Fairfield County
Fairfield County Courthouse
Fairfield County Courthouse
Official seal of Fairfield County
Motto(s): 
"Capital Convenience, Country Comfort"
Map of South Carolina highlighting Fairfield County
Location within the U.S. state of South Carolina
Map of the United States highlighting South Carolina
South Carolina's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 34°23′44″N 81°07′37″W / 34.395669°N 81.127001°W / 34.395669; -81.127001
Country United States
State South Carolina
Founded1785
Named forComment made by General Cornwallis stating ""How Fair These Fields"[1]
SeatWinnsboro
Largest communityWinnsboro
Area
 • Total709.87 sq mi (1,838.6 km2)
 • Land686.31 sq mi (1,777.5 km2)
 • Water23.56 sq mi (61.0 km2)  3.32%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total20,948
 • Estimate 
(2022)
20,455
 • Density30.52/sq mi (11.78/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district5th
Websitewww.fairfieldsc.com

Fairfield County is a county located in the U.S. state of South Carolina. As of the 2020 census, its population was 20,948.[2] Its county seat is Winnsboro.[3]

Fairfield County is part of the Columbia, SC Metropolitan Statistical Area.

History

18th century

It is alleged that the county name originated from a statement made by General Cornwallis when he declared "How Fair These Fields" during the British occupation of the area in 1780–81. The house Cornwallis[4] stayed in during the occupation is still standing.

Several years before the Revolution, Richard Winn from Virginia moved to what is now called Fairfield County. His lands covered the present site of Winnsboro, and as early as 1777 the settlement was known as "Winnsborough".[5]

The village was laid out and chartered in 1785 upon petition of Richard Winn, John Winn and John Vanderhorst. John Richard, and Minor Winn all served in the Revolutionary War. Richard was a General and he is said to have fought in more battles than any patriot in South Carolina.[5]

Fairfield County has numerous churches, some of which have existed for over 200 years. Perhaps the most famous church, built in 1788, is the Old Brick Church,[6] where the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Synod of the Carolinas was organized in 1803. A note penciled on the wall of the Old Brick Church is testimony to a Union soldier's regret at the church's floor boards being taken up to build a crossing over the nearby river for General Sherman's troops during the American Civil War.

The early settlers in the mid-18th century brought cotton to the county. It was soon supported as a commodity crop by the labor of enslaved African Americans.

19th century

Invention of the cotton gin enabled the cultivation of short-staple cotton through the upcountry regions of the South. It was the chief commodity crop for this county from the early 19th century through the 1920s. In the antebellum era, most of the intensive labor was accomplished by African-American slaves, many of whose descendants still live in this rural area. After the Civil War, many African Americans initially worked as sharecroppers and tenant farmers. Over time the soil became depleted, but more damaging was infestation in the 20th century by the boll weevil. Together with the mechanization of agriculture, the need for labor was reduced. In the first half of the 20th century through the 1940s, millions of African Americans left the rural South in the Great Migration to northern and midwestern cities for other job opportunities and the chance to escape Jim Crow restrictions.

In December 1832, Winnsboro was incorporated as a town to be governed by an intendant and wardens. The most prominent architectural feature of Fairfield County is the Town Clock[7] in Winnsboro. South Carolina's General Assembly authorized Winnsboro's town fathers to build a market house that "shall not be of greater width than 30 feet (9.1 m)" to allow 30 feet (9.1 m) of wagon travel on either side. The narrow building was modeled after Independence Hall in Philadelphia and built on the site of a duck pond. A clock was added in 1837, and the building has since been known as the Town Clock.[8]

The County Courthouse,[9] across from the Town Clock, dates back to 1823. Designed by South Carolina architect Robert Mills, the courthouse houses records dating to the mid-18th century.[10]

