Cherokee County, SC part of the SCGenWeb

A Little About Cherokee County South Carolina

Cherokee County South Carolina is located in the upstate section of South Carolina east of the Blue Ridge Mountains and south of the North Carolina piedmont. The county was formed in 1897 from parts of York, Spartanburg, and Union Counties. [See this 1895 map of what is now Cherokee County to determine where your research should begin.] This makes us a relatively new county without much of the historical record keeping that some others have.  Even so, we are a community rich in history. We are bordered by our parent counties on three sides and by the North Carolina counties of Cleveland and Rutherford to the north. We are reached by Interstate 85 and US29. The county seat is Gaffney. There is a great picture of the Limestone Street business district as it was in 1912 on the Gaffney postcard pagePrior to about the 1930's, Cherokee County industry was primarily agricultural.  From then until relatively recently the county has relied on textiles and manufacturing.

The Naming of Cherokee County South Carolina

Cherokee County seems to have been so named for as much political reasons as any other. It seems to have originally been a move to encourage a positive vote from the residents of the area around Cherokee Falls and those of the Cherokee Township to support formation of a new county with separation from York, Spartanburg, and Union Counties in 1897.    Reasoning that Cherokee Falls was among the earliest villages in the area and that the area had been home to the Cherokee Nation before 1750 led to general acceptance of the name throughout the area.

In a vote on the name of the new county, Cherokee won over Limestone by a landslide...primary source - The Gaffney Ledger at
A Slice of History
It is clear from early (pre-1800) historical accounts of the area, that the Broad River was the western boundary of the Catawba Nation and that same boundary was the eastern boundary of the Cherokee Nation. [see our Native Research Page for more on this] There are scant indications that either nation frequented the area, instead considering it "no mans land" between the two boundaries.  There probably should be some archaeological study in the areas around the Broad River and the known trading path through the county to determine the influence of the native nations in what is now Cherokee County.  There are anthropological and genealogical indications that descendants of the early native nations still reside in the communities that make up Cherokee County South Carolina.

Neighboring Counties: Spartanburg Co., Union Co., York Co., and Cleveland Co., NC
Cherokee County Coordinator - Jeff Kemp

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