Lexington

Located on the shores of Lake Murray, Lexington is steeped in history. Even as Lexington has grown in the past decades, the city prides itself on maintaining its southern charm and grace throughout this expansion.

Lexington, or the Town of Lexington, South Carolina, is located in Lexington County. Lexington is the county seat of Lexington County. The origin of the town name “Lexington” is in honor of the American Revolutionary War Battles of Lexington and Concord fought on April 19, 1775, in Massachusetts. The town motto is “Town of Progress.” 

Location – Latitude: 33°58′52″N, Longitude: 81°13′51″W. Lexington’s standard street delivery zip codes are 29072 and 29073. The post office box delivery zip code for Lexington is 29071. Telephone area codes for Lexington are 803 and 839.

The 2019 estimated population of Lexington, per the U.S. Census Bureau, was 22,157. The total area of Lexington is 8.87 square miles, per the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau. Lexington is within the Columbia Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which comprises the counties of Calhoun, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lexington, Richland, and Saluda. The population of Lexington makes it the third-largest municipality in the Columbia Metropolitan Statistical Area. The estimated total population as of 2020 of the Columbia Metropolitan Statistical Area was 847,397. The Columbia Metropolitan Statistical Area is the second largest MSA in South Carolina after the Greenville MSA. As measured by population, the Columbia Metropolitan Statistical Area is the 69th largest within the United States.

A Brief Historical Overview of Lexington & the Surrounding Area / 

Part One – Through 1820 Founding 

The first European to document the future Lexington area was the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto. In 1539 de Soto landed ashore south of present-day Tampa, Florida, to begin his penetrating expedition of what would become the United States around 250 years later. His expedition arrived in nine ships with around 600 men and 220 horses. The expedition was in search of an overland route to China and gold. 

De Soto’s expedition is well recorded in the semi-anonymous work of a Gentleman of Elvas, purportedly a member of the expedition. This work was first published in 1557. A report of the expedition by Luys Hernández de Biedma, a documented expedition member, was completed in 1544. This report documented the people encountered and the route. Rodrigo Ranjel’s diary, De Soto’s secretary, was used as the basis of Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés writing of La historia general y natural de las Indias, published in 1851.

De Soto led his expedition through what would become Florida and Georgia. De Soto entered South Carolina, apparently just in search of gold. Native Americans in Georgia told de Soto that the Cofitachequi chiefdom in South Carolina possessed vast amounts of gold and treasure. Because of the brutal behavior of the expedition members, it is surmised that the people that survived the initial encounter with these Spaniards would tell them anything to entice them to leave.   

The Cofitachequi was a chiefdom of Muskogean-speaking Indians located in northeastern South Carolina. Their territory is generally considered as all the area between the Santee, Wateree, and Pee Dee rivers. In search of the chiefdom of Cofitachequi, in April of 1540, de Soto entered the area of the confluence of the Broad and Saluda rivers, which merge to form the Congaree River. De Soto traveled onto the seat of power of the Cofitachequi chiefdom, a town referred to as “Talimeco,” thought to have been near present-day Camden. 

The people of the Cofitachiqui capital gave food to the Spaniards and offered freshwater pearls as a tribute to their new arrivals. Not happy with the food or tribute, the expedition members looted the entire town for more food and treasure. The Spanish chroniclers noted a very beautiful woman, transported on a litter covered in white cloth. It is told that a Native American Perico, one of de Soto’s guides, informed de Soto that the woman was the niece or a relation of the female chief of Cofitachiqui, not the chieftain. Nonetheless, the Spaniards assumed this woman was the chief. She became known to the Spaniards as the “Lady of Cofitachiqui.” Taking the Lady of Cofitachiqui captive and taking everything else of value in the Cofitachiqui capital, de Soto’s expedition set out northwest into present-day North Carolina. The Lady of Cofitachiqui eventually escaped her captors and made her way back to the Cofitachiqui. 

