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“N” is for Newberry County

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“N” is for Newberry County (631 square miles; 2020 population: 38,434). Newberry County--located between the Broad and Saluda Rivers in the lower Piedmont--was formed in 1785 when the General Assembly divided Ninety Six District into six counties. Although the county remained overwhelmingly rural throughout the nineteenth century, several nodes of settlement evolved into villages and towns: Whitmire, Chappells, Prosperity, and Peak. The Newberry Cotton Mill was the largest in the state when it began operating in 1884. Additional mills followed and textile manufacturing remained important to the local economy throughout the twentieth century. In the 1930s, Newberry County’s population began a decline that was not reversed until the 1980s. The origin of Newberry County’s name is uncertain, although it has been suggested that early settlers thought the area was “as pretty as a new berry.”

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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.