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The city is named for Charles Pratt, 1st Earl Camden. The name was suggested by the Marquis de Lafayette during a visit to Charleston in 1783. At that time, most of South Carolina's population lived along the coast and there were few roads inland. "Camden" was originally intended to be a new seaport town on Wateree Creek; however, it soon became clear that such plans would not work out well due to shallow waters at its mouth and problems with silting up of the creek itself (the creek has since been rerouted). Instead, land was purchased from John Carterette on March 9th 1786 for £1 an acre plus 50 shillings per lot sold within three years after purchase; this area now includes downtown Camden as well as much surrounding land which is still owned by descendants of those original purchasers today (see: http://www.camdenscharter1786-1803-2013commissionersreportandrecommendations/ ).