The History of Drainage and Land Management in Horry County

On March 10, 1731, surveyors were commissioned to lay out the township called Kingston on the west bank of the Waccamaw River. About three years later a town, also called Kingston, was planned near the center of the township, which was opened to inhabitants of the province for settlement in 1735, by order of the Lieutenant Governor and council. This area was included in the Georgetown District, one of Seven districts into which the state was divided in 1768. In 1785, the Georgetown District was further divided into four counties, one of them Kingston with the same boundaries as the present Horry County. The name was not changed, however, until 1801 when the citizens of Kingston County, Georgetown District, petitioned the General Assembly to make the county into a district with the name Horry; the name honored Peter Horry, Brigadier General of the militia that encompassed Kingston. They further petitioned for the name of the town of Kingston to be changed to Hugerborough, but it was named Conwayborough instead, which became the county seat. It was not until 1868 that the name "Horry District" was changed to the present name of Horry County.

Since the first settlement was made in the Kingston Township (now Horry County) in March 1731, the existing problem of imperfect internal and surface drainage has retarded the growth and development of this area in South Carolina.The higher areas of land were used by the first settlers for homesteads and for small fields to produce food crops. Low, wet lands were left in their natural state. As settlements grew and more land was needed for farming operations, it was necessary to install some type of drainage system on individual farms. These drainage systems were inadequate and only partially met the drainage needs. The lack of knowledge of drainage systems and the availability of only hand tools retarded the design and installation of complete systems.

With the increase in land use and particularly with the advent of modern construction machinery such as the bulldozer, dragline, and backhoe, it became relatively easy to excavate larger canals and outlet ditches needed for adequate drainage. Even with the new machines, much of the drainage work installed has been the result of expediency incident to population growth and did not follow a well-developed plan of action. Improving the quality and quantity of agricultural crops and providing well drained areas for home sites are essential to perpetuate economic growth of a community; providing additional drainage is necessary as a first step toward enhancing the environment and increasing income for its people.

Excerpt from History of "Horry County" by Laura Quattlebaum (unpublished)



 Photos courtesy of: Horry Soil And Water Conservation District