In the 1600s, the Lexington area was home to the Congaree Indians who lived along the Congaree River. The Congaree or Conagree Indians were not of a Siouan language origin. However, this was the language basis of most of the Native American people in the region. Diseases introduced by Europeans, such as smallpox, devastated the Congaree population.  By 1700, smallpox had wiped out most of the Congaree Indians. John Lawson, the English explorer on his expedition of the Carolina backcountry in 1701, came upon the surviving Congaree Indians. Lawson notes this encounter in his published work of the expedition, A New Voyage to Carolina, published in 1709. He spells Congaree as “Congeree.” From that work, “The Congerees are kind and affable to the English, the Queen being very kind, giving us what Rarities her Cabin afforded…These are a very comely Sort of Indians, there being a strange Difference in the Proportion and Beauty of these Heathens.” Lawson denotes in his expedition journal the tribe being small because of intertribal conflicts and smallpox.

English colonist John Barnwell engaged the Congaree Indians to fight along with the Yamasee Indians and other Native American tribes against the Tuscarora Indians in the Tuscarora War of 1711. Barnwell, in 1715, conducted and documented a census of the surviving Congaree. He determined the remaining Congaree totaled 22 men, 70 women, and children, all living in one village.

Regrettably, the Congaree aligned with other Native American tribes in the Yamasee War of 1715 against the South Carolina colonist. The resulting conflict left half the Congaree Indians either dead or enslaved. The surviving members at this point migrated north and integrated with the Catawba Indians. The Congaree Indians maintained their tribal distinction among the Catawba Indians until the late 18th century. The Congaree Indians, as a separate tribe, became extinct as their descendants intermarried with the Catawba tribe members and other Native American tribes.

The British established a trading post in 1718 along the Cherokee Path near a tributary of the Congaree River in present-day Cayce, South Carolina. This trading post would become known as Granby and eventually the town of Granby. European settlers began arriving around this time period. During the colonial period in South Carolina, before counties were established, around a dozen patchwork quilt “townships” were scattered around the state. The majority of these townships were created in 1730, and the township Lexington originally was located was called the Congaree Township, established in 1730. In 1735 this township was renamed Saxe-Gotha Township. In 1785, after the American Revolution, South Carolina established counties. Saxe-Gotha Township was dissolved, and this area fell within the borders of the new and much larger Lexington County.  

These early settlers, around 1718  to 1750, were mainly German Lutherans and German-speaking Swiss immigrants. Scots-Irish immigrants eventually made up a significant percentage of the population. In 1759 the population for Saxe-Gotha Township was estimated to have been between 800 and 900 inhabitants. Early immigrants were primarily subsistence farmers with small farms. After the American Revolution and the invention of the cotton gin, the cultivation of cotton became a cash crop for the area farmers who could transition from subsistence farmers. Granby continued to grow and became the county seat. The county’s first courthouse was constructed in Granby in 1785. 

Granby during the early 1800s was subject to flooding due to the clearing of land for cotton cultivation up the Congaree River. Due to this constant flooding, the county seat along with the courthouse moved to Lexington in 1820. Lexington was laid out on a ridge above Twelve Mile Creek. Lexington was originally called Lexington Courthouse.

Lexington Historic Population Per the U.S. Census

1830 3,310 —

1880 262 —

1890 342 30.5%

1900 806 135.7%

1910 709 −12.0%

1920 894 26.1%

1930 1,152 28.9%

1940 1,033 −10.3%

1950 1,081 4.6%

1960 1,127 4.3%

1970 969 −14.0%

1980 2,131 119.9%

1990 3,289 54.3%

2000 9,793 197.8%

2010 17,870 82.5%

2019 22,157 (est.) 24.0%

Key Population Points Per the U.S. Census Bureau: 

Population per 2010 Census: 17,870

Male population: 52.1%

Female population: 47.9%

Population under 18 years: 26.2%

Population 65 years & over: 12.4%

High school graduate or higher 2015-2019: 93.5%

Bachelor’s degree or higher 2015-2019: 43.5%

Median home value 2015-2019: $190,500

Owner-occupied: 66.5%  

Total households 2015-2019: 7,907

The Town of Lexington had 2,277 businesses or firms within the city limits as of the 2012 U.S. Census.

