Winnsboro is a town in Fairfield County in the Piedmont of South Carolina, United States. The population was 3,599 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Fairfield County.Winnsboro is part of the Columbia, South Carolina Metropolitan Statistical Area.
|Winnsboro, South Carolina|
Location of Winnsboro, South Carolina
Based on archeological evidence, this area was occupied by various cultures of indigenous peoples from as early as the Archaic period in the Americas, about 1500 BC. Blair Mound is a nearby archeological site and earthwork likely occupied 1300-1400 AD, as part of the lateMississippian culture in the region.
Several years before the American Revolutionary War, Richard Winn from Virginia moved to what is now called Fairfield County in the upland or Piedmont area of South Carolina. His lands included the present site of Winnsboro, and as early as 1777 the settlement was known as "Winnsborough". Two of his brothers joined him there, adding to family founders.
The village was laid out and chartered in 1785 upon petition of Richard Winn, John Winn and John Vanderhorst. The brothers Richard, John and Minor Winn all served in the Revolutionary War. Richard was a general, said to have fought in more battles than any Whig in South Carolina. John was a colonel. See Fairfield County, South Carolina for more.
This area was developed for the cultivation of short-staple cotton after Eli Whitney's invention of the cotton gin in 1793, which made processing of this type of cotton profitable. Previously it was considered too labor-intensive. Short-staple cotton was widely cultivated on plantations in upland areas throughout the Deep South, through an interior area that became known as the Black Belt. The increased demand for slave labor resulted in the forced migration of more than one million African-American slaves into the area through sales in the domestic slave market. By the time of the Civil War, this county's population was majority black and majority slave.
"Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues," an industrial folk song of the 1930s with lyrics typical of the Blues, refers to working in a cotton mill in this city. Textile mills were constructed in the area beginning in the late 19th century and originally workers were restricted to whites. The song developed after the textile mill had been converted to a tire manufacturing plant, reflecting the widespread expansion of the auto industry. The song has been sung by Lead Belly, Pete Seeger, and other artists. It was the basis of one of the ballads by modernist composer/pianistFrederic Rzewski in his Four North American Ballads for solo piano, completed in 1979.
Places listed on the National Register of Historic Places for Winnsboro range from an Archaic period archeological site, to structures and districts spanning the European-American/African-American history of the city, as in the following list: Albion, Balwearie, Blair Mound, Dr. Walter Brice House and Office, Concord Presbyterian Church, Furman Institution Faculty Residence, Hunstanton, Ketchin Building, Bob Lemmon House, Liberty Universalist Church and Feasterville Academy Historic District, McMeekin Rock Shelter, Mount Olivet Presbyterian Church, New Hope A.R.P. Church and Session House, Old Stone House, Rockton and Rion Railroad Historic District, Rural Point, Shivar Springs Bottling Company Cistens, The Oaks, Tocaland, White Oak Historic District, and the Winnsboro Historic District are listed on the .
In the late 19th century after white Democrats regained control of state legislatures in the South, they passed laws establishing racial segregation of public facilities and disfranchising blacks, excluding them from the political system. In 1960 in the United States Supreme Courtdecision of Boynton v. Virginia, the court ruled that racial segregation was unconstitutional in interstate bus stations, restaurants, bathrooms and on buses, as these were covered by constitutional protections of free interstate commerce.The African American Civil Rights Movementhad begun to use public demonstrations and events to build public awareness.
In 1961, CORE decided to test the bus ruling by sending mixed racial groups of Freedom Riders to ride interstate buses and use facilities in the segregated southern United States to challenge practices related to segregation of buses and bus stations. They intended to travel through the Deep South and end at New Orleans. They were met by increasing violence as they went south. Winnsboro was one of the cities where some Freedom Riders were beaten by local whites and arrested by local officials. One was rescued by a local African-American man while outrunning a white mob.