Kershaw County, SC

Kershaw County, South Carolina

Kershaw County is a county located in the U.S. state of South Carolina. In 2000, its population was 52,647. The 2005 census estimate placed the population at 56,486. Its county seat is Camden.

Kershaw County is part of the Columbia, South Carolina Metropolitan Statistical Area.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 740 square miles (1,917 km²), of which, 726 square miles (1,881 km²) of it is land and 14 square miles (36 km²) of it (1.89%) is water.

Adjacent Counties


As of the census of 2000, there were 52,647 people, 20,188 households, and 14,918 families residing in the county. The population density was 72 people per square mile (28/km²). There were 22,683 housing units at an average density of 31 per square mile (12/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 71.61% White, 26.29% Black or African American, 0.29% Native American, 0.31% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.62% from other races, and 0.84% from two or more races. 1.68% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 20,188 households out of which 33.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.80% were married couples living together, 13.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.10% were non-families. 22.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 3.02.

In the county, the population was spread out with 26.10% under the age of 18, 7.60% from 18 to 24, 28.80% from 25 to 44, 24.50% from 45 to 64, and 12.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 93.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.00 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $38,804, and the median income for a family was $44,836. Males had a median income of $32,246 versus $22,714 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,360. About 9.70% of families and 12.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.90% of those under age 18 and 14.10% of those age 65 or over.

Cities and towns


Kershaw County was named for Joseph Kershaw (1727-1791), an early settler. Originally part of Camden District, Kershaw County was formed in 1791 from parts of Claremont, Lancaster, Fairfield, and Richland counties. The county seat is Camden, which is the oldest inland city in South Carolina. This site was settled around 1732 by English traders and farmers who moved inland from Charleston.

During the Revolutionary War, the British occupied Camden from June 1780 to May 1781. Fourteen battles took place in the area, including the Battle of Camden (August 16, 1780) and the Battle of Hobkirk's Hill (April 25, 1781).

Kershaw County has a rich military history, producing several notable soldiers. The county produced six men who served in the American Civil War as Confederate generals: Joseph Brevard Kershaw (1822-1894), James Chesnut (1815-1885), James Cantey (1818-1873), Zack Cantey Deas (1819-1882), John Bordenave Villepigue (1830-1862), and John Doby Kennedy (1840-1896). Confederate soldier, and hero at the Battle of Fredericksburg, Richard Rowland Kirkland was also from Kershaw County, and served under General Kershaw. Union troops under Gen. William T. Sherman burned parts of Camden in February 1865.

During World War I, two Kershaw County men were awarded the Medal of Honor in two separate actions while fighting in France in October, 1918. The first was Richmond Hobson Hilton, awarded his medal for actions taking place on October 11, 1918, during which he lost an arm. The second was John Canty Villepigue on October 15, 1918, in an action that resulted in his death months later from injuries received. Villepigue was a descendant of General John Bordenave Villepigue mentioned above.

Statesman and financier Bernard M. Baruch (1870-1965) and labor leader Lane Kirkland were born in Kershaw County, as was the first African-American baseball player in the American League, Larry Doby. Former South Carolina Governor John C. West was also from Kershaw County.

Content from the South Carolina State Library Reference Room


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