Two years ago I wrote a post on the location of Indian Head. The record I used to identify the likely location was a plat, certified on August 4, 1767, for Richard Davis. It was for 100 acres on “a branch of Edisto River called Indian Head lying on the road leading from Long Canes to Charles Town.” I did not try to put this plat on a map since I had never been able to find any other plats that adjoined it. One plat alone is rarely adequate evidence to show its location. Since my original posting about the location of Indian Head I have had a chance to review some additional records that clearly indicate Indian Head as being at the headwaters of Goodland Swamp, just east of the modern town of Perry as suggested in my original post.
The records of interest were not found among the colonial and state plats. Nor were they available in the courthouse in Orangeburg since all of the deeds and land records recorded there prior to 1865 were lost when they were sent to Columbia for “safe keeping” near the end of the Civil War. The records showed up as part of a collection of “family papers.” These collections often contain “landowner copies” of documents that were probably filed at the courthouse as well as various other items. Some of these collections still exist in private hands and some have been deposited in manuscript collections in various repositories.
The collection containing the documents pertaining to Indian Head were owned by Mrs. Cornelia Danforth in 1977. She took the documents to the South Caroliniana Library so that they could be microfilmed. Many, but not all, of the records were abstracted in the South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research, volume 8 (Summer 1980), pages 137-139. Several documents in this collection pertain to the Richard Davis plat. Other documents refer to a 200 acre plat located on the head of Goodland Swamp and certified for John Smith on August 15, 1788. An interesting feature on this Smith plat is the notation for some of the adjoining land as “Granted to said Jno. Smith, known by the name of Indian Head.” 
Given the ongoing interest and discussions about the location of Indian Head, I have put together a timeline showing the documented references to the area. This list is probably not complete but does establish the location and can provide at least a few clues as to the activities of the area.
1767, August 4th – 100 acres certified for Richard Davis on Indian Head Branch and the road from Long Canes to Charles Town. The precept date on this plat was May 28, 1767 and it was on that date that Richard Davis, along with a large group of fellow immigrants, applied for a warrant of survey on the bounty. The group also requested the bounty payment for their passage to South Carolina.  The 100 acres indicates that Richard was a single male at the time of his request.
1767, October – Thomas Griffith, an Englishman, stopped at this location overnight on his journey to the Cherokee Nation. He kept a journal of his trip but did not give a positive report of the area. He had stopped in Orangeburgh for two nights “and then proceeded for Indian Head; and after a hot days march was obliged to sleep under a tree with my horse very near the place where five people had been robbed and murdered but two days before … The next day I went on for a place called the Ridge.” 
1768, January 29th – Thomas Griffith again spent the night in the woods at Indian Head on his return from the Cherokee Nation. 
1770, April 7th – The Governor’s Council approved an act making the “Road from Orangeburgh Bridge to Indian Head; a Road from the Indian Head to the Road which Leads from the Ridge to Augusta … ” a public road. The act appointed commissioners for each section of the road. Those appointed for the first section were John Jennings, Philip Jennings, Johannes Wolf, John Pou, and Henry Young.  All of these individuals owned land in the area between the North and South Forks of the Edisto. 
1771, January 1st – William King had a plat surveyed for 100 acres. His land was crossed by the above mentioned road and adjoined land held by Mr. Dorman. An 1841 resurvey of the Richard Davis plat identifies “Land granted to William King in 1771″ as bounding on one side of the Davis plat. The King plat shows “Land held by Mr. Dorman” where the Davis plat was located.  Richard Davis owned the 100 acres for less than four years.
1788, August 15th – John Smith had a plat certified for 200 acres on the head of Goodland Swamp. The plat shows adjoining land as “Granted to said Jno. Smith, known by the name of Indian Head.” 
1811, July 23rd – Frederick Brown, merchant of Orangeburgh District, sold to Thomas Yarborough, of Columbia County, Georgia, 200 acres “in the Forks of Edisto Rivers on the head of Goodland Swamp and the waggon road leading from Orangeburgh to Niney Six … granted to John Smith, Senr. known by the name of the Indian Head.” A sketch of the John Smith plat, surveyed in 1788, is included on the document. 
1821 – A. Yarboroough taught 6 students at Indian Head School in Orange Parish. 
1823 – A. Yarborough taught 15 students for 3 months at Indian Head School in Orange Parish. 
