Lexington County, South Carolina

Year Established

County Seat

Significance of County Name

Population (2020)

1785-1791 (Abolished)
1804 (Re-established)


Lexington, MA


Legislative Act Creating County

First Settled / By

County Evolution by Decade

Official County Website

1785 / 1804

1718 /
Germans-Swiss Palatines in 1730s

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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 Lexington County

Maps of Lexington County

Books on Lexington County

Genealogy Sources

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A History of Lexington County

Lexington County Judicial Center

Lexington County and its county seat, the town of Lexington, were named for the battle of Lexington, Massachusetts, the first battle of the American Revolution. This part of the state was first named Saxe-Gotha Township about 1733. It was designated as Lexington County from 1785 to 1791, then was merged back into the overarching Orangeburg District. Lexington was eventually made a separate district (county) in 1804. Small parts of the county later went to form Aiken (1871) and Calhoun (1908) counties.

European settlement of this area began around 1718 when the British established a trading post on the Congaree River, which eventually became the town of Granby. Beginning in the 1730s many German, Swiss, and Scots-Irish immigrants moved into the area and established small farms. Granby was the leading town and county seat for many years, but the growth of Columbia across the Congaree River contributed to Granby's decline, and the county seat was moved to the town of Lexington Court House in 1818.

Several Revolutionary War skirmishes took place in this area, and Union General William Tecumseh Sherman's troops shelled the city of Columbia from the Lexington side of the Congaree River during the American Civil War. In 1930, Lake Murray was created on the Saluda River in Lexington County, covering many of the old farms and creating new recreational opportunities for the county. Revolutionary War heroine Emily Geiger was a resident of Lexington County, and television personality Leeza Gibbons grew up there.

Lexington County, in the west-middle section of the state, across the Congaree River from Columbia, is one of the oldest counties, having first been organized in 1785 under an Act of the General Assembly - its present organization dates from an Act of 1804. It was named to do honor to the Battle of Lexington in Massachusetts. The town of Lexington is the county seat.

Its area is 779 square miles; population 35,676, (estimated at 37,734 in 1925); 12 incorporated towns in the county - Batesburg, Brookland, Cayce, Chapin, Irmo, Leesville, Lewiedale, Lexington, Pelion, Swansea, Peake and Summit - contain a total of 9,336 inhabitants. This leaves 26,340, or 73.9 per cent living in the open country.

The early settlers were almost entirely German, and they possessed many of the characteristics of their forefathers; honesty, industry, economy, neighborliness. Cooperation is not a new idea to Lexington people; it is a habit, a social heritage.

Lexington is abundantly blessed in natural resources. The Saluda River traverses the upper section, while the fall line, which divides the state into the piedmont region and the coastal plain, runs across the middle of the county from Batesburg to Columbia. The average elevation is approximately 500 feet above sealevel, the highest point 660 feet.

The average annual growing season numbers 225 days; annual mean temperature 63.1° ; and annual precipitation 46.36 inches. These conditions make possible almost unlimited agricultural production.

Nearly one-half the area of the county is in woodlands. The longleaf pine is the predominating type. There are also shortleaf pine, loblolly pine, oak, gum, and poplar in abundance.

Granite is the only mineral of commercial importance, the value of the output amounting to approximately $250,000 annually. The quarry at Cayce is one of the leading of the Southeast.

The situation of Lexington, near the fall line, offers vast possibilities for the development of hydroelectric power. The Lexington Power company's development on the Saluda River is elsewhere described.

While not an industrial area, manufacturing is an important activity of the county. The value of the output is over $4,000,000 annually. Boxes and baskets, brick, fertilizer and flour, mineral and monuments, cotton goods, and cotton oil are all made in Lexington.

Lexington is primarily agricultural. The population is composed largely of sturdy small farm owners. Tenancy is not a problem. No county in the state is more self-sufficing, none produces a greater variety of crops. A large majority of the farmers raise their own food and feed supplies. The boll weevil has not impoverished Lexington. Trucks are grown in quantities, with a ready sale on the Columbia market. There is truth in the statement that "Lexington County feeds Columbia." The picture is of the Columbia curb market supplied by Lexington truck farmers, with their cars. General farm crops - cotton, corn, oats, wheat - are grown. Lexington is the leading wheat county of the state.

Fruit growing is of considerable commercial importance, peaches in particular. Lexington boasts of several dairies and a creamery of outstanding success. The "cow, hog, and hen" has long been an important phase of the agricultural economy of the county.

Education has made phenomenal progress. During the decade 1915-1925, the total expenditures for public schools increased from $42,471 to $404,724, or 853 per cent. Housing and equipment, length of term, number and quality of teachers, and enrollment have shown corresponding growths. The county now has seven accredited high schools. In addition, Summerland College, the Lutheran woman's college of South Carolina, is located at Batesburg and Leesville.

All in all, Lexington is a good county in which to live.

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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