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Pickens County, South Carolina facts for kids

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Pickens County
Pickens County Courthouse
Pickens County Courthouse
Map of South Carolina highlighting Pickens 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 1826
Named for Andrew Pickens
Seat Pickens
Largest city Easley
 • Total 512 sq mi (1,330 km2)
 • Land 496 sq mi (1,280 km2)
 • Water 16 sq mi (40 km2)  3.1%%
 • Total 119,224
 • Estimate 
 • Density 232.86/sq mi (89.91/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 3rd

Pickens County is located in the northwest part of the U.S. state of South Carolina. As of the 2010 census, its population was 119,224. Its county seat is Pickens. The county was created in 1826. It is part of the Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin, SC Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Pickens County was Cherokee Indian Territory until the American Revolution. The Cherokees sided with the British, suffered defeat, and surrendered their South Carolina lands. This former Cherokee territory was included in the Ninety-Six Judicial District. In 1791 the state legislature established Washington District, a judicial area composed of present-day Greenville, Anderson, Pickens, and Oconee counties, and then composed of Greenville and Pendleton counties. Streets for the courthouse town of Pickensville (near present-day Easley) were laid off, and soon a cluster of buildings arose that perhaps included a large wooden hotel, which served as a stagecoach stop. In 1798 Washington District was divided into Greenville and Pendleton districts. The latter included what eventually became Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens counties. A new courthouse was erected at Pendleton to accommodate the Court of General Sessions and Common Pleas, and soon thereafter Pickensville began to decline.

In view of the growing population and poor transportation facilities in Pendleton District, the legislature divided it into counties in 1826, and a year later decided instead to divide the area into districts. The legislation went into effect in 1828. The lower part became Anderson and the upper Pickens, named in honor of the Revolutionary soldier, Brigadier General Andrew Pickens, whose home Hopewell was on the southern border of the district. A courthouse was established on the west bank of the Keowee River, and a small town called Pickens Court House soon developed

By 1860 Pickens District had a population of over 19,000 persons of whom 22 percent were slaves. The district was largely rural and agricultural. Its small industry consisted mainly of sawmills, gristmills, and a few other shops producing goods for home consumption. The district's Protestant churches were numerous, but schools were few. The Blue Ridge Railroad reached the district in September 1860. There was little combat between the two sides during the Civil War the district was frequently plundered by marauders and deserters who swept down from the mountains.

The war left the region largely destitute. The South Carolina Constitutional Convention of 1868, meeting during the first year of Congressional Reconstruction, changed the name district to county throughout the state. The Convention also established Oconee County out of the portion of Pickens District west of the Keowee and Seneca rivers plus a small area around the Fort Hill estate that formerly belonged to John C. Calhoun. This small area around the Calhoun property was transferred to Pickens County in the 1960s.

A new courthouse for Pickens County was erected at its present location, and many of the residents of Old Pickens on the Keowee moved to the newly created town, some with their dismantled homes. The loss of the Oconee area greatly reduced the county's population. It did not again reach 19,000 until 1900.

The county's growth was accelerated by the building of the Atlanta and Charlotte Air Line Railroad (later called the Southern Railway) in the 1870s. The town of Easley, named for General W. K. Easley, was chartered in 1874. Liberty and Central sprang up along the railroad about the same time and were soon incorporated. Calhoun (now part of Clemson) came into being in the 1890s, to be followed in the early 1900s by Six Mile and Norris as incorporated areas.

A major factor in Pickens County's growth was the coming of the textile industry. The county's first modern cotton mill, organized by D. K. Norris and others, was established at Cateechee in 1895. By 1900 the county could boast of three cotton mills, two railroads, three banks, three roller mills, thirty-seven sawmills, ten shingle mills, and four brickyards.

Yet until 1940, with a population of 37,000 (13.2 percent black), the county remained primarily rural and agricultural. Like many other Piedmont counties, Pickens had a one-crop economy. Its citizens were engaged mainly in growing cotton or manufacturing it into cloth. A notable change in the Pickens landscape was the coming of paved highways; one completed across the county, about 1930, ran from Greenville to Walhalla by way of Easley, Liberty, and Central.

The most significant developments in the county's history have occurred since World War II. By 1972 there were 99 manufacturing plants in the county employing almost 15,000 personnel and producing not only textiles but a wide variety of other products. The population today is estimated to be 93,894 residents. There is a heavy in-migration to Pickens County because of its climate, industrial opportunity, proximity to Greenville's labor market, and scenic beauty.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 512 square miles (1,330 km2), of which 496 square miles (1,280 km2) is land and 16 square miles (41 km2) (3.1%) is water. The county also contains the highest natural point in South Carolina, Sassafras Mountain, with an elevation of 3560 feet (1085 m). Table Rock State Park (South Carolina) is in Pickens County.

