Calhoun County was named for John C. Calhoun (1782-1850), who served as United States vice president, secretary of state and of war, and senator. The county seat, the town of St. Matthews, was settled around 1841 in an area that was known for its cotton plantations. The county itself was formed in 1908 from parts of Orangeburg and Lexington counties. During the Revolutionary War a famous incident took place at Fort Motte in present day Calhoun County. Rebecca Motte(1738-1815), a local plantation owner, helped the Revolutionary troops drive the British out of her plantation house; she reportedly provided the soldiers with a burning arrow to destroy her own dwelling. Another famous resident of the area was Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Julia Peterkin (1880-1961), who lived at Lang Syne Plantation.
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