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Abbeville is a city in Abbeville County, South Carolina, United States, 86 miles (138 km) west of Columbia and 45 miles (72 km) south of Greenville. Its population was 5,237 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Abbeville County. Settled by French Huguenot settlers, it was named, along with the county, for the French town of the same name.
Abbeville was established by French Huguenots in 1764, at a site named by John de la Howe. It was incorporated in 1840.
Famed states' rights advocate and Vice President John C. Calhoun first practiced law in Abbeville, and he was born on a farm on the outskirts in what is now Mt. Carmel.
Anthony Crawford was beaten and dragged through the streets by a rope, then lynched here, in 1916, despite the efforts of Sheriff R.M. Burts to save him from a "bloodthirsty" white mob that resented his wealth.
Abbeville has the unique distinction of being both the birthplace and the deathbed of the Confederacy. On November 22, 1860, a meeting was held at Abbeville, at a site since dubbed "Secession Hill", to launch South Carolina's secession from the Union; one month later, the state of South Carolina became the first state to secede.
At the end of the Civil War, with the Confederacy in shambles, Confederate President Jefferson Davis fled Richmond, Virginia, and headed south, stopping for a night in Abbeville at the home of his friend Armistead Burt. It was on May 2, 1865, in the front parlor of what is now known as the Burt-Stark Mansion that Jefferson Davis officially acknowledged the dissolution of the Confederate government, in the last official cabinet meeting.
On December 8, 2003, in a 14-hour standoff that stemmed from a land-survey dispute, two Abbeville lawmen were killed by West Abbeville resident Steven Bixby. This siege has been compared by both sympathizers of the Bixbys and law enforcement agents to the events of Waco and Ruby Ridge.
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