Georgetown’s Winyah Bay magnetism brings waves of people

  • Friday, February 7, 2014


Georgetown was settled in the early 1700s, with the town being designated as a Port in 1732. Many locals know the Spanish settled the area in 1526, That was 39 years before Saint Augustine, Florida was settled.

But the Spanish were not the first by hundreds of years.

Local author David Maring, a retired Circuit Court judge, tells the tale in his latest book, the historical novel “Winyah Bay.”

When the Spanish arrived at Winyah Bay, there were Waccamaw and Sampas (Sampit) Indians in the area. Some of them were fair-skinned and blue-eyed, which is not the norm for Indians or Native Americans.

Those blood lines and genetic traits apparently came from earlier migrations by Vikings and Welsh. Even before them, a Pre-Clovis group called The Fish People lived in the area.

Maring has developed a pattern for his books. He researches his subject, compiles the data and begins to write.

He will get up about 4 a.m., have some coffee and get to his computer. There will be some breaks along the way, but he often will write until about 4 p.m.

His novels bring to bear his love of history, spirituality and a sense of drama.

Other books are “The Serpent’s Seed,” “The Mullahs” and “Carolina Justice.”

Setting for the first two are in America and the Middle and Near East.

“Carolina Justice” is set in Georgetown, South Carolina.

“Winyah Bay” is of course the place where the Waccamaw, Great Pee Dee, Black and Sampit rivers come together at the Port of Georgetown.

The exact location of the 1526 settlement by Lucas Vazquez de Ayllon is unknown, but Maring makes a good case for the general vicinity.

While it’s a historical novel rather than a history, Maring said he’s done more research for this book than any of the others he’s published.

Of course, he didn’t have a time machine to go back and record the conversations, but with the Spanish and English settlers there are written records and correspondence he used for the novel.

Maring will have a book signing on Saturday, Feb. 8, from 2:30 to 4 p.m. at the new home of the Georgetown County Historical Society and its museum. That’s at 120 Broad St. in Georgetown.

Autographed copies of his other books may be purchased at Clock Tower Books in Georgetown and My Sister’s Books in Litchfield. The books are also available on Kindle.

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