Chapter Twenty Two
Bamberg County Towns and Communities
It is generally thought that this bridge was so called because of the skirmish and the use of cannons during the Confederate War. That is definitely not the case, as the following legal papers concerning the bridge show that the Cannon family were among the early settlers in that area in the late 1700s, long before the war.
A skirmish is listed at Cannons Bridge on the South Edisto River on February 8, 1865, in Official Records of the War of Rebellion, Battles, Campaigns . . . in Present Bamberg County.
Also Graham Copeland and Otis Brabham, both Bamberg natives, give the
following notes in their publications of Bamberg County history:
Cannons Bridge on the Edisto was first vested in 1791 in Robert Cannon for a period of twenty one years (South Carolina Statutes at Large, South Caroliniana Library, Columbia, S.C.). Several years thereafter Robert Cannon died after making his last will in 1793. He bequeathed his widow Elinor Cannon a plantation, and mentioned his three children William Cannon, Rebecca Cannon, and Nathaniel Cannon (Orangeburgh District, S.C. Returns in Partition from the Court of Equity, 1824-1837, Brent Holcomb, 1982, A Press, Inc., Greenville, S.C., p. 52).
It appears that the first bridge authorized in 1791 either was never built or was destroyed. In 1795 Edward Cannon and David Coulter were authorized to build a bridge across the Edisto at Robert Cannon’s place and given rights for fourteen years (South Carolina Statutes at Large).
In the same year road improvements in the vicinity were noted when Major Smilie, Gaspar Trotti, Joel Spell, and Edward Cannon were appointed commissioners to establish a new road from Saltcatcher Bridge to Cannons Toll Bridge and from thence to intersect with the road leading to Orangeburg (South Carolina Statutes at Large).
By 1800 the bridge was referred to as “Mrs. Cannon’s bridge.” In 1803 the following rates of toll were established for Ellianor Cannon’s bridge across the Edisto: every foot passenger, three cents; every man and horse, six and a quarter cents; every hogshead of tobacco, twenty-five cents; every head of black cattle, three cents; every head of sheep, goats, or hogs, two cents; every carriage of two wheels, twenty-five cents; every carriage with four wheels, with rider or riders, and horse, fifty cents (South Carolina Statutes at Large).
In 1809 John Murphy was authorized to continue the toll bridge “late the property of Edward Cannon” for fourteen years (South Carolina Statutes at Large).