SC County Townships



 Effective: 12/25/23 12:26

  by: PMK

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There are two types of townships in the United States. A state may have one or both types. In states that have both, the boundaries usually coincide.


A Survey Township is a unit of land measure defined by the Public Land Survey System.

A Civil Township is a widely used unit of local government in the US..























(established from upper Marion County: Bethea, Carmichael, Harleesville, Hillsboro, Kirby & Manning)





(established from western Marion County:  Jeffries, McMillian, Cain & Pee Dee)








Jasper County was named for Revolutionary War hero Sergeant William Jasper (ca.1750-1779). The county was formed in 1912 from parts of Beaufort and Hampton counties, and the county seat is Ridgeland. This area of the state was the home of the Yemassee and Coosaw Indians until colonial times. In 1732 Swiss-German immigrants led by Jean Pierre Purry established a settlement called Purrysburgh on the Savannah River, but the town did not survive. Other settlers built extensive rice plantations, some of which now form the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge. Two other towns in the county, Coosawhatchie and Pocotaligo, served at different times as the seat of government for Beaufort District. During the Civil War the Confederate army defeated federal troops at the battle of Honey Hill in November 1864. Jasper County was home to Thomas Heyward, Jr. (1746-1809), a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and Henry Martyn Robert (1837-1923), author of Robert's Rules of Order.  (Submitted by: SC State Library / Mary Morgan, 31-Mar-2008)











McCormick County and its county seat, the town of McCormick, were named for inventor Cyrus Hall McCormick (1809-1884). The county was formed in 1916 from parts of Edgefield, Abbeville, and Greenwood counties. This area was settled in the mid-eighteenth century by Scotch-Irish, French Huguenot, and German farmers. Some of the early inhabitants were massacred by Cherokee Indians at Long Cane in 1760, and the British subsequently built Fort Charlotte to protect the region; this fort was one of the first seized by the Americans in the Revolutionary War. About 1850 gold was discovered where the town of McCormick now stands. The Dorn Gold Mine, which later also produced manganese, was bought by Cyrus McCormick in 1869; he donated land for the town, which was named for him in 1882. This mine continued to operate until the 1930s. Several prominent South Carolinians have resided in the area that is now McCormick County, including governor and U. S. senator George McDuffie (1790-1851), Unionist leader James Louis Petigru (1789-1863), and Moses Waddel (1770-1840), who taught many of the future leaders of the state at his Willington Academy.  (Submitted by: SC State Library / Mary Morgan, 31-Mar-2008)














The SC DA&H has a 30" x 42" 1883 Agriculture map which shows SC townships.  The SC DA&H does have a scanner that is capable of scanning this map in it entirety at 300 dpi and in color.  The cost to receive a digital copy is $25.00.  



Bryan Collars (Archivist), South Carolina Department of Archives and History, 8301 Parklane Rd., Columbia, SC 29223, 803-896-4808


The above map can be viewed on-line by visiting:,Description),cat(Name,Description)&style=simple/view-dhtml.xsl


Also see




County Histories:


Census Bureau Map Products:





by:  Edwin H. Vidder (deceased), Old Pendleton District Genealogy Society Newsletter, Sep-1982


South Carolina counties, as they exist today, came into being in a manner much more complicated than in most states.  The problem is difficult for genealogists because of the entanglement of administrative and judicial terminology and boundaries.  Administrative, election and judicial boundaries have not coincided.  All of this creates a major problem of knowing where to look for records in a given time span.

To quote from the South Carolina Historical Magazine: “The Fundamental Constitution of Carolina, drawn by the Lord Proprietors, in 1682, ordered three counties laid out.  Berkley County, centering around Charleston, extended from the Stono River on the south to Seewee Creek (present day Awendaw Creek) emptying into Bulls Bay on the north.  Craven County was to lie north of Berkley; and below Berkley, Colleton extended to the Combahee River.  Later a fourth county, Granville, was laid out between the Combahee and the Savannah Rivers.”

“These earlier counties never fully lived up to the roles appointed for them.  During the first third of the eighteenth century, the parishes of the established Anglican Church became the election district; the Berkley County courts extended their authority throughout the whole province and virtually all government was centralized in Charleston.  The names of the old counties continued in use until the American Revolution, but largely as a means of locating lands granted or sold and as the jurisdiction of Militia units.”

1769 – In 1769, the Province was divided into seven Circuit Court Districts.  Note the use of the term “District”.  Below a line running generally from southwest to northeast about 50 miles from the seacoast, three districts were formed.

Georgetown – From the North Carolina line to the Santee.

Charleston – Between the Combahee and the Santee.

Beaufort – Between the Combahee and the Savannah.

The other four were:

Cheraws – Northeast of Georgetown to the Lynches River on the west.

Camden – West of Cheraws to the Santee-Congaree-Broad River System.

Ninety six – Southwest of the Camden District.

Orangeburg – South of Ninety six District.

Each of the seven Circuit Court Districts had a courthouse town of the same name except Cheraws District Court was at Long Bluff.

1785 – After the revolution, counties were laid out in each of the seven Circuit Court Districts, which had been established in 1769.  In 1786 County Courts were authorized to do many things previously permitted only at Charleston.  The exceptions were in Charleston, Georgetown and Beaufort which were not required to set up County Courts.  Orangeburg District also soon was allowed to discard them.  Several of these counties were abolished in 1791.  Most of the other counties survived to become ancestors of the present ones.  Establishment of the counties and County Courts did not eliminate old Circuit Courts which continued to sit at the District capitals.

1791 – Equity Court Districts were established but overlaying and having no relationship to Circuit Court Districts.  This districting was changed in 1799, 1808 and 1821 when all Circuit Court Districts except Cheraws had an Equity Court.

1800 – There was much dissatisfaction with the County Courts so they were discontinued.  Each existing county became a District instead of a County and the old District names of Washington, Pinckney, Ninety six, Camden and Cheraws vanished.  Other District names continued.

Between 1800 and 1868, several territorial changes were made and new Districts created.  Pendleton District was broken up in 1826.

1868 – All Districts were known as Counties.

1868 to present – Many new counties were created by partitioning older ones.



Volunteer Typing by: MaryClyde Mungo