Clarendon County, South Carolina

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Not to be confused with Clarendon County, New South Wales.
Clarendon County, South Carolina
Map of South Carolina highlighting Clarendon County
Location in the state of South Carolina
Map of the United States highlighting South Carolina
South Carolina's location in the U.S.
Founded 1855
Seat Manning
Largest city Manning
 • Total 696 sq mi (1,803 km2)
 • Land 607 sq mi (1,572 km2)
 • Water 88 sq mi (228 km2), 12.72%
 • (2010) 34,971
 • Density 57/sq mi (22.2/km²)
Congressional district 6th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4

Clarendon County is a county located in the U.S. state of South Carolina. As of the 2010 census, its population was 34,971.[1] Its county seat is Manning.[2]

Clarendon County boasts one of the largest man-made lakes in the United States, Lake Marion. While this has become a large source for economic development and industry, it was originally built to provide affordable electricity to rural towns. Clarendon County was also the center of the Briggs v. Elliott trial that went on, along with Brown v. Board of Education, to change the face of American education and make racial integration of the public schools mandatory.


Clarendon County was officially established in 1785, when a legislative act was passed dividing Camden District into seven counties. One of them was Clarendon County. It was named after Edward Hyde, who was a Lord Proprietor and Earl of Clarendon.

During the American Revolutionary War, before the actual establishment of Clarendon County, S.C., the Battle of Half Way Swamp was fought in December of 1780. That was one of the many Revolutionary battles that took place in Clarendon County. Others which occurred in the general area were the Battle of Richbourg’s Mill, Battle of Nelson’s Ferry, Battle of Fort Watson/Santee Indian Mound, and the Battle of Tearcoat. There is now a Swamp Fox Murals Trail which is a historical landmark depicting the American Revolution and General Francis Marion.[3]

The first white settlers in Clarendon County were French Huguenots, who came up the Santee River. Transportation of goods by land was difficult, so canals were established as a solution to the problem. The first notable canal was the Santee Canal, which underwent construction in 1793. But due to the development of the railroads in the 1800s, the canal was shut down some years later.

In 1798, three counties - Clarendon, Claremont, and Salem - were combined to form Sumter District. Clarendon county ceased to exist as a separate entity until December 19, 1855, when a legislative act was passed establishing the Clarendon District with the same boundaries defined back in 1785. The State Constitution of 1868 would later change districts into counties.

Shortly after the re-establishment of Clarendon as a county, in 1855, Captain Joseph C. Burgess was selected to determine the geographical center of the county so that a courthouse village could be built. The commissioners who had been charged with the responsibility of locating the county seat, then decided on the site where the present courthouse stands in Manning. Captain Burgess deeded to the state six acres, which provided sites for the courthouse and jail, in addition to streets 75 feet wide on four sides.

In 1865, toward the end of the American Civil War, a body of General Sherman's Union troops under command of General Potter raided Clarendon county. A large portion of Manning, including the court house, was destroyed during "Potter's Raid". The raid took place only a few days before Gen. Robert E. Lee´s surrender at Appomattox. The county recovered slowly from the Civil War.

In November 1941, Lake Marion was created by the construction of the Santee Dam. The dam was built across the Santee River to supply hydroelectric power, as part of the rural electrification efforts initiated under President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal during the Great Depression. Lake Marion and the Santee Dam were part of the Santee-Cooper Hydroelectric and Navigation Project.

There were two notable court cases in Clarendon County that ultimately led to the historic Brown v. Board of Education (1954), which declared that separate but equal schools were unconstitutional in the U.S. They were Levi Pearson v. Clarendon County Board of Education (1947), and Briggs v. Elliot (1952).[4]

Location and Description[edit]

Clarendon Country is located in the east central portion of South Carolina (See Map 1). The county covers 606.94 square miles with Lake Marion, located in the southern portion of the county, covering an additional 95 square miles of the county (See Map 2). Most of the land is predominantly sand and loamy soils. Clarendon County has a moderate climate with very warm summers and mild winters.[5] The average precipitation is 55 inches per year. The growing season is 225 days, so farmers have a long season to grow crops. Some of the major crops grown in Clarendon County are cotton, tobacco, corn and soybean. According to Core Based Statistical Classifications, Clarendon County is classified as a non-core area, and therefore is neither a metropolitan or micropolitan statistical area.[3] As seen in Table 1, there are only 57.60 people per square mile in Clarendon County, significantly less than South Carolina.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 695.6 square miles (1,801.6 km2), of which 606.9 square miles (1,571.9 km2) is land and 88.7 square miles (229.7 km2) (12.8%) is water.[6]

Clarendon County is characterized by a Humid subtropical climate with hot, humid summers and cool, dry winters. The county also holds the state's records for both maximum 24 hour snowfall and largest hailstone.

Major Highways[edit]

Adjacent Counties[edit]

National protected area[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 13,095
1870 14,038 7.2%
1880 19,190 36.7%
1890 23,233 21.1%
1900 28,184 21.3%
1910 32,188 14.2%
1920 34,878 8.4%
1930 30,036 −13.9%
1940 31,500 4.9%
1950 32,215 2.3%
1960 29,490 −8.5%
1970 25,604 −13.2%
1980 27,464 7.3%
1990 28,450 3.6%
2000 32,502 14.2%
2010 34,971 7.6%
Est. 2012 34,357 −1.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[7]
2012 Estimate[1]

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 34,971 people residing in the county. 50.1% were Black or African American, 47.0% White, 0.6% Asian, 0.2% Native American, 1.2% of some other race and 0.8% of two or more races. 2.6% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race).

