City Directories and History: The central figure in the Dutch Fork School of Writers, O.B. Mayer (1818-1891) sets most of his fiction in the Dutch (Deutsch the place names enthusiast, Mayer does not fail to particularize his settings. His close descriptions of the Dutch Fork landscape show much care, so much, in fact, that a fairly complete map of his area of the Fork can be sketched. ) Fork area of his childhood and early manhood. As a student of the oral folk tradition, he likewise learned about his locale in the time of his parents and grandparents and creates a very real picture of the earliest days of the German settlement in the eighteenth century. Particularly for the period 1800- 1850; he depicts customs, manners, dialect, superstitions, and character in great detail, and presents all the minutiae necessary for the creation of a believable portrait of everyday life in the community. Fortunately for the place names enthusiast, Mayer does not fail to par-ticularize his settings. His close descriptions of the Dutch Fork landscape show much care, so much, in fact, that a fairly complete map of his area of the Fork can be sketched.
Mayer reminds one of an elder Thomas Hardy, basing his stories in a remote area which becomes a fictional world set off from the rush of the madding crowd. Unlike Hardy, however, Mayer uses no fictional place names (or reverts to no archaic ones). The Dutch Fork is simply not as ancient as Wessex; but Mayer has a sufficiently long past with which to deal, a past rich with lore from the oral tradition that takes him back to a time before the white man came to settle there. A few of his place names are of Indian origin, but these were currently in use at the time Mayer appropriated them. Neither is Mayer’s world as large in miles as Wessex. The bounds of the Fork community are small indeed, so small that Mayer can make a big issue out of a particular wheatfield, Crim’s Creek ford, Folk’s red clay hill, Buzzard’s Lane, or specific mile posts on the old Buncombe Road. A small natural feature such as Cohee’s Shoals can even become the central focus and symbol of several works. The creeks, shoals, lanes, hills, and fields of his neighborhood, down to the specific trees he recalls on or by them, are often closely described. What a marvelous roadmap he provides the reader! Or better, what a fine Flemish painting accurate to the smallest detail! Mayer’s Dutch Fork is thus delineated on a much smaller scale than Hardy’s Wessex Country; yet Mayer’s interest in character prevents* the work from being of too local an interest. This fact is important in considering Mayer’s status as a writer, but is not the central concern here. What follows is simply a listing of the primary features in Mayer’s landscape keyed to a map of the Fork. Each place name is followed by the source, or sources, in Mayer’s canon where that name is found. In order to facilitate the reader in locating Mayer’s canon, a bibliography of his works containing these place names concludes the article.
O.B. Mayer Birthplace. “Where I was born, and where I passed much of my early life,” says Mayer. It was the home of his grandmother, Eve Margaret Summer Mayer (1775-?), who was the daughter of Johannes Adam Summer, Jr. (1744-1809), and the wife of Johannes Benedict Mayer (1761-1817). Nearby was Cohee’s Shoal (Number 5) that “had often quieted me to sleep in my grandmother’s lap, downstairs in the retired back piazza.” One- quarter mile up the River Road (Number 25) was Granny Summer’s cabin (Number 2), up a stretch of road “where peach trees made an avenue.” The house is described at length and two tales are told of Carolus Kahlkopf’s and the au-thor’s own encounter with its resident poltergeist, in The Dutch Fork. On the property was a lumber house, where Mayer saw flax breakers and other tools of the old days. See: “A Stroll in Dutch Fork,” pp. 103-104; The Dutch Fork, pp. 24, 68, 78-82.