1825 – Archibald Yarborough taught 10 students at Indian Head School in Orange Parish. 
1827 – A. Yarborough taught 11 students at Indian Head School in Orange Parish. 
1831 (?) – A. Yarborough taught 10 students for 3 months at Indian Head School in Orange Parish. 
1834 – A. Yarborough taught 11 students for 3 months at Indian Head School in Orange Parish. 
1835 – A. Yarborough taught 11 students for 3 months at Indian Head School in Orange Parish. 
1839 – S. N. Davis [likely Sidney M. Davis] taught 20 students for one quarter at Indian Head School in Orange Parish. 
1841, May 14th – The 100 acre Richard Davis tract was resurveyed for John Johnson and found to contain 109 acres. The resurvey specifically identified the land as being on “Indian Head , a branch of Goodland Swamp, waters of South Edisto River.” It also indicates an adjoining property as “Land granted to Wm. King in 1771.” 
1841, May 15th – James Stevinson sold the 100 acre Richard Davis tract to Joseph Johnson. 
1845 – J. M. Camboa taught 5 students for 38 days at Indian Head School in Orange Parish. 
1846, March 29th – Thomas Yarborough of Randolph County, Georgia sold to James Knotts of Lexington District, South Carolina, 200 acres “adjoining to what is commonly called the Indian Head on the waters of Goodland Swamp … known as the land on which Archabell Yarbrough formerly lived.”  Archibald Yarborough was probably related to Thomas Yarborough and had served as the teacher at Indian Head School over at least a fourteen year period.
1846, September 17th – James Knotts, of Lexington District, sold 200 acres “on the Old Ninety Six Road and branches of Goodland Swamp” to John Corbitt Sr., John Corbitt Jr. and John A. Salley.  This was likely the 200 acres he had purchased from Thomas Yarborough only six months earlier.
 Plat for John Smith, Orangeburgh District Land Papers, 1787–1874, South Caroliniana Library (SCL) microfilm R722, University of South Carolina, Columbia. From originals owned by Mrs. Cornelia Danforth, 1977. This plat is also available as part of the State Plats (Charleston Series), volume 23, page 160, item 2 at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History, Columbia.
 Janie Revill, A Compilation of the Original Lists of Protestant Immigrants to South Carolina, 1763-1773 (1939; reprint, Baltimore: Clearfield Company, 2008), pages 70-72.
 Thomas Griffiths’ Journal, page 12, Southern Historical Collection No. 01983, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
 Thomas Griffiths’ Journal, pages 32-33.
 David J. McCord, The Statutes at Large of South Carolina; Volume the Ninth Containing the Acts Relating to Roads, Bridge and Ferries, with an Appendix, Containing the Militia Acts Prior to 1794 (Columbia: A. S. Johnston, 1843), page 233; digital image, Google Books (http://books.Google.com : accessed 2 January 2008).
 A search in the SCDAH online index on any of these names will turn up records of their landholdings in the area, often referred to as the forks, that was between the North and South Forks of the Edisto.
 Joseph Johnson 1841 resurvey of Richard Davis 1767 plat, SCL microfilm R722.
 John Smith plat, 15 August 1788, State Plat Books (Charleston Series), 1784-1860, volume 23, page 160, item 2; Surveyor General’s Office Series S213190; SCDAH, Columbia. This plat and the grant for it are among the Danforth papers microfilmed by SCL but both records are only fragments.
 Frederick Brown to Thomas Yarbrough, 1811, SCL microfilm R722.
 Daniel Marchant Culler, Orangeburgh District History and Records, 1768-1868 (Spartanburg: The Reprint Company, 1995), pages 495-96.
 Culler, Orangeburgh District History and Records, pages 496-97.
 Culler, Orangeburgh District History and Records, page 497.
 Culler, Orangeburgh District History and Records, pages 497-98.
 Culler, Orangeburgh District History and Records, pages 499-500.
 Culler, Orangeburgh District History and Records, page 501.
 Culler, Orangeburgh District History and Records, pages 501-502.
 Culler, Orangeburgh District History and Records, pages 503-504.
 Joseph Johnson 1841 resurvey of Richard Davis 1767 plat, SCL microfilm R722.
 James Stevinson to Joseph Johnson, 1841 deed, SCL microfilm R722.
