The Catawba Indians made their homes here for many years. In the mid-1700s, Thomas Spratt and his wife, Elizabeth, were traveling through upper South Carolina in their wagon, spending a night among the friendly Catawba Indians. The Catawbas invited the Spratts to live in the area, offering them a large tract of land on which to settle. They became the first white settlers in the Fort Mill area, and their descendants still live here.
Both settlers and the Catawbas used the ancient Nation Ford Road, which dates to at least 1650, to travel and trade from Pennsylvania to Charles Towne (now Charleston). The trail passed through the Catawba Nation's five villages and crossed the Catawba River where the railroad trestle now stands.
Scotch-Irish settlers began arriving in the 1750s and 1760s, and a small settlement soon developed. As textile mills were established in the 1800s, Fort Mill grew rapidly. The town actually gets its name from a colonial-era fort started, but never finished, by the British intended to protect the Catawba Indians from the Cherokee who were hostile to the tribe. The "mill" part of the name comes from a mill at nearby Steele Creek.
website: Town of Fort Mill