Charleston, a county of South Carolina, bordering on the Atlantic, including several islands, of which the largest is Edisto; area, 1,906 sq. m.; pop. in 1870, 88,863, of whom 60,603 were colored. The Santee river bounds it on the north, and it is drained by Ashley and Cooper rivers, which unite to form the harbor of Charleston. The other chief river is the Edisto, and there are numerous inlets, including, besides Charleston harbor, the N. and S. Edisto and S. Santee, which are generally navigable by small craft. The coast is broken by several bays and protected by a stretch of sandy islands. The surface is low, level, and in some places exposed to inundation. The soil embraces every variety, from the richest alluvial mould to the most sterile sand. There are large quantities of waste land, most of it re-claimable. The famous sea island cotton is raised along the rivers and coast. Formerly indigo, tobacco, silk, and wine were extensively produced. The olive, orange, and lemon have been found to mature in the open air, though cut down by occasional severe winters. The palmetto and the pine are among the indigenous forest trees. The South Carolina railroad, which terminates at Charleston city, runs through this county, and also the Savannah and Charleston and the Northeastern railroads.
A communication between the Santee and Cooper rivers has been opened by a canal 22 m. long. The chief productions in 1870 were 170,087 bushels of Indian corn, 24,110 of peas and beans, 62,984 of sweet potatoes, 5,512 bales of cotton, and 4,329,217 lbs. of rice. There were 1,044 horses, 1,220 mules and asses, 2,565 milch cows, 4,321 other cattle, 2,869 sheep, and 10,390 swine. Capital, Charleston.
Charleston, a city, the capital of West Virginia and of Kanawha county, on the Kanawha river, 60 m. from its mouth and at its confluence with Elk river, 233 m. W. by N. of Richmond, and 130 m. S. by W. of Wheeling; pop. in 1870, 3,162, of whom 761 were colored. The Kanawha is 300 yards wide here, and is navigable throughout the year. The valley of this river is rich in salt, coal, iron, and timber, and Charleston is a central point for the working and shipping of these articles. In the vicinity of the city are 10 salt furnaces; more salt is made here annually than at any other point in the country except Syracuse, N. Y.
They are situated in the Kanawha Salines, beginning about 2 m. above Charleston, and extending up the river on both sides for 10 m. A great variety of coal is found in abundance, such as cannel, splint, and all kinds of bituminous coals. Locks and dams are in process of construction on Elk river in order to facilitate the transportation of the immense quantities of coal and timber that abound along its banks for over 100 m. The Chesapeake and Ohio railroad, which is designed to be one of the great through routes between the east and west, passes through Charleston. The Northern and Southern "West Virginia railroad, in progress, terminates here. The state house is a capacious stone building, 138 ft. long, 56 wide, and 140 high, erected in 1870 at a cost, including land, of about $60,000. The other state institutions are in other parts of the state. The manufacturing establishments comprise 2 iron founderies with machine works attached to each, 4 saw and planing mills, a cabinet factory, 2 factories for making staves and headings for salt and flour barrels, a pump factory, a mineral water factory, 2 large flour mills, and a woollen factory. There are a high school called the Charleston institute, a public school, a Roman Catholic seminary, and several private schools.
There are 8 churches, 4 weekly newspapers, and a monthly periodical. The seat of government was removed from "Wheeling to Charleston by an act of the legislature of 1869, which went into effect April 30, 1870.