The land on which the town of Hickory Grove developed was granted to John McKenney in 1771 by George III of England. The Hickory Grove Post Office was in operation as early as 1831, and a free public school was located here by 1851. In 1888 the Charleston, Cincinnati, and Chicago Railroad completed its line through Hickory Grove, connecting this area to coastal South Carolina.
At the time of its incorporation in 1888, Hickory Grove was one square mile in size, its center being the intersection of York Street and Wylie Avenue. J. N. McDill was the first intendant and Dr. J. W. Allison, J. W. Castles, T. M. Whisonant, and J. H. Wylie were wardens. The Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church maintained its orphanage here from 1897 until 1905.