The road to ninety-six

Study a map of South Carolina to find a city in the western part of that state called “Ninety-Six.” I grew up in the state and heard that the city was named for being ninety-six miles from the state capital (Columbia). That was not true. Search online for a variety of explanations. One of them is that the topography of that area supported nine streams that ran from east to west and six streams that ran from north to south. I think this explanation is also suspect.

There appears to be some elevation to Ninety-Six, but there is no indication that the topography is high enough to support the flow of water in different directions, plus I cannot find any indication that Ninety-Six has so many individual natural springs generating these streams. . Supposedly, the name stuck to the early 18th century, which is why a frontier man would have named it. A trading post is mentioned, and it seems that whoever listed the first trading post there could have given the name.

Search the web for “Cherokee Path” to learn that the native Cherokee had a society that spanned several southern states of the US, that they had cities, and that these cities supported communication and commerce through a series of trails pedestrian. One such trail radiated south from the Cherokee town of Keowee, in the highlands of South Carolina. Guess what? Keowee is ninety-six miles northwest. The trail was heavily traveled by Cherokee people who brought hides to exchange for mainly metal tools and weapons.

Probably one or more of today’s rural state highways between Ninety-Six and Keowee are on the trail. Part of State Highway 11 near Seneca, South Carolina, is known to be built on another such road leading out of Keowee. The Cherokee could not have imagined how forgotten their once prosperous nation could be; how lost their names and achievements are among the people of the future who will live in the region. This bothers me, for some reason, wondering if these people mattered or if their story has been defamed. However, I am grateful to be alive to have that opinion.

In the Christian Bible, search the web for 1 Thessalonians 5:18. The apostle Paul wrote the verse in a letter to members of the early Christian church in Thessalonica, around AD 52 (52 years after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ). This verse comforts me, because it supports the foundation of Christianity, that God has a plan for each of us and wants us to know it. The only question is: Do we recognize him as our God, pray to him, and seek his grace to help us understand our path through human life? I think he knows our history, he is very interested in our path and walks with us at every step, always wanting us to perceive that he is there.

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