South Carolina Counties
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South Carolina Counties

South Carolina is made up of fourty-six counties. They range in size from 392 square miles (1,016 square kilometers) in the case of Calhoun County to 1,358 square miles (3,517 square kilometers) in the case of Charleston County. The least populous county is McCormick County, with only 9,958 residents, while the most populous county is Greenville County, with a population of 395,357, despite the state's most populous city, Columbia, being located in Richland County.

Union County, South Carolina

Union County Education, Geography, and History

Union County, South Carolina Courthouse

Union County is a county located in the state of South Carolina. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 28,961. Its county seat is Union. The county was created in 1785.

Union County is included in the Spartanburg, SC Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson, SC Combined Statistical Area.

Etymology - Origin of Union County Name

Union is said to be named for Union Church.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Union County History

Union County was named for the old Union Church, erected in 1765 near the present day town of Union. The early settlers in the area were mainly Scotch-Irish from Virginia and Pennsylvania who began immigrating to the South Carolina upcountry in the 1750s.

Before white settlers came to what is now Union County, the area was part of the vast territory claimed by the Cherokee Indians as hunting grounds. There is some evidence the Cherokee may have inhabited parts of Union County, as some early land grants in the county are described as containing Indian cabins.

The first white settlers came to Union from Virginia in 1749 and settled on the Pacolet and Tyger rivers and at Fairforest Creek. In the next few years, other families came from Virginia and Pennsylvania and settled around Brown's Creek and Cane Creek.

According to local historian Jeannette M. Christopher, the years between 1763 and the beginning of the Revolutionary War saw the greatest migration into Union County. People built log cabins, cleared the fertile river and creek bottoms and planted tobacco, flax, corn, wheat and other grains and grazed their animals. There were few slave owners in the early days of the county.

The city and county of Union got their names from the old Union Church that stood not far from Monarch Mill. For a long time the town of Union was known as Unionville, with the name later being shortened. The church was a place for people of the Methodist, Baptist and Presbyterian faiths to worship.

During the Revolutionary War, the Battle of Musgrove Mill took place on the Enoree River on August 18, 1780 at the junction of what is now Union, Spartanburg and Laurens counties. Other battle sites in Union County include Fishdam Ford and Blackstock Battlefield.

A district court was formed by the General Assembly in the late 1700's in the upper part of the county in a new town named Pinckneyville. Located near the junction of the Broad and Pacolet rivers, Pinckneyville was to be the "Charleston of the Upstate"and its streets were named after streets in that city. Despite settlers, a post office, inns and a jail, the town never caught on and the court was moved to Union. Interested persons can visit the ghost town and see the remains of several old buildings, including the courthouse.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 516 square miles (1,336 km2), of which, 514 square miles (1,332 km2) of it is land and 2 square miles (5 km2) of it (0.35%) is water.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Cherokee County, South Carolina - north
  • York County, South Carolina - northeast
  • Chester County, South Carolina - east
  • Fairfield County, South Carolina - southeast
  • Newberry County, South Carolina - south
  • Laurens County, South Carolina - southwest
  • Spartanburg County, South Carolina - northwest


Students residing in the county are served by Union County Schools, which operates seven public schools that serve about 4500 students. There is one high school, three kindergarten through 5th grade schools, two kindergarten through 8th grade schools, and one 6th through 8th grade school.

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