South Carolina Education - Marlboro County

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Marlboro County

On December 18, 1802, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act, which included the incorporation of the Marlborough Academy and authorized assets up to $10,000. On the same date, the General Assembly passed another Act, which authorized the trustees of the Marlborough Academy to raise up to $2,500 via a lottery.

The oldest part of this building served as Bennettsville Female Academy 1833-1881. It originally stood opposite First Methodist Church on East Main Street, was purchased in 1967 by Marlborough Historical Society, moved to its present location, and restored by public donations. Bennettsville Academical Society, organized about 1828, built the Academy.

On December 18, 1844, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act, which included the incorporation of the Bennettsville Academical Society of the Marlboro District for a term of fourteen (14) years (Section XVI).
On February 27, 1872, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to revive and renew the charter of the Bennettsville Academical Society for an indefinite period, or until repealed by the legislature, and authorized assets up to $10,000.
On November 22, 1880, the Clerk of Court for Marlboro County chartered and incorporated the Marlborough Educational Society, named five (5) members, and registered $5,500 in capital stock.
On February 16, 1884, the Marlboro County Clerk of Court registered the incorporation of the Spring Hill Academic Society in Marlboro County. The charter named eight (8) incorporators, and stated that the principle place of business was Mineral Spring.
On December 24, 1886, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to establish a new special school district in the town of Bennettsville in Marlboro County, and authorized voters to decide upon an additional special tax not to exceed two (2) mills on real and personal property. On December 24, 1888, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to amend the Act of 12/24/1886, by naming the new school district as the Marlboro Graded School District with smaller boundaries, named five (5) trustees, authorized the new school district to be surveyed, and increased the additional special tax to three (3) mills on real and personal property,

The Murchison School, built in 1902, was named for John D. Murchison (1826-1892), a merchant and the first mayor of Bennettsville. It was given to the city in his memory by his widow, former teacher Harriet Murchison Beckwith (1855-1927). This Romanesque Revival school features a central bell tower with a terra cotta tablet over its ornate arched entrance. It was designed by Denver architect John J. Huddart and built by contractor W.T. Wilkins of Florence.

Murchison School was an elementary and high school from 1902 to 1918, when Bennettsville High School was built next to it, and an elementary school from 1918 until it closed in 1989. The auditorium has hosted many civic events, club meetings, and theater productions. During World War II its balcony was renovated to house a dual library for this school and Bennettsville High after the high school burned. The balcony was later restored to its original appearance.


This school, built in 1928 and founded by the Marlboro Educational Society, was the first high school for black students in the county. It was accredited by the state as a four-year high school by 1939. An elementary and high school 1928-1956, it included students in grades 1-11 until 1948 and added grade 12 in 1949. It was an elementary school 1956-1972, then was a child development center for the school district until 1987.

The Colonial Revival school was designed by Bennettsville architect Henry Dudley Harrall (1878-1959). It was also called Marlboro County Training High School. Charles D. Wright, Sr., principal here from 1929 to his death in 1949, was its longest-serving principal, responsible for many advances in its curriculum. This building has housed a local non-profit community center since 1988.


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