The Fifteenth Circuit Solicitor’s Office was created in 1962 after the Twelfth Circuit Solicitor’s Office was reduced from covering four counties to two, according to the South Carolina Department of Archives and History. Before Legislative Act 850 of 1962, the Twelfth Circuit Solicitor’s Office handled criminal cases in Florence, Marion, Horry and Georgetown counties.

The state’s Judicial Circuits began in 1769 when South Carolina leaders passed the state’s first Judicial Act to create its Circuit Court. But the position of Solicitor, which is sometimes called a district attorney or prosecutor in other states, was not created until 1791 when leaders wanted to provide assistance to the representatives of the Attorney General’s Office in the districts.

With the adoption of the South Carolina Constitution of 1868, all the circuit courts and districts were reorganized. It established one Solicitor for each circuit and they were elected by popular vote for four-year terms. The circuits were reorganized several more times before leaders settled on the 16 Judicial Circuits used today.

Solicitor Jimmy A. Richardson II is the eighth Solicitor to serve the citizens of the Fifteenth Circuit Solicitor’s Office, representing Horry and Georgetown counties.

Below is a brief history of each man that previously held the position of Solicitor in the 15th Judicial Circuit:

G. Lloyd Ford was Solicitor from 1930 to 1938 and had previously been elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1920. He studied at Wofford College and the University of South Carolina. Lloyd Ford died June 7, 1941, at Columbia Hospital of Richland County of a coronary thrombosis at the age of 43.
J. Reuben Long was Solicitor from 1938 to 1958, and actively practiced law for more than 53 years in Horry County before his death on January 5, 1985, following a short illness at the age of 73. Reuben Long was a graduate of the University of South Carolina and its School of Law and began practicing law in 1931.
Jefferson Marion“Bud” Long Jr. was Solicitor from 1958 to 1977 when he left the Solicitor’s Office to become a Myrtle Beach Municipal Judge. He also served as a state senator and was a Navy veteran who enlisted during World War II. Bud Long died April 25, 2003, at the age of 76.
H. G. “Harry” Charles was Solicitor from 1977 to 1979 when he left to serve 12 years on the Myrtle Beach City Council. He served in the U.S. Army and as a U.S. Air Force JAG officer and graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Harry Charles died March 8, 2016, following a stroke at the age of 94.
James O. “Jim” Dunn was Solicitor from 1979 to 1991 and previously served as Public Defender. He was a U.S. Marine veteran, graduate of Wofford College and the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1963. Jim Dunn died June 14, 2007, at the age of 72 of respiratory failure resulting from Alzheimer’s disease.
Ralph J. Wilson, Sr., was Solicitor from 1991 to 1999 and previously served as Chief Deputy Solicitor for four years. He was the first African American Solicitor in South Carolina. He graduated in 1974 from Benedict College in Columbia and received his Juris Doctorate in 1977 at the University of South Carolina School of Law. Ralph Wilson continues to work as a lawyer in private practice.
J. Gregory Hembree was Solicitor from 1999 to 2012 when he was elected as a South Carolina Senator for District 28, which includes Dillon and Horry counties. He is a graduate of the University of Memphis and the University of South Carolina School of Law. Greg Hembree continues to serve in the Senate and work as a lawyer in private practice.