Hidden Treasure of Horry County

The following information was taken from http://www.hchsonline.org/


The name Witecaw / Wittecaw is almost assuredly an Indian term and most probably Waccamaw Indian. The earliness of its grant in relation to the surrounding lands in Kingston Township coupled with the fact that William Waties, the Indian trader, received the original land grant, suggests that the bluff was a significant tract. Was it one of the four Waccamaw villages surveyed in 1715 whose names and locations have never been discovered? The Indian census of 1715 states that the Waccomassus (Waccamaw) tribe.

Located approximately three and three-quarter miles north of present day Conway is a bluff on the west side of the Waccamaw that was known by the name of Wittecaw when the original grantee, William Waties, received a proprietary grant to 500 acres on this bluff on 23 April 1717. This is the oldest known grant in Kingston Township.



Waccamaw Conway_10
Waccamaw River Historical Site

The Waties family is believed to have come from Wales in the late seventeenth century and both father and son, William Sr. and Jr., were known to have been Indian traders and very active in the colonial government. On July 10, 1716, William Waties, Sr. was appointed factor to trade with the Indians north of the Santee and was instrumental in building the trading post at Yauhannah the same year.

Due to health reasons, he resigned the following year and was succeeded by his assistant, Meredith Hughes. It is uncertain which William Waties (Sr. or Jr.) received the land grant to Wittecaw but most probably William Jr. was granted the land since it was the original grantee that registered the memorial to the property in 1732 and William Sr. was in poor health in 1717. The date of death for William Waties Sr. is unknown and no estate documents have been found.

During the 1730’s, William Waties Jr. received numerous grants and purchased the warrants of others along the Pee Dee and Waccamaw Rivers (several of these being in Kingston Township) and became one of the largest landowners in the area. His lands totaled in the thousands of acres and many of the tracts were strategically important bluffs along the Pee Dee and Waccamaw. On December 4, 1735, he was granted 250 acres across from the new town of Kingston.

Records indicate that sometime prior to Jan. 1735 William Waties sold Witecaw to William Simson (Simpson). We know this because Simson on January 24, 1735 mortgaged the property called Witecaw (sic) to Waties for a little over 1,039 pounds. The mortgage was witnessed by neighbors Ebenezer Shingleton (who lived just upriver from Simson on the east side of the Waccamaw.

On June 9 or 10, 1738, William Simson again mortgaged the 500 acre tract to Daniel & Thomas Laroche, merchants of Georgetown, stating that he lived on the property that was then bounded on the northeast by Thomas Blythe and southwest by William Pinckney, both of whom had received land grants adjacent to Simson’s Wittecaw.

William Pinckney received a grant to 1700 acres and a town lot in Kingston on Sept. 17, 1736 and Thomas Blythe received a grant of 250 acres on September 17, 1736. Thomas Blythe called himself a cabinet maker of Craven County when he mortgaged his 250 acres in 1738 and probably lived on the tract. He later became a deputy surveyor and a justice of the peace for Prince George Parish.


Waccamaw River
Waccamaw River


William Simson sold Wittecaw to Paul Trapier who sold to brothers Joseph and Samuel Grier on March 26/27 1749. Shortly after purchasing the 500 acres, the two Grier brothers divided the tract into two parcels of two hundred fifty acres each. Joseph Grier wrote his will on September 2, 1749 naming his wife Barbara and children Andrew, Joseph, Jean and Mary. He left the Wittecaw tract to his son Andrew. Andrew Grier married Margaret (last name unknown) and had children Jean, Joseph and Samuel. He wrote his will on April 8th 1765 leaving the Wittecaw tract to his two sons Joseph and Samuel.

Samuel Grier, brother to the original Joseph Grier and the owner of the other 250 acres at Wittecaw, purchased other lands in Kingston (750 acres on Hunting Swamp and 350 acres adjacent) and on the Pee Dee in Yauhannah (1,950 acres at Conns Creek). At the time of the writing of his will on June 11, 1769, he lived on his plantation in Yauhannah. He left the 250 acre Wittecaw tract to his son John Grier.

Seven Grier brothers and sisters came from Northern Ireland and settled in old Kingston starting in the early 1730’s. They were Samuel, Joseph, John, Patrick, Jannett Willson (wife of John Willson), Agnus Baxter (wife of Arthur Baxter) and Mary Ridgell (wife of William Ridgell). One brother, Thomas Grier, remained in Northern Ireland. They came to the new world as weavers, planters and ship owners and were some of the first inhabitants of Kingston. John and Joseph Grier appear to have been in Kingston when the lands were being laid out as a township.

Several references are shown of them being adjacent land owners on some of the original grantees’ plats but no plats or grants have been found for either John or Joseph Grier. Although the surname for that particular family line no longer exists in Horry County, the name Grier shows even today in some of the old families of Horry – probably from one or more of the numerous Grier girls (children of the original 7 brothers and sisters) who married into the old Horry County families and whose genealogies have been lost over the last 250 years.

Many of the descendants of these Grier brothers and sisters moved down to the Pee Dee in the Yauhannah/Petersfield area during the 1750’s and 60’s. Family lore says that there was a fever in Kingston during the 1750’s that wiped out much of the population and the Grier’s moved to the Pee Dee in hopes of finding a healthier climate.

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