Planters Pirates and Patriots! From Georgetown to Little River, the Grand Strand can lay claim to all of them.
Rice plantations once lined the riverbanks nonstop. Privateers like Blackbeard and Stede Bonnet terrorized the coastal waters, and Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox of the Revolution, hid in the nearby swamps and badgered the British forces holding Georgetown. Historian and author Rod Gregg knows where the bodies are buried, in some cases literally, and he tells all in this informative and easy to read narrative.
Richly illustrated with historical photographs, maps, line drawings, and paintings by local artists, Planters Pirates and Patriots, subtitled Historical Tales from the South Carolina Grand Strand, reads more like a collection of short stories than a history book. Whether he is telling the sad tale of the disappearance of Theodosia Burr Alston, or detailing how Franklin G. Burroughs created the Myrtle Beach that we know today, Rod's talent for story telling shines through.
One of the things I like best about the book is the number of surprising facts that Rod reveals. I call them fun facts. For instance, in 1526, Spanish Explorer Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon established one of the earliest European colonies on Winyah Bay, the colony of San Miguel. Had it not been for malaria and other disasters, South Carolina might have been owned by Spain.
Other fun facts include the Presidents who have visited the area (Washington, Cleveland, and Franklin Roosevelt), the Northern admiral who's Civil War era warship sank in Winyah Bay, and stories of the incredible wealth and opulence of the Waccamaw Neck rice planters.
The book begins with the Spanish Explorers and moves through the years of rice and indigo, of the Civil War, blockade runners and privateers, the "Killer Hurricane of 1893," and finishes with the "Birth of the Beach." Working with area historical societies, including the Horry County Museum, Rod has created a rich tapestry of historical information that helps us better understand the region in which we live. Although written in 1985 and heavily revised and republished in 2006, the book is timeless in its approach to the history of the area and is an enjoyable and easy read for all ages. You can click here for more information.
by Rod Gragg
Pelican Publishing Company, 2006, $14.95
This book is available in area bookstores and through online booksellers like Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and BooksAMillion.com.
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