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Despite its growing population, the city prides itself on striking a balance between economic growth and preserving its traditional Lowcountry small-town character. Residents know Goose Creek as a business- and family-friendly city which features plenty of recreational and cultural pursuits to meet all interests. William Douglas Property Management has decades of experience in and around Goose Creek. Over the years, we have watched its growth and have helped residential communities protect the intimate small-town feel that residents value. If you are considerating new HOA management, contact us today!
The city of Goose Creek is one of Charleston’s largest suburbs
Goose Creek Facts
Goose Creek, South Carolina, is a city located within Berkeley County. Goose Creek was incorporated in 1961. In 2011, for the second year in a row, Bloomberg Businessweek named Goose Creek the “Best Place to Raise Kids in South Carolina.” Goose Creek’s population, as of the 2010 U.S. Census, was 35,938. The estimated population as of 2019 was 43,665 by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Per the United States Census Bureau for Fountain Inn (for 2010 unless otherwise noted)
The city has a total area of 40.09 square miles per the 2010 U.S. Census.
Coordinates – Latitude: 32°58′51.62″N, Longitude: 80°01′57.31″ W.
Elevation above sea level: 46 feet
Zip code for Goose Creek is 29445
Telephone area codes for Goose Creek are 843 and 854
Goose Creek is situated in the Coastal Plain Region of South Carolina, the region is commonly referred to as the “Low Country.” Goose Creek’s elevation is 46’ above sea level. Goose Creek is approximately 18 miles from the Charleston Battery. Goose Creek is around 11 miles to Summerville and around 10 miles to North Charleston. Goose Creek is only minutes from the many tourist destinations around the Charleston area and the many beaches. The city is conveniently located between the Boeing assembly plant in North Charleston and Volvo’s American factory in Ridgeville. The Goose Creek/Charleston area is considered one of South Carolina’s main industrial hubs.
Goose Creek is within the Charleston-North Charleston–Summerville Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). The Charleston-North Charleston–Summerville MSA comprises Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties. The population of the MSA is 664,607 as of the 2010 U.S. Census. Goose Creek, based on population, is the fifth-largest municipality in the Charleston-North Charleston–Summerville MSA. Measured by population, the Charleston-North Charleston–Summerville MSA is the 75th largest in the United States. In South Carolina, the Charleston-North Charleston–Summerville MSA is 3rd in size, behind the Greenville Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is the largest, and the Columbia Metropolitan Statistical Area being second largest.
A brief historical overview of Goose Creek
The earliest known inhabitants of the Goose Creek area were the Native American Etiwan people and the Sewee people. It is common to see Etiwan alternately spelled as Ittiwan or Etiwaw. The Etiwan Indians were prosperous and thrived in the future Goose Creek area with all the waterways and fertile hunting grounds. In James Mooney’s “The Aboriginal Population of America North of Mexico,” published by the Smithsonian Institute in 1928, estimated the population of the “Etiwaw” to be 600 in the year 1600. In the present day, the Wassamasaw Tribe of Varnertown are descendants of the Etiwan, Catawba, Cherokee, Edisto, and other lesser-known Charleston area Native American tribes.
The Etiwan Indians generally had good relations with the South Carolina colonist, so much so that initially, during the Yamasee War of 1715, they sided with the colonists. They helped defend Port Royal against a Yamasee Indian raid at the beginning of the war. However, by July of 1715, the Etiwan decided to change sides and join the Yamasee and other Native American tribes in their fight against the colonist. While there is no documentary evidence to the reason for their change in alliances, Historian William Ramsey, in his study, The Yamasee War, theorizes that “More likely, they were alienated by the growing anti-Indian rhetoric of white Carolinians.”
In 1717, at the conclusion of the Yamasee War and their defeat, the Etiwan population was greatly reduced and scattered. The surviving Etiwans asked the South Carolina Commons House of Assembly for a reservation so that the tribe could be brought together for economic support. The Commons House of Assembly set aside land on the western side of the Wassamasaw Swamp.
