Orangeburgh District was created in 1769 as one of the seven original districts of South Carolina. It covered a huge part of the state, encompassing 4,540 of South Carolina’s 31,189 square miles. When the first Federal census was taken in 1790 the district was divided into a north part and a south part, each covered by one enumerator. The dividing line between the two areas followed no designated jurisdictional lines but ran along the North Fork of the Edisto River (where the North and South Fork came together) to the village of Orangeburg. From there it crossed the North Edisto and followed the road that ran to Ninety Six between the North and South Forks of the Edisto.
So, if your ancestor appeared in the 1790 census of Orangeburgh District, how can you tell more specifically where he lived? This is the first in a series of postings I will be doing about household locations in the 1790 census, similar to those I am doing for other early enumerations. I have assigned household numbers for this first census, similar to what I’ve used for the 1800 through 1820 and 1840 Orangeburgh District enumerations. I have not yet published a listing of the 1790 census with the household numbers but plan to do so once I identify the areas that later became Barnwell and Lexington Districts. Bear with me; this is a big task but I have to start somewhere!
The household locations shown on the drawing below are based on plats that were located relative to the 1845 survey shown on my blog entry of February 20, 2012. Other survey plats in the neighborhood confirm the locations of these but have not been included in the drawing to keep it easier to read.
Note: Polk Swamp was originally called Poke Swamp, through at least 1825 when Mill’s Atlas was published. The name evolved to Polk Swamp by the early twentieth century (Bowman 1921 15 minute quadrangle topographic map).
I haven’t finished posting all of the plats for the original 20,000 acres surveyed as Orangeburgh Township but I am taking a temporary break to show some plats in another area of Orangeburgh District. Today’s entry is based on another of Deputy Surveyor Alexander McInnis’s wonderful plats, this time one he did for himself.
Like most of McInnis’s other surveys, this one gives us numerous clues to former and current (at time of survey) landowners. By positioning some of those earlier plats around this one and placing the entire group on a topographic map, we can begin to identify some of the neighborhood around Polk Swamp at the southern boundary of Orangeburgh District. Polk Swamp was also referred to as Poke Swamp on some of the older plats in the area.
Keep in mind several important points when looking at the map above. What now appears as the Orangeburg/Dorchester County line was the boundary line between Orangeburgh District and Charleston (later Colleton) District when these plats were surveyed. Also notice a gap or “gore” between the McInnis, Hutto and Renerson plats as well as where the McInnis plat overlaps the Renerson plat. I do make small adjustments to some of the plat boundaries when creating these maps so that they are easier to read. These two discrepancies would require more adjustment than I was willing to make so I have left them as a reminder of the issues of accuracy with these early surveys.
Surnames listed on the group of plats above, include Hutto, McInnis, Ofalby, Platt, Renerson, Sistrunk, Snell, Tickell, and Whetsell. Using this group of plats and others that can be added to these, I will be able to start identifying some probable household locations in this area in some upcoming posts.
This posting continues showing the groups of plats that were part of the 20,000 acres first laid out for Orangeburgh Township. Because this cluster of surveys has been positioned on a topographic map based on where I located several groups of plats in my prior postings, we can see some of the challenges that appear when trying to place these plats on a topographic map.
In addition to the group of plats circled in red, above, I’ve included a few plats that were adjoining the 20,000 acres but still part of Orangeburgh Township. These four plats were all surveyed for members of the Moorer family and are included here as a followup to Lynn S. Teague’s article, “The Early Moorers: Part I” in the Fall 2011 issue of the Orangeburgh German-Swiss Newsletter.
George Haig was again the surveyor for the first thirteen of these plats. (In case you haven’t noticed, I number the plats on each drawing to correspond with the sequence in which they were laid out.) Haig showed very few landscape features on these plats, giving only a suggestion of a creek or stream on plats 1, 2, and 3. Deputy Surveyor Peter Faure was responsible for the markings on plats 14 and 15. Let’s take a look at the drawing before discussing several matters of interest regarding these plats.
The first challenge with this group of plats are the names. Between clerical errors in the original records and indexing errors in modern times, some of the names on the list above can be confusing. Chrisitan Top was actually Christian Tapp. Simon Tuger was identified as Simon Zuger on all of the adjoining plats but was indexed as Tuger. Hans Kayleman was Hans Giegleman and Henrick Stronmar should be Henry Stroman. The Mourer or Moorer surname appears twice as Moore. The plat indexed as Joseph Moore actually reads quite clearly as John Moore. More details on variations in family names can be found in the appendix of my first book.
Another thing that might not be clear from the drawing but is important to be aware of is that several plats were surveyed where earlier plats had existed. Plat 11, surveyed for Catharine Yokey, originally included the area also shown as plat 14. Yokey apparently never acquired the grant for her property so it was considered available land when Valentine Garnish had his survey done in 1753. His plat actually shows part of the Yokey tract as vacant land and part of it as belonging to “Geo. Koss.” Koss has not been identified and no plat has been located that would fit in this area.
Plat 13 was initially surveyed for John Mourer in 1737. His brother, Peter Mourer, petitioned the Council in 1754 and reported that his brother had long been deceased. Peter asked for 100 acres that would include the 50 acres surveyed for his brother as well as 50 acres for Peter’s wife. (Holcomb, Petitions for Land from the SC Council Journals, v. 4, pgs. 13-14). When Peter had his plat (number 15) surveyed in 1754 it included all of the area that was previously surveyed for his brother (number 13).
Deputy Surveyor Faure drew some features on plats 14 and 15 that give us some clues about the accuracy of these eighteenth century surveys. I draw all of these plats to scale using the exact measurements given by the surveyors, when available. There were no missing measurements on any of these township plats and they all closed properly. While it was relatively easy to draw square and rectangular plats on paper it was much harder to mark them out in the woods and swamps. Faure’s marks on these two plats suggest how much error may have come about in surveying all of the adjoining plats, beginning at the North Fork of the Edisto River. (My previous posting shows that group of plats and this group has been positioned based on that group.) The important point to remember when looking at these plat maps is that the boundaries of each plat cannot be considered precisely accurate! The plats are accurate, relative to each other, and probably were in the approximate vicinity as shown.
Click on this link for a PDF file of the plat drawing:
Orangeburgh Township Plats along Turkey Hill