Jasper County, South Carolina
         
   

   

Year Established

County Seat

Population (2010)

1912

Ridgeland

24,777

First Settled

First Settled By

Significance of County Name

1732

Swiss/Palatines and French Huguenots

Sergeant William Jasper

Other Significant Towns

Chelsea

Coosawatchie

Gillisonville

Grahamville

Grays

Hardeeville

Okatie

Pineland

Pocotaligo

Purrysburg

Switzerland

Tillman
Click Here - To see how Jasper County evolved each decade - includes all the known towns and villages.
Click Here - To see the known battles/skirmishes in Jasper County during the American Revolution.

A History of Jasper County



Jasper County Court House - Ridgeland, South Carolina (2007)

Click Here to go to the official website of the Jasper County government.


This area of the state was the home of the Yamassee 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 River National Wildlife Refuge.

Jasper County was created in 1912 from parts of Beaufort and Hampton counties. It was named for Sergeant William Jasper (ca.1750-1779), who served under Major Francis Marion in the 2nd SC Regiment during the first defense of Charlestown against the British in June of 1776. During that battle at Ft. Moultrie, Sergeant William Jasper responded to a British cannon ball smashing the South Carolina flag to the ground. He leapt over the palmetto log wall of the fort, secured the flag and then safely returned to his post to fight gallantly with his company. Three years later, Sgt. William Jasper was killed in action during the Siege of Savannah (9/16-10/29, 1779), still in the SC 2nd Regiment, now under Lt. Colonel Francis Marion.

The county seat is Ridgeland, once known as Gopher Hill, in the geographic center of the county. Two other towns in the county, Coosawhatchie and Pocotaligo, served at different times as the seat of government for Beaufort District. During the American Civil War the Confederate Army defeated Federal troops at the battle of Honey Hill on November 30, 1864. Jasper County was home to Thomas Heyward, Jr. (1746-1809), a signer of the Declaration of Independence, who lived and died in what is now Jasper County, and Henry Martyn Robert (1837-1923), author of Robert's Rules of Order.

Jasper County is a part of the South Carolina lowcountry, renowned worldwide for its unique history and natural assets. Neighbor to both old-world ports Savannah and Charleston, and the thriving resort, Hilton Head Island on the Beaufort County coast, Jasper County has retained the simple, original flavor of the lowcountry.


Savannah National Wildlife Refuge - Jasper County, SC

Through the years, Jasper County has become known as a sportsman paradise. Its 662 square miles are dotted with a number of hunting clubs and plantation grounds housing large populations of wildlife. From ducks to alligators to marsh hens, the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge is the home of an amazing variety of wild species. And, Jasper County’s long border on the Savannah River, its fresh water lakes and salt water rivers all make perfect hunting, fishing and recreational areas.

Both Ridgeland and Hardeeville are located on the vital north-south transportation artery of Interstate 95.

Traditionally the economy of Jasper County has been based on agriculture, the production of forest products, row crops, vegetables and livestock and is still a way of life for many residents. The county’s fertile soil, mild climate, and abundant groundwater also offer potential for alternative agricultural enterprises such as kiwi fruit and catfish production. Changing times have brought tourism and other industries to the forefront. There is a readily available labor force in the Jasper County area.


Jasper County, formed in 1912 from Beaufort and Hampton counties, is a part of old Beaufort District. The county is named for the Revolutionary War Patriot and soldier, Sgt. William Jasper. In the folklore of the county, the hero lies buried in the old Swiss Cemetery at Purrysburg on the Savannah River about two miles from Hardeeville. The exact spot is not known.

Jasper County is bounded on the west by the Savannah River, and this stream with its lateral swamps, together with the Coosawhatchie Swamp, the Great Swamp and Black Mingo, form its drainage system. The fall of these waterways to mean low water mark is such as to make the reclamation of the lowlands of the county but another stage in industrial development.

The lands of Jasper County are generally a black loam with a stiff clay subsoil, though beginning in the northwestern section and extending beyond Ridgeland, the county seat, is a high sandy ridge, varying in width from three to five miles, the light lands of the county.

The principal industries and resources are agriculture, stock raising, sawmills, and turpentine. The rapidity with which the black pine and the yellow slash pine reproduce themselves and attain commercial value has rendered cutover lands a profitable field for investment and has afforded an inexhaustible source of employment.

The chief crop is cotton; though each year marks a steady encroachment on this domain, and diversification is everywhere evident. Truck farming is carried on to a considerable extent.

Jasper County is traversed in length and breadth by the three great railway systems of the South - the Southern Railway, the Seaboard Air Line, and the Atlantic Coast Line; its railroad facilities are therefore unexcelled. The total mileage is 84.

Over that great thoroughfare, the Coastal Highway, through the county, surges a ceaseless flow of travel and commerce, while from Ridgeland good roads reach out in every direction and link the county with neighboring communities.

The county is divided into school districts in which are primary schools, but the high school is administered by a central board at Ridgeland, the children being transported to and from the school in busses. This high school marks the greatest achievement in the history of Jasper County.

Though Jasper County is in the "black belt," the agricultural enterprises are carried on mainly with white labor, the negro preferring public work, such as is given by the railroads and sawmills.

The population, 1920, was 9,868; estimated, 1925, 9,940. The area is 596 square miles. The population of Ridgeland is 418.

Pure water from artesian wells and the screen against fly and mosquito have solved the malaria problem that for so many years retarded the development of this section, so that good health coupled with the fact that a farmer can gather two crops in a single season should make this section the greatest in the state.


Immediately above, published in "South Carolina: A Handbook," prepared by The Department of Agriculture, Commerce, and Industries and Clemson College, Columbia, South Carolina, 1927. In the Public Domain. [with minor edits]

 


© 2013 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved