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SC Backcountry Migration & Settlement Timeline

A quick glance at the key events in shaping Edgefield, from 20,000 BC until World War II:

20,000-8,000 BC

The earliest Indians inhabited present-day South Carolina

1540

Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto passed through the South Carolina backcountry

1670

The English colony of Charles Town was established

1671

The first slaves brought to South Carolina came with a colony from Barbados

Circa 1685

White Indian traders established a trading post at Savannah Town near present day Beech Island

1700

The population of South Carolina was 5,000, most living within a few miles of Charleston.

1704-1706

The colony is divided into parishes

1715-1716

The Yemassee Indian War broke out in the lowcountry killing approximately 100 white settlers

1715

Stevens Creek is named after a cow drover by the name of John Stevens

1716

Fort Moore was erected at Savannah Town to guard the frontier

1729

Royal government is established when the Lord Proprietors relinquish their interest in the province to the Crown and the area is divided into North and South Carolina

1730

Governor Johnson created a township plan whereby the towns of New Windsor, Saxe Gotha, Purrysburg, and Amelia townships were established to attract more settlers into the backcountry

1732

Colony of Georgia established

1735

Augusta, Georgia is founded

Late 1730s

Settlers first trickled into the area of what was to become the Old Ninety Six District

1754

French and Indian War: A large migration begins from northern colonies down the Great Wagon Road into South Carolina.

1755

The Cherokees ceded an estimated forty thousand acres to South Carolina

1760s

The Cherokee War terrorized the sparsely settled backcountry and four new townships were established: Boonesborough, Hillsborough, Londonborough and Belfast 

1767-69

The Regulator Movement began in order to suppress lawlessness in the backcountry

1769

The District of Ninety Six is created and a Circuit Court system established.

1776-1783

American Revolution. Royal grants ceased.

1785

Counties of Edgefield, Abbeville, Newberry, Laurens, Union and Spartanburg were carved out of the Old Ninety Six District

1786

Columbia becomes the seat of government for South Carolina

1791

President George Washington travels through South Carolina

1793

Invention of the Cotton Gin

1810

Migration out of South Carolina began to rise as new territories in the west opened up

1812

The War of 1812 pushed the Native Americans even further westward, opening up the land that would become Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana

1820’s

Westward migration accelerated due to a downturn in the cotton economy and eroding of lands as a result of over-planting

1835-1837

War for Texas Independence: A number of men from this Region died in the Alamo, including William Barret Travis and James Butler Bonham.

1835-1842

Second Seminole War:  Large numbers from this Region were sent to fight.

1838

16,000 Cherokee Indians were forced to leave their eastern homeland to Indian Territory in Oklahoma. On this “Trail of Tears,” at least 2,000 died.

1846-1848

The Mexican War: The Palmetto Regiment from Edgefield joined this conflict.

1860-1865

South Carolina urged southern states to secede from the Union, and the Confederate States of America was formed. Civil war raged for four terrible years.

1865

African-Americans were freed from the bonds of slavery

1865-1875

A great influx from the North of federal troops, “carpetbaggers,” and opportune seekers arrived in South Carolina

1866-1876

Reconstruction and the Red Shirt Movement

1880s

Coming of the Railroad and the beginning of a new age of mobility

1890s

Benjamin Ryan Tillman of Edgefield became Governor and led the state in easing the struggle of small farmers

1900s

The coming of the automobile

1914-1918

World War I

1921-1923

The Boll Weevil arrived in this Region and caused widespread devastation.  Huge migrations of African Americans move to northern towns to work in factories

Late 1920s-1930s

The Great American Depression

1940-1945

World War II


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