1840 Census, Bull Swamp of the North Edisto
Capt. Donald Rowe’s plat between Bull Swamp and Little Bull Swamp
Today’s posting discusses another plat I have located that is useful for tracing the enumerator’s trip through Orangeburgh District in 1840. This plat also serves as a good example of several points to keep in mind when doing this work.
This survey brings out the need to be familiar with the geography of the area. There are two fairly large watersheds that are known as Bull Swamp in Orangeburgh District. One flows into the North Fork of the Edisto River northwest of Orangeburg. The other flows into Four Hole Swamp east of Orangeburg. I distinguish these two streams as Bull Swamp of the North Edisto and Bull Swamp of the Four Hole. Fortunately, most surveyors also made this distinction but not all did! (There is also a small stream in the Forks of the Edisto area that was called Bull Branch for a brief period of time in the 1800s.) As they say in a similar line of work: Location, location, location …
Donald Rowe owned property in many areas of Orangeburgh District. The 1851 Orangeburg District Tax List (published in South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research, v. 7, p. 110) shows that he owned 11,297 acres when he died. This brings up another important point when working with plats and doing this mapping work. It is often easier to locate and map property for someone who owned only one parcel than it is for someone who had multiple landholdings. Many people had land that they did not live on. Census records can give us clues to where someone lived. Donald Rowe did not live on this acreage he had surveyed in 1843, but, the plat gives us important clues about who did live in the area.
By substituting sequential numbers from my 1840 census book for names of some of the adjoining landowners on this plat, it becomes possible to identify portions of two routes used by J. J. Andrews when traversing the area in 1840. These sequential numbers also clear up some conflicting data on the plat document. On the drawing of the plat, Walter Knight was listed as the adjacent owner in two places. In the text of the document, Anthony Patterson’s name appeared in one of those positions. By using the census numbers it appears that Patterson was the correct adjoining property owner. Remember that most of these plats have been copied one or more times, increasing the chance for errors like this to happen!
The map I’ve drawn for this plat has several other features of interest as well. The plat shows some roads that no longer exist in addition to one that still does. By noting the location of the Knight Family Cemetery on the map, this probably helps focus on the area where the Knight household may have been located. Keep in mind that most of these household locations are only very approximate, though!
Click here for a PDF file of this census map:
1840 Census 451 to 457 and 484 to 489