Go Back

About Our Beach

Georgetown County Rice History, Georgetown SC


Vendor Information

Georgetown, South Carolina

Website: http://www.georgetown-sc.com/history/

Description

From the marshlands near Garden City, down Waccamaw Neck, and around Winyah Bay a dynasty of wealth flourished for around 200 years in Georgetown County. The wealth came by means of the rice. "Rice was king" and covered acres and acres of the Lowcountry, making plantation owners rich beyond our understanding.

Although there are different theories, it's believed that seed rice came with the African slaves who grew the staple in their homeland. It took the slaves of South Carolina over 15 years to prepare a rice field here. Their work in the Lowcountry has been compared to building the pyramids of Egypt. In 1758 when tidal flow apparatus for getting freshwater to rice beds was perfected, growing rice became somewhat easier.

By 1850 there were 150 rice plantations which contained over 40,000 acres of rice. At that time more rice was shipped out of the port of Georgetown than any other place in the world. There were also 11 rice mills in the district.

From the Revolutionary War until the War Between the States rice furnished this area with a "garden of gold." By the growing of rice, the Lowcountry became an aristocratic society which has never again been equaled. However, after the Civil War when slavery was abolished the rice culture began to die. And by the early 1900's, rice was not grown any longer as a major product in Georgetown County.

Featured Properties