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“B” is for Bennettsville

“B” is for Bennettsville (Marlboro County; 2020 population 7,020). Bennettsville was established in 1819, when the General Assembly moved the Marlboro District courthouse to a more central location. The new town was named for the sitting governor, Thomas Bennett. A three-acre square was selected on a bluff above Crooked Creek. By 1824, a Robert Mills-designed courthouse was completed and a town slowly developed around the square. In the 1880s the arrival of the railroad revived the economy and brought businesses and industry to the town. Traffic on U.S. Highways 15 and 401 introduced a flourishing tourist trade along Main Street. During the 1950s the U.S. Highway 15-401 bypass was built, which became the site for much of Bennettsville’s commercial development. In 1989 another addition to the Bennettsville economy was the opening of the Evans Correctional Institution.

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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.