Meyers Mill was a small hamlet on the South Carolina country side. The town had about ten buildings total and was located about 10 miles southeast of Ellenton a few miles south of Dunbarton.
The town was settled in the late 19th Century and had a depot, post office and a few stores. The town was named for the Meyers family who first settled there and built a grist mill. There was also a cotton gin in the town. Farmers from the area would bring in their cotton to be processed, and the cost was share of the cotton. The following stories are remembrances of two of the towns former residents Thelma Swett Ellis and Annie Laurie Rountree Meyers.
See, the Meyers lived there, and there were two families of Meyer. Old Ansel Meyer settled the area. He moved down there and built a house and a grits mill. He and his wife never had any children of their own, but they adopted a brother and sister, their niece and nephew, and raised them as their own. And William Meyer, when he got married, built a house near Meyers Mill.
Our house was a little bit further down the hill from Mr. William Meyer, and his youngest daughter was my best girlfriend. We grew up together. Then, there was a Mr. Charlie Meyer, who had a house in the little village of Meyers Mill. He married twice and he and his first wife had two sons. One of them, Olan Meyer, ran the Post Office, was the post master, ran the cotton gin, and farmed in that area. The other one, Hop, farmed some and had a store in the little village. Hop and his wife had one child, and Olan and his wife (Annie Laurie Rountree Meyer) had two children–a boy and a girl. Their names were Charles and Cecil Harriet.
–Thelma Swett Ellis, 1993
My father-in-law was the first postmaster they ever had at Meyers Mill. He had it in that old long store that burned first. He ran that store. That was the first building that was ever put up at Meyers Mill. His name was Charlie Meyer. He put up that building, that first one that burned. He ran the store there and he had the Post Office.
We didn’t have a Post Office at Meyers Mill then. They had to go to Hattiville to get the mail, but that didn’t last long. They ran a train through Meyers Mill, the ACL (Atlantic Coastline Railroad) railroad, and he got the Post Office moved into his old store. Well, he was postmaster until he was getting old and my husband (Olan Meyer) stood the physical examination and he got the Post Office. You see, you had to stand a government examination to get it. My husband had the Post Office until we went out of business.
So, there were only two postmasters throughout the entire history of Meyers Mill. At first, my father-in-law had a little section divided off in his store. He kept it like that until my husband took over and he moved it first to the depot. He was the depot agent and he got permission from the Railroad Company to put it in the depot. I don’t remember if he built the small building later for the Post Office or not. I don’t remember how that happened. He had that small building, next to the big store that burned first, for the Post Office when I worked in it. After we married, I worked in the Post Office and helped him, and they had a rural route out from it. So, that’s all I remember about that. Now, I may not have it exactly right, but that’s mostly as near as I can remember. See, I’m 94 years old and it’s been a good long time for me to remember that far back. I married in 1918 or 1919. I have forgotten which one it was.
–Annie Laurie Rountree Meyer, 1993
The Great Fire of Meyers Millh Meyers Mill in the 1940’s.
There was a train that came through the town of Meyers Mill and it was called a work train. There would be men on it and they would stop all along it and clean up the tracks. And at Meyers Mill, there was some great big sycamore trees, and they were shedding. There were leaves just piled up and they were burning the things on the right-of-way, when those leaves got on fire and the wind was blowing hard. I think it was in November, but I’m not sure of the date.
Well, some of those leaves blew up and fell on one of the old stores. It was an old store building that wasn’t being used, but it was packed with things that my husband (Olan Meyer) was saving. He had a lot of lumber in there, and he had some furniture in there that wasn’t being used. But the leaves got on top of it and that started the fire. My sister’s (Emma Hankinson) home was on the other side of that store, but the wind was coming the other way. It wasn’t coming towards her house, we are thankful to say.
Now, the next building, I think, was a small building–the Post Office, and beyond that there was a building that they bought (stored) coal to run on during the winter in the store and in the Post Office. And then there was a big two-story building right in front of that one that had the coal in it and some people lived upstairs, and my sister ran the store downstairs. It was during the depression, and she had stocked up a lot of goods. She had the store full. That wind blowing that way just went from one building to another. There was nothing they could do. They finally sent the fire people from Barnwell. They tried to get to the water at the pond. There was a big mill pond back of the store, way down there, and they tried to get down there to get water. I don’t remember whether they got any or not.
So, that was the story of the fire. Those big sycamore trees had lots of leaves that had fallen and once they had caught on fire, there was no chance of putting them out. That’s all I remember about the fire. That old building that the leaves fell on top of first burned up, the Post Office burned up, that building with the coal in it burned up, and that two-story building burned. And some of the bales of cotton burned up, but I don’t remember whether the depot burned or not. I can’t remember. There was so much going on. They got a good deal out of my sister, Ms. Hankinson’s, store. Not much, but they did get some of it out.The next thing after that big two-story building was a little building, a mill where they ground corn. Just a little building. I don’t remember how it was run or anything. Then, there was a big gin house down next to the swamp back of that, and the gin was running, of course, bales of cotton. I don’t remember whether the depot burned. There was a depot there. My husband was postmaster. I don’t know if the depot burned, but there was a big shed connecting that they put cotton bales in when they were going to have them shipped. Those that wanted to sell their cotton brought them up there and put them in that shed, and my husband would bill it out where he wanted them to go and all. Glover had a store that was vacant, but it didn’t get to that. The fire didn’t. They finally got it out, but it had burned up everything in between there.
That building they had the coal in burned a long time and night came and they had to have watchmen out, because the wind was still blowing and some of the buildings and things was still burning. My house was up on a hill on the opposite side of the railroad. It didn’t go on the opposite side of the railroad at all. The wind was coming the other way. I reckon that’s all I remember, but I reckon I don’t remember everything. I don’t know what year it was, but it was sometime in the late 30s or early 40s.
–Mrs. Annie Laurie Rountree Meyer, 1993
all images copyright Savannah River Archaeological Research Program, 2010
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