Sumter County (pop. 107,456) is one of four Sumter counties in the U.S. – all in the Southeast and all named for Thomas Sumter (1734-1832), general in the South Carolina militia in the Revolutionary War.
Much of the western part of the county is in the High Hills of Santee, a rural area where wealthy planters from the Low Country once built summer homes.
The two-story, Greek Revival mansion at Millford Plantation, near Pinewood (pop. 538), was built for John L. Manning (later South Carolina governor) in 1839-1841.
Poinsett State Park is near the town of Wedgefield (pop. 1,615).
The county seat of Sumter County is the city of Sumter (pop. 40.254), in the geographic center of the state. It’s known as “The Gamecock City” – because Thomas Sumter’s nickname was “Gamecock.”
Sumter’s Town Hall and Opera House, with its 100-foot tower, was built in 1895. It was a movie theater from 1936 to 1982; today, it serves as City Hall and as a performing arts center.
Sumter is the birthplace (and still the home) of New York Yankees great Bobby Richardson.
Swan Lake-Iris Gardens in Sumter is reputed to be the only public park in the U.S. with eight species of swans.
Sumter is the home of the two-year University of South Carolina Sumter (1973) and the four-year Morris College (1908), a historically black college.
The town of Mayesville (pop. 731) was the birthplace of Mary McLeod Bethune (1875-1955) – educator, civil rights leader, and advisor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
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