Marlboro County, South Carolina

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Marlboro County, South Carolina
Marlboro Courthouse.jpg
Marlboro County Courthouse, Bennettsville
Seal of Marlboro County, South Carolina
Map of South Carolina highlighting Marlboro County
Location in the U.S. state of South Carolina
Map of the United States highlighting South Carolina
South Carolina's location in the U.S.
Founded 1785
Named for John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough
Seat Bennettsville
Largest city Bennettsville
 • Total 485 sq mi (1,256 km2)
 • Land 480 sq mi (1,243 km2)
 • Water 5.6 sq mi (15 km2), 1.2%
Population (est.)
 • (2015) 27,494
 • Density 60/sq mi (23/km²)
Congressional district 7th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4

Marlboro County is a county located in the Piedmont on the northern border of the U.S. state of South Carolina. As of the 2010 census recorded its population to be 28,933.[1] Its county seat is Bennettsville.[2] The Great Pee Dee River runs through it. Marlboro County comprises the Bennettsville, SC Micropolitan Statistical Area.

Nearly 5% of the county population identify as Pee Dee people. They are descendants of an indigenous tribe that occupied this area before 1000 CE, building elaborate earthwork mounds and palisaded villages. Today the state recognizes the Pee Dee Tribe of South Carolina (2006) and the Pee Dee Indian Nation of Upper South Carolina (2005), among other Native American tribes. The first is based in McColl, as is the Marlboro, Chesterfield, Darlington County Pee Dee Indian Tribe, which separated from the second listed Pee Dee tribe.[3]


Succeeding indigenous peoples occupied this area for thousands of years. At the time of European encounter, the inhabitants of the area were the historic Pee Dee. At one time researchers thought they might have moved into the Piedmont from the Lowcountry as a result of colonial pressures along the coast. Descendants identifying as Pee Dee still live in the county and region.[4] But archeological excavations have shown that the Pee Dee were part of a complex culture that emerged here about 1000 CE. They are believed to have spoken a Siouan language, as did other historic tribes of the Piedmont, such as the Cheraw.

In the 1960s and early 1970s, researchers identified numerous sites in South Carolina and the Southeast that they associated with what they have classified as South Appalachian Mississippian culture. It developed later, about 1000 CE, later than did some of the largest settlements to the northwest that were closer to the Mississippi River and its tributaries. Like other Mississippian peoples, the Pee Dee built earthwork mounds as part of their major settlements. These were sites of religious and political ritual, which were closely intertwined.[5]

Town Creek Indian Mound, a National Historic Landmark[6] located across the border in present-day Montgomery County, North Carolina, is a surviving platform mound and archeological village site of this Pee Dee culture.[7] It was occupied about 200 years and abandoned after 1150CE, for unknown reasons.[8]

European colonization and later history[edit]

The first European colonists to arrive in the area were Welsh settlers, part of the British Isles colonists who migrated south from Pennsylvania. In 1737, they established the first European-American settlement, called Welsh Neck.[9] These settlers organized a Baptist church in January 1738.[10]

On 12 March 1785, Marlboro County was established by state law of the new United States. It was named for the Duke of Marlborough.[11] The first courthouse was built near the Great Pee Dee River, just north of Crooked Creek, in a village called Carlisle, named for Richard Carlisle.

In order to have a more central location for the county court, the state legislature designated Bennettsville founded in 1819, as the new county seat. A courthouse was built according to a design by Robert Mills. Construction began in 1820 and was completed in 1824.[9] It was replaced in the later 19th century. The second courthouse was expanded and renovated in 1953-1954.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 485 square miles (1,260 km2), of which 480 square miles (1,200 km2) is land and 5.6 square miles (15 km2) (1.2%) is water.[12]

Adjacent counties[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 10,706
1800 5,452 −49.1%
1810 4,966 −8.9%
1820 6,425 29.4%
1830 8,582 33.6%
1840 8,408 −2.0%
1850 10,789 28.3%
1860 12,434 15.2%
1870 11,814 −5.0%
1880 20,598 74.4%
1890 23,500 14.1%
1900 27,639 17.6%
1910 31,189 12.8%
1920 33,180 6.4%
1930 31,634 −4.7%
1940 33,281 5.2%
1950 31,766 −4.6%
1960 28,529 −10.2%
1970 27,151 −4.8%
1980 31,624 16.5%
1990 29,361 −7.2%
2000 28,818 −1.8%
2010 28,933 0.4%
Est. 2016 26,945 [13] −6.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[14]
1790-1960[15] 1900-1990[16]
1990-2000[17] 2010-2013[1]
Marlboro County population distribution by age and sex, 2000 census

2000 census[edit]

As of the census[18] of 2000, there were 28,818 people, 10,478 households, and 7,334 families residing in the county. The population density was 60 people per square mile (23/km²). There were 11,894 housing units at an average density of 25 per square mile (10/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 50.73% Black or African American, 44.49% White, 3.36% Native American, 0.24% Asian, 0.24% from other races, and 0.95% from two or more races. 0.71% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 10,478 households out of which 32.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.60% were married couples living together, 22.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.00% were non-families. 26.90% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.59 and the average family size was 3.14.

