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Greenville in Greenville County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
Vardry McBee
(1775–1864)

— “Father of Greenville” —
 
Vardry McBee (1775-1864) Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Brian Scott, June 1, 2008
1. Vardry McBee (1775-1864) Marker
 
Inscription.
“A man should be prudent and careful, without seeming to be so, in character, information, propriety, friends, and money, and in everything, never neglecting his friends.” Vardry McBee, 1852.

Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, Industrialist.
In 1815, Vadry McBee purchased extensive properties in Greenville from Lemuel Alston. McBee accelerated industrial growth by establishing an iron works, a saddlery, tan yard, brick yard and a stone quarry, in addition to building two grist mills and a sawmill on the Reedy River. McBee’s gifts to Greenville included lands for its first churches and the establishment of Male and Female Academies. He was instrumential in moving Furman University of Greenville and in securing the area’s first railroad.

McBee’s Tithe.
McBee’s philanthropy included land grants to help propagate the town’s ealiest religious roots. It was on McBee property that Greenville’s first churches were constructed. In addition to the gift of land for the churches, McBee delivered $500 worth of lumber to each site from his saw mill on the Reedy River. This contribution became known as “McBee’s Title.”
 
Erected 2002 by Greenville County Historical Society.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the
 
Vardry McBee (1775-1864) Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Brian Scott, June 1, 2008
2. Vardry McBee (1775-1864) Marker
 
Markers Attached to Sculpture marker series.
 
Location. 34° 50.923′ N, 82° 23.982′ W. Marker is in Greenville, South Carolina, in Greenville County. Marker is at the intersection of South Main Street and East Court Street, on the left when traveling south on South Main Street. Click for map. The monument is located directly in front of the Old Record Building monument and across from the entrance to the Westin Poinsett Hotel in downtown Greenville, SC. Marker is in this post office area: Greenville SC 29601, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Old Record Building (here, next to this marker); Poinsett's Spring (a few steps from this marker); Joel Roberts Poinsett (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Joel Roberts Poinsett (within shouting distance of this marker); Chamber of Commerce Building (within shouting distance of this marker); South Carolina's First National Bank (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named South Carolina's First National Bank (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Spirit of Freedom (about 300 feet away); City of Greenville 9-11 Plaque (about 300 feet away); Greenville County Courthouse - The Willie Earle Lynching Trial (about 300 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Greenville.
 
Vardry McBee (1775-1864) Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Brian Scott, June 1, 2008
3. Vardry McBee (1775-1864) Marker
 

 
More about this marker. This statue and memorial is one of several located in downtown Greenville, honoring some of the famous people who called Greenville home.
 
Also see . . .
1. Vardry McBee. Vardry McBee is often called the "Father of Greenville". (Submitted on June 2, 2008.) 

2. Descendants of Vardry McBee. Planter, railroad official and promoter, and mill owner. (Submitted on December 6, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

3. Lemuel J. Alston. Lemuel James Alston (1760–1836) was a U.S. Representative from South Carolina. (Submitted on December 6, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 
 
Additional comments.
1. Vardry McBee
Vardry McBee was perhaps the most pivotal figure in the history of our city and Greenville County as a whole. thanks to his business acumen and impressive foresight for how the community could grow and prosper.

A product of the Carolina frontier, McBee was born in 1775 on the eve of the American Revolution, a conflict that would prove formative in his early years. Both his father and older brother fought with the Patriots, at King's Mountain and the Battle of Cowpens. McBee himself never fought for American independence, but instead used his considerable fortune to improve the lives of his fellow citizens, appropriating his land and fortunes to public projects.

McBee opened the first textile mill on the Reedy River, but he saw value in a diversified economy. In his private business life, that meant he owned two flour mills, a cotton factory, and wool and paper mills. Publicly, even as he approached his 80s, it led him to champion the construction of a railroad line that connected Columbia and Greenville. In 1853, this line became the first rail to serve the community, and it would eventually become a turning point in the economy of the town. (Source: G: The Magazine of Greenville, Jan/Feb 09, pg 66.)
 
Vardry McBee Statue Photo, Click for full size
By Brian Scott, June 1, 2008
4. Vardry McBee Statue
The markers are placed around the statue.
 
    — Submitted December 6, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.

2. McBee's Tithe
Vardry McBee, the father of Greenville, donated land and $500 worth of limber from his mill on the Reedy River to five congregations. This act was known as McBee's Tithe. These were the first five churches in downtown Greenville (and they contribute to Greenville's nickname: the Church City). The five churches are: First Baptist, First Presbyterian, Christ Church (Episcopal), St. Mary's Catholic, and Buncombe Street United Methodist.
    — Submitted December 6, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.

3. Lemuel James Alston (1760 - 1836)
Lemuel James Alston, a Representative from South Carolina; born in the eastern part of Granville (now Warren) County, N.C., in 1760; moved to South Carolina after the Revolutionary War and settled near Greens Mill, which soon became the town of Greenville; studied law; was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Greenville; member of the State house of representatives, 1789-1790; elected as a Republican to the Tenth and Eleventh Congresses (March 4, 1807-March 3, 1811); moved in 1816 to Clarke County, Ala., and settled near Grove Hill, where he presided over the orphans’ court and the county court from November 1816 until May 1821; died at “Alston Place,” Clarke County, Ala., in 1836. (Source: Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress.)
 
Vardry McBee Photo, Click for full size
By Stanley and Terrie Howard
5. Vardry McBee
Vardry McBee statue - The Sculptor for this project was T.J. Dixon of San Diego. The location is at Court Square on E. Court Street. He constructed 100 buildings in Greenville County and built a textile mill along the Reedy River. He gave land to five downtown churches, all of which gave $5,000 toward cost of the statue.
 
    — Submitted December 6, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.
 
Vardry McBee<br>June 19, 1775 - Jan. 23, 1864 Photo, Click for full size
By Brian Scott
6. Vardry McBee
June 19, 1775 - Jan. 23, 1864
 
 
Vardry and Jane McBee Tombstone Photo, Click for full size
By Brian Scott, December 24, 2008
7. Vardry and Jane McBee Tombstone
Our Father
Vardry McBee
Born 19 June 1776
Died 23 Jan 1854
----------
Our Mother
Jane McBee
Born 1 May 1783
Died 13 March 1864
 
 
Prospect Hill<br>Home of Vardry McBee Photo, Click for full size
By Brian Scott, circa 1900
8. Prospect Hill
Home of Vardry McBee
Prospect Hill was originally the home of Lemuel Alston, one of Greenville's earliest settlers. In 1815, Alston moved to Clarke County, Alabama, where he died in 1835. In 1836, McBee moved to Greenville from Lincolnton, North Carolina, and made Prospect Hill his home. He lived in the house until his death in 1864. The home was demolished in 1920.
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on June 2, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 3,378 times since then. Last updated on September 8, 2008, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on June 2, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   5. submitted on September 8, 2008, by Stanley and Terrie Howard of Greer, South Carolina.   6. submitted on December 6, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   7. submitted on January 11, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   8. submitted on April 13, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.
 
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