Prince Frederick’s Parish stretched like an elongated triangle from the Santee River northward “to the utmost bounds of the Province,” encompassing all or part of modern Dillon, Marion, Florence, Horry, Georgetown, and Williamsburg Counties.
Established on April 9, 1734, Prince Frederick’s Parish stretched like an elongated triangle from the Santee River northward “to the utmost bounds of the Province,” encompassing all or part of modern Dillon, Marion, Florence, Horry, Georgetown, and Williamsburg Counties. Prior to 1730 European settlement north of the Santee was sparse. Still, in 1721 the assembly organized the area into Prince George Winyah Parish, and by 1734 a wooden parish church had been completed on the Black River approximately thirteen miles upstream from its mouth. By then, however, the port of Georgetown had been founded, rice cultivation had surpassed the Indian trade and naval stores in the local economy, and the fast-growing coastal population needed its own church. In 1734 the assembly divided Prince George Winyah and its inland portion became Prince Frederick’s Parish, which was granted two representatives. Because the Black River Church fell within the bounds of the new parish, it became the parish church of Prince Frederick’s. A major indigo producer, the parish flourished until foreign competition and the end of British bounties forced its decline in the last decades of the eighteenth century.
A new brick parish church near Plantersville was authorized in 1857, but due to the Civil War, it was not completed until 1878. Known locally as the “Gunn Church” for a building contractor who fell to his death from its roof, the structure stood as a ruin in the early twenty-first century. Prince Frederick’s Parish lost its status as an election district in 1790 and was divided into Liberty (Marion) and Williamsburg Counties.
Linder, Suzanne Cameron. Anglican Churches in Colonial South Carolina: Their History and Architecture. Charleston, S.C.: Wyrick, 2000.
Lumpkin, Robert L., and Sarah Parker Lumpkin. Minutes of the Vestry, Prince Frederick’s Parish, April 9, 1827–March 29, 1880. N.p., n.d.
Pringle, Elizabeth W. Allston, ed. The Register Book for the Parish Prince Frederick Winyaw. 1916. Reprint, Easley, S.C.: Southern Historical Press, 1982.
Rogers, George C. The History of Georgetown County, South Carolina. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1970.