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It is alleged that the county name originated from a statement made by General Cornwallis when he declared "How Fair These Fields" during the British occupation of the area in 1780-81. The house Cornwallis stayed in during the occupation is still standing.
The most prominent architectural feature of Fairfield County is the Town Clock in Winnsboro. South Carolina's General Assembly authorized Winnsboro's town fathers to build a market house that "shall not be of greater width than 30 feet" to allow 30 feet of wagon travel on either side. The narrow building was modeled after Independence Hall in Philadelphia and built on the site of a duck pond. A clock was added in 1837, and the building has since been known as the Town Clock.