© 2022 South Carolina Public Radio
Radio Website Header-Waves 6 3.0.jpg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
WLTR-FM, Columbia, 91.3, is currently operating at low power. This will affect reception in some areas. Streaming is not affected.

"B" is for Barnwell County

South Carolina from A to Z logo

"B" is for Barnwell County [548 square miles; population 23,478]. Barnwell County originally encompassed 1,440 square miles but lost more than one-half its territory to the formation of several newer counties: Aiken, Allendale, and Bamberg. The county was named for Revolutionary War hero, John Barnwell. Traditionally an agricultural county, Barnwell is better known today for the political clout it enjoyed for much of the 20th century.

The "Barnwell Ring," headed by Speaker of the House Solomon Blatt, President Pro-Tem of the Senate Edgar Brown, was one of the most powerful factions in the state’s history. In the early 1950s, the federal government purchased one-third of the western portion of the county for the Savannah River Site, a massive nuclear weapons facility—which had a profound effect on the economy and geography of Barnwell County. 

Stay Connected
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.