Kingston County, South Carolina


Years in Existence

County Seat


1785 - 1801


N/A - Abolished in 1801

First Settled

First Settled By

Significance of County Name


English/Welsh, then Scots-Irish

King George II

A History of Kingston County

The 1785 Act known as "the County Court Act" established new counties across the state of South Carolina, one being Kingston County, which was carved out of the continuing, overarching Georgetown District. Kingston County, as establihsed in 1785, was roughly equivalent to today's Horry County. All of the newly-created counties within Georgetown District became inactive quickly - they simply failed to take root with the local population because all of the previous records, deeds, and legal documents were still being maintained at the Georgetown District offices in Georgetown and the new state was slow in establishing court houses, justices, etc. in all of the newly-defined counties.

Apparently, the state never got around to erecting court houses or other public buildings in the newly-defined counties within Georgetown District between 1785 and 1800, thus adding to the failure of the new counties to take root with the local citizens.

In 1790, the first United States Census was conducted and the geopolitical breakdown for the enumerations included the existing seven "overarching Districts" as well as a mix of the newly-established counties of 1785 and some of the older-established parishes. There is no mention of Kingston County in the 1790 U.S. Census, all residents were listed in the Prince George's, Winyah Parish and the All Saints Parish.

In the 1800 U.S. Census, this location was identified as Waccamaw County, even though the name of Kingston had been directed in 1785. Apparently, the local citizenship was not too happy with the name Kingston, it continued to bring about unpleasant recollections of ties to the British Crown. Established as Kings Town in 1735 as one of the new "townships" by the Royal Governor Robert Johnson, and shortened just before the American Revolution to Kingston, the town and the area no longer wanted any ties to the past, especially their English past since they had only recently won their hard-earned independence from England and the Revolution had caused so many rifts between the Loyalists and the Patriots in the local citizenship.

In the year of 1800, the locals struggled with the subject of what to name their county. Waccamaw was certainly considered, since the Waccamaw River runs through the area, and the Waccamaw Indians had once lived here. It is currently unknown what other alternatives they considered during their deliberations for a new district/county name during 1800.

However, soon after the 1800 U.S. Census was taken, the locals finally decided upon the new name - Horry District (county), named after Colonel Peter Horry, a staunch Patriot of the American Revolution who had served under Brigadier General Francis Marion, another local hero - but, the name Marion had already been taken by the adjacent district/county in 1798.

Originally part of colonial Craven County, Horry County has also been part of Prince George's, Winyah (1721), Prince Frederick's (1734), and All Saints (1767) parishes, which served as early religious and civic jurisdictions. This area, which became part of newly-formed Georgetown District in 1769, was given its present boundaries and named Kingston County in 1785. In 1801, it was renamed Horry District, and, in 1868, to Horry County.


© 2007 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved