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Ninety Six, South Carolina

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Title: Ninety Six, South Carolina  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Siege of Ninety-Six, Greenwood County, South Carolina, Loyalist (American Revolution), Benjamin Mays, Odean Pope
Collection: Towns in Greenwood County, South Carolina, Towns in South Carolina
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Ninety Six, South Carolina

Ninety Six, South Carolina
Sunset over the battlefield at Star Fort
Sunset over the battlefield at Star Fort
Location of Ninety Six, South Carolina
Location of Ninety Six, South Carolina
Country United States
State South Carolina
County Greenwood
 • Total 1.5 sq mi (3.8 km2)
 • Land 1.5 sq mi (3.8 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 548 ft (167 m)
Population (2000)
 • Total 1,936
 • Density 1,325.1/sq mi (511.6/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 29666
Area code(s) 864
FIPS code 45-50290[1]
GNIS feature ID 1249874[2]

Ninety Six is a town in Greenwood County, South Carolina, United States. The population was 1,998 at the 2010 census.


  • Geography 1
  • Etymology 2
  • History 3
  • Demographics 4
  • Notable people 5
  • Representation in popular culture 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • Further reading 9
  • External links 10


Ninety Six is located at (34.173211, -82.021710).[3]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 1.5 square miles (3.8 km²), all land.


There is much confusion about the mysterious name, "Ninety-Six," and the true origin may never be known. Speculation has led to the mistaken belief that it was 96 miles to the nearest Cherokee settlement of Keowee; to a counting of creeks crossing the main road leading from Lexington, SC, to Ninety-Six; to an interpretation of a Welsh expression, "nant-sych," meaning "dry gulch." No one is able to confirm that founder Robert Goudey (sic) was Welsh, English, Scottish, or German. An examination of early maps indicates markings such as "30" and "60" and "90" at different points, possibly indicating "chains." Since Ninety-Six was located in Clarendon Parish, it is possible that Parish linear measurements as used in England were used on colonial maps to measure distances in "chains". In England, according to a British and Welsh booklet designating linear measurements, Parish maps used a rule of "4 chains to the inch." In using that parish rule on an early map of colonial South Carolina, 90 "chains" on a map would probably cover approximately 24 inches, the map distance from "Saxe Gotha" (modern Lexington, SC) to Ninety-Six. Using the same measurements for the distance from Ninety-Six to the Savannah River, the measurement would be approximately 2.5 inches or 6 "chains," hence 96. Even so, the origin of the name, "Ninety-Six," likely remains a mystery.[4]


Ninety Six was established on the frontier in the early 18th century. For a time it was known as "Jews Land" because some prominent Sephardic Jewish families of London bought extensive property there. The Salvador and DaCosta families bought 200,000 acres (810 km2), intending to help some poor Sephardic families to relocate to the New World.[5]

The settlement became the capital city of the Ninety-Six District when it was established in July 1769. Since the late 20th century, the National Park Service operates the Ninety Six National Historic Site at the site of the original settlement and fort.

Ninety Six figured prominently in the Anglo-Cherokee War (1758-1761). It also was a site for southern campaigns of the American Revolutionary War. The first land battle of the revolution south of New England was fought here in 1775. On August 1, 1775, American militia forces led by Major Andrew Williamson were ambushed by Cherokee and Loyalists near here in the Battle of Twelve Mile Creek; more than 4,000 Cherokee had waged war on a long front beginning in June, from Tennessee to central South Carolina.[6] Francis Salvador, a Sephardic Jewish immigrant from London and a planter, was one of the casualties, the first Jew to be killed fighting with the Patriots in the Revolutionary War.[7]

In 1780 the British fortified the strategically important frontier town with a star fort. From May 22 to June 18, 1781 Major General Nathanael Greene, with 1,000 American Patriot troops, besieged 550 American Loyalists who were defending Ninety Six. General Greene's chief engineer at the siege was the world-renowned Polish hero Colonel Tadeusz Kościuszko, who was wounded at the siege. The American Loyalists survived the siege and relocated, after the war, to Rawdon, Nova Scotia, Canada, with support from the Crown for resettlement.

The Kinard House, Moore-Kinard House, Ninety Six National Historic Site, and Southern Railway Depot (Ninety Six, South Carolina) are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[8][9]


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 1,936 people, 820 households, and 560 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,325.1 people per square mile (512.0/km²). There were 904 housing units at an average density of 618.7 per square mile (239.1/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 76.50% White, 22.73% Black, 0.15% Native American, 0.05% Asian, 0.21% from other races, and 0.36% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.52% of the population.

There were 820 households out of which 30.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.1% were married couples living together, 17.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.6% were non-families. 29.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.90.

In the town the population was spread out with 24.9% under the age of 18, 7.4% from 18 to 24, 27.7% from 25 to 44, 22.9% from 45 to 64, and 17.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 81.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.0 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $33,423, and the median income for a family was $39,550. Males had a median income of $30,978 versus $25,034 for females. The per capita income for the town was $15,648. About 7.0% of families and 8.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.6% of those under age 18 and 8.7% of those age 65 or over.

Notable people

Representation in popular culture

See also


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder".  
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names".  
  3. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  4. ^ Guinn, Dr. Gilbert; Geraldine Beach; Rose Mitchell (2004). Maps for Family and Local History (2nd revised ed.). Tonawanda, New York: Dundurn Press. p. 35. 
  5. ^ Pencak, William (2005). Jews and Gentiles in Early America 1654–1800, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, p. 124
  6. ^ LLEWELLYN M. TOULMIN, "Backcountry Warrior: Brig. Gen. Andrew Williamson", Journal of Backcountry Studies, Vol. 7 No.1, Spring 2012
  7. ^ Nell Porter Brown, "A 'portion of the People'", Harvard Magazine, January–February 2003
  8. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  
  9. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Listings". Weekly List of Actions Taken on Properties: 10/03/11 through 10/07/11. National Park Service. 2011-11-14. 
  10. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  12. ^ Odean Pope website

Further reading

  • Carol W. Troxler, "Scotch-Irish among Southern Backcountry Loyalists,” Journal of Scotch-Irish Studies, I no. 3 (October 2002).

External links

  • National Park Service historical narrative
  • Town of Ninety Six
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