The Sewee Indians, as noted in James Mooney’s “The Aboriginal Population of America North of Mexico,” published by the Smithsonian Institute in 1928, estimated the population of the Sewee Native Americas to be 800 in the year 1600. The Sewee territory abutted the Etiwan territory in the present-day area of Goose Creek.
John Lawson, an English explorer, during his expedition to the Carolina backcountry in 1701, documented his encounter with the Sewee Indians in his published work of the expedition, A New Voyage to Carolina. From that work, “These Sewees have been formerly a large Nation, though
now very much decreas’d since the English hath seated their Land, and all other Nations of Indians are observ’d to partake of the same Fate, where the Europeans come, the Indians being a People very
apt to catch any Distemper they are afflicted withal; the Small-Pox has destroy’d many thousands of these Natives….” It is reported that in 1715 that only one village of 57 Sewees was still in existence and a distinct, separate tribe. Many Native American tribes were decimated in the Yamasee War, and this is what probably resulted in the end of the Sewee people being a separate tribe. During this period, a number of small tribes with dwindling numbers merged with larger tribes in a bid for survival. It is believed the Sewee integrated with the Catawba Indians in such a bid.
Both the Sewee and Etiwan peoples probably first encountered European settlers when they arrived in the area in the 1670s. The arrival of the European settlers is reportedly the origin of the name “Goose Creek.” It is speculated that the name derives from the waterway and its sharp bends like the neck of a goose.
The European settlers were attracted to the area because of the rich soil along the Cooper River. Of these early settlers, the most politically noteworthy are the ones who arrived from Barbados. Some of these arrivals from Barbados became known as the Goose Creek Men. The Goose Creek Men were a political faction that exercised a considerable amount of influence that resulted in many referring to the first four decades of South Carolina as “The Age of the Goose Creek Men.”
The Goose Creek Men were largely Barbados planters of English origin who settled in Goose Creek. Many of these immigrants from Barbados were sons of planters, tradesmen, and former indentured white servants. Their migration from Barbados would appear to be counterintuitive because their migration was due to the economic success that occurred in the 1640s and 1650s on the island. The switch from tobacco to sugar cultivation and the resulting increase in land prices on the island resulted in less economic opportunity for many. This lack of economic opportunity resulted in a large exodus from Barbados to other Caribbean Islands and the American colonies. When they arrived in the Goose Creek area, they brought farming techniques, slaves, and the Anglican Church. These men also arrived with a strong character trait of self-reliance, seasoned with political discord.
The Carolina colony was not technically a Royal Colony. It was administered by the Lord’s Proprietors of Carolina on behalf of English King Charles II. King Charles II retained sovereignty over the Carolina colony. Nonetheless, the Lord’s Proprietors had broad powers to govern and promote immigration to the colony. Ironically, the Lord’s Proprietors sought out settlers with these self-reliant traits, such as the Barbadians, because it was believed they would make successful settlers.
However, beginning in 1670 until 1712, the Goose Creek Men viewed the Lords Proprietors and their supporters within the colony as an obstacle to their economic enterprises, some legal and others not so legal. The Goose Creek men were involved in a number of economic endeavors. One such endeavor was trading with the Native Americans in guns, ammunition, cloth, and other goods for deerskins and other animal furs in return. They also participated with Native Americans in the illegal slave trade of other Native Americans. The Goose Creek Men were noted as consorting with pirates, such as Stede Bonnet, the “Barbadian Gentlemen Pirate.”
The Goose Creek Men formed an influential political faction to protect their legal and illegal business interests. The Goose Creek Men became such a political nuisance to the Lord’s Proprietors, the Lord’s attempted to increase diverse immigration. Believing these new immigrants would be more politically suitable for their rule and dilute the Barbadian’s negative political influences.
