Lexington, South Carolina

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Lexington is a town in and the county seat of Lexington County, South Carolina, United States.[3] The population was 9,793 at the 2000 census.

Contents

Geography

Lexington is located at 33°58′52″N 81°13′51″W / 33.98111°N 81.23083°W / 33.98111; -81.23083 (33.980975, -81.230839)[4].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 5.8 square miles (14.9 km²), of which, 5.7 square miles (14.7 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km²) of it (1.73%) is water.

History

The historic town of Lexington, South Carolina is a direct descendant of the old Royal township of Saxe Gotha. This township was one of eleven established in 1735 by the Colonial government of King George II to encourage settlement of backcountry South Carolina and serve as a protective buffer between powerful Indian tribes to the west and the older settled plantations of the low country. The name Saxe Gotha was given in honor of the marriage of the King's son, Frederick Louis Prince of Wales, to Princess Augusta of the German Duchy of Saxe-Gotha. (The latter couple became the parents of King George III of England).

The territory of colonial Saxe Gotha covered most of present day Lexington County and was traversed by two important early Indian trails, the Cherokee Path which followed roughly modern U.S. Highway #378 and the Occaneechi Path, today U.S. Highway #1. These ancient trading paths and the highways that later developed from them have had an enormous impact on the historical development of the area. Most of the early settlers came from various cantons, principalities and city-states of Germany and Switzerland. Others came down from Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Despite the disruptive Cherokee Indian War of 1760 and the "Regulator" unrest that followed, the township flourished as a largely self-sufficient area of small scale farming operations. Major crops in the 18th Century included corn, wheat, tobacco, hemp, flax, beeswax and livestock.

During the American Revolution several skirmishes occurred in the area. The Battle of Tarrar Springs was fought just one mile east of Lexington on November 16, 1781.

In 1785 Lexington County was established, changing the name from Saxe Gotha to Lexington in honor of the Massachusetts Revolutionary War battle. The county's first courthouse was built at Granby, located just south of present day Cayce. From 1800 to 1868 the county was organized as a district with the same name.

With the clearing of upriver lands for the spreading cotton culture, Granby became plagued with floods. The district seat was moved in 1820 when the present town of Lexington was laid out on a high, healthy sand ridge near Twelve Mile Creek. The town was known as Lexington Courthouse throughout the 19th Century since in the first few years of its existence there was only the courthouse with few residences.

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