Reconstruction

During Reconstruction, the Fairfield District was changed into Fairfield County and was occupied by Union troops. The South Carolina state constitution of 1868 was such that those who fought for the confederacy were barred from voting in the 1868 elections. As a result, most eligible voters in Fairfield County were African-American. In 1868 there were 942 whites in the county were eligible to vote and 2,434 African-Americans who were eligible to vote.[11] In the election held under these circumstances an African-American man, George Barber, was elected to represent Fairfield County in the South Carolina State Senate.[12][13] In the same election the county elected three people to the South Carolina state house of representatives. Henry Jacob and Henry Johnson, who were African-Americans and L.W. Duvall who was white.[14] This was considered revolutionary at the time and those who had previously been slave owners were extremely angry.[15] Due to how much social spending the Reconstruction government engaged in, by the end of 1870 Fairfield County was one of only two counties in the state that was not in debt.[16] During the presidential election of 1872, there were three companies of U.S. troops stationed in Fairfield County to prevent the Ku Klux Klan from disrupting voting.[17]

Granite deposits in the County led to the early development of quarrying. Winnsboro blue granite, "The Silk of the Trade," is used worldwide in buildings and monuments.[18]

20th century

The county was home to the Carolinas–Virginia Tube Reactor during the 1960s. In 1984 the Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Generating Station was built here. The county owns the Fairfield County Airport, in operation since 1975.[19] The Ridgeway gold mine, east of Ridgeway, was in operation from 1988 to 1999.

Geography

Map
Interactive map of Fairfield County

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 709.87 square miles (1,838.6 km2), of which 686.31 square miles (1,777.5 km2) is land and 23.56 square miles (61.0 km2) (3.32%) is water.[20] The Enoree Ranger District of the Sumter National Forest provides opportunities for outdoor recreation.[21][22] The county has an abundance of deer and wild turkeys, making it an attraction for hunters.[23] It is home to the Lake Wateree State Recreation Area.

National Protected area

State and local protected areas/sites

Major water bodies

Adjacent counties

Major highways

Major infrastructure

Demographics

Historical population
CensusPop.Note
17907,623
180010,08732.3%
181011,85717.5%
182017,17444.8%
183021,54625.5%
184020,165−6.4%
185021,4046.1%
186022,1113.3%
187019,888−10.1%
188027,76539.6%
189028,5993.0%
190029,4252.9%
191029,4420.1%
192027,159−7.8%
193023,287−14.3%
194024,1873.9%
195021,780−10.0%
196020,713−4.9%
197019,999−3.4%
198020,7003.5%
199022,2957.7%
200023,4545.2%
201023,9562.1%
202020,948−12.6%
2022 (est.)20,455[2]−2.4%
U.S. Decennial Census[25]
1790–1960[26] 1900–1990[27]
1990–2000[28] 2010[29] 2020[2]

2020 census

Fairfield County racial composition[30]
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 8,503 40.59%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 11,201 53.47%
Native American 64 0.31%
Asian 101 0.48%
Pacific Islander 7 0.03%
Other/Mixed 649 3.1%
Hispanic or Latino 423 2.02%

As of the 2020 census, there were 20,948 people, 9,191 households, and 5,921 families residing in the county.

2010 census

At the 2010 census, there were 23,956 people, 9,419 households, and 6,578 families living in the county.[31][29] The population density was 34.9 inhabitants per square mile (13.5 inhabitants/km2). There were 11,681 housing units at an average density of 17.0 units per square mile (6.6 units/km2).[32] The racial makeup of the county was 59.1% black or African American, 38.6% white, 0.2% Asian, 0.2% American Indian, 0.8% from other races, and 1.1% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 1.6% of the population.[31] In terms of ancestry, 18.0% were American, 6.0% were English, 5.4% were Irish, 5.3% were Subsaharan African, and 5.0% were German.[33]

Of the 9,419 households, 32.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.8% were married couples living together, 21.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 30.2% were non-families, and 26.5% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 3.01. The median age was 42.4 years.[31]

