Marlboro County, South Carolina

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Marlboro County, South Carolina
Marlboro Courthouse.jpg
Marlboro County Courthouse, Bennettsville
Seal of Marlboro County, South Carolina
Map of South Carolina highlighting Marlboro 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
Named for John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough
Seat Bennettsville
Largest city Bennettsville
 • Total 485 sq mi (1,256 km2)
 • Land 480 sq mi (1,243 km2)
 • Water 5.6 sq mi (15 km2), 1.2%
 • (2010) 28,933
 • Density 60/sq mi (23/km²)
Congressional district 7th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4

Marlboro County is a county located in the U.S. state of South Carolina. As of the 2010 census recorded its population to be 28,933.[1] Its county seat is Bennettsville.[2] The Great Pee Dee River runs through it.

Marlboro County comprises the Bennettsville, SC Micropolitan Statistical Area.

Among its residents are the state-recognized Pee Dee Tribe of South Carolina (2006) and the Pee Dee Indian Nation of Upper South Carolina (2005). The first is based in McColl as is the Marlboro, Chesterfield, Darlington County Pee Dee Indian Tribe, which separated from the second listed Pee Dee tribe.[3] Nearly 5% of the county population identify as Pee Dee people.


Succeeding indigenous peoples occupied this area for thousands of years. At the time of European encounter, the inhabitants of the area were the historic Pee Dee. Some had moved into this area from the Lowcountry as a result of colonial pressures along the coast. They are believed to have spoken either a Siouan language, as did tribes in the Piedmont, or one of the Algonquian languages family, which were common among coastal peoples. Descendants identifying as Pee Dee still live in the county and region.[4] More recent research suggests they were based in this area, as part of a group called the South Appalachian Mississippian culture.

The first European colonists to arrive in the area were Welsh settlers, part of the British Isles colonists, migrating south from Pennsylvania. In 1737, they established the first European-American settlement, called Welsh Neck.;[5] these original settlers organized a Baptist church in January 1738.[6]

On 12 March 1785, Marlboro County was established by law. It was named for the Duke of Marlborough.[7] The first courthouse was near the Great Pee Dee River, just North of Crooked Creek, in a village called Carlisle, named for Richard Carlisle. In an effort to provide a more central location for the courthouse, the state legislature created the new county seat of Bennettsville, founded in 1819. A Robert Mills-designed courthouse was selected to be built. Construction began in 1820 and was completed in 1824.[5] It was replaced in the later 19th century, and the second courthouse was expanded and renovated in 1953-1954.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 485 square miles (1,260 km2), of which 480 square miles (1,200 km2) is land and 5.6 square miles (15 km2) (1.2%) is water.[8]

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 10,706
1800 5,452 −49.1%
1810 4,966 −8.9%
1820 6,425 29.4%
1830 8,582 33.6%
1840 8,408 −2.0%
1850 10,789 28.3%
1860 12,434 15.2%
1870 11,814 −5.0%
1880 20,598 74.4%
1890 23,500 14.1%
1900 27,639 17.6%
1910 31,189 12.8%
1920 33,180 6.4%
1930 31,634 −4.7%
1940 33,281 5.2%
1950 31,766 −4.6%
1960 28,529 −10.2%
1970 27,151 −4.8%
1980 31,624 16.5%
1990 29,361 −7.2%
2000 28,818 −1.8%
2010 28,933 0.4%
Est. 2014 27,924 [9] −3.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[10]
1790-1960[11] 1900-1990[12]
1990-2000[13] 2010-2013[1]
Marlboro County population distribution by age and sex, 2000 census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 28,933 people residing in the county. 50.9% were Black or African American, 41.4% White, 4.5% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 1.1% of some other race and 1.8% of two or more races. 2.8% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race). The county is unusual for its high proportion of Pee Dee people, descendants of the historic Native American tribe that occupied this area in colonial times. Some Pee Dee tribes have been officially recognized by the state in the 21st century; two are based in this county.

As of the census[14] of 2000, there were 28,818 people, 10,478 households, and 7,334 families residing in the county. The population density was 60 people per square mile (23/km²). There were 11,894 housing units at an average density of 25 per square mile (10/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 44.49% White, 50.73% Black or African American, 3.36% Native American, 0.24% Asian, 0.24% from other races, and 0.95% from two or more races. 0.71% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 10,478 households out of which 32.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.60% were married couples living together, 22.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.00% were non-families. 26.90% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.59 and the average family size was 3.14.

In the county, the population was spread out with 26.20% under the age of 18, 9.30% from 18 to 24, 29.40% from 25 to 44, 22.80% from 45 to 64, and 12.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 96.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.10 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $26,598, and the median income for a family was $32,019. Males had a median income of $25,896 versus $20,590 for females. The per capita income for the county was $13,385. About 17.70% of families and 21.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.20% of those under age 18 and 22.70% of those age 65 or over.


After Democrats regained power in the state in the late nineteenth century, the legislature passed a new constitution and laws to disfranchise black voters, who comprised a majority of the population in the state. They also imposed legal racial segregation and laws for Jim Crow and white supremacy. This situation of disfranchisement lasted largely into the 1960s, until Congress passed the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965, to give the government oversight and power to enforce constitutional rights for all citizens as a result of the civil rights movement. As part of the Solid South, the whites of the county and state used to vote overwhelmingly Democratic, giving 100% of its vote to the party in 1924.[15] White South Carolina residents (and throughout the South) had outsize power in Congress, as they controlled seats apportioned on the basis of total population of the state.

The county has continued to vote mostly Democratic but political alignments have changed since the 20th-century civil rights movement. African Americans have mostly left the Republican Party, which they had supported in the 19th century after the Civil War, to support the national Democratic Party, which achieved gains in Congress to restore constitutional rights for all citizens. In the 1972 election, Republican Richard Nixon won every county in the state including Marlboro.[16] In state and local voting, many whites have voted for Republican candidates, and African Americans have tended to continue to support the Democrats.

More recently the county went strongly for Barack Obama, who received 62.4% of the vote in the 2008 U.S. presidential election. The Democratic presidential candidate has received more than 58% of the county vote in all elections from 1992 to 2004.[17]




See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 25, 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. Native Americans: The Pee Dee People, South Carolina Information Highway, accessed 22 April 2014
  4. Hudson, Charles M. (1970). The Catawba Nation. University of Georgia Press. pp. 16–17.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 Marlboro County "It’s Good to be Home". Bennettsville, SC: Marlboro Herald-Advocate. January 2009. p. 60.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. J.A.W. Thomas. A History of Marlboro County: With Traditions and Sketches of Numerous Families. Atlanta: The Foote & Davies Company, 1897.
  7. Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 200.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved March 18, 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 18, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved March 18, 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 18, 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 18, 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. 1924 Presidential Election Statistics
  16. David Leip Presidential Atlas (Election maps for South Carolina)
  17. New York Times Electoral Map (Zoom in on South Carolina)

External links

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