Pickens County was named for Revolutionary War hero Andrew Pickens (1739-1817). The county seat is the town of Pickens. This area in the northwestern corner of the state was Indian territory until 1777. It subsequently became part of Pendleton District (at one time called Washington District). In 1826 Pendleton was divided into two counties, Pickens and Anderson; the western portion of Pickens County was later split off to form Oconee County (1868). The earliest European settlers in this region were Indian traders. The British built Fort Prince George around 1753 as protection against the Indians, and the fort was the site of several battles in the Cherokee War of 1760-62. The Cherokee town of Old Seneca was later destroyed by American troops in 1776. John C. Calhoun (1782-1850), United States vice president, senator, and cabinet member, made his home at Fort Hill plantation in Pickens County. His son-in-law, Thomas Green Clemson (1807-1888), bequeathed the plantation to the state for use as an agricultural college, which led to the founding of Clemson University.
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