History & Culture

A Brief History of Ninety Six

Ninety Six National Historic Site is an area of unique historical and archeological significance. The unusual name was given by Charleston traders in the early 1700's because they thought it was the estimated remaining number of miles from here to the Cherokee village of Keowee in the upper South Carolina foothills.

By the mid-1700's, European colonists found it a favorable place to settle. During Ninety Six's early days, troubles with local Indians increased.In 1760, Cherokees twice attacked Fort Ninety Six, built for the settlers' protection. Located at the crossroads of twelve roads and paths, Ninety Six village reached its peak in the 1770's.This important backcountry town boasted a growing population, 12 houses, taverns and shops.At the newly constructed courthouse and jail, court cases were heard twice each year in April and November.

Ninety Six proved to be a strategic location in the Revolutionary War.The first land battle south of New England was fought here in 1775.Later in the war, Ninety Six figured prominently in the Southern Campaign of the American Revolution.In 1780, the British fortified the strategically important frontier town. From May 22 - June 18, 1781 Major General Nathanael Greene with 1,000 patriot troops staged the longest field siege of the Revolutionary War against 550 loyalists who were defending Ninety Six. The earthen Star Fort remains as one of the best preserved examples of an original 18th century fortification.


Researching Ninety Six or the Southern Campaign of the Revolution?

Here's a short list of research items that might help. Many of the books are available through Eastern National.

Last updated: May 18, 2016

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Mailing Address:

Ninety Six National Historic Site
1103 Hwy 248

Ninety Six, SC 29666


(864) 543-4068

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