South Carolina Education - McCormick County

Year County Established

County Webpage Herein

County Seat Webpage Herein


McCormick County


Dr. John De La Howe, a French physician, came to South Carolina in 1764 and settled in the New Bordeaux community by the 1780s. His will left most of his estate, including Lethe Plantation, to the Agricultural Society of South Carolina to establish a home and school for underprivileged children. The Lethe Agricultural Seminary was founded here after De La Howe's death in 1797. Initially restricted

to 24 boys and girls from what was then Abbeville County, with preference given to orphans, the school emphasized manual training, or instruction in operating a self-sufficient farm. In 1918 it was turned over to the State of South Carolina, opened to children from every county in the state, and renamed John De La Howe School. It is now a group child care agency serving over 200 students a year.

[Note - this school was opened in Abbeville County. In 1916, this school was then in the newly-created McCormick County, where the above marker is.]

Two miles southwest is the site of the famous classical academy which was established in 1804 by Rev. Moses Waddel, D.D., one of the greatest educators of his day. Here from 1804-1819 he taught hundreds of ambitious boys of great potentiality who became some of the South's most notable men. Their record is his greatest monument.

[Note - this academy only existed when this location was in the Abbeville District. It was long gone by the time that McCormick County was established.]


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