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Galivants Ferry — Galivants Ferry, South Carolina

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Galivants Ferry

Long an important river crossing, the community of Galivants Ferry on the Little Pee Dee River is named for Richard Gallevan, the man who was granted ferry rights in 1792. The community that developed around the ferry took its name. In 1852, J.W. Holliday leased 9,000 acres along the Waccamaw River and grew pine timber for the turpentine industry. When his business was destroyed during the Civil War, Holliday relocated to nearby Gallivants Ferry, a rural tobacco-farming community somewhat isolated in western Horry County.

Galivants Ferry Stump Sign

Benton Henry of Latta, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

There, Holliday opened a farm supply store along the Little Pee Dee. An innovator as well as a successful merchant and tobacco farmer, Holliday also developed the flue-curing method of drying tobacco. Flues can be seen in historic tobacco barns throughout the Pee Dee, including the Lake City Pole Barn. Though rich in agricultural history, Galivants Ferry is best known today as the site of the Galivants Ferry Stump, a biannual political rally for the Democratic Party faithful.

Gallivants Ferry Stump Marker

Benton Henry of Latta, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

During the 1876 gubernatorial election, General Wade Hampton delivered a speech at Galivants Ferry that helped propel him to the office of governor, though that year’s election is widely regarded as the most corrupt in South Carolina history. In 1880 Holliday invited candidates to return to the town and deliver their points from his store, and a tradition was born. The Galivants Ferry Stump remains an opportunity for locals to hear candidates speak, which they did while standing on a tree stump so they could be seen and heard by the crowd. This practice, common in our country’s early days, is the origin of what we now know as a “stump speech.”

Galivants Ferry Event

Benton Henry of Latta, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Candidates still come to Galivants Ferry, and locals gather along with prominent Democrats from the state and nation to hear the stump speeches. The event continues to be hosted by the Holliday family, which also operates Holliday Farms across the street. In 2006, Joe Biden was the keynote speaker for the event; other well-known “stumpers” include former governors and senators Fritz Hollings and Strom Thurmond. Modern candidates make their speeches from the porch of a country store, seen below. The store sits adjacent to an older store that dates to 1922.

Gallivants Ferry Stumping

Benton Henry of Latta, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Bucking the trend in which political events strive to employ the most up-to-the-minute media tools, the decidedly low-tech atmosphere at the Galivants Ferry Stump remains a blend of carnival and church picnic, complete with plenty of food, music, and balloons – plus lots of hand-shakin’, back-slappin’, and baby kissin’. When the speeches are over and the crowds have dispersed, Galivants Ferry goes back to being a rural farming community along the Little Pee Dee. The below photo was taken from a boat landing near the original ferry crossing at United States Highway 501.

Galivants Ferry, SC

Ben Lawson of Aynor, 2009 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Galivants Ferry Info

Address: US Highway 501, Galivants Ferry, SC 29544
GPS Coordinates: 34.056871,-79.248599

Galivants Ferry Map

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3 Comments about Galivants Ferry

SCIWAY says:
February 25th, 2015 at 2:12 pm

Hello, Keith! Yes, the community of Galivants Ferry is indeed in Horry County, as mentioned beneath the photo. However, this photo was taken from the Marion County access point. Sorry for the confusion!

Keith Edwards says:
February 25th, 2015 at 6:55 pm

Galivants Ferry, SC is NOT in Marion County, it is in Horry County, SC.

Harrison Ford says:
November 4th, 2013 at 11:10 am

I visited the boat landing this weekend and was wondering if it has a name. I was trying to look it up in SCDNR to monitor the tide, typical to the Big Pee Dee, but was unable to gather any info. So, if someone can give me this info, I would appreciate it. Lovely, peaceful area to fish and just sightsee.


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