The village of Moncks Corner in St. John’s Berkeley Parish derived its name from Thomas Monck, who in 1735 purchased one thousand acres in the parish and established Mitton Plantation.
(Berkeley County; 2000 pop. 5,952). The village of Moncks Corner in St. John’s Berkeley Parish derived its name from Thomas Monck, who in 1735 purchased one thousand acres in the parish and established Mitton Plantation. Monck’s plantation was located at a fork where the Charleston Road intersected with the Cherokee Path. The left branch led to the Congaree River, while the right went toward the Santee River and the Georgetown area. The site was also near Stoney Landing, the head of navigation on the Cooper River thirty-five miles from Charleston. A small commercial community grew up around the plantation. The Swiss immigrant Simeon Theus is credited with opening the first store at the crossroads around 1738. Among others who established stores was John Dawson, Thomas Monck’s son-in-law. Old Moncks Corner was “more of a trading post than a town.” Planters brought their goods for sale and then returned home.
The crossroads became a point of strategic importance during the siege of Charleston. In April 1780 Banastre Tarleton gained his first notable victory at Moncks Corner, surprising and routing an American force commanded by Isaac Huger and severing Charleston’s final link to the backcountry. After the war, the opening of the State Road between Charleston and Columbia and the completion of the Santee Canal caused the village to decline and almost vanish. In 1856 the Northeastern Railroad constructed a new station about a mile away from the old settlement. The railroad station was called Moncks Corner and expanded to include the old property of Thomas Monck.
The railroad gradually revitalized Moncks Corner. The town was incorporated in 1885. Ten years later Moncks Corner became the seat of Berkeley County, succeeding Mount Pleasant, and the first term of court was held in October. The first school was opened in 1913 and the first bank in 1918. The development of the Santee Cooper rural electric project from 1939 to 1941 led to more growth. Between 1930 and 1940 the population of Moncks Corner almost doubled, from 623 to 1,165. Santee Cooper moved its main office to Moncks Corner in 1945, while its creation of Lakes Marion and Moultrie made the town attractive to fishermen and boaters.
In the final two decades of the twentieth century, Moncks Corner benefited from the rapid growth of Berkeley County. During the 1990s the town’s annual budget grew from $1 million to $2.2 million. New businesses moved to town, and Moncks Corner recaptured part of its eighteenth-century past by once again becoming a commercial center.
Cross, J. Russell. Historic Ramblin’s through Berkeley. Columbia, S.C.: R. L. Bryan, 1985.
Stockton, Robert P. Historic Resources of Berkeley County, South Carolina. Columbia: South Carolina Department of Archives and History, 1990.