Originally laid out in 1733 as Congarees Township, Saxe-Gotha Township was located southwest of the confluence of the Broad and Saluda Rivers. Named to honor the marriage of the then Prince of Wales, Frederick Louis Hannover, to Augusta, Princess of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, the settlement contained “few, if any” Germans from Saxe-Gotha. German-speaking Swiss in Charleston petitioned for and received land grants in February 1735, were provisioned and transported by boat at the colony’s expense, and by May were reported to be actively engaged in settlement. The first organized immigration of German-speaking Swiss, led by John Jacob Riemensperger, arrived in 1737, increasing the township’s population by some twenty-nine families, including the Swiss Reformed minister Christian Theus. Riemensperger returned to Switzerland in 1740 and 1748, promoted immigration to Saxe-Gotha, and succeeded in enticing some six hundred Palatines and Württembergers to the township. Other immigration agents brought in some fifteen hundred Germans, so that by 1750 both Saxe-Gotha Township and the area to the northeast, known as the “Dutch Fork,” were soon populated with a mix of German-speaking small farmers and redemptioners (indentured servants). During the Revolutionary War many sided with the British, both out of fear that their land grants would be rescinded and out of a sense of appreciation for the courtesies shown them by the crown. In 1785 the township’s name was changed to Lexington County to honor the patriots of Massachusetts.
Meriwether, Robert L. The Expansion of South Carolina, 1729–1765. Kingsport, Tenn.: Southern Publishers, 1940.
Moore, John Hammond. Columbia and Richland County: A South Carolina Community, 1740–1990. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1993.
Salley, Alexander S. The History of Orangeburg County, South Carolina from Its First Settlement to the Close of the Revolutionary War. 1898. Reprint, Baltimore: Regional Publishing, 1969.