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.
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
In 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
The 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 story.
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
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."
Explore 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.
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.
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.
(Above section courtesy of Williamsburg County Chamber
touted and recognized as a Sportsman's Paradise, Williamsburg
County abounds with large and small game. White tail
deer, wild boar, fox, bobcat, turkey, quail, waterfowl
and dove are a few of the more popular game species
hunted here. Thousands of acres of natural habitat
insure the numbers of wildlife species will be here
when you arrive. And the farmers never need to dress
their livestock in "safety-orange." Hunting
seasons and regulation information can be obtained
through the Department
of Natural Resources.
Almost as much fun as hunting are the stories of trophy
bucks, and the crafty gobblers that got away. You
can enjoy the tall tales of the Williamsburg woods
almost anywhere you open your mouth to talk hunting.
Around here there's never a shortage of hunting tales.
goes without saying that the Black River with its
streams and creeks provide Williamsburg with more
than black water scenery. Bass, Bream, and Catfish,
are just a few species of illusive fish that call
this place home. It's your choice to bring a simple
bamboo pole and line or all that hi-tech gear you've
accumulated over the years. A pan full of fryers is
almost a guarantee. Every bait and tackle shop has
a resident expert who will tell you where the big
Some of the best fishing waters are only a short drive
south to the Santee Cooper Lakes, Lake Marion and
Lake Moultrie. Santee
State Park offers public access to the lakes,
a boat ramp and a well-stocked store for supplies,
along with its many amenities.
we suggest a canoe or kayak for a hands on excursion
down the Black River. Aside from the Annual Black
Riverfest Poker Run or occasional fishing tournament,
you just might have the river all to yourself. That
is, you and the wildlife. Peace and tranquility will
follow in your wake, and ancient moss-covered trees
will guide your way through areas that have been,
in past centuries, the scenes of many historical events.
Many of them are well documented. The others never
will be and are best left up to your imagination.
There are many sandy shore areas along the way where
you can beach your watercraft for a picnic or a swim.
Powerboats and sailboats are best saved for the Santee
Lakes or nearby Intracoastal Waterway, where water
skiing, swimming, and cruising can be enjoyed without
getting tangled up with a cypress tree. Creeks and
tributaries of the Waterway system are navigable with
powerboats and will reveal their treasures of grand
plantation homes, game preserve areas, and amphibious
The Chamber office has information and guides to help
you plan your adventure. Paddle
SC contains a wealth of information about our
boating facilities. And for goodness sake don't forget
picnic to anyone in the county, and they will direct
you to Gilland Park in Kingstree. Bring a basket of
sandwiches or exercise your outdoor cooking talents
on one of the many grills provided for your use at
this town facility. There's a beach area for wading,
covered tables, a children's play area, gazebo, and
restrooms, not to mention an old fashioned rope swing
that will cool you off quickly and make you feel like
a kid again.
County offers golfers a four season’s climate
for the pursuit of the perfect game. The locals favor
our own Swamp Fox Golf Club. It is an 18-hole course,
offering well maintained grounds and reasonable green
fees, which include your cart. The Golf Course is
located a few miles from Kingstree off Hwy 261 on
193 Golf Road. For more information, you can reach
them at 843-382-3436.
and Recreational Facilities
towns and communities in Williamsburg County offer
tennis, track and field, soccer, baseball, softball,
basketball, and children's playground equipment at
their facilities. These can be found in Greeleyville,
Hemingway, and Kingstree.