The Southeastern Conference on Historic Sites Archaeology (SECHSA)
will be held September 24th and 25th, 2021
at the Tennis and Fitness Center in Cayce, South Carolina.
The venue is located at a trailhead for the Twelve Thousand Year History Park which contains Native American sites, the location of the first Fort Congaree, and a Confederate Civil War earthwork.
About the City of Cayce
The modern city of Cayce (incorporated in 1914) was once the focus of early trade, commerce, and settlement. Early trade began with the construction of Fort Congaree in 1718 to facilitate the deer skin trade between European settlers and the Catawba and Cherokee Indians. The fort closed in 1722 and about a decade later a backcountry township called “the Congarees” was laid out in the vicinity of the old fort and Thomas and Patrick Brown established a trading post nearby. This was one of eight backcountry townships implemented by Governor Robert Johnson to bring more European settlers to South Carolina.
By the mid 1730s, Swiss and German settlers began to arrive and settle the township, which had been renamed “Saxe Gotha” in 1737. Due to flooding and other issues, the town itself died out and the village of Granby, located immediately north of Saxe Gotha, essentially replaced the town. No real center of activity, or village had developed in the township until businesses started locating near Friday’s Ferry, which crossed the Congaree River at what would become Granby.
Many of the Saxe Gotha settlers moved slightly north to the hub of activity in the village of Granby that was developing in the late 1750s. A trading post was founded by James Chesnut and Joseph Kershaw in 1765. It was known as the "Congaree Store" and became one of the first important trading posts in the interior of the colony. It was used to store cotton and other products to be shipped by boat to coastal towns.
As land upriver was cleared for cotton farming, Granby became prone to flooding and the county seat was relocated in 1818 to Lexington. Meanwhile, Columbia, on the opposite side of the river, was made South Carolina's capital in 1786 spurring its growth and the further decline of Granby.