Granny Summer’s. Home of Catherine Chapman Summer, daughter of Abram and Anna Elizabeth Chapman and widow of George Adam Summer, Sr. (1760-1833). Granny Summer is a character who practices using, or healing by incantation, in John Punterick and The Dutch Fork. Her dwelling stood “about a hundred yards from the main road. According to the usage in this part of the country, a lane — and in this instance a very broad one — led from the main road up a slightly rising ground to the front yard, into which a large gate opened into a cross fence.” In the 1820’s, it was “a sombre house decaying from age squatting almost flat upon the ground with two shed rooms in front, and a narrow open space between to serve for a piazza. Such was likewise the arrangement in the rear, looking towards Broad River. In the narrow front piazza she sat most of her time upon a split-bottomed chair worn low, her spectacles lifted above her brows on her forehead, and looking down the short, broad lane towards the main road — as though expecting visitors.” Mayer also describes a wedding held there in the old days and the ruins of-the house in 1873. See: John Punterick, pp. 104,135; The Dutch Fork, pp. 81-90; “A Stroll in Dutch Fork,” pp. 100- 101
Jacob Lohner’s Store. Located one-half mile from Cohee’s Shoals (Number 5) on the Lexington County side of Broad River. This Jacob Lohner was also possibly the overseer of Mayer’s grandmother’s farm on the Broad River in the 1820’s. See: John Punterick, P. 74
Fritz’s. The home of the primary narrator of John Punterick
Cohee’s Shoals. Also known later as Summer’s Shoals. Mayer was born and raised within the hearing of these waters (see Number 1) and recalled that they “provided some of my fondest memories.” Mayer located the Shoals as on Broad River midway between the points where Cannon’s and Crim’s Creeks empty into the river. He describes the flight of many blue herons to nest at the Shoals. Cohee’s Hill (Number 6) stands adjacent. After St. John’s Church, it is the place name which Mayer uses most often. Mayer gives as its derivation the Indian word. Cohoes, meaning “a fall of water.” Today, it is the site of Parr Shoals Dam. See: John Punterick, pp. 22, 49; The Dutch Fork, pp. 17, 23, 80; “The Easter Eggs (1848 and 1891 versions).
Cohee’s Hill. A steep hill overlooking Cohee’s Shoals (Number 5) on the west side of Broad River. It is the setting of “The Easter Eggs” in 1830 and is described at length: “Irregular masses of coarse granite, projecting from the river side of Cohee’s Hill,convert its declivity into a precipice beautifully picturesque, and commanding a lovely view of Summer’s Shoals … The oak forest which once covered it. . . has long been shored from the sides and summit. The curious eye can to this day  detect the traces of corn rows running to wards the bank of the river; but since the last harvest merry-making, all vestiges of farm buildings have been swept away,” and are now replaced by large cedars. Mayer continues that in his youth there was a river boatman’s camp on the Fairfield side across from the Hill. See: “The Easter Eggs” (1848 and 1981 versions).
Lakin’s Mill. Mayer locates this mill at two places. In “The Easter Eggs” (1848) it is said to be on the Fairfield County side of Broad River between Hampton’s (Number 9) and Pearson’s Islands. In The Dutch Fork, it is three-quarters of a mile below Cohee’s Shoals (Number 6) and one mile above Peak (Number 14). John Adam Summer, Sr., is said to have taken possession of this “mill- seat.” In “The Easter Eggs” (1891), Mayer renames Lakin’s Mill, Parr’s Mill; and Pearson’s Island becomes Lakin’s Island. “Before the age of innovations,” Mayer writes, its “old wooden water-wheel was wont to turn incessantly on its gudgeons, glittering in the noonday sun like silver and in the evening sun like gold” as seen from Cohee’s Hill nearly a mile distant. See: John Punterick p. 75, The Dutch Fork, p. 23; “The Easter Eggs” (1848 and 1891 versions).
Jehosaphat’s Pond. A pool in Broad River near Cohee’s Shoals (Number 5) “about thirty paces” from the Lexington bank. It was named for Je- hosaphat Kunkel, whose favorite fishing place it was. The name was still current in the 1850’s. See John Punterick, p. 73.
Hampton’s Island. An island nearly touching Pearson’s (later Lakin’s) Island in Broad River. Mayer writes that in the eighteenth century, a Hampton built a house, “part of which is still standing [in 1886], on the road from Columbia to Union Court-house, a mile and a half above Alston, where the Greenville and Columbia Railroad crosses Broad River. Until within the last forty years the house, now in the rear of the new building erected by the late George A. Eichelberger, and at present occupied by Mr. Wessinger, was known as the Hampton house; and the island, which is seen a short distance above the railroad bridge, was called Hampton’s Island.” This original Hampton was the friend of the Revolutionary soldier Manning in “The Two Marksmen of Ruff’s Mountain.” See: “The Easter Eggs” and “The Two Marksmen.”
