Dillon County, South Carolina

Year Established

County Seat

Significance of County Name

Population (2020)



James W. Dillon


Legislative Act Creating County

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Airports in Dillon County

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A History of Dillon County

Dillon Rairoad Depot - 1930s

Dillon County was named for James W. Dillon (1826-1913), a prominent local resident. The county seat was also named for him. Dillon County was formed in 1910 from Marion County. Swamps and rivers kept this section of the Pee Dee isolated for many years, but the construction of a railroad in the nineteenth century brought increased development. The residents primarily engaged in cotton and tobacco farming and in timber harvesting. Composer Carlisle Floyd was born in the Dillon County town of Latta.

South of the Border - Dillon County, South Carolina

If you have ever driven Interstate 95 from New York to Florida, you have probably seen hundreds of billboards advertising for South of the Border, a tourist mecca with dozens of shops offering anything from ice-cream to souvenirs from Africa. Literally feet south of the North Carolina-South Carolina state line in present-day Dillon County, S.O.B., as it is referred to by locals, including the operators, is a unique amalgam of Dixie and Old Mexico. At first you wonder what all this Mexican stuff is doing in South Carolina, thousands of miles from its natural habitat. But in a remarkably short time you'll accept S.O.B. as a neon yellow and pink Tijuana, with the added benefit that its inhabitants speak English and its water is safe to drink.

Dillon County gets its name from the well known Dillon family of Ireland. William Dillon, father of the founder of the county, was at an early age apprenticed to an uncle - a London shipbuilder. As a young man he made several voyages to America on his uncle's ships. On his last voyage he landed at Jamestown, and settled in Marion County, South Carolina.

J. W. Dillon, his son, without capital or credit, established a small mercantile business in upper Marion County. He was a man of vision. His business greatly prospered. He established a town which took his name.

Out of upper Marion County was cut one of the richest counties in the state, which also took his name. Dillon is one of the smallest counties in the state, with an area of 405 square miles. Its population of 25,278 is divided as follows; white, 12,580, colored, 12,936.

1n an average crop year, 1925, on 63,000 acres of land Dillon produced 30,000 bales of cotton and 12,000 tons of cotton seed which sold for $3,029,309.

On 7,800 acres it produced 5,811,000 pounds of tobacco which sold for $126 an acre. The total value of its crops in 1925 was $4,641,403. Thousands of acres of Dillon County lands will produce a bale of cotton or 1,200 pounds of tobacco to the acre.

On some of its lands the yield of wheat year after year is from 35 to 40 bushels to the acre. The average for the United States is 12 bushels. Good lands well cultivated are producing from 60 to 80 bushels of corn and oats to the acre. A large pecan orchard is averaging 350 pounds of soft shell pecans to the acre.

Near the coast where the winters are mild and the seasons long, many farmers easily make two money crops on the same land in the same year. Dillon's lands are strong and fertile and crop disasters are unknown. When the boll weevil was doing its greatest damage in South Carolina, Dillon's cotton crop never fell below 14,000 bales. A normal crop is 35,000.

A double-track railroad gives Dillon a 40-hour freight service to New York; express 18 hours.

Dillon has profitable chicken farms, but the supply is not equal to the demand. Fine pasture lands furnish gracing nine months in the year, yet Dillon's dairying industry is almost negligible. Milk is expressed through Dillon from Richmond, Virginia, to Charleston, a distance of 400 miles, and Dillon is only 131 miles from Charleston.

Dillon is an agricultural county, but it has cotton mills, an oil mill, a roller mill, and many smaller industries. Its main crops are cotton and tobacco, but trucking is on the increase, and in a short time the volume will be large enough to justify the establishment of a large canning factory.

Dillon's lauds yield abundantly and her farmers are prosperous, but the price of good land is within the reach of any thrifty, energetic man who knows how to farm and is not afraid of work. 

Immediately above, published in "South Carolina: A Handbook," prepared by The Department of Agriculture, Commerce, and Industries and Clemson College, Columbia, South Carolina, 1927. In the Public Domain. [with minor edits]


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