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Darlington, South Carolina

Darlington, South Carolina
Location of Darlington, South Carolina
Location of Darlington, South Carolina
Country United States
State South Carolina
County Darlington
 • Total 4.3 sq mi (11.1 km2)
 • Land 4.3 sq mi (11.1 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 148 ft (45 m)
Population (2000)
 • Total 6,720
 • Density 1,565.9/sq mi (604.6/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 29532, 29540
Area code(s) 843
FIPS code 45-18565[1]
GNIS feature ID 1247486[2]

Darlington is a small city in and the county seat of Darlington County, in the northeastern part of the U.S. state of South Carolina.[3] It is a center for tobacco farming. The population was 6,289 at the 2010 census (12,066 total pop. of Darlington Urban Cluster in 2000) and is part of the Florence Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Darlington, theorized to be named for the Revolutionary War Colonel Darlington, is known for its Darlington Oak and Spanish moss.[4] Darlington County was named thus by an Act in March 1785.

Darlington is best known for Darlington Raceway, a speedway that is home to the annual NASCAR Southern 500 race. Darlington is also the site of the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) Hall of Fame.


  • History 1
    • Early history 1.1
    • Darlington Court House and Public Square 1.2
  • Other information 2
    • Education 2.1
    • Early churches 2.2
    • The Civil War 2.3
    • The Darlington Guards 2.4
    • Historic sites 2.5
  • Geography 3
  • Demographics 4
  • In popular culture 5
  • Notable people 6
  • References 7


Early history

This area was settled in the mid-18th century by Welsh, Scotch-Irish, and English farmers, who grew cotton primarily.

The settlement of what is now Darlington County began in earnest after 1736 and 1737 when the province of South Carolina set aside a vast area of land for the Welsh Baptists of Delaware. This Welsh Track bordered on both sides of the Pee Dee River. Soon after the first settlers began to arrive they constituted the Welsh Neck Baptist Church. This church was first located on the north side of the Pee Dee River, opposite present-day Society Hill. For almost thirty years settlers concentrated on the banks and small tributaries of the Pee Dee River. Beginning in the 1760s and continuing into the 1770s other groups slowly made their way into present-day Darlington and were granted lands on Lynches Creek (River), Jeffries Creek, and a host of other watercourses. These later settlers included descendants of French Huguenots, Scots-Irish, and the English.

For three decades following the arrival of the first settlers, local government did not exist for the citizens of the area. All deeds, estate settlements, and other legal matters had to be taken to Charles Town to be recorded. In 1769, by an Act of the Assembly, Cheraw District was established as a Judicial District. A courthouse and gaol (jail) were built at Long Bluff (near present day Society Hill) and were operational by late 1772.

After the Revolutionary War, in 1785, Cheraw District was divided into three counties, Marlborough, Chesterfield, and Darlington. Darlington County was bounded by Cedar Creek, the Pee Dee River, and lynches Creek (River). To this day there is uncertainty concerning why the county was named Darlington. A new county seat was established near the center of the county, Darlington Court House. After 1798 the designation "county" was changed to "district." In the 1868 South Carolina Constitution, the designation reverted to county.

Florence County was created out of parts of Darlington and Marion Counties in 1888. Darlington County lost additional territory in 1902 when Lee County was created.

(This history was copied out of "Darlington District, S.C. Cemetery Survey Volume One," compiled by members of The Old Darlington District Chapter of the South Carolina Genealogical Society. Copyright 1993.)

In more recent years the county has been best known for the stock car races which take place at the Darlington Raceway.

Darlington Court House and Public Square

The public square and the Court House now sit in their present location because of an argument between two men, Colonel Lamuel Benton and Captain Elias Dubose in the late 18th century. The tale goes that the disagreement began over whether the courthouse should be located in Mechanicsville or Cuffey Town South Carolina. It was said that the two compromised, each beginning in their town traveling on horseback until reaching one another. The spot where they met is now the site of the Darlington public square and courthouse. A fire in March 1806 destroyed the original Court House. It was rumored at the time that an old woman was responsible for the flames in an attempt to burn papers connected to her coming court case. Between 1824 and 1825 it was rebuilt with brick due to a petition to build all buildings on the Public Square in brick to prevent the spread of fire.

