Saving Society Hill: The birthplace of the Pee Dee looks to its past for new life

SOCIETY HILL — As Brian Gandy sifted through the soggy letters in a plastic bin inside the Coker Rogers Store, he realized he was handling pieces of history more than a century old.

His sense of excitement soon turned to a feeling of urgency as he brainstormed about how exactly he could salvage a deteriorating and irreplaceable part of Darlington County's past.

Gandy, director of the county's historical commission, began by calling his mother: "Get in your car and come to Coker Rogers Store ASAP."

But the bin of letters is only a fraction of what's waiting to be discovered here in this small town.

This area, along the Great Pee Dee River, was where Welsh Baptists from Pennsylvania and Delaware settled in 1736 in one of the earliest frontier settlements outside Charles Towne. Some consider Society Hill, an area also known as Welsh Neck and Long Bluff, the cradle of the Pee Dee.

But time gradually passed the town by, as neighboring...  Read the Full Article

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