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A Little History of Chesterfield County:

Chesterfield County was formed by the County Court Act of 1785, when Cheraw District was divided in Chesterfield, Darlington, and Marlboro counties. Textbooks will tell you that Chesterfield County was named after Lord Chesterfield, Philip Dormer Stanhope, a close friend of George III; however, local tradition states that the Craig family, who originally inhabited the county seat, was influential in naming the county after the county from which they came, Chesterfield County, Virginia. Population grew slowly with Welch, French Huegenots, Scotch-Irish, Germans, and English moving in mostly from other of the colonized areas.

On November 19, 1860, Chesterfield County held the first secession meeting held in South Carolina.  The ensuing war took its toll upon the state and the county.  It is commonly known "that Sherman expected to exact vengeance from the original secessionists, who, he said, bore a major share of the blame for the war" (Sherman's March by Burke Davis, page 141).  This he did, and on March 02, 1865, entered Chesterfield County with a vengeance.  In Chesterfield, the county seat, the courthouse, jail, academy, and other buildings, were burned to the ground.  In Cheraw, the business portion, except for one house, was also burned down.  Cotton, crops, food, and livestock were either stolen or destroyed.  In a letter during reconstruction, "Thomas Powe of Cheraw to Governor Orr, Powe brought that 'every house in Chesterfield District, with the exception of two cabins, was visited by Sherman's soldiers and the bare mention of this fact speaks volumes' " (Chesterfield  County: The Reconstruction Years by Frank White, Jr.).

This has rendered genealogical research difficult, but not impossible.  It is our intention that this page provide whatever service necessary to aid you in your search for your Chesterfield County ancestry.  I would highly recommend visiting the GenWeb pages of the surrounding counties, because the majority of Chesterfield County families moved into the area after living in Anson County, North Carolina; Lancaster, Kershaw, and Marlboro Counties, South Carolina.

James C. Pigg / 326 Chancelot Lane / Fort Mill, SC  29708

This page was last updated 2/02/08

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