Beaufort District, South Carolina


Years in Existence

1st District Seat

2nd District Seat

1768 - 1800



A History of the Beaufort District

In 1768, South Carolina eliminated all of the original counties and established seven new "Districts," with governmental seats in each district. From 1768 to 1785, these districts remained intact, however, the district seats did change some during that time-frame. After the American Revolution in 1785, South Carolina re-established the concept of counties and thirty-four (34) "new" counties were defined and established. Each of these new counties were "subsets" of, and subordinate to, the "overarching Districts" that had been in existence since 1768. Some of the newly-defined counties were abolished between 1785 and 1800, whereas other newly-defined counties were created during that period.

In 1800, South Carolina abolished all "overarching Districts" and essentially went with the county concept from that year forward. However, in 1800, all counties were now called "districts" and would continue being called districts until after the US Civil War. In 1868, South Carolina reverted back to the term "county" and this term has been used continuously since then.

The boundaries of the original Beaufort District remained the same from inception in 1768 to its elimination in 1800. To better serve the citizens, in 1791, the District Seat was moved from the town of Beaufort to the newly-established town of Coosawhatchie, which was closer to the center of the district.

The first United States Census was taken in 1790 and each of the original seven Districts were enumerated within that census. By the 1800 US Census, all of the original seven Districts had been abolished and new counties (called districts at that time) were enumerated separately in that census. However, in 1800, the newly-defined Beaufort County essentially had the exact same boundaries as the previously-abandoned Beaufort District, so the comparison of 1790 population and 1800 population would be an easy task.

In the South Carolina lowcountry, Beaufort District was formed in 1768 as one of seven original judicial districts. In 1785, Beaufort District was divided into four counties: Granville, Hilton, Lincoln, and Shrewsbury. These counties never became functional, and in 1798 these counties were abolished. In 1868, Beaufort District was designated Beaufort County. Its county seat, the town of Beaufort, is on US-21, about forty miles northwest of Savannah, GA and 110 miles south of Columbia. Since the Civil War, the Marines have used Beaufort County's Parris Island as a training base. Beaufort County is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, the South Carolina counties of Jasper and Colleton, and the Georgia county of Chatham.
Click Here - To see how the Beaufort District evolved from 1768 to 1800 - includes all the known towns and villages.


© 2007 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved