Camden is the oldest inland city within the state of South Carolina. In 1730, Camden became part of a township plan ordered by King George II. Originally laid out in 1732 as the town of Fredericksburg in the Wateree River swamp (south of the present town) when King George II ordered eleven inland townships established along South Carolina's rivers. Few of the area settlers chose to take lots surveyed in the town, instead choosing the higher ground to the north, and as a result the township soon disappeared. In 1758, Joseph Kershaw, from Yorkshire, England came into the township, established a store and renamed the town Pine Tree Hill. Camden became the main inland trade center in the colony. Kershaw suggested that the town be renamed Camden, in honor of Lord Camden, a champion of colonial rights in the British Parliament.
May 1780 brought the American Revolution to Charleston, when it fell under the Crown's control. Lord Charles Cornwallis and 2,500 of his Loyalist and British troops marched to Camden and established there the main British supply post for the Southern campaign. The Battle of Camden, the worst American defeat of the Revolution, was fought on August 16, 1780 near Camden, and on April 25, 1781 the Battle of Hobkirk Hill was fought between 1,400 troops led by General Nathanael Greene and 950 Loyalists and British soldiers. The latter battle was a costly win for the British, and forced them to leave Camden and retreat to the coast.
After the Revolution, Camden's prominence and wealth grew as a major interior trading town with direct ties to Charleston and the world. Regional products were transported from Camden to Charleston on flat-bottom riverboats that plied the adjacent Wateree River before the railroad arrived in 1842.
Today, Camden continues to prosper. Proximity to Sumter and Columbia, together with some of the best public schools in the State, make the area an inviting place to live. Not too large, or too small, Camden is a joy to call home.