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Yadkin - Pee Dee River Basin History and People

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    Capt. Samuel Floyd (c.1730 - c.1812)
    Capt. Samuel Floyd First of the Floyd family in present-day Horry County, progenitor of most of the Floyd families in Horry, Marion, and Dillon Counties, SC and Robeson and Columbus Counites, NC. Des...
  • Library of Congress map of Marion District.
    Benjamin Edward Shooter (c.1765 - bef.1810)
    The Shooter family settled in Marion District - presently Dillon County, South Carolina. From W. W. Sellers History of Marion County: Shooter.-The first of this family in Marion County was old Benja...
    Jane Harrelson (1721 - d.)
    There are two "sources" noted for Jane Anderson's birth on Family Search : Notes Church record: birth: 1722; New Kent, New Kent, Virginia, United States Church record: birth-name: Jane ANDERSON Publ...
  • American Revolutionary Flag - opensource.clipart
    William Harrelson, I (1720 - 1792)
    "United States Rosters of Revolutionary War Soldiers and Sailors, 1775-1783," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 1 March 2021), William Harrelson, 21 Jun 1785; citing Military Service, South Caroli...
    Margaret Wise (c.1839 - bef.1920)
    The life of Margaret Wise represents a classic Southern tale of an independent woman who survived the Civil War with her wits and with what resources she had at her disposal. She moved between families...

Please add profiles of people who were born, lived, or died in this area from colonial times to before 1860 as early settlers.

The Yadkin–Pee Dee River Basin (alternatively watershed or drainage basin) is a large river basin in the eastern United States, covering around 7,221 square miles, making it the second largest in the state of North Carolina. Its headwaters rise near Blowing Rock, North Carolina, and the basin drains to the Atlantic Ocean in Winyah Bay, east of Georgetown, South Carolina.

The majority of the basin is within the Piedmont geographical area of the United States, but it also drains the coastal plains of North and South Carolina, and parts of the Appalachian Mountains, in North Carolina. It is part of the larger South Atlantic–Gulf Water Resource Region.[1]

The Pee Dee River, also known as the Great Pee Dee River, is a river in the Carolinas of the United States. It originates in the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina, where its upper course, above the mouth of the Uwharrie River, is known as the Yadkin River. The lower part of the river is named Pee Dee (in colonial times written Pedee) after the Pee Dee Indian Tribe. The Pee Dee region of South Carolina, composed of the northeastern counties of the state, was also named after the tribe. In fact, today the Pee Dee Indian Tribe still occupies some of their ancestral lands, although the tribe only consists of just over 200 enrolled members. The first Europeans believed to have navigated part of the river was a party sent by Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón in 1521. They named it "River of St. John the Baptist."

Navigable[needs context] up to the Fall Line at Cheraw, the river was an important trade route through the Low Country from colonial times. The largest lumber company in the world existed at the turn of the 20th century near the river's mouth at Georgetown. The virgin pine forests of the Pee Dee region were cut over, and the logs floated in rafts downriver to be sawn into lumber and exported to the northern United States and Europe.

The lower part of the river flood plain was extensively developed for rice culture in colonial time; rice was the major export of the area from the port at Georgetown. Rice culture declined with the freedom of slave labor after the Civil War, and increased overseas competition. Two hurricanes at the beginning of the 20th century destroyed much of the rice canal infrastructure and effectively ended the remnants of rice culture.

Today the river is not extensively used for navigation. It is an important source of electric power and public water supplies, as well as recreational use. While the Pee Dee is free-flowing in South Carolina, upstream in North Carolina, several dams have been constructed on it. The opening and closing of these dams causes dramatic swings in the depth of the river in South Carolina. The sharing of water between the two states has sometimes been a matter of controversy, particularly during period of drought. Some commercial fishing is done during the winter shad run, and for shrimp in the lower reaches. The river is excellent for recreational fishing and boating. There are numerous boat landings, yet most of the river is wild, with forests of tupelo, oak and gum along its shores. Herons and alligators can be seen along the way, and a lucky sighting of a bald eagle is possible.

The lower part of the river from Highway 378 to Winyah Bay has been designated a Scenic River.[3]

Some tributaries are the Lumber, the Little Pee Dee, Lynches, Black and Waccamaw rivers. The river empties into Winyah Bay, and then into the Atlantic Ocean near Georgetown.

Snow's Island is a large island at the junction of the Pee Dee and Lynches rivers. This was the headquarters of General Francis Marion for several months during the American Revolution. It proved a safe haven for him and his militia troops, as the British were unable to find the camp until it was abandoned. (It has been identified as the center of Johnsonville Impact Crater).

This area is rich in the history of Native American Culture; Colonial Exploration; African American Culture; French Huguenots; Quaker, Scots, Irish, Welsh, and German migration; Jewish immigrants; the American Revolution; and the Civil War.


Since it originates in the Blue Ridge and drains portions of the Piedmont, Sandhills and Coastal Plain, the Yadkin Pee Dee River Basin contains a wide variety of habitat types, as well as rare plants and animals. The basin’s rare species (including endangered, threatened, significantly rare or of special concern) include 38 aquatic animals. Two species are federally listed as endangered — the shortnose sturgeon, a migratory marine fish that once spawned in the river but has not been spotted in the basin since 1985; and the Carolina heelsplitter, a mussel now known from only nine populations in the world, including the lower basin’s Goose Creek. Five new species, all mollusks, have been added to the state’s endangered species list — the Carolina creekshell, brook floater, Atlantic pigtoe, yellow lampmussel and savannah lilliput.

Please add sources on the people of this region as you come across them.

History of the Old Cheraws by Bishop Alexander Gregg retrieved from

A History of Marion County, South Carolina from Its Earliest Times by William W. Sellers retrieved from

A History of Watauga County, North Carolina with Sketches of Prominent Families by John Preston Arthur retrieved from

Archives for Robeson County, North Carolina with links to important Native American Databases retrieved from

The Pearlstine/Lipov Center for Southern Jewish Culture (at the College of Charleston) retrieved from

Huguenots of the Carolinas retrieved from

German/Swiss Settlers of the Carolinas retrieved from

Three Rivers Historical Society retrieved from (Contains important publishing of old family histories and bibles, etc.)

Africans in America Part 1 1450-1750.

Africans in America Part 2 1750-1805