First Families of
This book provides family sketches and genealogical information on the first families to settle in Spartanburg County, SC. First established in the 1780s as a courthouse village, Spartanburg was named after the Spartan regiment of the South Carolina Militia. This small band of 200 to 300 men under the command of Col. John Thomas, Sr. played a key part in the battles against the British in the upstate.
European settlers, primarily Scotch-Irish, began moving into this area from Pennsylvania and Virginia in the late eighteenth century. For many years the primary occupations were small scale cattle raising and cotton farming. Areas with mineral springs, such as Glenn Springs, were also popular summer resorts for lowcountry residents. Following the Civil War, textile manufacturing became the dominant industry, and Spartanburg County remains an important manufacturing center today with a population of 280,000.
Among those who were classed as the early settlers of the Upper or Northwestern portion of South Carolina, was Colonel Elijah Clark. In the course of six years, he was joined by eight or ten families from Pennsylvania, who settled on the three forks (north, middle and south) of Tyger River. These constituted the whole white population in the territory of the present County of Spartanburg, prior to 1755. Settlements in other localities took place about the same time.
The earliest census we have for the area encompassed the entire 96 district in 1779. This list shows 2,154 residents representing 1124 different surnames.
By the time of the 1779 census, Spartanburg county (Then 96 District) had families with 1124 surnames listed. The First Families Project - Spartanburg, SC CD-ROM has surname folders on all of these families with notes we have gathered in our research over the years. This volume focuses on the families which were apparently in the area as early as 1780.
by John C. Rigdon
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