Fairfield County, South Carolina

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Fairfield County, South Carolina
Fairfield County Courthouse, Congress & Washington Streets, Winnsboro (Fairfield County, South Carolina).jpg
Fairfield County Courthouse
Map of South Carolina highlighting Fairfield County
Location in the U.S. state of South Carolina
Map of the United States highlighting South Carolina
South Carolina's location in the U.S.
Founded 1785
Seat Winnsboro
Largest town Winnsboro
 • Total 710 sq mi (1,839 km2)
 • Land 686 sq mi (1,777 km2)
 • Water 24 sq mi (62 km2), 3.3%
 • (2013) 23,109
 • Density 35/sq mi (14/km²)
Congressional district 5th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website www.fairfieldsc.com

Fairfield County is a county located in the U.S. state of South Carolina. As of the 2010 census, its population was 23,956.[1] Its county seat is Winnsboro.[2]

Fairfield County is part of the Columbia, SC Metropolitan Statistical Area.


18th century

It is alleged that the county name originated from a statement made by General Cornwallis when he declared "How Fair These Fields" during the British occupation of the area in 1780-81. The house Cornwallis[3] stayed in during the occupation is still standing.

Several years before the Revolution, Richard Winn from Virginia moved to what is now called Fairfield County. His lands covered the present site of Winnsboro, and as early as 1777 the settlement was known as "Winnsborough".[citation needed]

The village was laid out and chartered in 1785 upon petition of Richard Winn, John Winn and John Vanderhorst. John, Richard, and Minor Winn all served in the Revolutionary War. Richard was a General and he is said to have fought in more battles than any Whig in South Carolina.[citation needed]

Fairfield County has numerous churches, some of which have existed for over 200 years. Perhaps the most famous church, built in 1788, is the Old Brick Church,[4] where the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Synod of the Carolinas was organized in 1803. A note penciled on the wall of the Old Brick Church is testimony to a Union soldier's regret at the church's floor boards being taken up to build a crossing over the nearby river for General Sherman's troops during the American Civil War.

The early settlers in the mid-18th century brought cotton to the county. It was soon supported as a commodity crop by the labor of enslaved African Americans.

19th century

Invention of the cotton gin enabled the cultivation of short-staple cotton through the upcountry regions of the South. It was the chief commodity crop for this county from the early 19th century through the 1920s. In the antebellum era, most of the intensive labor was accomplished by African-American slaves, many of whose descendants still live in this rural area. After the Civil War, many African Americans initially worked as sharecroppers and tenant farmers. Over time the soil became depleted, but more damaging was infestation in the 20th century by the boll weevil. Together with mechanization of agriculture, the need for labor was reduced. In the first half of the 20th century through the 1940s, millions of African Americans left the rural South in the Great Migration to northern and midwestern cities for other job opportunities and the chance to escape Jim Crow restrictions.

In December 1832 Winnsboro was incorporated as a town to be governed by an intendant and wardens. The most prominent architectural feature of Fairfield County is the Town Clock[5] in Winnsboro. South Carolina's General Assembly authorized Winnsboro's town fathers to build a market house that "shall not be of greater width than 30 feet (9.1 m)" to allow 30 feet (9.1 m) of wagon travel on either side. The narrow building was modeled after Independence Hall in Philadelphia and built on the site of a duck pond. A clock was added in 1837, and the building has since been known as the Town Clock.

The County Courthouse,[6] across from the Town Clock, dates back to 1823. Designed by South Carolina architect Robert Mills, the courthouse houses records dating to the mid-18th century.[citation needed]

Granite deposits in the County led to the early development of quarrying. Winnsboro blue granite, "The Silk of the Trade," is used worldwide in buildings and monuments.[citation needed]

20th century

The county was home to the Carolinas–Virginia Tube Reactor during the 1960s. In 1984 the Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Generating Station was built here. The county owns the Fairfield County Airport, in operation since 1975.[7]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 710 square miles (1,800 km2), of which 686 square miles (1,780 km2) is land and 24 square miles (62 km2) (3.3%) is water.[8]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 7,623
1800 10,087 32.3%
1810 11,857 17.5%
1820 17,174 44.8%
1830 21,546 25.5%
1840 20,165 −6.4%
1850 21,404 6.1%
1860 22,111 3.3%
1870 19,888 −10.1%
1880 27,765 39.6%
1890 28,599 3.0%
1900 29,425 2.9%
1910 29,442 0.1%
1920 27,159 −7.8%
1930 23,287 −14.3%
1940 24,187 3.9%
1950 21,780 −10.0%
1960 20,713 −4.9%
1970 19,999 −3.4%
1980 20,700 3.5%
1990 22,295 7.7%
2000 23,454 5.2%
2010 23,956 2.1%
Est. 2014 22,976 [9] −4.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[10]
1790-1960[11] 1900-1990[12]
1990-2000[13] 2010-2013[1]

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 23,956 people residing in the county. 59.1% were Black or African American, 38.6% White, 0.2% Asian, 0.2% Native American, 0.8% of some other race and 1.1% or two or more races. 1.6% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race).

As of the census[14] of 2000,[dated info] there were 23,454 people, 8,774 households, and 6,387 families residing in the county. The population density was 34 people per square mile (13/km²). There were 10,383 housing units at an average density of 15 per square mile (6/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 59.09% Black or African American, 39.58% White, 0.19% Asian, 0.15% Native American, 0.44% from other races, and 0.55% from two or more races. 1.07% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 8,774 households out of which 32.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.90% were married couples living together, 20.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.20% were non-families. 24.40% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.40% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.12.

In the county, the population was spread out with 26.10% under the age of 18, 8.60% from 18 to 24, 27.80% from 25 to 44, 24.30% from 45 to 64, and 13.20% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 90.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.80 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $30,376, and the median income for a family was $35,943. Males had a median income of $29,033 versus $21,197 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,911. About 17.20% of families and 19.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.70% of those under age 18 and 24.10% of those age 65 or over.


The county is home to the South Carolina Railroad Museum (in Winnsboro).[15]

The Enoree Ranger District of the Sumter National Forest provides opportunities for outdoor recreation.[16][17] The county has an abundance of deer and wild turkeys,[citation needed] making it an attraction for hunters. It is home to the Lake Wateree State Recreation Area.



Census-designated place

Unincorporated communities


  1. 1.0 1.1 "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 23, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. http://www.fairfieldchamber.org/cornwallis.html
  4. http://www.fairfieldchamber.org/brickchurch.html
  5. Town Clock from fairfieldchamber.org
  6. http://www.fairfieldchamber.org/courthouse.html
  7. http://traveltips.usatoday.com/nearest-airports-columbia-south-carolina-32197.html
  8. "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved March 17, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 17, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved March 17, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 17, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved March 17, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Directions and Facilities". South Carolina Railroad Museum. Located at 110 Industrial Park Road, Winnsboro, SC 29180...<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Enoree Ranger Districts". U.S. Forest Service. The Enoree Ranger District consists of more than 170,000 acres located in Newberry, Union, Chester, Laurens and Fairfield counties.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "History of the Enoree and Long Cane Ranger Districts". U.S. Forest Service.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

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