Edgefield County Courthouse
Location within the U.S. state of South Carolina
South Carolina's location within the U.S.
|o Total||507 sq mi (1,310 km2)|
|o Land||500 sq mi (1,000 km2)|
|o Water||6.3 sq mi (16 km2) 1.2%%|
| o Estimate |
|o Density||53.4/sq mi (20.6/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern)|
|o Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (EDT)|
The origin of the name Edgefield is unclear; the South Carolina State Library's information on the county's history suggests that the name "is usually described as 'fanciful.'" There is a village named Edgefield in Norfolk, England.
Edgefield District was created in 1785, and it is bordered on the west by the Savannah River. It was formed from the southern section of the former Ninety-Six District when it was divided into smaller districts or counties by an act of the state legislature. Parts of the district were later used in the formation of other neighboring counties, specifically:
In his study of Edgefield County, South Carolina, Orville Vernon Burton classified white society as comprising the poor, the yeoman middle class, and the elite planters. A clear line demarcated the elite, but according to Burton, the line between poor and yeoman was never very distinct. Stephanie McCurry argues that yeomen were clearly distinguished from poor whites by their ownership of land (real property). Edgefield's yeomen farmers were "self-working farmers," distinct from the elite because they worked their land themselves alongside any slaves they owned. By owning large numbers of slaves, planters took on a managerial function and did not work in the fields.
During Reconstruction, Edgefield County had a slight black majority. It became a center of political tensions following the postwar amendments that gave freedmen civil rights under the US constitution. Whites conducted an insurgency to maintain white supremacy, particularly through paramilitary groups known as the Red Shirts. They used violence and intimidation during election seasons from 1872 on to disrupt and suppress black Republican voting.
In the early summer (year unknown), six black suspects were lynched by a white mob for the alleged murders of a white couple. In the Hamburg Massacre of July 8, 1876, several black militia were killed by whites, part of a large group of more than 100 armed men who attended a court hearing of a complaint of whites against the militia. Some of the white men came from Augusta. Due to fraud, more Democratic votes were recorded in Edgefield County than there were total residents; similar fraud occurred elsewhere, as did suppression of black voting. Eventually the election was decided in Hampton's favor, and the Democrats also took control of the state legislature. As a result of a national compromise, Federal troops were withdrawn in 1877 from South Carolina and other southern states, ending Reconstruction.
The long decline in population from 1910 to 1980 reflects the decline in agriculture, mechanization reducing labor needs, and the effect of many African Americans leaving for Northern and Midwestern cities in the Great Migration out of the rural South.
As of the census of 2000, there were 24,595 people, 8,270 households, and 6,210 families residing in the county. The population density was 49 people per square mile (19/km²). There were 9,223 housing units at an average density of 18 per square mile (7/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 56.77% White, 41.51% Black or African American, 0.33% Native American, 0.24% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.44% from other races, and 0.69% from two or more races. 2.05% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 8,270 households out of which 34.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.60% were married couples living together, 15.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.90% were non-families. 22.40% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.66 and the average family size was 3.12.
In the county, the population was spread out with 24.10% under the age of 18, 9.80% from 18 to 24, 32.10% from 25 to 44, 23.20% from 45 to 64, and 10.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 112.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 114.80 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $35,146, and the median income for a family was $41,810. Males had a median income of $32,748 versus $23,331 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,415. About 13.00% of families and 15.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.60% of those under age 18 and 18.40% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 26,985 people, 9,348 households, and 6,706 families residing in the county. The population density was 53.9 inhabitants per square mile (20.8/km2). There were 10,559 housing units at an average density of 21.1 per square mile (8.1/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 58.6% white, 37.2% black or African American, 0.4% Asian, 0.2% American Indian or Alaska Native, 2.2% from other races, and 1.3% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin (of any race) made up 5.2% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 15.8% were American, 9.0% were English, 6.7% were Irish, and 5.1% were German.
Of the 9,348 households, 33.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.9% were married couples living together, 16.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 28.3% were non-families, and 24.9% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.04. The median age was 40.3 years.
The median income for a household in the county was $42,834 and the median income for a family was $57,114. Males had a median income of $41,759 versus $29,660 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,901. About 17.8% of families and 21.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 33.1% of those under age 18 and 17.1% of those age 65 or over.
Edgefield has one newspaper, published in the town of the same name:
The local radio station is located in the town of Johnston:
Edgefield is also served by the following television stations:
Edgefield County is the birthplace of the following people: