The Swamp Fox Murals Trail Society recently celebrated 10 years of its existence, in which a total of 17 murals were painted in Manning, Summerton, Turbeville and Paxville. Most of the murals celebrate the infamous Revolutionary hero, Brigadier General Francis Marion, better known as the “Swamp Fox.”
The society and murals were an idea started by George and Carol Summers 12 years ago, while serving on the Clarendon County’s Chamber of Commerce’s county promotions committee. They were looking for something to display to tourists once they had made a stop in Clarendon County.
The Summers had heard about small towns in other states that had seen their tourism increase after murals were painted there. They wanted to bring the same concept to Clarendon, and use the rich history here to promote the county.
“If you can get people off Interstate-95 and get them to stop in our county this is a great attraction to them,” George Summers said.
Coming up with a theme wasn’t too difficult for the Summers. Marion, for whom Lake Marion is named for, was an obvious choice. Marion fought numerous battles in Clarendon County surprising the British with guerrilla warfare tactics, including the Battle of Wyboo, siege of Fort Watson (a.k.a. the Santee Indian Mound), and the Pursuit of Ox Swamp.
It was at this last battle that British General Sir Banastre Tarleton gave up the chase for Marion after pursuing him through miles of Clarendon swamps, and said “as for the old fox, the devil himself could not catch him.”
After proposing the plan to the chamber, the Summers formed the Swamp Fox Murals Trail Society, a non-profit organization, and began looking for artists to do the first murals.
More than half a dozen artists have worked on the 17 projects throughout the county in the last 10 years. Terry Smith has painted seven of the murals throughout the county. Others included Will Anderson, Liz and Adam Williams, Donna VanWynsberghe, Bob Barinowski, Dayton and Sandy Wodrich and the Williams Family.
The murals depict different battle scenes from the Revolutionary War, as well as different life scenes from the Revolutionary period, ranging in size from 8 by 12 feet, to 14 by 112 feet.
The Swamp Fox Murals Trail Society honors General Francis Marion Memorial Day in mid-February every year, by hosting the Francis Marion Living History Days at Camp Bob Cooper. The event includes historical reenactments of the Revolutionary period. This years’ event will be held on Feb. 23-25 for all third-graders in Clarendon County, and surrounding counties.
For more information on historical murals or the Francis Marion Living History Days, visit www.clarendonmurals.com and www.francismarioncountry.com. For further information contact George or Carole Summers at 478-2645 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Guided maps for the murals throughout the county can be picked up at the Clarendon County Chamber of Commerce and the Clarendon County Archives. Businesses throughout the county that are displaying the maps include: Shoney's, Manning Restaurant, D & H, Manning Wine & Spirits, Summerton Days Inn, Brown's Gas Grills & Produce, Chat 'n Chew and Sub Station II.