Sumter County was first settled by Englishmen from Virginia and the South Carolina Lowcountry in the mid-18th century. In 1800, Sumter District was founded from lands previously belonging to Claremont, Salem, and Clarendon counties. However, over the 19th and 20th centuries, the district became smaller when Clarendon County left the district, and some of the district’s land was used to create Lee County.

The Civil War had a substantial impact on Sumter County. Union troops invaded the county, and a small battle was also fought in the area. Additionally, the area is known as the home of educator Mary Mcleod Bethune and opera singer Clara Louise Kellogg.

Historically, Sumter County served as an important agricultural area. However, the economy shifted away from agriculture over time. Today, the economy relies mainly on the service providing and manufacturing industries. The county and its seat are named in honor of Revolutionary War general Thomas Sumter.

Workforce Breakdown of Economic Sectors. Accessed June 10, 2016.