In the county, the population was spread out with 26.20% under the age of 18, 9.30% from 18 to 24, 29.40% from 25 to 44, 22.80% from 45 to 64, and 12.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 96.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.10 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $26,598, and the median income for a family was $32,019. Males had a median income of $25,896 versus $20,590 for females. The per capita income for the county was $13,385. About 17.70% of families and 21.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.20% of those under age 18 and 22.70% of those age 65 or over.

2010 census[edit]

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 28,933 people, 10,383 households, and 6,903 families residing in the county.[19] The population density was 60.3 inhabitants per square mile (23.3/km2). There were 12,072 housing units at an average density of 25.2 per square mile (9.7/km2).[20] The racial makeup of the county was 50.9% black or African American, 41.4% white, 4.5% American Indian, 0.3% Asian, 1.1% from other races, and 1.8% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 2.8% of the population.[19] In terms of ancestry, and 9.7% were American.[21]

Of the 10,383 households, 33.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.8% were married couples living together, 24.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 33.5% were non-families, and 30.0% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.06. The median age was 38.8 years.[19]

The median income for a household in the county was $27,688 and the median income for a family was $32,485. Males had a median income of $31,170 versus $24,885 for females. The per capita income for the county was $13,817. About 23.3% of families and 27.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 40.4% of those under age 18 and 17.6% of those age 65 or over.[22]


After Democrats regained power in the state in the late nineteenth century, the legislature passed a new constitution that raised barriers to voter registration, effectively disfranchising black voters; at the time blacks comprised a majority of the population in the state and mostly supported Republican candidates. The state legislature also imposed legal racial segregation and laws for Jim Crow and white supremacy. This situation of disfranchisement lasted largely into the 1960s, until after Congress passed the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965, to give the government oversight and power to enforce constitutional rights for all citizens. As part of the Solid South, the whites of the county and state used to vote overwhelmingly Democratic, giving 100% of its vote to the party in 1924.[23] White South Carolina residents (and throughout the South) had outsize power in Congress, as they controlled seats apportioned on the basis of total population of the state, while disfranchising the blacks.

Since the late 20th century, the county has voted mostly Democratic, but the demographics of political alignments have changed markedly since the 19th century. African Americans have mostly left the Republican Party to support the national Democratic Party. Conservative whites have shifted to the Republican Party. In the 1972 election, Republican Richard Nixon won every county in the state including Marlboro.[24] In state and local voting, many whites have voted for Republican candidates, and African Americans have tended to continue to support the Democrats.

More recently the county went strongly for Barack Obama, who received 62.4% of the vote in the 2008 U.S. presidential election. The Democratic presidential candidates have received more than 58% of the county vote in all elections from 1992 to 2004.[25]






Census-designated places[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 14, 2011. Retrieved November 25, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ Native Americans: The Pee Dee People, South Carolina Information Highway, accessed 22 April 2014
  4. ^ Hudson, Charles M. (1970). The Catawba Nation. University of Georgia Press. pp. 16–17. 
  5. ^ Ferguson, Leland G. (October 25–26, 1974). Drexel A., Peterson, ed. South Appalachian Mississippian: A Definition and Introduction (PDF). Thirty First Southeastern Archaeological Conference. Atlanta, Georgia. pp. 8–9. 
  6. ^ National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  7. ^ "Town Creek Indian Mound: An American Indian Legacy". North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, Office of Archives & History. Retrieved 2007-07-31. 
  8. ^ Cunningham, Sarah L (2010). "Biological and Cultural Stress in a South Appalachian Mississippian Settlement: Town Creek Indian Mound, Mt. Gilead, NC" (PDF). North Carolina State University. Retrieved 2012-04-12. 
  9. ^ a b Marlboro County "It’s Good to be Home". Bennettsville, SC: Marlboro Herald-Advocate. January 2009. p. 60. 
  10. ^ J.A.W. Thomas. A History of Marlboro County: With Traditions and Sketches of Numerous Families. Atlanta: The Foote & Davies Company, 1897.
  11. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 200. 
  12. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved March 18, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017. 
  14. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 18, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved March 18, 2015. 
  16. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 18, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved March 18, 2015. 
  18. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  19. ^ a b c "DP-1 Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2016-03-11. 
  20. ^ "Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 - County". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2016-03-11. 
  21. ^ "DP02 SELECTED SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS IN THE UNITED STATES – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2016-03-11. 
  22. ^ "DP03 SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2016-03-11. 
  23. ^ 1924 Presidential Election Statistics
  24. ^ David Leip Presidential Atlas (Election maps for South Carolina)
  25. ^ New York Times Electoral Map (Zoom in on South Carolina)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°36′N 79°41′W / 34.60°N 79.68°W / 34.60; -79.68