About Seneca

SENECA, S.C. (WSPA) – Seneca was built by people from a wide variety of backgrounds that helped establish it as a city.

Even before Seneca was established in 1873, historians said there were people living in that rural area.

“I mean, the original name of Seneca was Esseneca which is named after a Cherokee tribe that had lived on the Seneca River,” Nick McKinney, who is the director of the Seneca City Museums, said.

“Moving forward from that there were plantations here, enslaved people here. There has always been a diverse population of people in this area.”

McKinney said the different walks of life helped build the city.

“It was a harder life. So, people did work together and were able to come together to build structures. To worship. To do some aspects of life.”

Seneca also has a proud African American history that dates back to when the first plots of land were purchased.

“Three of the actual first land purchasers were African American,” McKinney explained. “So, we talk about Seneca has been diverse from the beginning.”

Historic Ram Cat Alley is a well-known part of downtown Seneca with a unique story of how it got its name.

McKinney said there are multiple stories and shared what they found about its history.

“It was because of Peter and Molly Majors who were African American business owners. Everyday they would go to the train as most people do to collect their goods and they happened to collect a lot of fish. They would go around town and sell these fish and a bunch of cats would come around as the day ended and the fish started to smell a little bit and there’s this joking phrase of ‘you can not ram another cat down this alley.’ That’s actually from our documentation how Ram Cat Alley got its name.”

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