History

Originally laid out in 1732 as the town of Fredricksburg, Camden is South Carolina's oldest inland city.

Fredricksburg was located in the swampland created by the Wateree River just south of the present town. It was founded when King George III ordered eleven inland towns established near the rivers in South Carolina that were used as transportation.

Since the area was founded on swampland, most of the area's residents chose to build homes on the higher ground to the north - the site of present day Camden.

Joseph Kershaw arrived from England in 1758 and opened a store at a site he named Pine Tree Hill. About 10 years later, the town's name was changed to Camden in honor of Lord Camden, a champion of colonial rights named Charles Pratt. 

On August 16, 1780, the British scored a major victory over American forces at the Battle of Camden, fought about five miles north of town. The defeat was an embarrassing one for the Americans, who had a larger force present going into the battle than the British.

Over time, the town evolved into a resort town, housing the wealthy from all over the east coast through the winter months during the early 1900's. Many of these wealthy, part-time residents brought their thoroughbred horses with them. Because of this heavy equine influence, Camden developed a rich history of polo, steeplechase, and other equine-related activities.

To learn more about the history of Camden, visit the Camden Archives & Museum.