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History of York County

York County, located between the Broad and Catawba Rivers in the South Carolina Piedmont, was the home of several Native American tribes, particularly the Catawba Indians, before European settlement began in the 1750s.

Early settlement was predominantly by Scotch-Irish Presbyterians, who played a significant role in the American Revolution. Two key battles—Huck’s Defeat and Kings Mountain—were fought in York County in 1780, both critical Patriot victories.

The county was officially established by an act of the South Carolina General Assembly in March 1785, with the county seat at Fergus Crossroads, which became the town of Yorkville and later the city of York. Agriculture and mining, supported by slavery, dominated the county’s economy until after the end of the Civil War.

Beginning in the 1880s, the textile industry became increasingly important, and by the 1950s, it was the largest employer in the county. Railroads and textiles also spurred the development of Rock Hill and Fort Mill, now the county's largest cities. Since the decline of textiles in the late 20th century, the economy has shifted to finances, high technology, services, and heritage tourism. Charlotte, North Carolina's proximity has created a substantial commuter workforce.

Today, it’s not just history that attracts visitors to the area. York County has quality arts and entertainment offerings, some of the best shopping and dining in the region, and sports facilities that are second to none. The area's natural beauty is also a tremendous calling card for visitors. Complete with rivers and lakes, tranquil country roads and byways, year-round gardens, scenic flowing fields and rolling forested hills, there is still so much to attract the outdoor enthusiast. With the temperate climate, outdoor activities like golf, fishing, boating, and hunting are year-round.