The median income for a household in the county was $32,022 and the median income for a family was $40,849. Males had a median income of $39,837 versus $28,695 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,877. About 15.8% of families and 22.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.7% of those under age 18 and 20.7% of those age 65 or over.[34]

2000 census

At the 2000 census,[35] there were 23,454 people, 8,774 households, and 6,387 families living in the county. The population density was 34 people per square mile (13 people/km2). There were 10,383 housing units at an average density of 15 units per square mile (5.8 units/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 59.09% Black or African American, 39.58% White, 0.19% Asian, 0.15% Native American, 0.44% from other races, and 0.55% from two or more races. 1.07% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 8,774 households, out of which 32.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.90% were married couples living together, 20.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.20% were non-families. 24.40% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.40% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.12.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 26.10% under the age of 18, 8.60% from 18 to 24, 27.80% from 25 to 44, 24.30% from 45 to 64, and 13.20% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.80 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $30,376, and the median income for a family was $35,943. Males had a median income of $29,033 versus $21,197 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,911. About 17.20% of families and 19.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.70% of those under age 18 and 24.10% of those age 65 or over.

Government and politics

County Council

County Administrator

Director of Economic Development

United States presidential election results for Fairfield County, South Carolina[36]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 4,625 38.11% 7,382 60.83% 129 1.06%
2016 4,027 35.74% 6,945 61.64% 295 2.62%
2012 3,999 33.62% 7,777 65.38% 119 1.00%
2008 3,912 33.67% 7,591 65.33% 116 1.00%
2004 3,531 37.42% 5,764 61.09% 140 1.48%
2000 3,011 35.85% 5,263 62.67% 124 1.48%
1996 2,414 32.29% 4,719 63.12% 343 4.59%
1992 2,518 31.12% 4,867 60.15% 706 8.73%
1988 2,714 41.23% 3,827 58.13% 42 0.64%
1984 3,147 43.19% 4,117 56.50% 23 0.32%
1980 2,098 33.18% 4,153 65.68% 72 1.14%
1976 1,817 30.34% 4,153 69.36% 18 0.30%
1972 2,608 50.68% 2,492 48.43% 46 0.89%
1968 1,619 27.14% 3,011 50.47% 1,336 22.39%
1964 1,997 43.18% 2,628 56.82% 0 0.00%
1960 1,549 48.68% 1,633 51.32% 0 0.00%
1956 519 19.60% 961 36.29% 1,168 44.11%
1952 1,607 50.27% 1,590 49.73% 0 0.00%
1948 63 4.67% 211 15.64% 1,075 79.69%
1944 21 2.43% 798 92.47% 44 5.10%
1940 20 2.30% 848 97.70% 0 0.00%
1936 13 1.28% 1,005 98.72% 0 0.00%
1932 10 1.09% 901 98.58% 3 0.33%
1928 94 10.74% 781 89.26% 0 0.00%
1924 11 1.71% 631 97.98% 2 0.31%
1920 15 1.99% 737 98.01% 0 0.00%
1916 0 0.00% 726 98.37% 12 1.63%
1912 3 0.47% 622 98.26% 8 1.26%
1904 0 0.00% 723 100.00% 0 0.00%
1900 17 2.47% 670 97.53% 0 0.00%

Crime

Fairfield County's violent crime rate is 629, as compared to the South Carolina average of 521 and the top performing states at 62. The measure is the number of violent crimes reported per 100,000 population. Violent crimes are defined as offenses that involve a face-to-face confrontation between the victim and the perpetrator, including homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.[37] According to CrimeGrade.org, Fairfield County is listed as D+ on an A-F grading scale. This means that the rate of crime is higher than the average US county. Fairfield County is in the 29th percentile for safety, meaning 71% of counties are safer and 29% of counties are more dangerous.[38]

