So, What Roads Existed in the 1800s?
Since my last posting touched briefly on the issues of road changes over time, I thought I would give some additional examples in this entry. As we drive around today on hard surfaced, well-marked roads, it may be hard to remember that our ancestors did not always travel through an area using the same routes we do. Some roads came into existence in the earliest years of settlement and are still in use but others have come and gone or been altered significantly over time.
The earliest detailed map showing the roads of Orangeburg County that I am aware of is the 1913 US Department of Agriculture Soil Survey Map. This map predates the creation of the South Carolina Highway Department in 1917 so it probably gives us the best idea of the possible routes through the county prior to the widespread use of automobiles. By 1938 the State Highway Department issued a series of maps for each county and another set was created in 1974. I have used each of these three maps to study the road changes in the area bounded by the North Fork of the Edisto River, Bull Swamp, US Highway 178 (also known as North Road) and Long Branch.
What is now US Highway 178 appears on some of the earliest plats in the area and does not appear to have changed significantly. The road roughly paralleling North Road is currently (per 2005 Orangeburg County Street Atlas) known as Long Branch Road and may have existed in the 1800s. Wolfton Road, which connects with Long Branch Road and North Road, probably predates the twentieth century. The remaining roads in the area have changed considerably over time, as the drawing below shows.
When trying to determine the route a census enumerator used through Orangeburgh District, very few plats will give as much information as the one in my posting on the 1840 Census, Whitford Stage Swamp. For this next effort at uncovering how J. J. Andrews traveled his route in 1840, I’ve jumped over to Scratchnose Swamp in the area frequently referred to as the Forks of the Edisto. Scratchnose Swamp starts just southeast of the town of Norway and flows almost due south into the South Fork of the Edisto River.
The plat I’ve drawn is for 465 acres surveyed for John Fogle on August 20, 1831. It is fairly easy to locate on a topographic map as the surveyor included a good bit of detail about the layout of Scratchnose Swamp on the plat. One of the fun things about the plat is the detail showing the location of “Parlers Pea House.” I’ve simplified the plat drawing a good bit to make it easier to read. The original plat is available from the South Carolina Archives but has also been published in Fogle’s Family History by Leila H. Fogle, page 57.
This plat gives us only two names that appear on the 1840 census, Daniel Parler and John Fogle. Trying to determine where their dwellings may have been located is a bit of a challenge though, as the roads have apparently changed a good bit in the area. This is a picture of the area as it was drawn on the 1913 Soil Survey Map of Orangeburgh County (USC Digital Map Collection):
When you compare this map to the modern topographic map in the next drawing, you will discover several things about the roads. The Cope Road (SC 332) did not exist in 1913. What was labeled the “Path to Fogles” on the plat is probably what is now known as Carmichael Drive. (I am using the 2007 Orangeburg County Street Atlas, page 42, for reference.) The “Road from Tylers” appears to be the modern Willow Swamp Road but the path or road (not labeled on the original plat) that crosses it near the southern part of the property no longer seems to exist. So remember, roads can come and go or remain and get altered in minor or major ways.
In addition to road changes several other questions come to my mind when trying to locate where the Daniel Parler and John Fogle residences may have been in 1840. I have placed Parler’s number (314 from my 1840 Census book) where the unnamed road or path at the bottom of the plat suggests a possible dwelling. I wonder if someone would locate their pea house that far away from their dwelling, though. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
I placed John Fogle’s dwelling number (312) where the plat indicated he already owned property. Fogle’s Family History, page 58 states that tradition held that his home was located on the South Fork of the Edisto River and was later owned by Fulmers, Williamsons and G. Barnes. If anyone has any additional details on any of this I would love to hear from you. Whether we have determined the exact locations of the Parler and Fogle households or not, at least we have them in the right neighborhood.
Click here for a PDF file of this census map:
1840 Census 311 to 316
Some surveyors were good, some weren’t so good!
Someone recently asked me if I had developed a sense of the skill and personalities of any of the surveyors whose plats I frequently work with. Well, yes, I certainly have. Some were quite good at their work and others were not. Some surveyors took great care with their drawings and others clearly rushed to get the job done. I do have a few favorite surveyors.
One of the best surveyors to work in the area of Orangeburgh District, in my opinion, was Alexander McInnis. According to the 1850 Orangeburgh District census, he was born in Scotland about 1785. He began his surveying about 1816 and worked through at least 1847, completing at least 100 plats in the area.
What makes many of McInnis’ plats so satisfying to work with is that he often took the time to indicate the original owners of any adjoining property and then, to frequently add something like “now in the possession of.” Some of his plats have been the only way I have been able to properly locate an original plat that was surveyed with “all sides vacant.” And his notes about current owners provide evidence of changes in land ownership when there are no other existing records. I wish all of the surveyors had been as methodical as he was!
Here is an example of his work:
For those of you familiar with the 1735 immigrants to Orangeburgh Township, you will probably recognize the Stewets and Zorn names. Their properties were mapped in my first book. In the next few weeks I will try to post a copy of this plat on a topographic map. So that you won’t miss anything, be sure to subscribe to my postings via Email or RSS Feed, if you have not already done so.