Hampton County, South Carolina

Year Established

County Seat

Significance of County Name

Population (2020)



Governor Wade Hampton, III


Legislative Act Creating County

First Settled / By

County Evolution by Decade

Official County Website

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1732 /
Swiss Palatines & French Huguenots

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Historical Post Offices

American Revolution

American Civil War

Significant Education Events

Alphabetical / Date Started

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Coming Later

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Airports in Hampton County

Maps of Hampton County

Books About Hampton County

Genealogy Sources

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A History of Hampton County

Hampton County Jail

Hampton County and its county seat Hampton were named for Confederate General and Governor Wade Hampton, III (1818-1902). The county was formed from Beaufort County in 1878, shortly after Wade Hampton took office as governor. Parts of Hampton County later went to form Jasper (1912) and Allendale (1919) counties. During the American Civil War, while the coastal areas of Beaufort County were occupied by federal troops, many planters fled to the area that became Hampton County. Union General William Tecumseh Sherman's troops passed through what became Hampton County in 1865, fighting several skirmishes with Confederate troops. This section of the state has remained primarily agricultural. Athlete Lucile Ellerbe Godbold (1900-1981), who won two gold medals in track and field at the 1922 Olympics, grew up in Hampton County, and writer Vertamae Grosvenor was also born there.
In 1878, under the leadership of Governor Wade Hampton, III, South Carolina was gradually recovering from carpetbagger and scalawag oppression. Hampton County, formed from old Beaufort District in Governor Hampton's first administration and named for that matchless leader, is in the southwestern part of the state and is served by the Seaboard Air Line, Atlantic Coast Line, Southern Railway, Charleston & Western Carolina Railway, and the Hampton & Branchville Railroad, and by State Highways 1, 33 and 36. By automobile, it is within two to three hours ride from Columbia and Charleston, and from Savannah and Augusta, Georgia. The total railroad mileage is 71. The area is 513 square miles and the population 19,550, estimated 1925 at 19,696.

The county is fifty miles from the coast, is level, has a variety of soils, ranging from sandy to good clay loam, and produces a great variety of crops, the staple being cotton, corn, peas, potatoes, sugar cane, oats, and rye. During the trucking season watermelons, cantaloupes, squash, egg-plant, tomatoes, radishes, beans, cucumbers, lettuce, blackberries, peaches, strawberries, sweet and Irish potatoes are shipped. Conditions are favorable for cattle, hogs and poultry.

Some of the rice fields in the lower part of the county have been drained, dredged and irrigated at the Kress Plantation, near Yemassee, where 200 acres are devoted to the growing, under expert care, of the beautiful paper white narcissus, yielding 12 million bulbs annually. The pecan industry is making rapid progress in the county.

Hampton, with 706 inhabitants, is the county seat. Other towns with their populations are Brunson, 699; Estill, 1,393; Furman, 296; Luray, 174; Scotia, 269; Varnville, 1,160. The county has five accredited high schools, and has maintained county and home demonstration agents since the work was first introduced.

In 1925, the county led the state in contest work for girls' home demonstration work. Two trips were won to the national Boys' and Girls' Club Congress in Chicago. A Hampton County girl won first place in the canned fruit exhibit for the Southeastern division of the United States, and third place in the national contest for judging carved products. Other honors won from time to time have been first place in yeast bread, first in canning, second in clothing, and second in biscuit contests. Present enrollment of Girls' Clubs is 225.

A similar work has been done in county farm demonstration work, such as organizing boys' pig and corn clubs and the marketing of farm products.

The timber interests is an important one.

The Salkehatchie and Coosawhatchie rivers flow through the county and afford abundant fresh water fishing. Some of the largest game preserves in the same are situated in Hampton County.

The temperature is never too cold, never too hot.

When Moses pitched tent in Rephidin there was no water to drink. With a rod he had to smite the rock in Horeb. Today large cities find the water supply a problem. In Hampton County, anyone can strike the rocks a thousand feet below the surface with the driller's augur and secure an inexhaustible supply of pure artesian water filtered by nature thousands of miles in its underground courses from the mountains to the sea. The pressure is sufficient to supply whole towns for all purposes - just turn the faucet and let "Nature cut her capers." These free wells in Hampton, in purity, abundance, and in volume surpass the wells of Isaac. As said in the advertisement of one of the pecan nurseries, Hampton County is one place left where there are no "keep off the grass" signs.

Considering climate, health, water, and productive qualities, land and a home can be owned cheaper in this county than any place in the Union.

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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