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Edgefield County, South Carolina facts for kids

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Edgefield County
Edgefield County Courthouse
Edgefield County Courthouse
Map of South Carolina highlighting Edgefield County
Location within the U.S. state of South Carolina
Map of the United States highlighting South Carolina
South Carolina's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  South Carolina
Founded March 12, 1785
Seat Edgefield
Largest town Edgefield
Area
 • Total 507 sq mi (1,310 km2)
 • Land 500 sq mi (1,000 km2)
 • Water 6.3 sq mi (16 km2)  1.2%%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 25,657
 • Density 50.61/sq mi (19.539/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 3rd

Edgefield County is a county located on the western border of the U.S. state of South Carolina. As of the 2010 census, its population was 26,985. As of the 2020 census, the population decreased to 25,657. Its county seat and largest municipality is Edgefield. The county was established on March 12, 1785.

The Savannah River makes up part of the western border of Edgefield County; across the river lies the city of Augusta, Georgia. Edgefield is part of the Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC Metropolitan Statistical Area.

History

The origin of the name Edgefield is unclear; the South Carolina State Library's information on the county's history suggests that the name "is usually described as 'fanciful.'" There is a village named Edgefield in Norfolk, England.

Edgefield District was created in 1785, and it is bordered on the west by the Savannah River. It was formed from the southern section of the former Ninety-Six District when it was divided into smaller districts or counties by an act of the state legislature. Parts of the district were later used in the formation of other neighboring counties, specifically:

In his study of Edgefield County, South Carolina, Orville Vernon Burton classified white society as comprising the poor, the yeoman middle class, and the elite planters. A clear line demarcated the elite, but according to Burton, the line between poor and yeoman was never very distinct. Stephanie McCurry argues that yeomen were clearly distinguished from poor whites by their ownership of land (real property). Edgefield's yeomen farmers were "self-working farmers," distinct from the elite because they worked their land themselves alongside any slaves they owned. By owning large numbers of slaves, planters took on a managerial function and did not work in the fields.

During Reconstruction, Edgefield County had a slight black majority. It became a center of political tensions following the postwar amendments that gave freedmen civil rights under the US constitution. Whites conducted an insurgency to maintain white supremacy, particularly through paramilitary groups known as the Red Shirts. They used violence and intimidation during election seasons from 1872 on to disrupt and suppress black Republican voting.

In the early summer (year unknown), six black suspects were lynched by a white mob for the alleged murders of a white couple. In the Hamburg Massacre of July 8, 1876, several black militia were killed by whites, part of a large group of more than 100 armed men who attended a court hearing of a complaint of whites against the militia. Some of the white men came from Augusta. Due to fraud, more Democratic votes were recorded in Edgefield County than there were total residents; similar fraud occurred elsewhere, as did suppression of black voting. Eventually the election was decided in Hampton's favor, and the Democrats also took control of the state legislature. As a result of a national compromise, Federal troops were withdrawn in 1877 from South Carolina and other southern states, ending Reconstruction.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 507 square miles (1,310 km2), of which 500 square miles (1,300 km2) is land and 6.3 square miles (16 km2) (1.2%) is water.

Adjacent counties

National protected area

  • Sumter National Forest (part)

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 13,289
1800 18,130 36.4%
1810 23,160 27.7%
1820 25,119 8.5%
1830 30,509 21.5%
1840 32,852 7.7%
1850 39,262 19.5%
1860 39,887 1.6%
1870 42,486 6.5%
1880 45,844 7.9%
1890 49,259 7.4%
1900 25,478 −48.3%
1910 28,281 11.0%
1920 23,928 −15.4%
1930 19,326 −19.2%
1940 17,894 −7.4%
1950 16,591 −7.3%
1960 15,735 −5.2%
1970 15,692 −0.3%
1980 17,528 11.7%
1990 18,375 4.8%
2000 24,595 33.9%
2010 26,985 9.7%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2013, 2020

The long decline in population from 1910 to 1980 reflects the decline in agriculture, mechanization reducing labor needs, and the effect of many African Americans leaving for Northern and Midwestern cities in the Great Migration out of the rural South.

2010 census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 55,285 people, 21,348 households, and 16,706 families living in the county. The population density was 53.9 inhabitants per square mile (20.8/km2). There were 10,559 housing units at an average density of 21.1 per square mile (8.1/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 58.6% white, 37.2% black or African American, 0.4% Asian, 0.2% American Indian or Alaska Native, 2.2% from other races, and 1.3% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin (of any race) made up 5.2% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 15.8% were American, 9.0% were English, 6.7% were Irish, and 5.1% were German.

Of the 9,348 households, 33.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.9% were married couples living together, 16.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 28.3% were non-families, and 24.9% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.04. The median age was 40.3 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $42,834 and the median income for a family was $57,114. Males had a median income of $41,759 versus $29,660 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,901. About 17.8% of families and 21.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 33.1% of those under age 18 and 17.1% of those age 65 or over.

2020 census

Edgefield County racial composition
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 104,890 58.03%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 48,301 32.35%
Native American 2,312 0.26%
Asian 5,467 0.46%
Pacific Islander 400 0.02%
Other/Mixed 6,500 3.52%
Hispanic or Latino 15,182 5.34%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 25,657 people, 9,176 households, and 6,471 families residing in the county.

Communities

City

Towns

Census-designated place

Notable people

Governors

  • Andrew Pickens, II 1816–1818
  • George McDuffie 1834–1836
  • Pierce Mason Butler 1836–1838
  • James H. Hammond 1842–1844
  • Francis W. Pickens 1860–1862
  • Milledge L. Bonham 1862–1864
  • John C. Sheppard 1886
  • Benjamin R. Tillman 1890–1894
  • John Gary Evans 1894–1897
  • Strom Thurmond 1947–1951

Other prominent citizens

In addition to its ten governors of South Carolina listed below, Edgefield County was the home of numerous local notables: George Galphin (1709–1780);Samuel Hammond (1757–1842); Parson Mason Locke Weems (1759–1825); Rebecca "Becky" Cotton (1765–1807); Billy Porter (aka “Billy the Fiddler”), a slave (1771–1821); Rev. William Bullein Johnson (1782–1862); Augustus Baldwin Longstreet (1790–1870), a famous author; Andrew Pickens Butler (1796–1857); Dave Drake (1800–1879?), a slave; Francis Hugh Wardlaw (1800–1861); Louis T. Wigfall (1816–1874); Preston S. Brooks (1819–1857); General James A. Longstreet (1821–1904), a leading Confederate; Prince Rivers (1823–1887), a black leader; George D. Tillman (1826–1901); Martin Witherspoon Gary (1831–1881); Lucy Holcombe Pickens (1832–1899); Matthew Calbraith Butler (1836–1909); Alexander Bettis (1836–1895), a black leader; Lawrence Cain (1845–1884), a black leader; Paris Simkins (1849–1930), a black leader; Daniel Augustus Tompkins (1851–1914); Alfred W. Nicholson (1861–1945), a black leader; John William Thurmond (1862–1934); Emma Anderson Dunovant (1866–1956); Florence Adams Mims (1873–1951); Benjamin Mays (1894–1984), a black leader; and Francis Butler Simkins (1897–1966), a historian.

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