EDGEFIELD, S.C. (WJBF) – Nestled in the heart of Edgefield County, this charming community holds a remarkable distinction: it has been home to not just one, but ten governors of South Carolina.
There’s always been political talent in Edgefield. Its rich soil seemed to nurture leaders who went on to shape the history of our state, and the area, too.
“So can you name a couple?”
“Pickens and Strom Thurman?” says Douglas Noel.
“I know Strom Thurman was,” says Ruth Bronson.
Edgefield takes great pride in being the hometown of ten governors. Their influence can be seen everywhere.
“I think that’s great. That we have ten governors from a small town, and Edgefield is a very beautiful town,” says Bronson.
“My husband and I came here Saturday. That was one of the first things he said, you know, that this was the home of attending governor,” says Patty Knight.
These ten governors, including notable figures like Andrew Pickens, Junior, John C. Sheppard, Ben Tillman, and Strom Thurmond, left a memorable impact on the political landscape.
“All of these latter leaders kind of took their inspiration from the earlier generation. And so it…it kind of built upon itself,” says Bettis Rainsford, a historian with the Edgefield County Historical Society.
The connection between Edgefield and its governors runs deep. I had the chance to speak with Douglas Noel, who shared a personal connection.
“I was in the funeral with, Strom Thurman, you know, that came through Edgefield and then it followed up into the cemetery. And the cemetery is right behind the Edgefield First Baptist Church,” says Noel.
If you’re interested in exploring this rich history, Edgefield offers the Ten Governors Trail.
It’s a one-mile walking trail with informative posts, highlighting each governor’s legacy.
“That’s a great way to take the walk, get some exercise, and learn a little history along the way,” says Rainsford.
Monuments and historical markers dot the town, serving as lasting symbols of the governors and their invaluable contributions.
“When it was erected, they were only nine governors, so we had to squeeze Thurmond in. Hopefully one of these days we’ll have an 11th and 12th and 13th governor. We might have to get us a new monument,” says Rainsford.
You can learn more by visiting the “Edgefield County Historical Society” or “Edgefield Discovery Center.”