Kingstree, South Carolina

Kingstree, South Carolina

Williamsburg County Courthouse

Location in Williamsburg County, South Carolina
Coordinates: 33°40′16″N 79°49′43″W / 33.67111°N 79.82861°W / 33.67111; -79.82861Coordinates: 33°40′16″N 79°49′43″W / 33.67111°N 79.82861°W / 33.67111; -79.82861
Country United States
State South Carolina
County Williamsburg
  Total 3.2 sq mi (21.5 km2)
  Land 3.1 sq mi (21.4742 km2)
  Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0258 km2)
Elevation 62 ft (19 m)
Population (2009)
  Total 3,176
  Density 1,113/sq mi (429.9/km2)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
  Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 29556
Area code(s) 843
FIPS code 45-38590[1]
GNIS feature ID 1246255[2]
Main Street, Kingstree, South Carolina

Kingstree is a city and the county seat of Williamsburg County, South Carolina, United States.[3] The population was 3,328 at the 2010 census.[1][4]


The original town was laid out as Williamsburg by the Lords Proprietors in colonial times. But a lone, unusually large white pine was found along the Black River. Since tall white pines were ideal for use as masts for ships, it was claimed by the Crown on behalf of the king. The broad arrow mark was carved into the tree to prevent any colonists from cutting it. Though white pines are native to the Appalachians as far south as Georgia, it is the only tree of King George’s ever found in the South.[5]:166 Over time, the county kept the name Williamsburg, but the county seat became known as The King's Tree, giving rise to its modern name.[6]


Battle of the Lower Bridge

General Francis Marion, known as the Swamp Fox, defeated the British at the Battle of the Lower Bridge in March 1781. There is a historical marker to mark the battle between US Highway 521 and the Black River.[7]

Battle of King's Tree

After the British had destroyed Charles Town during the revolution, General Marion gained supporters from Major John James. The Battle of King's Tree took place on August 27, 1780. The city sustained losses including, Indiantown Presbyterian Church being burned to the ground.[6]

Historical homes and buildings

The Kingstree Historic District, M.F. Heller House, Colonel John Gotea Pressley House, Scott House, and Thorntree are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[8]

Williamsburg Presbyterian Church

Williamsburg Presbyterian Church was founded in August 1736. The church consisted of three structures. Its founders built the first church in 1738 across from the Williamsburg Cemetery in town; the second building was constructed in 1828 and was across from the Williamsburg Cemetery as well. The third, the current structure of the church located on North Academy Street was built in 1914. The stained glass windows on the roof of the church today were imported from Austria. One of the stained glass windows on the roof was removed in 1989 during a renovation and was placed behind the pulpit of the sanctuary.[9] The first person to be buried in the church cemetery was John Witherspoon(1670–1737), the father of James Witherspoon, builder of Thorntree.[10]

Williamsburg Presbyterian Church celebrated its 275th Birthday in October 2011. The church held a service to share Kingstree's history. The church is the oldest church that still exists today between the Santee and Cape Fear Rivers in North and South Carolina. Williamsburg Presbyterian is the mother church to 33 other Presbyterian churches. Two daughter churches include nearby Union Presbyterian church in Salters, South Carolina, and Indiantown Presbyterian Church in Williamsburg County.[9]

The Kingstree company formed at Williamsburg Presbyterian Church's original churchyard in July 1780. The company was led by Captain Henry Mouzon and later turned into the battalion and then formed a brigade led by Francis Marion against the British.[5]:135

The Arnette House

The Arnette House is one of the three oldest homes in the town and was built in 1840. The home holds significance in the town because the dining room was used as a school for two periods of history during the early years of the home.[9]

Thorntree House

Thorntree House is the oldest home in the lowcountry area of South Carolina. The early plantation home was constructed from native materials of South Carolina. James Witherspoon built the home in 1749 when the house was located six miles outside of town near where the Battle of the Lower Bridge took place. Witherspoon was a part of Francis Marion's brigade. After Witherspoon's death, Witherspoon's son inherited the plantation home.[11] The British occupied the home during the revolution when it was at its original location, on the Black River. Gavin Witherspoon was the owner at the time.[11] The house was later moved to its current location in 1969 when it was being restored by the Williamsburg Historical Society and is currently registered by the National Historic Register.[9] The Williamsburg Historical Society moved the house into Kingstree city limits to provide protection from police and fire department.[11]

Williamsburg County Courthouse

The Williamsburg County Courthouse is located in the business district of Kingstree on Main Street.[10] The original grounds of where the courthouse stands were the original parade grounds in the town of Kingstree and were used by the militia during the revolution. The courthouse was built in 1823 by Robert Mills, a nationally known architect that hailed from South Carolina.[11] The second level of the courthouse suffered a fire in 1883 but because the walls were 30 inches thick and fireproof, the building was restored. Other changes and additions were added to the courthouse including in parking for horses in 1901, and a third floor in 1954.[11]

Black River, Kingstree, South Carolina


Kingstree is located at 33°40′16″N 79°49′43″W / 33.67111°N 79.82861°W / 33.67111; -79.82861 (33.671243, −79.828635).[12]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 3.2 square miles (8.3 km2), of which 3.1 square miles (8.0 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) (0.63%) is water.


