I remember very clearly back about three years ago when Bob and I were exploring this area for the first time. It was afternoon and we had been driving all day and were coming down out of the mountains and saw a sign for Travelers Rest. I assumed it was a state road side rest stop like we had often seen in our travels. These rest stops are large and well marked. I looked and looked and couldn’t find it and I said to Bob “I don’t know how we missed this rest stop.” It wasn’t until much later that I realized Travelers Rest was a town and not a rest stop. Little did I know that we had just driven by our future home town.
Bob and I attended the Travelers Rest Fall Festival and bicentianl celebration on Saturday. Travelers Rest stretches to the NC border.
From the Travelers Rest Web Site
Where the travelers rested
In the early 1800’s, settlers in Conestoga wagons (large covered wagons pulled by four to six horses) were passing through what was to become Travelers Rest, South Carolina in increasing numbers and roads were becoming more common. “Drovers” herded horses, mules, cattle, sheep, and hogs from Kentucky and Tennessee to markets in South Carolina.1
(Fay comment from information in the Greenville paper: Drovers came from NC, Tennessee and Kentucky and brought cattle, pigs, horses and wild turkeys. Led by drovers down the mountain trails … they could travel, depending on the animal, anwhere from 5 (for turkeys) to 10 (for pigs) miles a day. I have to honestly say I never thought about how fast a wild turkey walked!)All these travelers needed places to rest along their long journeys and stores and taverns sprouted up to meet their needs. One of these spots was north of the modern day Travelers Rest, on what is now highway 25, where a Mr. and Mrs. William Bishop operated an inn where the drovers could sleep indoors while their animals were kept in a nearby pen. Stopovers such as this gave rise to the colorful, if not too imaginative, name of Travelers Rest.
If once is good, twice must be better
Travelers Rest has the notable distinction of achieving incorporation as a city twice in its history (1891 and 1959). Although records are a bit limited on the subject, residents of Travelers Rest did, in fact, apply to the state government in 1891 to be incorporated as a bona fide governmental entity.3 The following act from December 23, 1891 is on file in the Columbia statehouse, incorporating Travelers Rest for a period of thirty years:
Statutes of South Carolina Vol. XX, pages 1373-74
An Act to Incorporate the Town of Travelers Rest in Greenville County
Section 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of South Carolina, now met and sitting in General Assembly, and by authority of the same, That (sic) all citizens of the United States who now are, or who may hereafter be, inhabitants of the town of Traveler’s (sic) Rest, in Greenville County, shall be deemed, and are hereby declared to be, a body politic and corporate; and that said town shall be known by the name of Traveler’s (sic) Rest, and the limits shall extend one-half mile in every direction from a point midway between the two depots of the Carolina, Knoxville, and Western Railway company, so that the limits shall form a circle.4
In 1959, the 2500 residents of Travelers Rest held an election and sent a request to the Secretary of State, O. Frank Thornton, petitioning for a second incorporation. Mr. Lehman Moseley received the following letter:
“We do have information that Travelers Rest was incorporated by a special act December 23, 1891, for a period of 30 years. The time ran out and insofar as our records show, there is nothing to prevent the incorporation of a town using the name Travelers Rest.