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.
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