South Carolina County Creation Dates and Parent Counties

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From the beginnings of the Proprietors to present, the levels of government changed.

Proprietors Counties - 1682

In 1682, after the first hard years of settlement, the Proprietors ordered three counties laid out. Berkeley County, centering around Charleston, extended from the Stono River on the south to Seewee Creek (present-day Awendaw Creek) where it emptied into Bulls Bay on the north. Craven County lay north of Berkeley, and below Berkeley, Colleton extended to the Combahee River. Later, a fourth county, Granville, was laid out between the Combahee and the Savannah rivers.

Name of County Date Formed Parent County Location
Berkeley 1682 colony covers Charleston, between Stono River and Seewee (now Awendaw Creek
Colleton 1682 colony between Stono River and Combahee River
Craven 1682 colony between Seewee Creek and North Carolina's border
Granville 1682 colony between Combabhee River and Savannah River



Throughout the colonial period, the small population and its limited legal needs kept most government, records keeping, and judicial activity confined to the municipal limits of Charleston. Parishes of the established Anglican Church served as election districts, and courts with jurisdiction over the entire colony sat in Charleston.

Name of Parish Date Formed Part of County
All Saints 1767
Christ Church 1706
Prince Frederick 1734
Prince George 1721
Prince William 1745
St. Andrew’s 1706
St. Bartholomew’s 1706
St. David’s 1768
St. George 1717
St. Helena’s 1712
St. James Goose Creek 1706
St. James Santee 1706
St. John’s Berkeley 1708
St. John’s Colleton 1730
St. Luke’s 1767
St. Mark’s 1757
St. Matthew's 1768
St. Michael’s 1751
St. Paul’s 1706
St. Peter’s 1747
St. Philip’s 1706
St. Stephen’s 1754
St. Thomas and St. Denis 1706


District 1769 -1784

Georgetown extended from the North Carolina line to the Santee. Charleston lay between the Santee and the Combahee. Beaufort sat between the Combahee and the Savannah. Northwest of Georgetown was the Cheraws District, bounded on the west by Lynches River; west of the Cheraws was the large district of Camden, bounded on the west by the river system of the Santee, Congaree, and Broad; south and west of Camden, two more large districts extended to the Savannah River--Orangeburg to the south, and Ninety-Six to the north.

Name of District Existence Date Progeny County
Beaufort 1772-1800 Beaufort 1769
Camden 1769-1800 Chester 1785, York 1785, Richland 1799, Williamsburg 1802, Fairfield 1798, Kershaw 1798, Lancaster 1798, Sumter 1798
Charleston 1769-1800 Charleston 1769, Colleton 1798, Orangeburg 1769
Cheraws 1769-1800 Chesterfield 1798, Darlington 1798, Marlboro 1798
Georgetown 1769-1800 Georgetown 1769, Williamsburg 1802
Ninety-Six 1769-1800 Greenville 1798, Spartanburg 1785, Union 1785, York 1785, Newberry 1785, Abbeville 1785, Edgefield 1785, Laurens 1785
Orangeburg 1769-? Barnwell 1798, Lexington 1804, Newberry 1785, Charleston 1769, Richland 1799
Pendleton 1789-1795 renamed Anderson District 1795
Pinckney 1791-1800 from Camden & Ninety-Six York 1785, Chester 1785, Spartanburg 1785, Union 1785
Washington 1795-1800 Greenville 1798


Act of 1785

The 1785 act gave the Cheraws District the counties of Chesterfield, Marlboro, and Darlington; it divided Camden District into York, Chester, Fairfield, Lancaster, Richland, Claremont, and Clarendon counties. It gave Ninety-Six District the counties of Spartanburg, Union, Laurens, Newberry, Abbeville, and Edgefield. And it divided Orangeburg District into Orange, Lewisburg, Lexington, and Winton (an early version of Barnwell) counties.

Name of District Progeny County
Camden Chester, Claremont, Clarendon, Fairfield, Lancaster, Richland, York
Cheraws Chesterfield, Darlington, Marlboro
Ninety-Six Abbeville, Edgefield, Laurens, Newberry, Spartanburg, Union
Orangeburg Lewisburg, Lexington, Winton, Orange


Districts and Counties, 1786-1790

In 1786, part of the unorganized Indian land, which had been taken from the Cherokee Indians during the American Revolution and lay northwest of Ninety-Six District, became Greenville County; in 1789, the remainder of the Indian land became Pendleton County. A few counties had been set out in the three Low Country districts of Georgetown, Charleston, and Beaufort, but there, where the old parish system was well established, the counties failed to take root.


Districts, 1791-1799

In 1791, the four Orangeburg counties were abolished, and two new districts were created. Washington District was formed to encompass the counties of Greenville and Pendleton. Pinckney District took York and Chester counties from Camden District, and Spartanburg and Union counties from Ninety-Six District.

Name of District Progeny County
Pinckney Chester, Spartanburg, Union, York
Washington Greenville, Pendleton


Districts, 1800-1814

In 1800, most of the counties were formed into districts. Washington, Pinckney Ninety-Six, Camden, and the Cheraws districts vanished, and the counties they had encompassed became districts. Claremont, Clarendon, and Salem counties became Sumter District. Marion District was formed from part of Georgetown, Colleton District from part of Charleston, and Barnwell District from part of Orangeburg. Georgetown yielded Horry District in 1801 and Williamsburg District in 1804. That same year, Lexington District was formed from Orangeburg with roughly the same territory as the old county of the same name.


Districts, 1815-1867

In 1826, Pendleton was divided into the two districts of Pickens and Anderson. In 1855, Clarendon District was taken from Sumter with the same boundaries as the old Clarendon County of 1785.

