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“L” is for Lee County

“L” is for Lee County (410 square miles; 2020 population 17,144). In 1897 the General Assembly created Lee County from portions of Sumter, Darlington, and Kershaw Counties. Impetus for the new county came from residents associated with the political machine of Benjamin R. Tillman. Legal challenges resulted in a five year-delay and it was not until December 1902 that the state supreme court ruled that all requirements for the new county had been met and that Bishopville would be the county seat. However, in 1914 and 1921 small areas were restored to Sumter and Kershaw Counties. Throughout its existence Lee County has been an agricultural community and sometimes referred to as the “Garden Spot of the Carolinas.” Cotton was the leading crop and into the twenty-first century Lee County is one of the state’s top producers.

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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.