Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Francis Marion — A Hero from Georgetown

  Francis Marion, a folk hero of South Carolina, grew up on a farm outside Georgetown where he honed his skills on hunting and fishing expeditions in the swamps and backcountry.  Lots of places in Georgetown are named for him so when we saw a sign pointing down a tree-lined road to his burial place at Belle Isle Plantation near Pineville, we thought we should have a look. 

  After disastrous defeats in American Revolutionary War battles at Charleston and Camden in the summer of 1780, the Continental Army gave up the fight for independence in South Carolina. 

Not Francis Marion however.  

He put together a band of 20-70 men who patrolled the area between Charleston and Camden along the Santee and Pee Dee Rivers. Using guerrilla tactics, he freed American prisoners being held by the British, captured British outposts, and lent critical assistance to the struggling regular American troops.  Marion’s Men, as they were called, served without pay and provided their own arms, horses, and food.  

Marion and his men, crossing the PeeDee River

  Marion tormented and demoralized the British army with his uncanny ability to elude capture, including one 26-mile, 7-hour chase through marshes, woods, and swamps  that earned him the title “The Swamp Fox”.

There are lots of tales in this neck of the woods about the legendary stealth and cunning of The Swamp Fox, and historians agree that he was a major force in keeping alive the cause of independence in the South. 


Marion returned to farming after the war and passed away in 1795 at the age of 63.  He is buried at Belle Isle, his brother’s plantation.  His grave and memorial is now a beautiful state historic site.  

His modern legacy continues as one of the fathers of modern guerrilla warfare in the traditions and tactics of the U.S. Army Rangers and the Green Berets.  

Towns, festivals, colleges, hotels, a memorial park in Washington D.C., counties, a national forest, businesses, a ship, schools, a submarine squadron, a Disney TV series, and children of several generations all carry his name.  

Francis Marion Park, Georgetown

And, the park that is the center of Georgetown, where ceremonies, street dances, concerts, etc. are held on the harbor, is named Francis Marion Park.  


  1. great photos but the last is my favourite

  2. I have heard of Swamp Fox but never remembered his real name. I think I may have read a biography about him in grade school. Now I know where to find more about his story if we ever get down that way.

  3. Like Marcia above I certainly had heard of this person.
    I have read about him in American history books and I think (??)
    there was a movie made of his exploits in the 50's/60's/or 70's.???
    Maybe some film buff may be able to verify this.

  4. Beautiful picture with the history.. Love it.

  5. So self made would apply to this guy.

  6. Just amazing the determination of some people - good reading.

  7. Love the nickname "Swamp Fox", sounds like a great character and so well deserving of the memorial.

  8. What an interesting story and beautiful photos!

  9. Ah I'd heard of The Swamp Fox too, but didn't remember from where, enlightened now. I love movies/ books based on real sensational people - of which he was obviously one.