Historical Nuggets: Colleton County was named for Sir John Colleton (1608-1666). Although the county was first created in 1682, the area was primarily known by its parish names: St. Bartholomew, St. Paul, and St. George Dorchester. The Colleton District was formed in 1800 with a portion of what was then Colleton County being removed in 1897 to form what is today Dorchester County. The county seat Walterboro, Cottageville, and Edisto Beach are just a few of the cities and towns that make up the 1,056 square miles that fall inside the county lines with an average of 36 persons living per square mile.
Prior to the Civil War, the area was known for its rice and cotton plantations. Many of plantations were purchased by Northerners after the Civil War for use as nature retreats and hunting preserves. Colleton County is home to the ACE Basin Nature Preserve bounded by the Ashepoo, Combahee, and Edisto Rivers.
Population & Demographics: Per the 2010 U.S. Census, Colleton County had a total population of 38,892 with 39% being African American. Although the median household income is $31,700, fully 22.8% of the population is identified as “living below the poverty line” with 11.9% being White and 33.2% being Black.
Heirs’ property is an important issue when considering the generational poverty among many African American families in Colleton County. For most of us, our property is our most valuable asset. Not so, for heirs’ property owners. Because the land is owned “in common”, there is no clear title to the land which prevents the family from obtaining a loan or mortgage or accessing any public funds to improve their home or land. Therefore, owning heirs’ property is more of a liability than an asset until the title is cleared.
Mapping Project: According to the Center’s HP mapping research completed in 2012, there are more than 40,000 acres of heirs’ property remaining in our six-county service area, of which 11,115 acres remain in Colleton County, representing 27.3% of the whole. The Center has developed a strategic plan to reach out to the areas with higher concentrations and larger tracts of HP in Colleton County to deliver services where they are needed most.
The Center offers education seminars and legal services to low wealth families in Colleton County to help them obtain clear title to their family land and keep it. PLEASE CALL OUR OFFICE to schedule an appointment TO TALK WITH OUR ATTORNEY about your particular heirs’ property issues or to request a seminar: (843) 745-7055.
To learn more about Colleton County visit http://www.sciway.net/cnty/colleton.html or check out the resources shown below.