Photo of Abbeville Opera House. "Abbeville Opera House" by J. Stephen Conn is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
Both the county and its county seat, the town of Abbeville, were named for the French town of the same name. Originally part of the Ninety-Six District, the area was designated as Abbeville County in 1785. Parts of Abbeville later went to form Greenwood (1897) and McCormick (1916) counties. The county was settled primarily by Scotch-Irish and French Huguenot farmers in the mid-eighteenth century. A historic treaty with the Cherokee Indians was signed at Dewitt's Corner (now Due West) in 1777. Abbeville was known as a hotbed of secession, and at the end of the Civil War, the last Confederate council of war was held there. Abbeville's most famous native son was John C. Calhoun (1782-1850), United States vice president, secretary of war and of state, and senator.