Florence County took its name from its county seat, the city of Florence. The county was formed in 1888 from parts of Marion, Darlington, Williamsburg, and Clarendon counties. The city of Florence was founded in the 1850s as a stop on the Wilmington and Manchester Railroad; it was named for Florence Harllee, daughter of William Wallace Harllee (1812-1897), the president of the railroad. Florence soon became an important transportation center for the Pee Dee region. During the Civil War it was the site of a Confederate prison camp. In later years tobacco growing became a major activity in the county. Some famous Florence County natives are artist William H. Johnson (1901-1970), astronaut Ronald E. McNair (1950-1986), and stock car racer Cale Yarborough.
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