Little River, South Carolina

Little River, in present-day Horry County, South Carolina, has been continuously inhabited since the first trading post was established circa 1700. From that time until the late twentieth century, Little River has never been heavily populated, but its inlet to the Atlantic Ocean has provided many fishermen with the bounty of the sea.

Beginning in the 1950s, Little River has steadily grown. In the 2000 U.S. Census, it was identified as the second fastest growing town in South Carolina, with a population over 7,000. The 2010 U.S. Census identified a population of 8,960.

At the northernmost part of the South Carolina coast, Little River Inlet is many times described during hurricane season, with warnings and watches posted from some point (either north or south) "to Little River Inlet."

Stretching sixty miles, from Little River to Georgetown, South Carolina's Grand Strand is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States.

Although not on the Grand Strand proper, the town of Little River is generally regarded as the northern limit of the area, just as Georgetown marks the southern end.

Little River hosts a smaller portion of overnight Grand Strand visitors nowadays, but it still manages to attract attention with its good restaurants, fishing, golf, and its own Blue Crab Festival yearly.

The town's protected location on the mainland gave it status as a fishing village when Myrtle Beach was nothing but sand and bushes. President George Washington stayed the night here in 1791, but rode right past what is now Myrtle Beach because nothing was there.


Click Here to go to the official website of the Little River Chamber of Commerce.
A pioneer named Samuel Masters seems to be the first owner of record of Star Bluff, which is about six or seven miles from Little River. He was referred to as an Inn Keeper on Winyah Bay near Georgetown where he obtained a grant for 600 acres of land on June 19, 1711.

He also purchased lands in the same area in 1729 from Lewis John, an Indian Trader, in which he was referred to as a "Cooper." Travelers, passing over the ferry at Winyah, often stopped in with Samuel Masters.

He had a number of grants in and around Little River in the 1730s and an inlet at Cherry Grove Beach is referred to as "Masters Inlet" on the plat to one of these grants.

He obtained a grant for 400 acres of land "called Star Bluff" on August 28, 1736 and, in this transaction, he was referred to as "Captain" Samuel Masters. It seems probable that he operated a boat carrying supplies on the Waccamaw River during this time and which activity earned him the title of "Captain."


To Their Excellencies, The Governors: Of The State of North Carolina, The Honorable A.W. McLean; and of The State of South Carolina, The Honorable John G. Richards:

We have the honor to report that, in accordance with your commissions to us of March 13th 1928 and April 9th 1928 respectively, we have completed the surveying and permanent marking of the line between the two States from the Atlantic Ocean to Lumber River, a distance of 43.08 miles. We have reproduced it as it was originally.

Map: Attached to this report and made a part hereof, it is a permanent map of the line bearing our signatures. This map is drawn to a scale of 5,000 feet to the inch, and shows the topographical features of the country, the angles which the line makes with the true meridian as determined by observations on the star Polaris, and a table of distances from the North and South of the line to old blazes, corners, etc., which have from time to time been made by land owners and others to mark what they considered to be the State line after the disappearance of the original markings.

History of Line: A letter dated November 22nd 1785, from Major William Blount to Benjamin Hawkins and others, found in NC "State Records". Vol. 17, Page 578, gives a clear description of the line which has just been re-established, mentioning the mouth of Little River, the Boundary House and its latitude, and the direction of the line. It further describes the line as having been "confirmed and extended by commissioners appointed by the Legislatures of the two States agreeable to the order of the late King George the Second, in Council."

The original map of this survey is on file with the NC Historical Commission at Raleigh and is easily identified by the above description. The map bears the date 1735.

A letter from the Board of Trade to Governor Gabriel Johnson, dated September 12th 1735 (Vol. 4, Page 17, N.C. Colonial Records) refers to the fact that the line between the two States has "at last been adjusted by commissioners on both sides."

There can be no doubt, therefore, that the Boundary House line of 1735 was the accepted line between the two royal provinces.


If one were to look for the original river that was the namesake for the town of Little River it would no longer be found. When the US Army Corps of Engineers created the Intracoastal Waterway in northeastern South Carolina in the 1930s, it had to dredge a wide swath that eliminated the Little River forever.
Francis Marion (the Swamp Fox) had a brother, named Isaac, who settled in Little River in the mid-1700s with his wife and family. During the American Revolution, Isaac Marion maintained the "Boundary House" on the NC/SC border at the small hamlet of Little River.
Click Here for another excellent history of the small town of Little River by county historian, Catherine Heniford Lewis (no relation), of Horry County fame. She has published an excellent history of Horry County which can be bought at just about any decent bookstore. Link is current as of August 2005 and December 2015.
Little River was granted a U.S. Post Office on August 20, 1823, and its first Postmaster was Mr. John B. Broward. It has been in continuous operation ever since inception.


© 2007 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved