The Piedmont Historical Society
Local History Records - W.Y. Dillard, Sr.
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- Image of Stone marked in 1567, Found in
Spartanburg County, SC, Its Description, And Interpretation
- "The Ironworks on
Lawson's Fork" by Jim S. Smith with appendices and endnotes
- Article from the March 22, 1936
issue of Greenville News:
Old Hammett Place
- Grave of
James Seay, Revolutionary Soldier is Marked By D.A.R.
W.Y. Dillard, Sr., the last of Union County's Confederate veterans
Testimony of William G. Bryant and Reuben Bryant
Taken by U.S. Congress Joint Select Committee to Inquire Into the
Condition of Affairs in the Late Insurrectionary States - South
The Autobiography of William T. Harvey.
Three Greenville County articles that missed the
November 2011 Quarterly
The Bechtler Coins and the Rutherford County, NC
Upper South Carolina Genealogy & History, Volume XXIV, No. 1 February
IMAGE OF STONE MARKED IN 1567 FOUND 1935
SPARTANBURG COUNTY, SC
Source: The Hispanic
American Review, Vol. 16. No. 3 (August, 1936), pp. 447-450
[Editor’s Note: This stone, now called
the Pardo Stone, is on display at the Spartanburg Science Center,
Chapman Cultural Center, 200 E. Saint John Street, Spartanburg, SC
DESCRIPTION OF STONE AND ITS
INTERPRETATION AS A RELIC FROM
PARDO’S EXPEDITION IN 1567
Hispanic American Review, Vol. 16. No. 3 (August, 1936), pp.
OF HISTORY AND ECONOMICS
November 5, 1935
Hispanic American Review :
In June, 1935,
there was turned up in the field of Mr. W. Bryson Hammett, three miles
west of Inman, S. C., R. F. D. 2, and twelve miles northwest of the
city of Spartanburg, S. C., a stone bearing marks that appear to be
records of Pardo’s expedition through South Carolina in 1567.
of the discovery were as follows, as related to me by Mr. Hammett, who
is a gentleman of keen intelligence and the highest integrity. He was
harvesting grain with a binder drawn by a tractor. The ground being
wet, the tractor skidded and dished out the ground to a depth of a
On driving the tractor
on the return along the other side of the terrace, where the skidding
had occurred, the tractor bogged. The binder was then detached, and a
stone was placed under the front end of its tongue while the tractor
was extricated. No one paid any attention to the stone, which had
merely served to support the end of the binder tongue.
About ten days
later, as Mr. Hammett was sowing peas on the same land, he picked up
the stone to remove it from the path of the oncoming tractor. He now
noticed that it bore peculiar markings, partly filled with the reddish
clay of the field. The clearness of the markings is doubtless due to
the fact that they had, until thus exposed, been protected
When, a few days
later, a gentleman connected with the federal soil service told me of
the find, I at once drove to Mr. Hammett’s, and found that he was
already intending to bring the stone to me. I refrained from giving
the matter to the local press, or even to its publication in any of
our larger city papers, for the reason that I preferred to avoid all
semblance of sensationalism by first announcing it through a
professional journal. But for the pressure of other historical
research closely engaging me, I would have done this earlier. It is
source of regret that the discovery was not made in time for use in my
History of South Carolina, which had come off the press only a few
The stone is
seventeen and a half inches long, twelve inches broad, and four to
five inches thick, and is of the same composition as many other stones
in the field, or that have been thrown out of it for facilitating
cultivation. It is what is locally called rotten granite, i.e.,
it appears to be of the composition of granite, but does not possess
granite hardness. The accompanying photograph [see above] shows the
injury done to the third digit by the tongue of the binder that was
laid upon it. In the figure 1567 (admitting that the third digit is
a 6), the arrow, and the parallelogram below the number remain
apparently as clearly defined as when first incised. To the right
there appear radiating lines somewhat injured, perhaps representing
the sun. Above the parallelogram and apparently also below it is a
line traversing the stone lengthwise, both of which appear to be part
of the original engraving. The other streaks may have been made by
harrows and other instruments scratching the stone long ago as it lay
below the surface of the ground. All the markings except the injury
to the figure bear the appearance of ancient earth coloring.
The third digit
looks more like a 6 than appears from the photograph for the reason that
the chipping off of the surface to the left of the injury (perfectly
plain on the stone, and extending practically to the top of the 5) is
hard to distinguish on the photograph.
On seeing the 1567
(admitting the third digit to be a 6), I of course thought of Pardo’s
expedition from the Spanish Fort San Felipe on Parris Island in the
harbor of Port Royal, South Carolina, to Cofitatchiqui (apparently
Silver Bluff on the South Carolina side of the Savannah River, about
fifteen miles southeast of Augusta), and thence northward to the
mountains, and thence far westward, and thence eastward to the Wateree,
and thence back to Port Royal. It has long been known from Spanish
records that Pardo in 1566, and again in 1567, traversed somewhere the
part of South Carolina between the upper Savannah and the Wateree.
Woodbury Lowery’s Spanish Settlement in the United States, 1562-1574,
narrates Pardo’s Expeditions, with references to the Spanish sources of
information. It is not impossible that Pardo’s route lay across
Spartanburg County, for the Cherokee path from their towns in
northwestern South Carolina to the Catawba towns on the Catawba River,
near the North Carolina-South Carolina line, as found by the English at
a later date, crossed Spartanburg County, apparently some miles to the
south of the point were this stone was found. The forests before the
white man arrived, were threaded with such paths. That Pardo was
following these paths appears likely from the fact that when in 1566,
his return to Port Royal (the Spanish Santa Elena) was desired, there
was no difficulty in getting a messenger to him.
I have consulted
several persons familiar with surveyors’ marks in this section, none of
whom knows of surveyors ever having employed such markings as are on
Pardo was in 1567
revisiting Ft. San Juan, which he had built in 1566 at Juada at the foot
of the Blue Ridge Mountains, apparently in Pickens or Oconee County, S.
C., some fifty miles west of the location of our stone. Our stone was
found some fifteen miles south of the mountains.
I do not attempt to
identify the parallelogram on the stone as a flag or a block house, nor
the long lines as paths, nor the arrow indicating the direction of Juada.
The engravings on the stone bears every mark of antiquity and
genuineness. The spot in one digit which one historical expert remarked
as showing up rather whiter than the rest of the clay-dyed surface is
where one of my colleagues in Wofford College (the president or the
dean) accompanying me on my first view of the stone scratched it with a
stick the better to examine the nature of the substance. The suggestion
that Mr. Hammett’s laborers may have placed the stone in the field as a
joke compliments the farm laborers of South Carolina with a familiarity
with Spanish-American history and its critical dates that unhappily they
do not possess. Mr. Hammett himself was entirely unacquainted with the
history of the Spaniards in South Carolina.
The French are
known to have followed the custom of burying leaden plates along their
routes as evidence of their claiming the region for their sovereign.
Pardo may have been more economical of effort in burying stones found on
Summing up what we
know and what we may conclude: The carvings, bearing all the appearance
of antiquity, could not have made by Indians ; for they did not use
Roman numerals. By whomever made, the carvings were made with a
definite purpose, and expressed the figure 1567 (if the third digit is a
6, for some definite reason. The other markings likewise are indicative
of definite purpose. If the stone is not a memorial of Pardo’s
expedition, known to have traversed about this region of South Carolina,
what reasonable explanation of it can be given ?
Respectfully, D. D. Wallace.
* * *