The perfection of tidal culture in the late eighteenth century transformed Georgetown and its environs into the principal rice-producing area in the United States, with African slaves approaching ninety percent of the population of Prince George Winyah by 1810.
Comprising portions of modern Georgetown, Horry, Marion, and Dillon Counties, Prince George Winyah Parish was established on March 10, 1721, to accommodate a wave of European settlers who had taken up residence north of the Santee River following the Yamassee War. One year earlier the inhabitants of “Winyaw,” a burgeoning settlement on “Sampeet Creek,” had petitioned the assembly for parish organization because they were “so far distant from the next parish church to them” that they received “no benefit from the same.” A wooden parish church for Prince George was completed on the Black River in 1734, but by then rice cultivation had begun to dominate the local economy, the port of Georgetown had been founded, and the parish’s center of population had shifted toward the coast. Once again many found themselves unable to “attend the publick worship . . . by reason of the great distance.” The cornerstone of a new brick parish church was laid in Georgetown in 1745.
The perfection of tidal culture in the late eighteenth century transformed Georgetown and its environs into the principal rice-producing area in the United States, with African slaves approaching ninety percent of the population of Prince George Winyah by 1810. As one observer noted, “The Planters here all got rich.” In 1860 free residents of the parish were among the wealthiest per capita in the nation. With the abolition of the parish system in 1865, Prince George Winyah Parish became part of Georgetown, Horry, and Marion Counties.
Holcomb, Brent H., ed. Parish Registers of Prince George Winyah Church, Georgetown, South Carolina, 1815–1936. Columbia, S.C.: SCMAR, 1996.
Linder, Suzanne Cameron. Anglican Churches in Colonial South Carolina: Their History and Architecture. Charleston, S.C.: Wyrick, 2000.
Lumpkin, Sarah Parker. Heritage Passed On: History of Prince George, Winyah, Parish. Columbia, S.C.: R. L. Bryan, 1992.
Rogers, George C. The History of Georgetown County, South Carolina. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1970.