The State Constitution of 1868 resulted in immense changes.
Among these was a guarantee that all South Carolinians could vote, without regard to race or property ownership, and that educational opportunities be provided without regard to race. Coming three years after the War Between the States, and written to a substantial degree by newly freed slaves, its validity was not readily accepted by the majority of white citizens.
However, it was this document that enabled Oconee County to be created. As part of the new order, districts became counties and new counties were created. The counties, for the first time, all had budget and taxing authority, thus diminishing control by the General Assembly.
As part of the new structure, Pickens District was divided into Pickens and Oconee Counties, with Walhalla, as the new county’s only town, becoming its seat of government.