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While the lower parts of South Carolina had been settled for many years, Greenville County remained part of the old Cherokee hunting grounds and white men were strictly forbidden to enter the area. The Cherokee ceeded these lands to South Carolina in 1777. The Indians remained in their mountain homeland for several years after signing their grant, however, and not many white people ventured into the beautiful Cherokee country before the Revolution.

The first white settler in present Greenville County was Richard Pearis, an Irishman, who came from Virginia about 1765 as a trader. He married a Cherokee woman and became so highly thought of by the Cherokee tribe that tradition records their repeated gifts to him of land that finally covered a tract 10 miles square. On part of this estate now stands the city of Greenville and Paris Mountain, it's name a corruption of Pearis. The enterprising settler called his acres "Great Plains.' He built a home, a mill, storehouses, and a trading post, and lived the life of a prince. He served with the British forces in the French and Indian War and had the distinction of being the first Britisher to enter Fort Dusquesne. When the Revolution began, Pearis's allegiance was sought by both sides. It is said that he had promised his help to the Americans, but, disappointed at the military rank offered him, turned to the King's party. He was probably more disappointed in how the Cherokee Indians were being treated. Held prisoner in Charles Town nine months, he became on his release a captain of the loyalist militia and attained the rank of colonel after performing several daring exploits. While he was in prison (1776) his plantation was captured and destroyed by Colonel John Thomas's Spartan regiment, on the grounds that it was a Cherokee and Tory stronghold. Ironically enough, after the fall of Charles Town, May 1780, Colonel Pearis received the 'submissions' or surrenders of General Andrew Pickens and, possibly, of Colonel Thomas. After the Revolution, Pearis settled in the Bahama Islands on a grant from the British Government.

Greenville County was established in 1784. From this time thousands of settlers migrated to the area. It's name is variously said to honor General Nathanael Greene of Revolutionary fame or to recall Isaac Green, an early settler. Most evidence points to the last inference.

Our Neighbors

Spartanburg Co. Laurens Co. Pickens Co. Anderson Co. Henderson Co., NC


          County Coordinator:
        Jeff Kemp

        SCGenWeb State
        Denise Wells

        Asst. State Coordinator:
        Jeff Kemp