Laurens County lies in the Piedmont of South Carolina, with the Enoree River, the Saluda River, and Lake Greenwood comprising some of its borders. The county was founded in 1785 with land from the Ninety-Six District. Laurens serves as the county seat.
Cherokee Indians lived in the area first. However, in 1753 John Duncan, a native of Scotland, moved from Pennsylvania and established the first settlement in the area. As a result, a great number of Scotch-Irish and English moved to the settlement, leading to a unique amount of loyalty to the British during the Revolutionary War.
The Revolutionary War had a great impact on Laurens County. A number of Revolutionary War battles, such as the battle of Musgrove’s Hill, occurred in Laurens County. Additionally, the county and its seat are named after Henry Laurens, who served as president of the Continental Congress.
Cotton has played a large role in Laurens County throughout much of its history. Before the Civil War, cotton plantations dominated the county’s economy. After the Civil War, the county continued to rely on growing cotton, this time in the form of sharecropping. The county easily transitioned from the sharecropping of cotton into the spinning of cotton and the textile industry. Mill villages arose out of this industry and defined the county’s economy and culture through World War II.
More recently, the textile and agricultural industries that once dominated Laurens County have diminished. The county’s economy now relies much more on manufacturing and distribution.
Continental Congress. June 09, 2016. https://history.state.gov/milestones/1776-1783/continental-congress
History. Accessed June 09, 2016. http://www.laurenscountysc.org/secondary.aspx?pageID=117