Counties, 1868-1870

The Constitution of 1868 stated that "the Judicial Districts shall hereafter be designated as Counties" and formed Oconee County from the western part of Pickens.


Counties, 1871-1877

In 1871, Aiken County originated from parts of Orangeburg, Edgefield, Barnwell, and Lexington.


Counties, 1878-1907

In 1878, Hampton County emerged from part of Beaufort; in 1882, part of Charleston became Berkeley County; and in 1888, parts of Marion, Darlington, Williamsburg, and Clarendon merged to become Florence County. In 1895, Saluda County was created from part of Edgefield. In 1897, Bamberg emerged from Barnwell; Cherokee from parts of Spartanburg, Union, and York; Dorchester from Berkeley and Colleton; and Greenwood from parts of Abbeville and Edgefield. In 1902, Lee emerged from parts of Darlington, Kershaw, and Sumter.


Counties, 1908-1915

Calhoun emerged in 1908, from parts of Orangeburg and Lexington; Dillon, in 1910, from Marion; Jasper, in 1912, from Beaufort and Hampton.


Counties, 1916-Present

McCormick emerged in 1916 from Edgefield, Abbeville, and Greenwood; and Allendale, South Carolina's last county, emerged in 1919, from Barnwell and Hampton.



Name of County Date Formed Parent County Progeny County
Abbeville 12 Mar 1785 Abbeville District McCormick 1916
Aiken 10 Mar 1871 Edgefield, Orangeburg, Barnwell, Lexington none
Allendale 06 Feb 1919 Barnwell, Hampton none
Anderson 1826 Pendleton District none
Bamberg 25 Feb 1897 Barnwell none
Barnwell 1798 renamed from Winton Allendale 1919
Bartholomew’s 12 Mar 1785 Charleston District extinct
Beaufort 12 Mar 1785 Beaufort District Jasper 1912
Berkeley 31 Jan 1882 Charleston none
Berkeley (old) 1682 Colonial lands abolished 1683
Calhoun 14 Feb 1908 Lexington, Orangeburg none
Carteret 1685 Colonial lands renamed Granville 1708
Charleston 12 Mar 1785 Charleston District Berkeley 1882
Cherokee 25 Feb 1897 Union, York none
Chester 12 Mar 1785 Camden District none
Chesterfield 12 Mar 1785 Cheraws District none
Claremont 12 Mar 1785 Camden District Kershaw 1791, Salem 1792
Clarendon 12 Mar 1785 Camden District Salem 1792
Colleton 12 Mar 1785 Charleston District none
Colleton (old) 1682 Colonial lands extinct
Craven 1682 Colonial lands extinct
Darlington 12 Mar 1785 Cheraws District Lee 1902
Dillon 05 Feb 1910 Marion none
Dorchester (old) 12 Mar 1785 Ninety-Six District abolished 1798
Dorchester 1897 Berkeley, Colleton none
Edgefield 12 Mar 1785 Ninety-Six District none
Fairfield 12 Mar 1785 Camden District Kershaw 1791
Florence 22 Dec 1888 Clarendon, Marion, Darlington, Williamsburg none
Georgetown 12 Mar 1785 Georgetown District Horry
Granville (old) 1708 renamed from Carteret extinct
Granville (2nd old) 12 Mar 1785 Beaufort District never functioned
Greenville 22 Mar 1786 Washington District suspended 1789, restored 1798
Greenwood 02 Mar 1897 Abbeville McCormick 1916
Hampton 18 Feb 1878 Beaufort Jasper 1912, Allendale 1919
Hilton 12 Mar 1785 Beaufort District never functioned
Horry 19 Dec 1801 renamed from Kershaw Lee 1902
Jasper 30 Jan 1912 Beaufort, Hampton none
Kershaw 19 Feb 1791 Claremont, Lancaster, Fairfield, Richland
Kingston 12 Mar 1785 Georgetown District renamed Horry 1801
Lancaster 12 Mar 1785 Camden District Kershaw 1791
Laurens 12 Mar 1785 Ninety-Six District none
Lee 25 Feb 1902 Darlington, Sumter, Horry none
Lewisburg 12 Mar 1785 Orangeburg District extinct
Lexington 12 Mar 1785 Orangeburg District suspended 1789, restored 1804
Liberty 12 Mar 1785 Georgetown District renamed Marion 1798
Lincoln 12 Mar 1785 Beaufort District never functioned
Marion 1798 renamed from Liberty none
Marion (old) 12 Mar 1785 Charleston District never functioned
Marlboro 12 Mar 1785 Cheraws District none
McCormick 19 Feb 1916 Abbeville, Greenwood none
Newberry 12 Mar 1785 Ninety-Six, Orangeburgh Districts none
Oconee 29 Jan 1868 Pickens none
Orange 12 Mar 1785 Orangeburg District extinct
Orangeburg 1769 Orangeburg District Lewisburg 1785, Lexington 1785, Orange 1785, Winton 1785, Calhoun 1908
Pendleton 1789 Washington District renamed Anderson 1795
Pickens 1825 Pendleton District none
Richland 12 Mar 1785 Camden District Kershaw 1791
Salem 1791 Claremont, Clarendon extinct
Saluda 25 Feb 1896 Edgefield none
Shrewsbury 12 Mar 1785 Beaufort District never functioned
Spartanburg 12 Mar 1785 Ninety-Six District none
Sumter 1798 Camden District none
Union 12 Mar 1785 Ninety-Six District none
Washington 12 Mar 1785 Charleston District extinct
Williamsburg 1802 Georgetown District none
Winton 12 Mar 1785 Orangeburg District renamed Barnwell 1798
Winyah 12 Mar 1785 Georgetown District extinct
York 12 Mar 1785 Camden District none