DISCOVER LAMAR: How Lamar got its name
By O.L. Warr
Lamar is the youngest town in Darlington County. Farm lands in the area were the latest to be cleared and its site did not lie on any of the antebellum stagecoach routes.
It developed as a trading post for the early timber and turpentine workers who started the slow clearing of pine forest thereabouts. For a time, in its earliest years, the area was designated (for reasons that have obviously been applied to many developing settlements) as “The Devil’s Woodyard”.
Later, it took on the more dignified and distinctive title of Mim’s Crossroads, from the surname of its leading merchant of the day. As early as 1856, the name “Lisbon” had been adopted. On March 13, 1872, during the era of Reconstruction, a charger was granted to the citizens of the locality and the town bore the name “Lisbon”.
In 1886, the name of Lisbon disappeared from the map and “Lamar” appeared in its stead. The town bears the name of an illustrious son of Mississippi – Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar, a southern leader before, during and for long after the Civil War. Although born in Putnam County, Georgia, Lamar achieved prominence while living in Mississippi. At the time of its naming, he was Secretary of the Interior in Pres. Grover Cleveland’s cabinet and, later, served as a Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
The first railroad, the “Charleston, Sumter & Northern”, was constructed into Lamar during 1891. With the prospect of approaching rail service, the citizens of the town applied for a new charter under the new name of “Lamar”. The charter was granted to them by an Act of the South Carolina Legislature and approved December 25, 1890.
As a result of changing modes of transportation, the railroad which helped to build the town, as well as a later rail line, have disappeared. Trucks on hard-surfaced highways have replaced both.
Though primarily an agricultural town since its beginning, Lamar has lately joined in the trend toward being an industrial outlet for the energies of its citizens.