A History of Salem, South Carolina

In 1792, Salem County was created from portions of Claremont and Clarendon Counties, which themselves had been created in 1785 along with thirty-two other "new counties" thanks to the County Court Act. The boundaries of Salem County started with a line beginning at the District of Georgetown on Black River and then the line ran to Lynch's Creek and up the creek to the line of Kershaw, then on 'Scape Whore Swamp and down 'Scape Whore to Black River and down the river to its beginning.

Salem was not the name which the residents of the area had chosen for their new county. In a petition to the Senate in 1791, they asked that the county be named Greene County. The legislators chose Salem County instead. A few years later, on January 1, 1800, Salem County, along with Claremont and Clarendon Counties were combined to form the Sumter District (county). The court functions of Salem County were transferred to the newly-established Sumter District (county). The county seat was also named Salem.

It is currently unknown what happened to this town. It may have been renamed or it may have simply faded away. On January 1, 1801, a fairly new hamlet named McIntosh in Sumter County changed its name to Salem, and it had a Post Office until October 4, 1866. This was not in the same location as the original county seat for Salem County. Several maps of SC of the 1850s show a town named Salem in the newly-resurrected Clarendon County, approximately where the original Salem was known to be located, but many other maps show the town of Salem in Sumter County.

It has been documented that the famous Patriot, Brigadier General Francis Marion, encamped his men several times in the area at Salem Church during the American Revolution. It is most likely that this town of Salem was located where the church had originated much earlier.

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