York County and its county seat, the city of York, were named for York County, Pennsylvania. The county was first established in 1785 as part of Camden District. From 1791 to 1800 it was part of Pinckney District, and it became a separate district when Pinckney was dissolved in 1800. Part of the county went to form Cherokee County in 1897. When European settlers arrived, this part of the state was inhabited by the Catawba Indians. The Catawbas signed a treaty with the English in 1763, relinquishing their rights to much of their land. This treaty opened up the area to Scotch-Irish settlers moving down from Pennsylvania and up from the lowcountry. In later years the Catawba reservation was greatly reduced in size, but recent legal settlements have now restored many of the tribe's rights. The Catawba Nation is now the only federally-recognized Indian tribe in the state. Two battles were fought in this area during the Revolutionary War, Williamson's Plantation (July 12, 1780) and Kings Mountain (October 7, 1780); the latter battle was a major victory for the Americans. Small-scale cotton farming was prevalent in the county in the nineteenth century, but textile mills became important in the twentieth century, contributing to the growth of the county's largest city, Rock Hill. Some well-known natives of York County are Revolutionary leader Colonel William Bratton (1742-1815) and writer Dori Sanders.
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