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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. It is a center for tobacco farming. The population was 6,289 at the 2010 census, down from 6,720 at the 2000 census. Darlington 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.  Darlington County was named thus by an Act in March 1785.

Darlington is the location of 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. 


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 Tract bordered 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 the Lynches 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.[6]

1895 Map



Darlington Court House and Public Square

The public square and the courthouse 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. 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 courthouse. 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.


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.

text...from Wikipedia