It is interesting to note that the population has only slightly increased since 1920; only 20 percent compared to 71 percent for South Carolina. From 1920 to 1930 and from 1950 to 1970, there were significant declines in population, 16 percent and 26 percent respectively. As seen in Table, the majority of the population of Clarendon County is Black or African American (50.1%), whereas 27.9 percent of the State of South Carolina is Black or African; White or Caucasians comprise 47 percent and 62 percent of the population in Clarendon County and South Carolina, respectively. In regards to education, 13.4% of the population had Bachelor’s degree, which is approximately 10% less than the state of South Carolina. There is a higher percentage of elderly, aged 65 and older, in Clarendon County in comparison to South Carolina, 17.6% and 14.1% respectively. It is suggested that the population of Clarendon County is deeply rooted in the area as over 90% of the population has been living in the same house for at least a year. The median household income is $33,355, approximately $10,000 less than the State of South Carolina.[8]


Summerton's Cultural Arts Center and Weldon Auditorium in Manning are home to a diverse mix of cultural activities, including plays, concerts by nationally renowned artists and ballet performances alongside a medley of local artists.


Natural Capital[edit]

One of the major natural resources that are easily available in Clarendon County is ground-water. Clarendon County has abundant ground-water resources of good quality. The Department of Natural Resources report on the ground-water resources in Clarendon suggests that the county is in a fortunate position for obtaining adequate water for domestic and public supplies, industry, and irrigation. Water is obtained chiefly from sand aquifers in the Black Creek and Middendorf Formations. Clarendon County’s most valuable natural assets are its groundwater resources. Clarendon County is well endowed with ground water suitable for all uses. Quantities obtainable from wells are adequate for public supplies, industrial uses, and irrigation. Well yields as great as 1,500 gallons per minute are obtained, and many wells can produce more than 100 gallons per minute. The water is of good quality, being soft and low in mineral content. There are five public water-supply systems in Clarendon County. In 2008 the systems had the following pumpage rates, in millions of gallons per day:

Alcolu Water System—0.05 Barrineau Water System—0.09 Manning—1.07 Summerton—0.33 Turbeville—0.30

The Alcolu and Barrineau water systems support a water use of less than 200 gallons/day per person, indicating that those systems are basically rural domestic in type. The three towns, Manning, Summerton, and Turbeville, have per capita water uses of 194, 158, and 288 gallons/day. This reflects the commercial and industrial use of water from these municipal systems. Clarendon County has abundant ground-water resources of good quality. Considering yields of wells, depths of aquifers, and quality of water, the county is in a fortunate position for obtaining adequate water for domestic and public supplies, industry, and irrigation. Water is obtained chiefly from sand aquifers in the Black Creek and Middendorf Formations. Quality of the groundwater is generally good, as indicated by the available chemical analyses. The water is soft and low in total dissolved solids, and the pH is usually above 7.0. Iron does not appear to be present in excessive concentrations. Clarendon County has a wide range of outdoor activities available. From boating, fishing, hiking and hunting to golf on some of the world’s finest courses, Clarendon offers outdoor enthusiasts a buffet of things to do. Situated on Lake Marion, Clarendon County is known for its championship-level catches of striped bass. Clarendon’s Lake Marion is also home to several professional bass fishing tournaments including the world-famous Citgo/Bassmasters Tournament and the Wal-Mart/FLW tour. Reader’s Digest magazine named Lake Marion one of “America’s 100 Best” for fishing and specifically pointed to the lake’s catfish. Hunting is also a popular activity in Clarendon County with opportunities to hunt deer, turkey or other small game animals. There are several sporting clay operations and gun ranges throughout the county as well as hunting preserves are devoted to providing hunters a controlled environment.[14] Clarendon County has a wide range of hiking trails as well.


Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 22, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ a b "History." History. Clarendon County Chamber of Commerce, n.d. Web. 07 June 2013.
  4. ^ Wolters, Raymond. The Burden of Brown: Thirty Years of School Desegregation. Knoxville: University of Tennessee, 1984. Print
  5. ^ "Clarendon." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2013. Web. 02 Jun. 2013.
  6. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  7. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Retrieved November 22, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Clarendon County QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau." Clarendon County QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau. US Census 2010, n.d. Web. 3 June 2013. <>.
  9. ^ "Profile for Alcolu, South Carolina, SC" ePodunk
  10. ^ "Alcolu, South Carolina" Geonames database, United States Geological Survey
  11. ^ "Profile for Silver, South Carolina, SC" ePodunk
  12. ^ "Silver, South Carolina" Geonames database, United States Geological Survey
  13. ^ "Rimini, South Carolina" Geonames database, United States Geological Survey
  14. ^ Newcome, Roy, Jr. "Hydrology - Water Resources Report 40." SCDNR. SCDNR, 2006. Web. 07 June 2013.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°40′N 80°13′W / 33.66°N 80.22°W / 33.66; -80.22