The region’s antebellum economy was dominated by agriculture, and Lancaster served as the district’s central market for farm produce, especially cotton. By 1920 more than three-fourths of the crop value in the county came from cotton, with a similar percentage of county farms worked by propertyless tenants.
Catawba legend relates that the tribe arrived in South Carolina, near present-day Fort Mill, from the north a few hundred years before European contact.
The road originated as an Indian trail, providing a north-south route for hunters and warriors down the Shenandoah Valley and along the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The Battle of Hanging Rock was a significant setback for British forces in the backcountry.
Intersected by the fall line and two rivers, the Lynches and the Wateree, the geography of Kershaw County influenced its settlement and character. The Piedmont soils of the hilly northwest contrast with the meandering river floodplains in the southeastern section and the sandhills terrain predominant in the other areas.
Gold mining began in earnest in South Carolina around 1827. It declined during the Civil War. Effective mining was not resumed until the late 1880s, when northern investors began to purchase gold-bearing property and resumed production. Gold mines in South Carolina were largely dormant from 1900 to 1937.
The “Railway Age” in South Carolina lasted until after World War I. With greater usage of automobiles, buses, and trucks, which traveled over ever-improving public roads, the need for freight and passenger trains diminished.
Bowater opened its first U.S. facility in Calhoun, Tennessee, then set its sights on constructing a massive paper and pulp mill at Catawba in York County, South Carolina. In order to bring Bowater to South Carolina, Governor George Bell Timmerman called a special session of the General Assembly in June 1956, during which he urged legislators to amend state laws in order to encourage the English company to locate in the state.
The courthouse and jail were designated as National Historic Landmarks by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1973.