"P" is for Purrysburg

May 24, 2019

Credit SC Public Radio

"P" is for Purrysburg (Jasper County). The town of Purrysburg, located on the Savannah River was named for its founder, Jean-Pierre Purry, a native of Switzerland. The Carolina township plan, initiated in 1731, encouraged the immigration of Protestant settlers—who, it was hoped would develop the lucrative production of silk, wine, and indigo. In 1732 and 1733, possibly three hundred French-Swiss and German –Swiss colonists—under Purry’s guidance— settled the 18,000 acres township promised by the colonial government. Although the Swiss settlement experienced some degree of economic success, at least in terms of silk production, the inhospitable terrain and severe climate, encroachment by British settlers, bickering between French and German-speaking settlers—and most importantly, the relocation of many enterprising Purrysburgers to Charleston and Savannah condemned Purrysburg to remaining a marginal southern frontier town.