Poverty

Based on the Fairfield County Community Health Needs Assessment Report conducted in March 2018, the median household income for Fairfield County is $36,004 which is considerably lower than the state median at $46,898. Of the county's 22,653 residents, 23% live in poverty. Fairfield County's rate of Children in Poverty is 32%, which is greater than the South Carolina average of 23% and far exceeds the top performing states at 12%.[37]

Communities

Towns

Census-designated place

Unincorporated communities

See also

References

  1. ^ "Cornwallis House". Archived from the original on December 11, 2005. Retrieved June 13, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c "QuickFacts: Fairfield County, South Carolina". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 12, 2022.
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  4. ^ "Cornwallis House". Archived from the original on December 11, 2005. Retrieved September 8, 2005.
  5. ^ a b "Fairfield County, South Carolina". www.carolana.com. Retrieved June 12, 2022.
  6. ^ "The Brick Church". Archived from the original on August 29, 2005. Retrieved September 8, 2005.
  7. ^ "Actus business : comment ne pas être informé ?" (in French). Retrieved August 23, 2022.
  8. ^ "Winnsboro Town Clock". SC Picture Project. July 9, 2010. Retrieved June 12, 2022.
  9. ^ "County Courthouse". Archived from the original on December 11, 2005. Retrieved September 8, 2005.
  10. ^ "Fairfield County Courthouse - Town of Winnsboro | South Carolina". Town of Winnsboro. Retrieved June 12, 2022.
  11. ^ Reconstruction in South Carolina, 1865-1877 By John Schreiner Reynolds pg. 74
  12. ^ Lewis, J.D. "South Carolina During the Late 1800s - the 48th General Assembly (1868-1870)". www.carolana.com. Retrieved August 23, 2022.
  13. ^ Reconstruction in South Carolina, 1865-1877 By John Schreiner Reynolds pg. 121
  14. ^ Reconstruction in South Carolina, 1865-1877 By John Schreiner Reynolds pg. 107
  15. ^ State of Rebellion: Reconstruction in South Carolina by Richard Zuczek pg. 48
  16. ^ Reconstruction in South Carolina, 1865-1877 By John Schreiner Reynolds pg. 134
  17. ^ Reconstruction in South Carolina, 1865-1877 By John Schreiner Reynolds pg. 137
  18. ^ "Blue Granite". South Carolina Encyclopedia. Retrieved June 12, 2022.
  19. ^ "Nearest Airports to Columbia, South Carolina". Traveltips.usatoday.com. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  20. ^ "2020 County Gazetteer Files – South Carolina". United States Census Bureau. August 23, 2022. Retrieved September 10, 2023.
  21. ^ "Enoree Ranger Districts". U.S. Forest Service. The Enoree Ranger District consists of more than 170,000 acres located in Newberry, Union, Chester, Laurens and Fairfield counties.
  22. ^ "History of the Enoree and Long Cane Ranger Districts". U.S. Forest Service.
  23. ^ "Welcome to Fairfield County, South Carolina". Fairfield County, South Carolina. 2018. Retrieved November 27, 2018.
  24. ^ "Directions and Facilities". South Carolina Railroad Museum. Archived from the original on October 4, 2013. Retrieved August 6, 2012. Located at 110 Industrial Park Road, Winnsboro, SC 29180...
  25. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  26. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  27. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  28. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 9, 2022. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  29. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
  30. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved December 15, 2021.
  31. ^ a b c "DP-1 Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
  32. ^ "Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 - County". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
  33. ^ "DP02 SELECTED SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS IN THE UNITED STATES – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
  34. ^ "DP03 SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
  35. ^ "U.S. Census website". census.gov. United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on December 27, 1996. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
  36. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  37. ^ a b "COMMUNITY HEALTH NEEDS ASSESSMENT" (PDF). fairfieldforward.org. March 2018. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 9, 2022. Retrieved August 23, 2022.
  38. ^ "The Safest and Most Dangerous Places in Fairfield County, SC: Crime Maps and Statistics | CrimeGrade.org". crimegrade.org. Retrieved August 23, 2022.