The community of Cades in Williamsburg County is best known for being the birthplace of Governor Robert McNair, who served as South Carolina’s governor during the Orangeburg Massacre.
The Northeast Railroad laid tracks through the town in 1856, but it would be several more years before a depot was built as no train stopped in Cades at the time. When a post office was established in 1887, the town changed its name from Camp Ridge to Cades, and this depot was built to accommodate stops between Lake City and Kingstree.
The name Cades is said to have come from C. W. Cades, an early postmaster. It is also possible that it comes from the Arnette family. Vernal “Glenn” Arnette, III writes that Vernal Glenn Arnette owned the post office and depot. Vernal Glenn Arnette (1885–1974) is listed as a merchant in historic records, and he was the president of V.G. Arnette & Co, a local woodworking plant. His grandfather, who died in the Civil War, was Cade Arnette (1823–1864).*
Regardless of the name’s origin, the town charter for Cades was officially issued on March 4, 1904. At the time, Cades covered one square mile and had 190 residents. Cades is also the site of the old Cooper’s Academy, a private boarding school for black children.
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* Vernal “Glenn” Arnette, III also notes that Vernal Glenn Arnette’s home in Cades once caught fire. This first Vernal Glenn Arnette died without children, which is why we do not include Senior after his name.
Dorothy Glover says
My grandfather, D. J. Kirton, was station agent for ACL from the 1920s until he retired in the 1950s. Wikipedia has a photo of the depot in the 1930s with my grandfather on the platform. Can I get a copy of these photos Brandon Coffey has posted? Thank you.