 Culler, Orangeburgh District History and Records, pages 507-508.
 Thomas Yarbrough to James Knotts, 1846 deed, SCL microfilm R722.
 James Knotts to John Corbitt Sr., John Corbitt Jr., and John A. Salley, 1846 deed, SCL microfilm R722.
One of the challenges of doing mapping work with the colonial and state plats for Orangeburgh District is that of trying to accurately locate the plats on a modern map. Putting a group of plats together and locating them in their approximate locations can frequently be done but being absolutely certain about the exact boundaries is often impossible. Very few of the earliest survey boundaries still exist in the modern landscape as most properties have been occasionally claimed more than once, sometimes grouped into larger tracts, and often divided multiple times.
Sometimes when I am looking at modern topographic maps, Google Earth, or the online county tax maps I recognize what seems to be the outline of some of the early plats that I work with. The example that is discussed in this posting is actually a tract created by two state grants that divided an earlier colonial grant.
Between 1768 and 1771 three adjoining plats were surveyed along the North Fork of the Edisto River just east of where US Highway 321 crosses the North Fork.
Plat 1 was certified for James Davis on April 11, 1768.  Plat 2 was certified for Patrick Carson on April 12, 1768 and plat 3 was surveyed for John Bremar on January 1, 1771.  I have placed the boundary between plats 2 and 3 on a dashed line that you can see extending to the river just above these two plats. These dashed lines on a topographic map usually represent fence rows or some type of boundary that the mapmaker may have been able to identify.
Plat 3 was the only one of this group that shows the river as a boundary. Since colonial surveyors in South Carolina were not required to work their way through swamps to find the corners of a tract, they usually just estimated the distances. The notation “Corner” or “Cor.” on a plat usually indicates an estimated corner. Notice on plat 3 that the surveyor was short in his estimate of distance to the river.
Three state plats, surveyed between 1805 and 1816, add to our information about what happened to some of this land and help confirm the locations of the earlier colonial plats.
Plat 4 was surveyed on October 12, 1805 for Joseph Cooper and is shown with a dashed line.  Plat 5 was surveyed on June 3, 1816 for Benjamin Buzbee and John Baltzegar.  Both of these plats showed the North Edisto as a boundary but again had unmeasured and unmarked “corners.” The surveyor for plat 4 was even less accurate in his depiction of the river than was the surveyor for plat 3. On December 30, 1816 plat 6, shown with hatched lines, was surveyed for Benjamin Buzbee. 
Plats 4 and 6 divide the earlier colonial plat 3 into two sections with an additional narrow sliver of land added to plat 6. What caught my attention when looking at current tax maps of the area was a tract that looks very much like plat 6 except for that narrow portion above plat 1. This tract can also be located fairly easily on Google Earth by the changes in vegetation and tree cover that seem to correspond with the boundaries of the tax map tract.
I have chosen to place these groups of plats along the probable boundary line on the western side of what was first plat 3 and then later became plat 6. The eastern boundary of this tract does not look exactly parallel on either the tax map or on Google Earth. The current eastern boundary probably corresponds more closely with the dashed line that cuts part way across the lower left edge of plat 2. This highlights another significant challenge in this mapping work.
The plats I have placed on the two drawings above were done to scale in software designed for doing this type of work. The measurements were taken from the plats drawn by the surveyors. The eastern and western lines of plat 6 differed by several degrees from those on plat 3 but I made them match to make the map easier to read. (Plat 6 actually tilted the opposite direction of where that dashed line is on the topographic map.)
The important point to note here is that what the surveyors drew on their plats and what they actually marked in the field may not have been the same thing! (What was marked in the field were the legal boundaries of a plat.) Should that eastern boundary on either or both plats 3 and 6 actually have been along that dashed line across plat 2 or was that a change that happened later? Without a full set of records for this property we cannot tell. This is why I stress that my plat placements are generally in the right area but not precise as to the boundaries. Unless one could walk the actual boundaries and compile all of the documents pertaining to ownership changes for a tract of land it would be very misleading to claim that all of the boundaries were accurate.