The Lord’s immigration drive made political matters worse. Their immigration drive was a more diverse group comprised of English Quakers, French Huguenots, English Baptists, and Scottish Presbyterians. By 1685, their arrival increased the colony’s population to around 2,500. With many seeking religious freedom, these immigrants being protestant were in direct conflict with the religious views of the Goose Creek Men, who were Anglican. Anglicans, followers of the Church of England, typically were hostile towards protestants and were not supporters of religious freedoms.
The Lord’s Proprietors took steps to remove the Goose Creek Men from positions within the colonial government and political offices. Nonetheless, the Goose Creek Men, “being on the ground” within the colony and the Lord’s Proprietors being back in England, failed in tampering down their influence. The Goose Creek Men, commonly known as the Anti-Proprietary Party, were led by Sir John Yeamans, Maurice Matthews, Robert Daniel, James Moore, James Moore, Jr., and Arthur Middleton.
The Goose Creek Men sitting in the majority in the Common House of Assembly, beginning in the 1690s, slowly wrestled control of the colony away from the Lords. Probably the most significant anti-Lords Proprietary accomplishment in the Common House of Assembly was their refusal to ratify the Lords Proprietors’ “Grand Model” constitution, the “Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina. This constitution was comprised of 120 articles or sections. The articles addressed many subjects, most notably religious freedoms.
Colonist dissension was fueled by the Common House of Assembly members passing a law and the Lord’s Proprietors vetoing that law. The failure of the Lords Proprietors to provide additional security from Indian attacks further eroded the colonist’s support for the Lords. The Lords halting land grants while setting aside fifteen large tracts of land for themselves seemed to be the tipping point in the peaceful uprising from the colonist against the Lord’s Proprietors. At around 1707, there was increasing support within the colonial population to end the Lord’s Proprietors’ administration of the colony. In December of 1719, the colonist petitioned King George I to assume unequivocal control of the colony and end the Lord’s Proprietors’ reign. As proof of the political influence of the Goose Creek Men was that one of their own, James Moore, Jr., led the transitional royal government from 1719 until the arrival of the provisional royal governor, General Sir Francis Nicholson, in 1721. Negotiations between the Lord’s Proprietors and King George II led to the transfer of ownership in 1729 of Carolina to England. Thus, Carolina became a Royal Colony.
South Carolina becoming a Royal Colony only slightly tamped down the political discourse of the Goose Creek Men. Many of the issues they had with the Lord’s Proprietors, taxation, and political representation being in the forefront, were still points of contention after the transition to a Royal Colony. These points of contention simmered for the next five decades for the Goose Creek Men, their descendants, and much of the population of the thirteen original colonies reaching a boiling point in 1776.
The Battle of Goose Creek on June 13, 1715, during the Yamasee War, occurred just north of Goose Creek, between Goose Creek and Monks Corner in the Strawberry community. From Goose Creek on U.S. Hwy 52, turn right onto Old U.S. Hwy 52. On Old U.S. Hwy 52, travel exactly one mile, Avanti Lane, and a historical marker will be on the right with a parking area.
This location is known as St. James, Goose Creek Chapel of Ease Historical Site. This spot marks the site of an early pivotal battle in Colonial America, the Battle of Goose Creek. Pivotal in that the Charles Town area population was probably not substantial enough to survive an Indian raid. The battle saved the remaining population of Goose Creek and possibly, the entire South Carolina colony from annihilation.
In 1715, the site of the future chapel and church was on an Indian footpath that led directly into the wild and underexplored backcountry. Indians and European traders used this path in the consummation of trade. Traders carried into the backcountry guns, ammunition, cloth, and other trade goods and returned with deerskins and other animal furs.
This site became known as “The Camp.” This location was 22 miles from Charles Town, a good place to rest, entering and leaving the backcountry. One of the Goose Creek Men, George Chicken (1685 – 1727), camped here with his five-pack ponies loaded with trade goods. Chicken applied for a small tract of land nearby to develop as farmland. He married Catherine Bellamy (1690 – 1740), who had a large farm that included the” The Camp” site. Combining their farmland resulted in a large plantation.
