Socastee is not a who or a what - it is a where! It is an unincorporated area of Horry County located adjacent to Myrtle Beach and has a population of approximately 30,000. See history following below map.
Horry (pronounced O-ree) County was named for Revolutionary War hero Peter Horry (1743-1815). The county was originally a part of Georgetown District, and at one time it was called Kingston. It became a separate county in 1801, with the county seat at Conway. The area was blessed with numerous rivers. They were the "highways" into the area. The rivers were the paths that settlers took to come into the area. Just as the Native Americans did before the Europeans, the early settlers used the rivers to provide easy, quick transportation within and beyond the area.
The inhabitants sometimes referred to themselves as the "Independent Republic of Horry." The term "Independent Republic of Horry" has been twisted and misused in modern days. It was originally meant to denote political independent minded people, not isolated. And the first use of it was as an insult directed at a man that the speaker thought was from Horry but was actually from Marion District!
Lumber and naval stores were the primary industries during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, with tobacco farming being introduced later. In the twentieth century tourism has come to dominate the coastal section of the county centered around Myrtle Beach.
[Thanks to Ben Bourroughs, Research Specialist, Coastal Carolina University, for contributing factual info about Horry County.]
From the cover of the program for the unveiling and dedication of the Socastee Historic District:
The origin of the word "Socastee" is Native American. Probably the earliest recorded reference to the area is from the will of Percivell (Percival) Pawley who received the original land grant for 200 acres of land in Sawkestee.
The original land grant dated from 1711. References to the physical location of Socastee Creek are found in the colonial records dating to the early 18th century and had most likely existed as a communal development for European settlers within coastal South Carolina since that time. Land deeds are recorded as early as 1773.
The Socastee Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2002. Comprised of a metal swing bridge, two houses, one store, and a pecan grove, this district represents the early 20th century creation of the community of Socastee. It has local significance under National Register Criterion as an intact example of the development of communities in the South Carolina upper coastal region, surrounding the newly emergent small commercial enterprises in the decades following the Civil War.
The community came into being in the 1870s and 1880s; its current form shows to what it had evolved by 1935. This is one of the few examples of such communities in Low-country South Carolina that has not had significant intrusions or alterations. In the area of architecture, the district has good examples of three types of vernacular architecture, which were prevalent in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in South Carolina: a modified I-house plan, massed-plan side gables, and front gable commercial. The Socastee United Methodist Church, with beginnings in 1818, shares in the district's historical significance.