Alexander Templeton Black
1798 - 1878
Templeton Black was the fourth generation of his family to live in America
and the third generation to own land in the York District of South Carolina. His Father,
Alexander Black, played the fife as member of Sumter's Brigade and faught in the battle of
Kings Mountain. His mother, Isabella Wilson Black, was a sister of James Wilson who signed
The Declaration of Independence and helped write the final draft of the Constitution. Although
known for many other accomplishments, Alexander Templeton Black is remembered here as the
founding father of Rock Hill. His foresight and vision provided the gounds, literally, for Rock
Hill to achieve the actual physical form of a town. As the impetus for development, Black
donated four acres of land for the purposes of constructing a depot and a segment of the track
for the Charlotte and South Carolina Railroad.
four acres were among over 448 others owned by Black upon which he
commissioned Squire John Roddey to survey and record the boundaries of the town of Rock
Hill. Roddey's plat dated November 6, 1851 indicated one street aligned perpendicular to the
railroad track and just in the east of the depot site. He named this road Main Street. Roddey
faced Main Street with twenty-three lots and provided one alley on each side. These were
named North Alley and South Alley.
Concept, this fundamental layout may still be seen. The original streeet width
approximately sixty-five feet remains generally intact and it is marked by the facades of the
buildings that line Main Street today, and although not in the locations originally plotted, the
pedestrian walkways are present-day reminders of the two alleys that fed into the street.
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