Like so many things in America with colorful names, there is no concrete answer in regards to its origin. This is because the name dates back to Colonial Times, when records for such things weren’t maintained with all that much care or accuracy. Different stories are in agreement that the name is a contraction of “escaped whore swamp.” One story is that a group of Revolutionary militiamen came upon and attacked an encampment of British soldiers who were busy with a visiting group of prostitutes. (Talk about unfortunate timing for the Redcoats!) The Brits were captured but the ladies of the evening fled into the nearby swamp for sanctuary.
A separate story holds that a local woman, also a prostitute, was driven out of town by the prudish locals and sought refuge in the swamp. This supposedly happened years before the Revolutionary War. What has been proven is that the swamp, outside Bishopville, South Carolina, is referred to on old maps as “Scape Hore Swamp” or “Scape Whore Swamp”, so we can be fairly certain a whore was involved somehow in its naming.
Oh, by the way, the Scape Ore Swamp is home to South Carolina’s legendary Lizard Man, in case you were wondering.