Pickens County is in the Savannah River basin, the Saluda River basin, and the French Broad River basin.

Adjacent counties

Major highways

  • US 76.svg US 76
  • US 123.svg US 123
  • US 178.svg US 178


Historical population
Census Pop.
1830 14,473
1840 14,356 −0.8%
1850 16,904 17.7%
1860 19,639 16.2%
1870 10,269 −47.7%
1880 14,389 40.1%
1890 16,389 13.9%
1900 19,375 18.2%
1910 25,422 31.2%
1920 28,329 11.4%
1930 33,709 19.0%
1940 37,111 10.1%
1950 40,058 7.9%
1960 46,030 14.9%
1970 58,956 28.1%
1980 79,292 34.5%
1990 93,894 18.4%
2000 110,757 18.0%
2010 119,224 7.6%
2020 (est.) 128,543 7.8%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2019

2010 census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 119,224 people, 45,228 households, and 29,540 families residing in the county. The population density was 240.2 inhabitants per square mile (92.7/km2). There were 51,244 housing units at an average density of 103.2 per square mile (39.8/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 88.7% white, 6.6% black or African American, 1.6% Asian, 0.2% American Indian, 1.4% from other races, and 1.5% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 3.1% of the population. In terms of ancestry,

Of the 45,228 households, 30.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.0% were married couples living together, 10.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 34.7% were non-families, and 25.2% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 2.95. The median age was 34.9 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $41,898 and the median income for a family was $53,911. Males had a median income of $41,615 versus $31,464 for females. The per capita income for the county was $20,647. About 8.9% of families and 16.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.3% of those under age 18 and 7.8% of those age 65 or over.

2020 census

Pickens County racial composition
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 107,247 81.62%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 8,421 6.41%
Native American 304 0.23%
Asian 2,723 2.07%
Pacific Islander 37 0.03%
Other/Mixed 6,100 4.64%
Hispanic or Latino 6,572 5.0%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 131,404 people, 48,203 households, and 31,630 families residing in the county.




Census Designated Places

Unincorporated Communities


School districts

Pickens School District ranked the highest in the state with an "A-" transparency score from Sunshine Review.


  • Forest Acres Elementary-Easley
  • Crosswell Elementary-Easley
  • West End Elementary-Easley
  • East End Elementary-Easley
  • McKissick Elementary-Easley
  • Pickens Elementary-Pickens
  • Hagood Elementary-Pickens
  • Ambler Elementary-Pickens
  • Clemson Elementary-Clemson
  • Liberty Elementary-Liberty
  • Chastain Road Elementary-Liberty
  • Central Elementary-Central
  • Dacusville Elementary-Dacusville
  • Six Mile Elementary-Six Mile
  • R.H. Gettys Middle-Easley
  • Pickens Middle-Pickens
  • R.C. Edwards Middle-Six Mile
  • Liberty Middle-Liberty
  • Dacusville Middle-Dacusville
  • Easley High School- Easley
  • Pickens High School- Pickens
  • D.W. Daniel High-Central
  • Liberty High-Liberty

Colleges and universities

Public library

Pickens County is served by the Pickens County Library System, headquartered in Easley, with four branch libraries in the county.

Notable people

Shoeless Joe Jackson by Conlon, 1913
Shoeless Joe Jackson
  • Bobby Baker, scandal-plagued Secretary to the Majority Leader of the Senate until 1963
  • Charles H. Barker, awarded a Medal of Honor for his actions in the Korean War
  • Benjy Bronk, in-studio joke writer and on-air persona for the Howard Stern Show
  • John C. Calhoun, influential politician of the first half of the nineteenth century
  • DeAndre Hopkins, wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals of the NFL
  • Shoeless Joe Jackson, baseball player, born July 16, 1888; closely associated with the Black Sox Scandal in 1919
  • Stanley Morgan, former NFL wide receiver who played for the New England Patriots; was born in Easley on February 17, 1955; member of the New England Patriots Hall of Fame
  • Ray Robinson Williams, blind lawyer and state senator
  • Sam Wyche, former NFL football player and coach, resident

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Pickens (Carolina del Sur) para niños

Black History Month on Kiddle
African-American Astronauts:
Stephanie Wilson
Charles Bolden
Ronald McNair
Frederick D. Gregory
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