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The History of Elgin

 

    Elgin was once known as Blaney and it is located in central South Carolina. It is 24 miles north of the capital, which is Columbia.

    L.B. Nelson was born in Blaney on March 31, 1894. She told how Blaney was at first called Jeffers because of Mr. Jeffers (her father) had the post office in his house. From the record of appointment of post masters from the Camden Archives, our town was called Jeffers as early as 1832.  He was postmaster and a mail carrier there. To deliver mail he had to ride his horse as far north as Killian and as far south as English.  

    Lindsay Guy built a store in Blaney and the post office was moved there. This is when Mrs. Nelsonís Uncle Jesse became postmaster. Several people built stores like Mrs. Nelsonís father. Her father went to Camden and Columbia to buy things for his store.

    Union Church was the second Baptist Church between Blaney and Columbia and it was beside the Seaboard Railroad. Most members came from Harmony Baptist Church, which was built in 1840.

    The Seaboard Railroad livened up the small community. Mrs. Nelson remembered when the railroad came through and all the tents would be set up near her house and the coffee mill beside their house, where the workers ground their coffee. They drew water from her familyís well and ate food from her fatherís little place he had set up. Then workers would build their section houses and  their depots. Everything ordered would come by train. As a child going to school Mrs. Nelson had to wait for trains that would stop to unload materials and load farm goods that were to be sold. She would be late for school sometimes and would crawl under the stopped train.

    Funerals were different back then and were often very short. They were short because back then there wasnít very much transportation so some  people couldn't get there. They often just used markers and stones for gravesites.

    Change came slow. For quite a while water came from the community well. Roads were not paved for a long time and people had to drive on the sandy roads which made driving difficult.

    The name of the town was changed from Jeffers to Blaney in honor of a man connected with the Seaboard Railroad. Mrs. Nelson said she remembered him being at Blaney. Again in the 1960ís the name was changed from Blaney to Elgin. It was changed to Elgin because of the Elgin Watch Company that came to Blaney, but the company  soon moved away. The company employed about 240 workers and was approximately 70,000 square feet. Mrs. Nelson thought the change was unnecessary because it had been Blaney ever since she could remember, and it was uncalled for. Changing the name of the town is still something of an issue among Elgin residents, many of whom would prefer being Blaney residents. Despite the fact that it took a majority vote to make the name of Elgin a permanent one, this is one of those nagging issues that refuses to die. Out of the people that could  vote 61 voted to change it and 16 were against it.

    Reminders of the old name remain in Blaney Elementary School, Blaney Baptist Church, and Blaney Dragstrip.