Other information


In 1818 Darlington's growth proved time to build a school. The first schoolhouse built was named the Darlington the year 1860, the name was changed to St. John's Academy. This building served educational purposes as well as the site for fund-raising and the lottery. St. John's Academy was later renamed St. John's High School, later during renovation, St. John's Elementary School was added, followed by the move to a new school in 1977. It was renamed as Darlington High School when it was combined with Mayo High School in 1995.

In September, 2006 work was finished on the Darlington County Institute of Technology, Darlington Middle, and Hartsville Middle.

After desegregation, Mayo High School became a magnet school called Mayo High School for Math, Science, and Technology.

Early churches

In the 1820s, denominations, mostly the Baptists, met at the Court House. The Presbyterians built the first church. With the help of donations from all denominations the church was built with the understanding that all denominations could have access to the building. The Baptists built their church in 1831, which had been planned since 1829. The Methodists built the third church in 1834, where the Methodist Cemetery is now located. The present day United Methodist church (Trinity United Methodist Church) sanctuary was constructed in 1901. New Providence Baptist church is the oldest Baptist church in the city of Darlington.

The Civil War

No battles during the Civil War occurred in Darlington. One of Sherman's lieutenants, a former architect, was sent to burn down part of Darlington. When he arrived and saw a house that he had designed, he left the house and the rest of the town standing. The Federal troops burned down the depot, cotton platforms and railroad trestles in 1865. During this time, St. John's Academy was used as a hospital. Federal troops also did some foraging. In 1865, Confederate troops returned through Darlington and hanged a former slave named Amy Spain on the Public Square for insurrection. After the war, the town was occupied by Federal troops, which were not withdrawn until 1871. By 1865, Darlington was the headquarters for the Third Separate Brigade of the Military District of Eastern South Carolina and the Freedmen's Bureau. In 1866, during the occupation, the worst fire to ever hit Darlington burned down the court house and the jail. It was rumored that drunken Federal soldiers were to blame.

The Darlington Guards

As the south readied itself for Cuba for occupation duties near Havana. After coming home, they continued to serve in the National Guard. In 1915 the group retired from service again only to be reinstated and sent to the Mexican Border in 1916. After returning home, they found themselves caught in World War I. The last surviving member, Thomas W. Buchanan died in 1984.

Historic sites

The Cashua Street-Spring Street Historic District, Julius A. Dargan House, Darlington Downtown Historic District, Darlington Industrial Historic District, Darlington Memorial Cemetery, Dove Dale, First Baptist Church, Nelson Hudson House, Manne Building, Clarence McCall House, Charles S. McCullough House, Oaklyn Plantation, St. John's Historic District, South Carolina Western Railway Station, West Broad Street Historic District, Wilds-Edwards House, and Mrs. B.F. Williamson House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[5]


Darlington is located at (34.301370, -79.868659).[6]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.3 square miles (11 km2), all land.


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 6,720 people, 2,812 households, and 1,765 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,565 people per square mile (604.8/km²). There were 3,140 housing units at an average density of 731.7 per square mile (282.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 56.04% African American, 42.50% White, 0.16% Native American, 0.36% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.51% from other races, and 0.42% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race was 1.01% of the population.

There were 2,812 households out of which 27.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.3% were married couples living together, 24.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.2% were non-families. 34.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the city the population was spread out with 25.2% under the age of 18, 8.7% from 18 to 24, 23.3% from 25 to 44, 23.9% from 45 to 64, and 18.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 79.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 70.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $24,869, and the median income for a family was $33,971. Males had a median income of $28,110 versus $20,206 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,454. About 24.9% of families and 29.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 38.9% of those under age 18 and 29.5% of those age 65 or over.

In popular culture

Bruce Springsteen recorded "Darlington County" on his album Born in the U.S.A..

A 2012 article in Small Wars Journal explored a hypothetical military operation in which an extremist group sympathetic to the Tea Party movement takes over Darlington and clashes with federal troops.[8] Conservative groups criticized the article, suggesting it reflected misplaced priorities.[9][10]

Notable people


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder".  
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names".  
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  4. ^ Darlington County, A Pictoral History, The Donning Co., 1986.
  5. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  
  6. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  7. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  8. ^ Benson, Kevin; Weber, Jennifer (2012). "Full Spectrum Operations in the Homeland: A 'Vision' of the Future".  
  9. ^ "Editorial: The Civil War of 2016".  
  10. ^ Peck, Michael (15 November 2012). "How the U.S. Military Would Crush a Tea Party Rebellion".  
  11. ^ "Orlando Hudson Stats". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved December 21, 2012. 
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