Williamsburg County -- A Recipe for the Good Life
Williamsburg County, located in the southern tip of the Pee Dee, holds treasures of historical interest dating back to the early
1700’s. In 1730, Governor Robert Johnson proposed a "Township Plan,"
marking the beginning of Williamsburg County. This plan was proposed to stimulate the economy of the province to
provide protection for coastal settlers. The township, which was laid out on
the bank of the Black River, was named Williamsburg in honor of the Protestant King, William of Orange.
Williamsburg Township’s success was largely attributable to the raising and processing of
indigo. From indigo, came wealth and prosperity to the area. Hemp, flax, and Holland were other fine quality products introduced in the
1730’s. A settlement, existing on Black Mingo (later referred to as Willtown), had a "Meeting House" for dissenters
in what later became Williamsburg County. In 1736, the first Williamsburg Presbyterian
Meeting House was built. This "Meeting House" was the mother church
for a wide area embracing several states.
1780, after the fall of Charles Town, the nucleus of "Marion’s Brigade" was formed in this area. On August 27, 1780, the "Battle of King’s Tree" took place and it was at this
time that Major John James turned his group over to Francis Marion, the Swamp
Fox. The fighting consisted of rear-action skirmishing, but heavy losses were
sustained. British Major James Wemyss, under orders
from Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton,
burned the Indiantown Presbyterian Church down.
battles of Black Mingo (September 28-29,1780), Mount Hope Swamp (March 1781) and Lower Bridge (March 1781) were all fought in Williamsburg County. In 1823, Robert Mills, a native of South Carolina and a nationally known architect, designed the
Williamsburg County Courthouse. In 1883, a fire gutted the second story, but
the massive brick barrel arches protected the public records in the first
Williamsburg, the first settlement, later was named King’s Tree
because the King reserved for his own use all white
pines. In 1886, King’s Tree became known as Kingstree. Kingstree became the
county seat of Williamsburg County. Years following the Revolution, Williamsburg County quickly prospered. Since then, Williamsburg County has become famous for its wildlife and hunting preserves. It has truly
become a "Sportsman’s Paradise."
Williamsburg County and discover one of the most beautiful areas of South Carolina, where history echoes in the fine architecture and
new memories are waiting to happen.
Thorntree, the plantation home of James Witherspoon (1700-1768), was built in
1749. After the death of James Witherspoon, Thorntree
became the home of Gavin Witherspoon, the son of James and Elizabeth
Witherspoon. During the Revolution, Tarleton with one
hundred British dragoons, and a large number of Tories under Col. Elias Ball,
encamped at the plantation of Gavin Witherspoon, south of the lower bridge, on Black River, early in August 1780. As a restoration project,
Williamsburg Historical Society relocated Thorntree
to the city limits of Kingstree in order to provide police and fire prevention.
For future generations, as well as for the present, the Historical Society
desires to preserve and restore this early architectural structure.
Back in 1737, the Courthouse grounds, located on Main Street in Kingstree, was designated the parade ground in
the original survey of the town of Kingstree. The grounds served as the muster ground for the
local militia during colonial and Revolutionary Times. The Williamsburg County
Courthouse, designed by Robert Mills, was built in 1823. Robert Mills, a
nationally known architect, was a native of South Carolina. In 1883, the second story of the Courthouse caught
fire, but realizing that the 30 inch walls were fireproof, the building was
soon repaired. The Courthouse was enlarged in 1901 with an addition of a
substantial fence to give a good park to the town and to keep horses and cattle
out of the square. Due to efforts of Judge Phillip H. Stoll, the Courthouse was
remodeled in 1954. The Courthouse had been enlarged by adding a 3 story wing at
the back, giving the building its present T-shape.
One of the first impressions that Williamsburg County offers to people entering the area is the beauty of live oak trees.
The trees, many of which line the streets of Kingstree, are an important part
of the local heritage and Southern charm. While Kingstree’s history is most
often associated with the white pine that gave the town its name, today the
emphasis is turning to the many live oak trees that are part of the town’s
beauty and charm.
Join the HomeTown Chamber for
half-price in August. Take advantage of
the savings and be a part of the fun!
Offices: Post Office Box 330, Kingstree,
Telephone: (843) 354-9321
is located in the southern tip of the Pee Dee section of
South Carolina. The county
encompasses 936.97 square miles. If history is your specialty, Williamsburg
County has plenty to offer,
including many Revolutionary War battlefields and lots of stories about General
Francis Marion. Annual rainfall in Williamsburg
County measures 51.6 inches, with
an average yearly temperature of 62.5 degrees. January’s average temperature is
44 degrees (with July’s temperature averaging 80.1 degrees).
Town Hall: Post Office Box 207,
Kingstree, SC 29556
Telephone: (843) 354-7484
Mayor: James Kirby
Kingstree serves as the county seat and also serves as the
business center for over 36,000 residents. An agricultural based community,
Kingstree is home to one of the largest cotton gins and tobacco markets in the
state. Situated 75 miles from Charleston,
Columbia, and Myrtle
Beach, Kingstree is accessible by two major highways,
US 52 and US 527.
Town Hall: Post Office Box 212,
Telephone: (843) 426-2111
Mayor: Isaac Holmes
Greeleyville became chartered on December 29, 1893. The town is
located on the main stretch of U.S. Highway 521. Each Memorial Day weekend, the
town hosts its annual "Flag Day" festival. This celebration has grown
to be a very popular festivals in the county. The town
flag has a picture of old Town Hall and two arms, one black and one white,
holding a tobacco leaf and a cotton bowl. This is a symbol of the cooperation
among all the people in Greeleyville with also a
symbol of the agricultural heritage.
Town Hall: Post Office Box 968,
Hemingway, SC 29554
Telephone: (843) 558-2824
Mayor: Grady Richardson
Hemingway is located just a short distance from the Grand
Strand of South Carolina, as well as Florence,
Columbia and Charleston.
Hemingway is the home of the richest bar-b-que
festivals in South Carolina,
"TheBar-B-Que Shag Festival." Hemingway is
also home to the only Tupperware manufacturing plant in North
Town Hall: Post Office Box 39,
Lane, SC 29654
Telephone: (843) 387-5151
Mayor: Bill Wheeler
Established in 1856, Lane is bisected by the Main
north-south CSX Railroad line. Located in a rural setting, Lane is situated in
short distance southeast of the intersection of US Highways 52 and 521. The
water, provided by a modern municipal water system from ground water sources,
was named the best drinking water by the SC Rural Water Association in 1990.