Bamberg County, South Carolina

Year Established

County Seat

Significance of County Name

Population (2020)



Maj. William Seaborn Bamberg


Legislative Act Creating County

First Settled / By

County Evolution by Decade

Official County Website

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1750s / Huguenots & Scots-Irish

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Historical Post Offices

American Revolution

American Civil War

Significant Education Events

Alphabetical / Date Started

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Coming Later

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Airports in Bamberg County

Maps of Bamberg County

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A History of Bamberg County

Rice's Hotel - Denmark, South Carolina.

Built in 1893, the red brick hotel, called Rice's Hotel, and later Denmark Hotel, served on the west side of town, across from the depot. It served passengers arriving on the Seaboard Air Line. Denmark's first store was built by J. E. Steadman in the same year.
"On August 12, 1891, the editor of the Bamberg Herald spoke of the 'desirability of a new county to be carved from the whitening cotton fields of Barnwell and the rich pastures of Colleton, and Bamberg's charming felicity of location, which makes it the right place for the court house...' Six years later Bamberg County was established from a portion of old Barnwell County and named for the family that had founded the town in its northern section." (South Carolina Postcards, Vol. II, Howard Woody and Thomas L. Johnson).

Bamberg County and its county seat, Bamberg, were named for local resident William Seaborn Bamberg (1820-1858) and other members of the Bamberg family. Although the area has been primarily dependent upon agriculture (primarily cotton), several towns developed along the route of the South Carolina Railroad in the mid-nineteenth century.

In February of 1865, Confederate soldiers fought an unsuccessful skirmish against General William Tecumseh Sherman's Union troops at Rivers Bridge, now the site of a state park.

The plantation of author William Gilmore Simms (1806-1870) was in what is now Bamberg County, and artist Jim Harrison is also a native of the county.

Communities in present day Bamberg County include Bamberg (county seat), Denmark, Ehrhardt, Embree, Govan, Midway, and Olar.

Bamberg County's area of 375 square miles, was carved out of Barnwell County in 1897 and named for the Bamberg family, founders of the county seat. A Coastal Plain county in the southwest part of the state, it has 20 types of soil, 15 upland and five lowland. It possesses features of the upper and lower pine belt, is rolling and hilly in parts and flat to the south.

The Edisto, Little Salkehatchie, and Great Salkehatchie rivers, and Lemon Creek, flowing parallel southeast toward the coast, drain it. And in these streams the famous Edisto perch, trout, and jack abound. Game, too, is plentiful.

Essentially an agricultural county, cotton is the principal crop, but corn, oats, wheat, peas, yams, cane, asparagus, watermelons, cantaloupes, dewberries, and tobacco are profitably cultivated. In late years increasing attention has been given to truck, tobacco, and dairying. Two large dairies are in Bamberg and two in Denmark.

The well-distributed rainfall of 48 inches is heaviest in July and August when crops require moisture, and the mean temperature is 64º. Frosts are rare after March 10. Short, mild winters permit uninterrupted farming operations and expensive housing for livestock is unnecessary. Snow seldom falls. Fine pasture land for hogs and cattle is abundant. Farm labor is never lacking.

Bamberg County, with 66 miles of railroad, has the best facilities of counties in this section. The Southern Railway (the historic Charleston & Hamburgh branch) crosses it east and west; the Atlantic Coast Line runs through it northeast and southwest; the Seaboard Air Line's main line from New York to Florida traverses it north to south; the Bamberg, Ehrhardt & Walterboro Railroad and the Atlantic Coast Line from Ehrhardt to its main line at Green Pond are other than trunk roads.

State highways crisscross the county north and south and east and west, ample county roads supplementing them. Other state highways are in contemplation.

The population was 20,962 in 1920, estimated 22,334 in 1925, of whom less than 50 are foreign born.

Beautiful churches of brick and wood, of various religious faiths are found, as are excellent rural schools. Bamberg, Denmark, Olar, and Ehrhardt have accredited high schools.

Land prices run from $10 an acre upward according to location, fertility and improvements.

The town of Bamberg has 2,210 inhabitants. Carlisle School, military, has a plant valued at more than $200,000 and four brick buildings. In the town are a cotton factory, cotton seed oil mills, saw and planing mills, ginneries, two ice plants, and bottling works. The town owns a water system and electric light plant and the bonded indebtedness and tax rates are low.

Denmark, an important railroad junction, is the home of a principal office of the American Telephone and Telegraph company, of the Edisto Public Service company, which distributes hydroelectric power to 20 towns and is connected with the superpower system of the Southeast at Augusta, and has two saw mills, peanut shelling plant, ice factory, veneering works and bottling works. Voorhees Industrial and Normal school for Negroes, 681 students, under Episcopalian control, is at Denmark. The town owns its water works. The population is 1,254.

The population of Ehrhardt is 495, of Govan 124, of Midway 150, of Olar 500. Bamberg and Ehrhardt have special drainage districts for malarial control, the work being done by the Rockefeller Foundation and the community. Malaria has been wiped out.

Bamberg County's climatic and labor conditions make it suitable for factories and its forests contain abundance of hard woods now being shipped as logs which could be manufactured at home.

The county is one of the few in South Carolina without a bonded debt, the county tax levy of seven mills is the lowest in the state, and surplus funds are at all times in the treasury. Yet it has kept apace of other counties in roads, schools, and in all progressive fields.

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]


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