Courageous. Heroic. A daughter. A mother. An entrepreneur. An American Patriot.
These are all ways to describe Dicey Langston Springfield, who in about 1794 settled, with her husband Thomas, as one of the first permanent non-native settlers in the Travelers Rest area.
Previously on this site, we highlighted her extraordinary story. She is mostly remembered by the wider world as one of the heroines of the American Revolution. As a young woman of about 16, living in what is now Laurens County, she aided and protected her family and local Patriot militia from several incidents from the Loyalist forces. In an era of retributive violence and internecine war, she continuously made heroic decisions that saved lives and furthered the cause that frustrated those who would deny American independence.
For our area of northern Greenville county, this became her adult home. She later married Thomas, raised a family of over 20 children, and died in the 1830’s at a location just off Tigerville Road. Here they ran a farm, conducted a small mercantile business and ran a small inn for travelers. When she died in the 1830’s, she left over 140 grandchildren and great grandchildren to mourn her.
Over 200 years since she first settled here, her legacy continues to inspire, and because of that, there is now a plan to build a statue of Daring Dicey next to Travelers Rest Main Street, just off the Swamp Rabbit Trail.
Thanks to the leadership of local residents Jane Qubti, Laura Cantrell and Brandy Amidon, this monument project is getting off the ground.
The plan is to build a bronze, life-sized statue of young Dicey, the teenager who warned and protected her family, holding a lantern as she traveled through potentially dangerous land to warn and to guide. It will be near the gazebo, set just off the Swamp Rabbit Trail, and approachable for all those passing by. While a monument, in and of itself, can only tell a very limited form of history, as a piece of art, it can ask questions and inspire those who come by for years to come.
Imagine a scene in the not too distant future. Someone will wonder, who is this? Is her lantern a warning of what was past? Is it a way towards something to come? Is it a light of something dear to hold up? What is this young woman going towards? We honor her, but what dangers and opportunities are in our path?
For the real, living Dicey, she went towards … here. After war, and then peace, she came here with her family and started anew, and became part of the beginning story of the United States, with all its ups and downs in the years to come. But she came here, and became a founding mother, a founding entrepreneur, and one of the first to welcome travelers to this area.
Whether you have lived here 70 years or 7 months, you are here because she and others came first. And since she had so many descendants, you might very literally be here because so many in this area can claim her as an ancestor.
Building a monument such as this will take commitment and yes, funding. So far, about 10% of what is needed to build this monument has already been raised. It will be part of a wider public art initiative in Travelers Rest. To finish this project, it will take a community effort. If you would like to learn how you can contribute and help this cause, please visit www.diceylangstonproject.com.
Here you can find out more about the project and catch a vision for what comes next. You can donate through the project’s website or through this GoFundMe resource as well. Plus, if you have a family connection to Dicey, it’s a wonderful way to honor her legacy locally.