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“L” is for Lancaster County

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“L” is for Lancaster County (549 square miles; 2020 population 100,926). Lying in the north-central portion of South Carolina between the Catawba and Lynches Rivers, Lancaster County was created in 1785 from the northeastern part of the Camden Judicial District. The county was named for Lancaster, Pennsylvania, from which many early settlers originated. These pioneers were mostly small farmers, growing wheat and other grains and maintaining livestock. With the arrival of the cotton gin, short-staple cotton was grown extensively. By 1860 almost one-half of the county’s population consisted of enslaved persons. After the Civil War, textile mills replaced cotton and dominated the local economy for much of the twentieth century. By the twenty-first century, Lancaster County’s population had increased dramatically as it became home to residents who worked and shopped in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.