Mayer’s Mill. Earlier known as Summer’s Mill. The positioning of its trace is discussed by characters in John Punterick. It is said to be below Cohee’s Shoals (Number 5) on Broad River at Cohee’s Hill.
Crim(m)’s Creek Ford. There are two fords of this name in Mayer, one on Crim’s Creek on the River Road (Number 25) by Stoudenmyer’s Hill (Number 13), the other on Crim’s Creek on the Old State Road (Number 26) above Buzzard’s pp. 26, 27, 49, 74. See: “Snip. A Tale” and “Little Dassie.”
Wheatfield. In the 1790’s, situated “on the left of the road … on the top of Stoudenmyer’s hill” (Number 13). This is the site of the famous reaping scene in John Punterick which produces immediate marriages for fourteen reapers and binders. The field is said to be grown up in pines in 1846.
Stoudenmyer’s Hill or Stoudemayer’s Hill. “The gentle, winding ascent” and “knobby acclivity” on the River Road (Number 25). Mayer writes, “From the foot of Stoudemayer’s Hill to Crim’s Creek ford, distance of three hundred yards, the road is perfectly level, but on account of the allusion deposited by the back water of Broad River, it is sometimes almost impassible, particularly at the ford of the Creek. A dense forest extends from the road to the river bank” of oak, dogwood, holly, and poplar. Mayer .spelled the name both Stoudenmyer and Stoudemayer. This place name is the setting of “Snip. A Tale” in which a wagon gets mired to its body in 1838.
Peak. Sometimes called Peak’s Station. Established around 1853 when the Columbia-Greenville branch of Southern Railway crossed Broad River there. Mayer only mentions it in passing as a point of reference.
The Wizard Gunsmith’s. Called Aberhot Kosel- hantz in Mayer’s story of the same’name, and modelled after the actual wizard, Hans Adam Setzler. As Mayer relates, when he was a child, Mrs. Ommee Lohner narrated to him “the story of ‘Old Setzler,’ the gunsmith . . . which in after years formed the basis of a story.” He lived “not very far from what is now Hughey’s Ferry (Number 37), but then was Shirer’s (in Tarleton’s time).” From the directions the horses take at the story’s end, he lived near Cannon’s Creek and Hope. Mayer considered Hans, Sr., who came from Erbach, Germany in 1765, the wizard. A gravemarker at St. John’s church, however, calls John Adam, Jr., the real wizard gunsmith. He had, among other powers, the ability to arrest motion.
John Punterick’s. His house stood one mile off the River Road (Number 25). Cannon’s Creek was part of the boundary of his land and there were three hundred acres of forest between his house and the creek. The “short triangular lane” that led to Punterick’s gate and rail fence was called Punterick’s Lane. An invaluable chapter length description of this typical “Old-time Dutch Fork Domicile,” complete with a description of its outbuildings, appears in John Punterick. A small section of this description relates that the original log house afterwards became the kitchen when the newly-marrieds became more prosperous. The original cabin “contained but a single apartment, one end of which was nearly all taken up by the fireplace; and at the other stood Punterick’s bed in the right hand corner, while in the opposite corner, scarcely four feet distant, was the bed for the friend or stranger who might share his hospitality for the night. The new house was more commodious. It consisted of a large hall with a fireplace quite capacious, though not so large as the one already described which answered the double purpose of cooking meals and warming the family. Four spinning wheels were, during the day, pushed back against the walls . . . but, after supper or in rainy weather, arranged before the fire-place to spin into thread the cotton which a selected number of females carded into rolls. Two beds were placed in this hall — one for Punterick and his wife and the other for the smaller children. This explains the allusion of Jehosaphat Kunkel to the old folks ‘bein’ fast ashleep in de pack part of de room.’ The bedsteads were very different from the modern styles . . . The old pattern was generally painted blue . . . Around the hall were shed-rooms for the grown-up girls, and above under the shingles was one large rough apartment, in which the boys slept, and which was accessible by means of a ladder. Fronting the kitchen or old house was a short piazza taking up a little more than one half of that side of the house, — the remaining portion being converted into a room, in which was placed the loom.” The massive chimney was built of unhewn rocks.
Adam Mayer Homeplace. The farm of Mayer’s father, Adam Mayer (1797-1834), located near what was to become Hope Station (Number 18). See: “A Stroll in Dutch Fork,” p. 100.
