Welcome to Fort Mill's History
As we looked back in time to events that helped make this community what it is today, we found it was not just historic events that brought us to the present day but a combination of events, people from all walks of life, special places, and childhood memories. The stories we hear that make up the fabric of "community" are so interesting! They must be collected, preserved, and shared with all who are here today and those who will come this way tomorrow!
The beautiful works of art you will see here and in the museum's education gallery are creations of very talented local artists. They give you a glimpse of what Fort Mill was like from the 1600s to today. As the museum grows, the timeline will grow. Important dates and events that occurred throughout the history of this community will be added. Oral histories will also become a part of the timeline and throughout the museum.
The past is definitely coming to life at the Fort Mill History Museum and we invite you to become a part of it. Come join in our mission!
"Indian Trading Path" Through Fort Mill
Artist: Linda Trull
Before Fort Mill was a settlement, it was the location of Nation Ford. As early as the 1600s, Virginia traders from Fort Henry followed the Occoneechee (Occaneechi) Trail, also called the Indian Trading Path, south. At present-day Concord, North Carolina, the trail split. The eastern leg followed the Catawba River to Camden, and the western trail led to a river crossing between the present towns of Fort Mill and Rock Hill. The traders built this crossing across the Catawba at a natural ford in the river, leading the crossing and the road to become known as "Nation Ford."
This painting depicts the Great Wagon Road that stretched 800 miles from Pennsylvania to Georgia. It connected to the Indian Trading Path in Virginia, making Nation Ford a landmark on the journey of tens of thousands of German and Scots-Irish settlers traveling south. It was these travelers that first settled Fort Mill after the Catawba.
Indian Crop Planting
Artist: Bernice Knowles
The Catawba occupied this region long before its first European settlers. In the 1500s, this Siouan tribe journeyed 1,500 miles on foot from Canada to settle here, with its fish-filled waters and fertile forests and meadows teeming with game. They lived along these waterways in stockade villages of bark huts.
Painted here is a Catawba village in summer. Although the Catawba migrated with the seasons to hunt, they returned to their villages in summer to plant and harvest crops. The artist depicts a Native American gardening method often referred to as the Three Sisters garden. Using this technique of interplanting corn, squash, and beans in a hillock or mound, Native Americans sustained a healthy diet as well as long-term soil fertility.