History of Kiawah Island, South Carolina
Kiawah was the name of the Native American tribe who first inhabited the island. As tragedy would have it, they were wiped out by white settlers with warfare and disease. In 1699, the Lords of Proprietors gave title to a one George Rayner. William Penn believed him to be a pirate, as Kiawah Island was generally known for piracy. True or not, the island remained in his family and was split between his granddaughters, Mary Gibbs and Elizabeth Vanderhorst. Arnoldus Vanderhorst, a Revolutionary War hero and twice mayor of Charleston, resided on the eastern half of the island, while James Schoolbreds, South Carolina's first British Consul, acquired the western half. The Vanderhorsts farmed sea island cotton for most of the 19th century. Because of its vulnerable location, when the first shots of the Civil War rang out, which could be heard from nearby Fort Sumter, the Vanderhorsts shortly evacuated. After the war, slaves resumed farming. Arnoldus Vanderhorsts IV was killed in a hunting accident. It is said that people still see his ghost wandering. A series of natural disasters thwarted Arnoldus V's farming. So, in 1951, C.C Royal bought Kiawah Island for a song - $125,000. Royal constructed roads, built the causeway, and developed what would later be modern Kiawah Island. In 1974, his heirs sold the island to Kiawah Investment Corporation for $17 million dollars. They would develop the island into a world-class resort, then sell it, in 1988, for $105 million dollars to Kiawah Resort Association. That same year, Kiawah Island was incorporated. As of 2000, population is 1,163.