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1740 early home in camdenSettlers begin to arrive in the Wateree River area. One of the earliest was Thomas Nightengale who established a large horse farm near Cedar Creek.
1760 Closely following the end of the Cherokee war in 1760 many Scotch Irish arrived from Pennsylvania, Virginia and North Carolina. English and French Huguenots came from Charleston area.

indian regulatorsFollowing the French and Indian war the settlers in the Wateree River area began to be plagued by small bands of raiding Indians from the North. The lands around Fairfield and Kershaw Counties once served as hunting grounds for the Cherokee and were home to the Catawba and Siouan indian tribes. The Catawba were great friends of the settlers and traded as well as fought the Cherokee with the newcomers. These skirmishes gave rise to a type of frontier lawman called the regulators. They were led loosely by Moses Kirkland and Thomas Woodward both landowners in Fairfield County. During the years before the Revolutionary War Woodward became instrumental in encouraging his neighbors to take up arms against England. In the end Woodward lost his life to a bandit.


John Waggoner was issued land grants near Fairfield County. Waggoner is best known for building Fort Waggoner as a line of defense against Indian and bandit raids throughout South Carolina. A small memorial marker is placed on highway 215 in his honor. Similar forts were constructed elsewhere in the state as well.


During the Revolutionary war there were relatively few British loyalists in the area. Often the distance from port cities and central government instilled a rough sense of independence in the settlers.

Two of the most well known loyalists were James and John Phillips. Colonel John Phillips was a personal friend of Lord Cornwallis who is attributed , by legend, with naming Fairfield County. Once Colonel Phillips acquitted 70 Whigs ( American revolutionaries ) who were to be hanged for treason. Sometime after that Phillips himself was captured in Camden where the local citizens petitioned successfully for him to be freed as well. After his release he returned to England.

One of the most notable local personalities was General Richard Winn of Virginia for whom the town of Winnsboro is named. Winn was born in 1750 in Virginia


fighting soldiersMoberly's meeting house near Cedar Creek was the location of a conflict between a detachment of New York volunteers under Captain Gray. They attacked a group of local militia. This led to a later conflict at Dutchman's Creek.

State Regular Troops at that time were led by Captain John Buchanon, Captain Thomas Woodward, Richard Winn, and Robert Ellison. These men were instrumental in leading our state, and our country to freedom from English rule.

1785 Clock TowerWinnsboro was chartered in 1785 by petition of Richard Winn and John Vanderhorst. In its early days it consisted of a number of businesses and inns. These included 2 factories, a Masonic hall, market house, 2 entertainment houses, a blacksmith, carriage shop, and about 8 stores. Rumors of witchcraft were rampant at the time and there was even a witch burning as late as 1792. ( For more information visit here.)
1812 During the war of 1812 Fairfield County resident Captain William McCreights leads a company of light infantry volunteers.
1860 Lincoln was elected president and South Carolina secedes from the Union.

Jefferson Davis was soon elected president of the Confederate States in 1861. On April 14, 1861 Confederate troops under Pierre Beauregard open fire on Fort Sumpter in Charleston SC. This was the beginning of the Civil War.

The area surrounding the Wateree River is struck hard by the Civil War. Supply scavengers from northern armies captured food stores, textiles, money, and jewelry from local homes and businesses.


Due to the location of a telegraph office in Ridgeway General Pierre Beauregard, the commanding General of the Division of the west, set up a temporary headquarters on Feb 17, 1865. He stayed in the Coleman house which has since been renamed the Century House. The first telegram sent from Ridgeway read: "Enemy having forced crossing of Saluda and Broad Rivers above Columbia city had to be evacuated this morning. My forces are retiring to this place. Everything possible shall be done to retard enemy's advance, but I cannot separate cavalry and infantry without fear of disaster, owing to the small number of latter, only 3,000 effectives. Moreover, having no supply trains, troops must move along railroads." Signed "G.T. Beauregard."

Sherman arrived in Winnsboro and continues with his scorched earth march across the South At that time Winnsboro's male population was 2, a clergyman and a doctor. 30 buildings were burned which included homes, stores, and others. Even the Episcopal Church was destroyed. Sherman was in town for 2 days, but when he left dispatched a brigade to protect the people from roving bandits.

1866 After the civil war Fairfield County did not share in the prosperity that followed the war for much of the country. Many farmers were left without animals to plow the fields, or money to buy seed. Fairfield lay in a state of depreciation until the coming of the textile mills in 1898.
1898 Fairfield Cotton Mills was established by Thomas Lauderdale and J.M. Beaty. The original plans were for a 5000 spool mill, but this was later doubled.
1919 The Wateree Hydro Station is built near Camden, SC under the behest of James Buchanon Duke. Duke and his partners were convinced that hydroelectric power could stimulate the economic growth of SC and provide for its power needs for years to come.
1928 By 1928 they had expanded to two mills which were taken over by the United States Rubber Company. This marked the turn for Fairfield County from an agricultural economy to a manufacturing based one.

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