The Black River is a free flowing river that is surrounded by banks of undisturbed land. The river has plant and animal habitats including endangered species. Some of the endangered species include the American chaffseed and the swallow-tailed kite. The black color of the river comes from tannins that come from cypress trees. The river draws sportsmen because of the variety of fish including bream, red breasted sunfish, large-mouth bass, and catfish.[11]

The Williamsburg County Hometown Chamber Quality of Place Committee was able to get the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources to include a 75-mile stretch of the Black River in the Scenic River Program in 2001.The Black River is South Carolina's longest river and was the seventh addition to the Scenic Rivers.[11] The river is 150 miles long and goes through Williamsburg, Clarendon, Sumter, and Georgetown Counties in South Carolina.[13]


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 20153,183[14]−4.4%
U.S. Decennial Census[15]

According to the census[1] of 2010, there were 3,328 people.[4] The racial makeup of the town was 28.5% White, 70.3% African American, 0.1% Native American, 0.4% Asian, and 0.5% from Hispanic or Latino of any race according to the 2000 census. There are 5857 housing units and 88.6% of the units are occupied and 74.7% are owner-occupied units. [4]

In the town the population was spread out with 27.7% under the age of 18, 70.3% who were 18 years of age and older, 13.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34.3 years. There were 932 people or 10.8% of people that held a college or graduate degree, and 2,667 people held a high school degree.[4]

Notable people


Kingstree Pig Pickin' Festival

The "Pig Pickin'" Festival is held every fall for all the chefs of Kingstree to compete in a barbecue recipes. The festival draws crowds from all over to test the Williamsburg County vinegar-based barbecue.[17] In 2010, the festival had a record breaking number of contestants. Seventy groups competed with contestants that traveled from other states including North Carolina and Georgia. The area golf course, Swamp Fox Golf Course, sponsors a golf tournament to begin the events every year for the festival.[18] Other events include tennis tournaments, car show, arts and crafts, food venders, live music, and activities for children.[19]

Kingstree Trials

Since 1996, the Williamsburg Hometown Chamber has sponsored "The King's Tree trials" for those in the Kingstree community. The races take place at the McCutcheon training center in the Cedar Swamp area on a weekend in November. Jockeys and their horses are brought in for the event.[6] Horse racing has been taking place in Williamsburg County since before the Revolution. Nine quarter races take place while families and people from the business community chat and eat barbecue.[20]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14.
  2. "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  3. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  4. 1 2 3 4 "2010 Demographic Profile: SC-Kingstree town". Retrieved November 10, 2011.
  5. 1 2 Boddie, William Willis (2000). Traditions of the Swamp Fox. Spartanburg, SC: The Reprint Company, Publishers.
  6. 1 2 3 "History". Retrieved November 10, 2011.
  7. "Battle of Lower Bridge". SC Historical Markers. SC Association for Educational Technology. Retrieved 5 November 2011.
  8. National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  9. 1 2 3 4 "A Candlelight Tour of Homes and Churches on Academy Street". The Kingstree News. November 1, 1990.
  10. 1 2 Todd, Caroline W. (1997). South Carolina: A Day at a Time. Orangeburg, South Carolina: Sandlapper Publishing Company, Inc. p. 333.
  11. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "History of Williamsburg County". Retrieved November 7, 2011.
  12. "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  13. "Black Scenic River: Project Overview". Retrieved November 8, 2011.
  14. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  15. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  16. Marjorie Julian Spruill; Valinda W. Littlefield; Joan Marie Johnson (2012). South Carolina Women: Their Lives and Times. University of Georgia Press. pp. 52–. ISBN 978-0-8203-4215-3.
  17. "Kingstree/Bi-Lo Pig Pickin' Festival". Retrieved November 7, 2011.
  18. "Pig Pickin' festival sets record". The Kingstree News. October 18, 2010. Retrieved November 7, 2011.
  19. "Kingstree Pig Pickin'". Retrieved November 7, 2011.
  20. SCNOW STAFF (November 7, 2011). "Kingstree to hold King's Tree Trials". Retrieved November 1, 2011.
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