South Carolina Picture Project
South Carolina Picture Project

Cateechee School — Cateechee, South Carolina

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Cateechee School

The village of Cateechee in Pickens County was established in the late nineteenth century by industrialist Colonel Daniel Keating Norris, namesake of the abutting town of Norris. A cotton planter from Anderson County, Norris built a cotton mill on Twelve Mile River, the first in Pickens County. The mill was called both Norris Mill and Cateechee Mill. This school educated the children of the mill village, which operated from the 1920s through the 1970s. Cateechee School closed sometime in the late 1970s.

Cateechee Schoolc

William H. Myers, III of Seneca, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The Cateechee community derives its name from a local legend of which there are many varieties. According to the story, a young Choctaw woman was held captive by Cherokee Indians who populated the region prior to the Revolutionary War. The woman, called Cateechee by the Cherokees, lived with her captors in the now-extinct village of Keowee (near Walhalla in Oconee County). Cateechee overheard the Cherokees’ plans to ambush a village of white settlers in the area now known as Ninety Six. One version of the story claims that one of the white settlers fated for the attack was her lover. Fearing for the settlers, Cateechee fled the village to warn them. She soon was pursued by the Cherokees, and to save herself, she pretended to jump to her death from a waterfall while actually hiding behind it. The Cherokees subsequently abandoned their pursuit, and Cateechee completed her journey to save the settlers from the impending attack. The story goes on to claim that the place name Ninety Six comes from this daring tale, as the distance between Keowee and Ninety Six is 96 miles.

Cateechee School Pickens County

Tammy Miller of Duncan, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The story may sound familiar. Issaqueena Falls in Mountain Rest is reputed to be the waterfalls that concealed the brave woman from her Cherokee pursuers. The falls also are named for her – Cateechee is the heroine’s Cherokee name, while Issaqueena is her name in Choctaw. Both names mean “deer head.”

Reflections on the Cateechee School

Contributor Tammy Miller shares: “I grew up in the Pickens and Oconee county area. I remember the mills, schools and stores from way back when. Combined with my love of local history, I spend free time wandering and taking photos of locations that speak of another time. I also take photos because treasures like these are falling down or being torn down and they’ll be gone forever. This way they will stay alive. It was a mild, beautiful day and I was simply wandering and looking for the old mill when I spotted the school. I wandered all the way around the outside. I’d love to get the opportunity to see the inside some day.”

Add your own reflections here.

Cateechee School Info

Address: North Street, Cateechee, SC 29630
GPS Coordinates: 34.771080,-82.771008

Cateechee School Map

Please Share Your Thoughts!

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7 Comments about Cateechee School

Cynthia Vaughn (Barrett) says:
March 20th, 2019 at 7:53 pm

I remember putting a time capsule at the flag pole! I wonder if it’s been dug up? Love going there to school!

Eric Perkins says:
March 7th, 2019 at 8:30 am

My grandparents grow up in Cateechee. I have a book that is very in-depth about the history of Cateechee, that my grandma gave me. It is the only record that I have of my great grandparents. It was interesting in the fact that it mentions my grandfather specifically. He would butcher hogs as a teen to make extra money for the family. All very interesting to me. Thanks.

SCIWAY says:
May 1st, 2017 at 4:35 pm

Hello John! We would recommend reaching out to the Pickens County School District to see if they have their old records on file. We would imagine they would, and if not, they would know where they would be. They may not be digitized, but it’s a great place to start. Their phone number is 864-397-1000.

John Sloan says:
May 1st, 2017 at 3:27 pm

Need records from school. Attended in either 49-50 or 50-51. Where would I request?

Tony Boggs says:
April 29th, 2017 at 3:06 pm

Would love to have some pictures of the old school too.

Tony Boggs says:
April 29th, 2017 at 3:04 pm

I went to this school from the 1st grade to the 6th grade in the 60s. Those were the best days of my life. This school always had great school. Back then you did not back talk cause if a teacher sent a note home, that meant trouble. So we knew better than to cut up in class and all. Sometimes a grade would practice a play for the whole school. I am 60 now and still remember the good times we had. It’s a shame that it has ran down like this now. There is a lot of memories in that old school of good times and hard learning.

Jimmy Allsep says:
May 16th, 2015 at 1:34 am

Yeah, I was there from 1944 until 1953. Remember Lila Tompkins, Ms. Montgomry, Mrs. Mullikin, Mrs. Alexander, and Mr. Glen Mullikin, the principal. Whew they whipped my ass lots of times.


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