Knights of Columbus


Council 5194 was formed as an outgrowth of Sumter Council 2207 and was chartered on October 8, 1961.  Around this time, Florence received a growth spurt due to Dupont and Union Carbide as well as other paper industries.  This brought many northerners to our area and an influx of Catholics and Knights of Columbus members.

With a need for activities and social functions, the new council was formed.  This also helped those who were now away from their families as it gave them new acquaintances with whom to socialize, relieving homesickness.

The Council named Msgr. Wood as the honoree because he had been the first pastor of St. Anthony Parish in Florence and had been the first KofC member in SC.  He had set up missions in Georgetown and Florence, traveling throughout a 13-county area on horseback to celebrate Mass in these missions.  The Council purchased land on the World War II Air Base and decided to build a home.  Some steel joists were purchased and placed at the site.  However, money was a problem, delaying the building.  Meanwhile, the Council met in the Air Force Reserve Station at the Florence Airport with St. Anthony Parish (when it was located downtown); then at the Police cabin on the north side of town just off of McIver Road; and at it's present location on Crescent Circle.  Social functions, such as the Harvest Ball, were held at the Elks and the Florence Country Club.  As the Council saved up some money, the urge to build grew.  Each member was asked to contribute $100 and Genevieve Nichols, who was the widow of George Nichols, Sr. gave $5000 to build the home that was completed in 1971 and dedicated to the Nichols.

An auxiliary was formed and functioned shortly but, due to the isolated location of the home, they didn't formally exist.  The Rev. Dumouchel was the first chaplain and John L. Sullivan was the first Grand Knight.  Jimmy Burch was the first African-American member of the KofC in South Carolina.  When Bishop Unterkoeffler learned of this, he transferred to our council.  Jimmy went on to become the first African-American Grand Knight in South Carolina.

Council 5194 has had one State Deputy - Thomas L. Rhodes (1972-1974) and hosted the state convention.  Our Council has had a long-standing affair with Operation H.O.P.E. with last year's honor including having raised over $100,000 in the last 7 years and receiving an award for that accomplishment.

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