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“E” is for Edgefield County

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“E” is for Edgefield County (502 square miles; 2020 population 25,657). Edgefield County was created in 1785 from the southern portion of the backcountry judicial district of Ninety Six. Bounded by the Savannah and Saluda Rivers and the districts of Abbeville, Barnwell, Orangeburg, and Lexington, Edgefield originally encompassed 1,702 square miles and was the largest inland district in the state. Legend asserts that the name arose from Edgefield’s location on the western “edge” of South Carolina. Since its creation, the county has lost more than two-thirds of its area to the creation of four new counties. Agriculture dominated Edgefield’s economy throughout its history, but by 1900 textiles began to play a growing role. In the twenty-first century, Edgefield County has tapped into its history and rural image to enhance its appeal to tourists and retirees.

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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.