Wassamassaw, with several variant spellings during the colonial era, is a Native American word thought to mean "connecting water." It first referred to the large cypress swamp here, but eventually referred to the community that grew up nearby in the Anglican parish of St. James, Goose Creek. Plantations laid out by the English and later by the Huguenots flourished before the Revolution.
The swamp was almost impassible for most of the colonial period, but the Wassamassaw Road ran just below the swamp between here and Goose Creek. A Chapel of Ease was built nearby shortly after the Yamasee War of 1715, and a free school was founded in 1728. The "Wassamassaw Cavalry," a militia company founded in 1857, later saw Confederate service as Company D, 2nd S.C. Cavalry.