 James David [sic] plat, 11 April 1768, Colonial Plat Books (Copy Series), 1731-1775, volume 14, page 320, item 2; Surveyor General’s Office Series S213184; digital image, South Carolina Department of Archives and History (http://archivesindex.sc.gov : accessed 5 February 2009). This plat was indexed as James David but appears to be written as James Davice. The precept date on the plat and the acreage both correspond with that of James Davis who petitioned for land on January 5, 1768. (Brent H. Holcomb, Petitions for Land From the South Carolina Council Journals, Volume VI: 1766-1770 (Columbia: SCMAR, 1999), pages 143-145.)
 Patrick Carson plat, 12 April 1768, Colonial Plat Books (Copy Series), 1731-1775, volume 14, page 7, item 1. John Bremar plat, 1 January 1771, Colonial Plat Books (Copy Series), 1731-1775, volume 6, page 448, item 1.
 Joseph Cooper plat, 18 November 1805, State Plat Books (Columbia Series), 1796-1878, volume 40, page 455, item 3; Surveyor General’s Office Series S213192; South Carolina Department of Archives and History, Columbia.
 Benjamin Buzbee and John Baltzegar plat, 9 September 1816, State Plat Books (Columbia Series), 1796-1878, volume 44, page 246, item 2.
 Benjamin Buzbee plat, 17 September 1817, State Plat Books (Columbia Series), 1796-1878, volume 44, page 444, item 1.
Since my previous blog entry seems to have created a bit of discussion on other sites about the location of the Richard Davis plat, I thought I would offer some additional information on the subject.
There were multiple individuals with the Davis surname who owned property in Orangeburgh District by 1780 when the Faden map, used in my prior posting, was drawn. I have determined the location of the land of at least three of those Davis individuals but will focus in this article on the one indicated by the Davis name on Faden’s map.
Deputy Surveyor Peter Faure certified a plat on January 19, 1757 for John Plat [or Platt]. This land (#1 on the drawing below) was located along Bull Swamp which flows into the north side of the North Fork of the Edisto River. Two other plats that help correctly position this survey are included in this drawing:
John Platt filed a memorial for his 300 acres on May 9, 1761. (1) Two memorials filed on February 10, 1767 indicate what happened to his property after that. John sold 150 acres of his tract to George Cornwall and Cornwall sold the same 150 acres to John Horning. This memorial states that the deeds were lost in a house fire and offered a certificate from Gavin Pou as evidence of that event. (2) The loss of the deeds probably accounts for the fact that no dates were given for these two sales. In June 1764 Platt sold the other 150 acres to John Davis. (3) It is interesting to note that John Davis signed for both of these memorials.
The Faden map does not identify the creek where the Davis name is shown but it was likely Bull Swamp. Bull Swamp is the largest creek flowing into the north side of the North Edisto between Orangeburgh Township and the district line so it would seem reasonable that this was the creek drawn on the map. This unidentified creek is also in approximately the right position relative to Beaver Creek to be Bull Swamp. Bull Swamp is certainly not drawn to its correct size or shape on this map, though.
Another piece of evidence also supports the idea that this is Bull Swamp shown just to the left of the Davis name. Notice the appearance just below Davis’ name of the name Horning, shown as Herning on the map. Since John Horning and John Davis purchased the Platt property, it seems quite reasonable that the Davis name on the Faden map is in reference to the plat first surveyed for John Platt and not the one surveyed for Richard Davis.
Since there has also apparently been some confusion about where I was suggesting that the Richard Davis plat might be located, I have included, below, a more detailed topographic map than was included in my prior blog entry. It shows the area, just east of Perry, that I mentioned in my previous posting as the likely location of that plat. This area is where the upper reaches of Goodland Swamp come very close to what would have been the road to Long Cane mentioned on the Richard Davis plat.
Without some adjoining plats to help locate the Richard Davis plat, I am not willing to make a strong claim about its exact location. If anyone has more specific details that might shed more light on the precise location of the Richard Davis plat, I am more than happy to discuss and consider them.
(1) John Platt Memorial, 1761, Memorial Books (Copy Series), 1731-1778, volume 14, page 82, item 2; Auditor General’s Office Series S111001; South Carolina Department of Archives and History, Columbia. [Gavin Pou was a justice of the peace in Orangeburgh District.]
(2) John Horning Memorial, 1767, Memorial Books (Copy Series), 1731-1778, volume 9, page 172, item 1.
(3) John Davis Memorial, 1767, Memorial Books (Copy Series), 1731-1778, volume 9, pages 172-173.