The origin of the name Edgefield is not clear, although it is usually described as "fanciful." The county was formed in 1785 as part of Ninety Six District; parts of Edgefield later went to form Aiken (1871), Saluda (1895), Greenwood (1897), and McCormick (1916) counties. The county seat is the Town of Edgefield. This part of the upcountry, settled in the late eighteenth century, was the site of several Revolutionary War skirmishes. Although primarily agricultural, Edgefield County developed a thriving pottery industry in the nineteenth century; the old alkaline-glazed Edgefield pottery is highly sought after today. The larger Edgefield County was the home of ten South Carolina governors, including Francis W. Pickens (1805-1869), Benjamin R. Tillman (1847-1918), and Strom Thurmond (1902-2003). Confederate general Martin Witherspoon Gary (1831-1881) was also a resident of Edgefield County.
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