Hope’s or Hope Station. A stop on the Southern Railway (1853), Mayer writes that Hope’s was “formerly Mayer’s” and describes the countryside in 1873.
Christian Stoudenmyer’s. The homeplace of a character John Punterick, inlocated one-quarter mile across the road from the famous wheat fields (Number 12) and on the right hand of the public road leading up Stoudenmyer’s Hill (Number 13). The main house had a “low peeping piazzo with its permanent benches fronting towards the road; the capacious hall in which was the stationary dinner-table, and into which opened the sleeping apartments; and the shady back porch, between the shed-rooms, looking down upon the brook, that still flows from the spring.”
St. John’s Church. Considered by Mayer as the center of the Dutch Fork, this Lutheran church began in a log cabin around 1754 as St. Johannes Kirke. Its church buildings, school, cemetery, lanes, and virgin oak forest are described in detail and often provide settings for his works. the church building is called the White Church, referring to the whitewashed structure erected 1808-1809, still known locally by this name. This is the church Mayer attended as a lad. See: John Punterick, p. 19 (on ‘‘raising the tune” and shape-note singing), pp. 55-56 (on the church- school), p. 61 (on the argument over whether or not to place a steeple).
Church Road. A “county road” which connected the River Road (Number 25) with the Old State Road (Number 26) and passed by St. John’s Church. “A Road for the accommodation of the neighborhood, — not so public as to induce sufficient travel to wear it into irregularities, but enough to keep it conspicuous, — runs across the Dutch Fork from one main thoroughfare to another …. On both sides are quiet farm-houses rapidly succeeding one another. The ears of the wayfarer are ever attentive to the sharp din of poultry, the subdued lowing of distant cattle, and the careless whistle of plough boys. A marginal notation in Mayer’s hymnbook reads: “Seated upon a bolster, I rode behind my mother every other Sunday, to go to St. John’s My mother, Polly Mayer, a fine singer, sang her favorite hymn (as we rode) stopping only when the gleams of St. John’s appeared through the trees.”
Pomaria Plantation. The seat of the Summer family and birthplace of Mayer’s relatives and close friends, William, Henry, Thomas J., and Adam G. Summer, situated two miles east of the present town of Pomaria. The name means orchards, a feature which surrounded the house on three sides: five hundred pear trees across the State Road, five hundred peaches and plums on the house’s west side, 500 apples on the east side. The plantation house which serves as the setting of John Punterick is the third on the site and was erected in 1825. Beyond the pear trees, at a distance of three hundred yards from the dwelling, rose fifteen acres of virgin oak forest preserved by the Summers in Mayer’s day. Pomaria was also the site and name for the most important Southern nursery of its time, and one of the finest in the nation. Its first catalogue was issued in 1840; its last in 1878. The nursery, under the leadership of William Summer and the European horticulturists he brought there, specialized in fruit trees and rare native and exotic ornamental shrubs and trees.
Dr. George Koon’s. His “little house stood . . . above the Pomaria residence (Number 22), at the twenty-eighth mile-stone.” Mayer gave the distance between the two homes variously as “a few hundred yards” and “a half mile.” Koon (ca. 1770- 1850) was an amateur physician who practiced folk cures brought by the old settlers from Germany. He also cultivated a cotton farm of about ten acres. He appears as a character in both John Punterick and The Dutch Fork.
Dr. Hennry F. Schmitz’s. The home of the famous doctor (?-1826), whose skills had by 1860 become legendary to “every adult person now in the Dutch Fork.” His potent “Obsolutely, dat is shust so” had convinced everyone of the infallibility of his opinion. Some Dutch Fork folk feared he had “power to cast spells” and “was on terms of intimacy with the Devil.” His house appears on Mills’
Atlas of 1825 as the home of “DR. SMYTZ.” Schmitz (as Doctor Schmitt) is an important character in John Punterick and also appears in The Dutch Fork, 32. p.
Ravenscroft Plantation. The plantation and nursery of Adam Geiselhardt Summer (1818-1866), Mayer’s good friend and fellow humorous author of the Dutch Fork School. A descendent describes the plantation thus: “As a child, I heard a great deal about Ravenscroft, its perfection, its beautiful flower gardens, well tilled fields, orchards, and prize animals and fowls.” The nursery is the setting of the second section of “Little Dassie,” which see.