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Lexington

Located on the shores of Lake Murray, Lexington is steeped in history. Even as Lexington has grown in the past decades, the city prides itself on maintaining its southern charm and grace throughout this expansion.

Lexington, or the Town of Lexington, South Carolina, is located in Lexington County. Lexington is the county seat of Lexington County. The origin of the town name “Lexington” is in honor of the American Revolutionary War Battles of Lexington and Concord fought on April 19, 1775, in Massachusetts. The town motto is “Town of Progress.” 

Location – Latitude: 33°58′52″N, Longitude: 81°13′51″W. Lexington’s standard street delivery zip codes are 29072 and 29073. The post office box delivery zip code for Lexington is 29071. Telephone area codes for Lexington are 803 and 839.

The 2019 estimated population of Lexington, per the U.S. Census Bureau, was 22,157. The total area of Lexington is 8.87 square miles, per the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau. Lexington is within the Columbia Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which comprises the counties of Calhoun, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lexington, Richland, and Saluda. The population of Lexington makes it the third-largest municipality in the Columbia Metropolitan Statistical Area. The estimated total population as of 2020 of the Columbia Metropolitan Statistical Area was 847,397. The Columbia Metropolitan Statistical Area is the second largest MSA in South Carolina after the Greenville MSA. As measured by population, the Columbia Metropolitan Statistical Area is the 69th largest within the United States.

A Brief Historical Overview of Lexington & the Surrounding Area / 

Part One – Through 1820 Founding 

The first European to document the future Lexington area was the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto. In 1539 de Soto landed ashore south of present-day Tampa, Florida, to begin his penetrating expedition of what would become the United States around 250 years later. His expedition arrived in nine ships with around 600 men and 220 horses. The expedition was in search of an overland route to China and gold. 

De Soto’s expedition is well recorded in the semi-anonymous work of a Gentleman of Elvas, purportedly a member of the expedition. This work was first published in 1557. A report of the expedition by Luys Hernández de Biedma, a documented expedition member, was completed in 1544. This report documented the people encountered and the route. Rodrigo Ranjel’s diary, De Soto’s secretary, was used as the basis of Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés writing of La historia general y natural de las Indias, published in 1851.

De Soto led his expedition through what would become Florida and Georgia. De Soto entered South Carolina, apparently just in search of gold. Native Americans in Georgia told de Soto that the Cofitachequi chiefdom in South Carolina possessed vast amounts of gold and treasure. Because of the brutal behavior of the expedition members, it is surmised that the people that survived the initial encounter with these Spaniards would tell them anything to entice them to leave.   

The Cofitachequi was a chiefdom of Muskogean-speaking Indians located in northeastern South Carolina. Their territory is generally considered as all the area between the Santee, Wateree, and Pee Dee rivers. In search of the chiefdom of Cofitachequi, in April of 1540, de Soto entered the area of the confluence of the Broad and Saluda rivers, which merge to form the Congaree River. De Soto traveled onto the seat of power of the Cofitachequi chiefdom, a town referred to as “Talimeco,” thought to have been near present-day Camden. 

The people of the Cofitachiqui capital gave food to the Spaniards and offered freshwater pearls as a tribute to their new arrivals. Not happy with the food or tribute, the expedition members looted the entire town for more food and treasure. The Spanish chroniclers noted a very beautiful woman, transported on a litter covered in white cloth. It is told that a Native American Perico, one of de Soto’s guides, informed de Soto that the woman was the niece or a relation of the female chief of Cofitachiqui, not the chieftain. Nonetheless, the Spaniards assumed this woman was the chief. She became known to the Spaniards as the “Lady of Cofitachiqui.” Taking the Lady of Cofitachiqui captive and taking everything else of value in the Cofitachiqui capital, de Soto’s expedition set out northwest into present-day North Carolina. The Lady of Cofitachiqui eventually escaped her captors and made her way back to the Cofitachiqui. 

