Originally known as New Town, Ridgeway obtained its present name when the owners of the Charlotte and South Carolina Railway decided not to build the railroad on the Camden route, but rather to use the "ridge way." The railroad spurred growth of the town.
The first telegraph line was completed in the Ridgeway area in 1855 with wires being stretched from tree to tree. The telegraph played an important role in the civil war as did the town itself.
The earliest settlers of the Ridgeway area came south in the late 1700's from Virginia after the Revolutionary War. Others came north from Charleston in the early 1800's.
The earliest settlers of the Ridgeway area of lower Fairfield District came in 1799 and were Scotch-Irish Presbyterians. Among some of the earliest homes built in Ridgeway were Valencia which was built in the early 1800's by Edward Gendron Palmer who had moved to the area from Saint James' Parish, Santee, Charleston District. Valley Grove which was built in the early 1800's by Samuel Peyre Thomas of Saint Stephen's Parish, Charleston District. Both of these families were plantation owners.