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Orangeburg City

Orangeburg County, South Carolina

Orangeburg City Hall is located at 979 Middletown Street Southeast, Orangeburg, SC 29116.
Phone: 803‑533‑6000.


The City of Orangeburg was incorporated in 1883. It lies along the north fork of the Edisto River.

Beginnings [‡]

The town of Orangeburg was established around 1735 in Orangeburg Township, one of a series of townships laid out along rivers in interior South Carolina in the 1730s to encourage white settlement. Although there were some European settlers in the area prior to 1735, the majority of the early European settlers were German and Swiss immigrants who began to arrive in that year.[1]

In 1767 a traveler reported that the village of Orangeburg was "a considerable large neighborhood that included a store, a tavern, and "a man that pretended to preach." The village was designated the seat of Orangeburg judicial district in 1768.[2] An early plat of the village shows streets laid in a grid pattern. The public square was then located on Broughton Street near the present-day armory.[3] During the Revolution the village was captured alternately by British and Patriot forces.[4]

Robert Mills's Statistics of South Carolina, published in 1826, reported that the village of Orangeburg contained five merchants, three lawyers, two physicians, two coach makers, one tailor, one blacksmith, and one tavern. The village had a large black population; 77 of the 152 residents were black. Since the 1830 federal census listed only 6 free black persons in the entire district, most of the black residents of the town were evidently slaves.[5] In 1831 the village was incorporated with town limits extending one mile in every direction from the courthouse except on the west where they extended to the Edisto River.[6]

The expansion of the South Carolina Railroad from Branchville to Orangeburg in 1839-40 and the completion of the line to Columbia in 1842 spurred the growth of the town.[7] By 1860 the population had grown to 897.[8] Most of the white adult males were employed as merchants or clerks or as skilled tradesmen such as carpenters, carriage manufacturers, shoemakers, and tailors. There were also lawyers, teachers, ministers, and physicians. Almost half (429) of the 897 residents of the town were black; 423 were slaves and 6 were free. German immigration had continued after the initial eighteenth century settlement of the area. Approximately 50 of the residents of Orangeburg in 1860 had been born in Germanic states'.[9]

In February 1865 the town of Orangeburg lay in the path of General William T. Sherman's march through South Carolina. On February 12 the Seventeenth Corps occupied the town. Disorder reigned for a time as stores were rifled and approximately one-half of the town burned. The next day the railroad depot, cotton bales, and two miles of track south of town were destroyed.[10]

  1. The township, which was originally named Edisto, was renamed Orangeburgh, evidently in honor of the marriage of Princess Anne, daughter of George II of England, to William, the Prince of Orange. The final h in Orangeburgh had generally been dropped by the end of the nineteenth century. Robert L. Meriwether, The Expansion of South Carolina, 1729-1765 (Kingsport, TN: Southern Publishers, Inc., 1940), pp. 17-30, 44-46; A. S. Salley, Jr., The History of Orangeburg County, South Carolina (Orangeburg, SC: R. Lewis Berry, Printer, 1898), pp. 1- 2, 29-43.

  2. Meriwether, p. 47; Salley, pp. 8-9; David J. McCord, Statutes at Large of South Carolina, 10 vols. (Columbia, SC: A. S. Johnston, 1840), 7:198-99; The State (Columbia, SC), 30 December 1929.

  3. "Plan of the Village or Town of Orangeburg So. Ca. Copied From an Old Plat by Judge Thos. W. Glover in the Year 1833," The Times and Democrat (Orangeburg, SC) S 27 September 1981; Salley, pp. 64-65.

  4. Edward McCrady, The History of South Carolina in the Revolution, 1780-1783 (New York: MacMillan Co., 1902), pp. 229-30, 239, 724; Terry W. Lipscomb, "South Carolina Revolutionary Battles - Part Six," Names in South Carolina 25 (Winter 1978): 29.

  5. Robert Mills, Statistics of South Carolina, Including a View of Its Natural, Civil, and Military History, General and Particular (Charleston, SC: Hurl but and Lloyd, 1826), p. 662; Population Schedules of the Fifth Census of the United States, 1830: South Carolina (Washington, DC: National Archives Microfilm Publications, 1944), microcopy no. M-19, roll no. 173, Orangeburg County, p. 57.

  6. McCord, 6:444-46.

  7. Samuel M. Derrick, Centennial History of South Carolina Railroad (Columbia, SC: State Co., 1930), pp. 182-86.

  8. U.S. Department of Interior, Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States, 1860: Population, 1:452.

  9. Population Schedules of the Eighth Census of the United States, 1860: South Carolina (Washington: National Archives Microfilm Publications, 1967), microcopy no. 653, roll 1224, Orangeburg District, pp. 196-208.

  10. John G. Barrett, Sherman's March Through the Carolinas (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1956), pp. 58-59.

‡ Mary Watsom Edmonds, John E. Wells, and Debra J. Allen, South Carolina Department of Archives and History, City of Orangeburg Multiple Resource Area (MRA), nomination document, 1985, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.