In the 1600s, the Lexington area was home to the Congaree Indians who lived along the Congaree River. The Congaree or Conagree Indians were not of a Siouan language origin. However, this was the language basis of most of the Native American people in the region. Diseases introduced by Europeans, such as smallpox, devastated the Congaree population.  By 1700, smallpox had wiped out most of the Congaree Indians. John Lawson, the English explorer on his expedition of the Carolina backcountry in 1701, came upon the surviving Congaree Indians. Lawson notes this encounter in his published work of the expedition, A New Voyage to Carolina, published in 1709. He spells Congaree as “Congeree.” From that work, “The Congerees are kind and affable to the English, the Queen being very kind, giving us what Rarities her Cabin afforded…These are a very comely Sort of Indians, there being a strange Difference in the Proportion and Beauty of these Heathens.” Lawson denotes in his expedition journal the tribe being small because of intertribal conflicts and smallpox.

English colonist John Barnwell engaged the Congaree Indians to fight along with the Yamasee Indians and other Native American tribes against the Tuscarora Indians in the Tuscarora War of 1711. Barnwell, in 1715, conducted and documented a census of the surviving Congaree. He determined the remaining Congaree totaled 22 men, 70 women, and children, all living in one village.

Regrettably, the Congaree aligned with other Native American tribes in the Yamasee War of 1715 against the South Carolina colonist. The resulting conflict left half the Congaree Indians either dead or enslaved. The surviving members at this point migrated north and integrated with the Catawba Indians. The Congaree Indians maintained their tribal distinction among the Catawba Indians until the late 18th century. The Congaree Indians, as a separate tribe, became extinct as their descendants intermarried with the Catawba tribe members and other Native American tribes.

The British established a trading post in 1718 along the Cherokee Path near a tributary of the Congaree River in present-day Cayce, South Carolina. This trading post would become known as Granby and eventually the town of Granby. European settlers began arriving around this time period. During the colonial period in South Carolina, before counties were established, around a dozen patchwork quilt “townships” were scattered around the state. The majority of these townships were created in 1730, and the township Lexington originally was located was called the Congaree Township, established in 1730. In 1735 this township was renamed Saxe-Gotha Township. In 1785, after the American Revolution, South Carolina established counties. Saxe-Gotha Township was dissolved, and this area fell within the borders of the new and much larger Lexington County.  

These early settlers, around 1718  to 1750, were mainly German Lutherans and German-speaking Swiss immigrants. Scots-Irish immigrants eventually made up a significant percentage of the population. In 1759 the population for Saxe-Gotha Township was estimated to have been between 800 and 900 inhabitants. Early immigrants were primarily subsistence farmers with small farms. After the American Revolution and the invention of the cotton gin, the cultivation of cotton became a cash crop for the area farmers who could transition from subsistence farmers. Granby continued to grow and became the county seat. The county’s first courthouse was constructed in Granby in 1785. 

Granby during the early 1800s was subject to flooding due to the clearing of land for cotton cultivation up the Congaree River. Due to this constant flooding, the county seat along with the courthouse moved to Lexington in 1820. Lexington was laid out on a ridge above Twelve Mile Creek. Lexington was originally called Lexington Courthouse.

Lexington Historic Population Per the U.S. Census

1830 3,310 —

1880 262 —

1890 342 30.5%

1900 806 135.7%

1910 709 −12.0%

1920 894 26.1%

1930 1,152 28.9%

1940 1,033 −10.3%

1950 1,081 4.6%

1960 1,127 4.3%

1970 969 −14.0%

1980 2,131 119.9%

1990 3,289 54.3%

2000 9,793 197.8%

2010 17,870 82.5%

2019 22,157 (est.) 24.0%

Key Population Points Per the U.S. Census Bureau: 

Population per 2010 Census: 17,870

Male population: 52.1%

Female population: 47.9%

Population under 18 years: 26.2%

Population 65 years & over: 12.4%

High school graduate or higher 2015-2019: 93.5%

Bachelor’s degree or higher 2015-2019: 43.5%

Median home value 2015-2019: $190,500

Owner-occupied: 66.5%  

Total households 2015-2019: 7,907

The Town of Lexington had 2,277 businesses or firms within the city limits as of the 2012 U.S. Census.

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