In 1818, state government began surveying inland rivers to designate waterways that might be navigable as trade routes to the sea. It was determined that with clearing of logs and other debris, the Pee Dee River was navigable from Winyah Bay to Society Hill. David Rogerson Williams, governor of the state from 1814-1816, owned several plantations in the Society Hill area and played an obvious role in spearheading the project. Society Hill was a rural inland community, but not one without influence on the affairs of the state.
From the South Carolina Department of Archives and History:
"The Welsh Neck-Long Bluff-Society Hill area is one rich in historic significance. The Welsh Neck community was an early religious center (a ca. 1738 Baptist church was established here) for the Pee Dee region, and Long Bluff served as a judicial center. The courthouse at Long Bluff, with its jail, tavern, and supporting buildings, was a center of activity for the Upper Pee Dee region during the Revolution. Few small communities have contributed more to the public in the way of culture, education and leadership than has Society Hill. It has numbered among its population outstanding leaders in religion and education, jurists, statesmen, soldiers, authors, and agriculturists.
The Society Hill Library Society was formed in 1822. This group grew out of the St. David’s Society, founded 1777 in Cheraw, which had a wide-spread influence and was a main factor in making Society Hill a center of intelligent leadership in the Pee Dee for a century and a half. This is a rural community with many fine antebellum homes in the Georgian mode. Constructed on large lots or in wooden settings, many are two-storied clapboard structures with one-story front verandas. Nineteenth century mercantile establishments still operate in unadorned frame buildings of a purely functional design. Within the entire district there are approximately 250 structures. Welsh Neck and Long Bluff, both now unoccupied wooded areas, are considered excellent potential archaeological sites. Listed in the National Register December 16, 1974."
Full SCDAH article and images: Welsh Neck-Long Bluff-Society Hill Historic District, Darlington County