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Edgefield County, South Carolina

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Please add profiles for those who were born, lived or died in Edgefield, South Carolina.

Official Website

History

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.

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 May 1876, 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 As a result of a national compromise, Federal troops were withdrawn in 1877 from South Carolina and other southern states, ending Reconstruction.

Adjacent Counties

Cities, Towns & Communities

  • Edgefield (County Seat)
  • Johnston
  • Murphey's Estates
  • North Augusta (part)
  • Trenton

Links

Wikipedia

Sumter National Forest (part)

Bettis Academy & Junior College

Horn Creek Baptist Church

List of Plantations

Edgefield Historical Society

Strom Thurmond Birthplace

Slaveholders & Slave List (1860 & 1870 Census]