The Chicken family developed their plantation and continued to engage in trade with the Native Americans. This trade included the illegal trade of Native American slaves, sold by other Native Americans for exporting to foreign destinations through Charles Town harbor. The Camp was used as a rest stop in this slave trade before the unfortunate Native Americans were taken into Charles Town and loaded onto ships.
The Native American slave trade was one of the factors that led to the Yemassee War in 1715. When Indians became a threat to the Goose Creek area, many of the European settlers fled to Charles Town in search of safety. George Chicken, now a militia colonel, along with a force of 120 men consisting of militiamen, white and black settlers, Etiwan Indians refused to leave.
The men fortified The Camp with makeshift ramparts. When the large Indian raiding party attacked The Camp, they were successfully engaged and repelled. The Indian raiding party was driven back towards Wassamasaw, where Colonel Chicken had prepared and executed a devastating ambush two days later. This engagement prevented the Native American raiders from advancing on Charles Town and probably prevented the destruction of the colony.
Afterward, Colonel Chicken proclaimed the site “sacred ground” and donated the site for the construction of a chapel of ease for the St. James Goose Creek Parish. The location was convenient to much of the local population and had a water supply from a reliable spring. The site also contained the remains of the fighters who died in the battle.
St. James, Goose Creek Chapel of Ease was one of two chapels of ease for the parish. During the early American Colonial period, planters constructed houses of worship known as chapels of ease. This was typically done because plantations were situated far from established churches in more populated areas, such as Charleston. Clergymen would typically ride a circuit visiting these chapels of ease once or twice a month. These chapels would also be known as parish churches and have graveyards like more established churches in populated areas. The St. James Chapel of Ease, constructed around 1725, and the Bethlehem Baptist Church adjoined the site of the original chapel one hundred years later in 1812.
The access to an abundance of water resulted in rice being the primary crop in the Goose Creek area. This was the case for the 1700s and much of the 1800s. The first U.S. Census in 1790 calculated the population in St. James Goose Creek Parish to be 2,787. African American slaves accounted for 2,333 of that number. The majority of these slaves worked on large rice plantations. The end of the American Civil War and the end of slavery brought an end to the large rice plantations as well. What remained of rice production after the Civil War was finally ceded after major hurricanes in the late 1800s and early 1900s destroyed the dikes used to control water flow into the rice fields.
In the early 20th century, with the large rice plantations gone, the wealthy began purchasing land in Goose Creek for winter homes and hunting. This resulted in much of the African American population migrating to northern cities or nearby Charleston. By the 1940 U.S. Census, the Goose Creek area was predominantly white with around five hundred inhabitants. The population rebounded in late 1941 when the U.S. Navy constructed Naval Weapons Station Charleston, an ammunition depot, in Goose Creek and Hanahan, and providing a huge boost to the economy. The U.S. Navy base created thousands of jobs and base housing, increasing the population. Today the current workforce is more than 11,000. In 2005 with the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) plan, the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy jointly manage Naval Weapons Station Charleston and Charleston Air Force Base as Joint Base Charleston.
After World War II, the Naval Weapons Station Charleston and the population growth in the Charleston area resulted in a need for housing and roads in Goose Creek. These needs resulted in the call for incorporation, and in 1961 a part of the old Goose Creek area was incorporated into a new town under the old name. The Naval Weapons Station Charleston was annexed into Goose Creek in 1978. This annexation resulted in Goose Creek’s population increasing from 3,656 to 17,811 in the 1980 U.S. Census. Since the 1980s, Goose Creek has become a bedroom community for Charleston and North Charleston.
Historic Goose Creek Population Since Incorporation Per the U.S. Census
1970 3,825 —
1980 17,811 365.6%
1990 24,692 38.6%
2000 29,208 18.3%
2010 35,938 23.0%
2019 43,665 (est.) 21.5%
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