Chesterfield County was named for the English statesman Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773). The county seat is the town of Chesterfield, but the oldest town in the county is Cheraw, which was settled around 1748. The county was formed in 1785, but until 1800 it was part of the larger Cheraws District. Welsh settlers from Pennsylvania and Delaware moved into this region in the mid-eighteenth century, and they were later joined by Scotch-Irish and English. Cheraw was a center for transportation along the Great Pee Dee River, but most of the county is agricultural. General Sherman's troops passed through this area during the Civil War, briefly occupying the towns of Cheraw and Chesterfield. Cheraw State Park, founded in 1934, is the oldest of the state parks. Jazz musician Dizzy Gillespie (1917-1993) was a native of Chesterfield County.
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