An Exclamation Became a Name
The population of the whole country was sparse and mostly confined to the more fertile land bordering on the streams. About twenty-four years before the United States became a Nation the first party of white men found a home in this vicinity. Among them were George Storo and James McIllwaine. They encamped upon an eminence commanding a beautiful prospect. A valley stretched far in the distance. A grove of lofty trees concealed the meanderings of the stream that fertilized the extended plain. The rays of the declining sun lit up the vast amphitheater of tree tops waving gently in the breeze, overlooked now for the first time by the eyes of white men. One of the party, believed to have been James McIllwaine, looked abroad for a time over the rich scenery of the place and exclaimed: “That is a fair forest!” The party immediately gave the name to the place and it soon fastened upon the principal stream in the vicinity, hence the northeastern branch of the Tyger River has been called since those days Fairforest Creek, a bold and beautiful stream which, rising in the vicinity of the mountains, sweeps through the central part of the present districts of Spartanburg and Union. Fairforest was for a time the “ultima thule” of civilization. The poetry of its name and position attracted many a visitor and was a matter of intense discussion among the migratory tribes from the Delaware to the Catawba.