Spring Hill. Community at the foot of the Stone Hills (Number 30) on the State Road where lived the families Busby, Veal, Eleazer, and Boyd. It was the site of Summer’s “Ravenscroft”
Dave’s Cabin. Home of Dave and Nance, primary characters of “Little Dassie,” set in 1842. The cabin “was built of pine logs, aqd consisted of one apart-ment. The entire end… to the left of the door seemed … to be appropriated to a vast fire place, in which … were seated two ancient women, rocking to and fro on low split-bottomed chairs. Their faces were concealed in hood-shaped, homespun bonnets.” See: “Little Dassie.”
Stone Hills. A band of hilly, rocky soil running east to west across northern Richland and Lexington Counties and southern Newberry County. Its name is preserved in the Stoney Hill community of Newberry County, sometimes called Stockman, or St. Luke’s community. See: “The Two Marksmen”;
Ruff’s Mountain. Actually three small mountains rising as a prominent landmark about three miles from Pomaria and visible from there. Known today as Little Mountain, it is the setting of Mayer’s story, “The Two Marksmen of Ruff’s Mountain.” Mayer writes: “Ruff’s Mountain is singular because, suddenly rising four hundred feet or more above the jabbering stream at its base, it stands on the line dividing the undulating stone-hills from the level pine-woods.” It was named for Henry Ruff; and Mayer tells the story of Faustus Wolfram of Saxony, a miner in the Hariz Mountains, who came there in the eighteenth century to find gold. Sec: “The Two Marksmen”;
Hawberman’s Cabin. The cabin of Walter Hawberman built before 1781 near the mill on the stream at the base of the north side of Ruff’s Mountain (Number 32). Mayer recalls in 1886 that “many years ago” he visited “the remains of an ancient dwelling constructed of hewn oaken logs. It had but one chamber, and that was perfectly square. Two doors opened into this room from opposite sides, and there had been a small window facing the capacious fire-place.” See: “The Two Marksmen.”
Buzzard’s Lane. Named for the Buzzard (or Buz- hardt) family; a stretch of road notorious in wagoning days. Wagons were known to mire up to the body in it. Buzzard’s Lane was a “clay-packed acclivity” above the “level stretch of squashy sand” of Crim’s Creek ford. Mayer calls Buzzard’s Lane and Stoudenmyer’s Hill (Number 13) “the Scylla and Charybdisof the Newberry and Union Roads.”
Folk’s Hill. Pronounced “fulks.” The Old State Road (Number 26) mounted the long red hill of this name near present-day Pomaria. It was said that if a wagon could move up this incline, it could take any hill on the route. The name derives from the French Huguenot family, Foulque, who fled to Germany before coming to the Dutch Fork in the mid-1700’s.
Ruff’s Ferry. Shirer’s or Bierly’s Ferry (established by Martin Shirer in 1770), was later called Ruff’s Ferry in the early 1800’s and Hughey’s Ferry in the second half of the century. Tarleton’s men cross here to terrorize the Koselhantz family in Mayer’s story “Aberhot Koselhantz.”
Ashford’s Ferry. Considered by Mayer to be the northernmost boundary of the Dutch Fork.
Maybinton. A community named after the Maybin family in extreme northeast Newberry County. It had a post office as early as 1829. It was very wealthy cotton country before the War of Secession. According to Mayer, many German settlers lived there; and close ties with the Fork made it like a small colony.
Stewart’s Lane; English’s Lane. English’s Lane was a two-mile lane near Cannon’s Creek Bridge (Number 36) in 1838; Stewart’s Lane was a “hard red road” near Mayer’s boyhood home in 1838. See: “Snip. A Tale.”
Kubler’s Mills. Although this place name is not mentioned in Mayer’s canon, I have yielded to the temptation to include it because it was the site of my ancestor’s mills incorrectly spelled as Keible’s Mills in the 1820 map in Robert Mills’s Atlas of 1825. James E. Kibler, Jr.
(Information from: Names in South Carolina by C.H. Neuffer, Published by the S.C. Dept. of English, USC)
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