To Everything A Season - James EDGAR and Selah WITHERINGTON EDGAR Family

Colonial SOUTH CAROLINA Counties,


Districts and Parishes During the Revolution



Chester County, SOUTH CAROLINA

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On this page: SOUTH CAROLINA; Craven County; Camden District; St Mark Parish; Chester County

Latest update: Saturday, October 22, 2011


"In the 1700-1770 era the colony possessed many advantages -

entrepreneurial planters and businessmen, a major harbor, cost-

efficient African slave labor and an attractive physical environment,

with rich soil and a long growing season, albeit with endemic malaria.

It became one of the wealthiest of the British colonies.

"The Low Country, was settled first, dominated by wealthy men who

became owners of large amounts of land on which they created

plantations. They first transported white indentured servants as

laborers, mostly teenage youth from England who came to work off

their passage in hopes of learning to farm and buying their own land.

"In contrast to the Tidewater, the back country was settled chiefly by Scots-Irish and North British migrants who had

quickly moved down from Pennsylvania and Virginia. The immigrants from Ulster, the Scottish lowlands and the

north of England (the border counties) comprised the largest group from the British Isles before the Revolution.

They came mostly in the 18th century, later than other colonial immigrants. Such 'North Britons were a large majority in much

of the South Carolina upcountry.' The character of this environment was 'well matched to the culture of the British

borderlands.' Such immigrants settled in the backcountry throughout the South and relied on subsistence farming. They

mostly did not own slaves. Given the differences in background, class, slaveholding, economics and culture, there was

longstanding competition between the Low Country and Upcountry that played out in politics.

"During the American Revolution the Scots Irish in the back country in most states were noted as strong patriots… South

Carolina banded together with the other colonies to oppose British taxation in the Stamp Act Crisis of 1765, and played a

major role in resisting Britain. It became independent in March 1776 and joined the United States of America. The Revolution

was bloody and hard fought in 1780-81, as the British invaded, captured the American army and finally was driven out."



"Craven County was created by the Carolina Proprietors in 1664 as an

original county. At first it consisted of everything south of Cape Fear, North

Carolina, but starting in 1682 other counties began to be carved out of its

territory. From 1664 to 1768 this original Craven County was never surveyed

or properly laid out. Its boundaries were ambiguous and changed over time.

Its county government never became functional. Most records were kept at

the parish level; none were kept at the county level. There was no county

seat. There were no political connotations to the county's existence. In this

case the term "county" had no meaning other than to describe an

approximate geographical area. It was a county in name only. Craven County

was abolished in 1768." Craven County, South Carolina @


"Camden district was established in 1768 when South Carolina

eliminated the countIes and created seven Districts. In 1785,

counties were re-established as subsets and subordinate to

the overarching districts." Camden District, South Carolina @


St. Mark's Parish (originally in Summerton, Clarendon, SC,

now near Pinewood, Sumter, SC) was created in 1757 from

the northwest side of Prince Frederick Parish." St. Marks

Parish, South Carolina @

The American Revolution in South Carolina: Districts and

Parishes During the Revolution


The original inhabitants of Chester County were the

Catawba and the Cherokee nations. White traders entered

the area in the early 1700s, and the first settlers came in

the 1750s, largely in the Rocky Creek and Fishing Creek

areas. Early settlers were part of the great Scots-Irish

immigration south from Pennsylvania on the Great Wagon

Road. Others came up from the port of Charleston. The

western part of the county was settled for the most part by

immigrants from Virginia, most of English extraction.

During most of South Carolina's colonial history, the colony

was divided into only four counties as shown in the

following map.  County boundaries in the South Carolina

backcountry were only vaguely defined.  In particular, land

tracts lying in the area between the Broad and Saluda

Rivers were, in some land records, stated to be in Craven

County, and, in other records, to be in Berkeley County.  It

should be noted, that even though these four counties had

been established, all official record keeping was performed

in Charleston until 1785.  Also, until 1769, the courts met

only in Charleston.

The county was formed in 1785 as part of the larger Camden District but was later transferred to Pinckney District

(1791-1800); it became a separate district in 1800.

"South Carolina currently has 46 counties. Counties were established in the colonial period primarily for locating land grants,

with most other governmental activities being centralized in Charleston. The growth of the backcountry led to the

establishment of judicial districts throughout the colony, but lowcountry areas continued to be identified primarily by their

Anglican parish names. Following the Revolution, both district and county courts were established, but in 1800 most of the

counties became districts. Finally, in 1868 all of the existing districts were renamed counties. New counties continued to be

formed until the early part of the 20th century, with the most recent being Allendale in 1919. For maps and information on

early counties and districts, see Maps Tracing the Formation of Counties in South Carolina"

During the Revolutionary War, American forces under General Thomas Sumter were defeated here at the battle of Fishing

Creek in August 1780; the Americans were victorious at Fishdam Ford in November of the same year.

The city of Chester began to build up around the courthouse, founded at the site in the 1790s.


South Carolina State Library Archives

RootsWeb, Chester Co, SC

South Carolina: Individual County Chronologies


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