The original town was laid out as Williamsburg by the Lords Proprieters in colonial time. But a lone, unusually large white pine was found along the Black River, far to the south of the species' normal range. Since tall white pines were ideal for use as masts for ships, the king claimed it, and the king's broad arrow mark was put upon this tree to prevent anyone else from cutting it. It was never cut. Over time, the county kept the name Williamsburg, but the county seat became known as The King's Tree, giving rise to its modern name.
Nobel Prize winner Joseph L. Goldstein is a native son of Kingstree.