 1940.
Selig, Robert A. “Emigration, Fraud, Humanitarianism, and the Founding of Londonderry, South Carolina, 1763–1765.” Eighteenth-Century Studies 23 (fall 1989): 1–23.