David Coalter 909 acre plat on topographic map
As promised in my post of September 11, 2011 here is a copy of the Coalter plat, drawn by Alexander McInnis, on a topographic map. I have also included some nearby plats and indicated the original owners of each.
This drawing shows some of the challenges of working with these old plats. When Deputy Surveyor George Haig laid out the original tracts in 1735 and early 1736, he drew most of them with a 45 degree orientation. As he actually cut and marked the property lines through the woods and swamps he did not manage to stay on that 45 degree line. According to what McInnis wrote on the plat, the Stewets tract was adjoining the Coalter land but notice the slight overlap. Which line is correct on the topographic map? Perhaps neither is exact. There is no way to know as I have not been able to identify much in the way of those original plat lines in any modern tax maps or on Google Earth. The boundaries have been changed too many times.
In fact, notice how some of the original grants had already been changed and recombined between 1736 and 1821 when the Coalter land was surveyed. The Coalter tract took in all of the Tyse [Theus] grant, part of the Hatcher grant, some land for which an owner has not yet been identified, part of some land surveyed for Henry Felder, Jr. and some of what was surveyed for Henry Zorn (Zorn 2).
According to information provided by McInnis on this Coalter plat, Coalter owned almost all of the adjoining properties. The one exception was the balance of the later Henry Zorn plat which was identified as vacant. (Notice the faint dashed line on the McInnis plat drawing; a helpful indication of two different grants on that northeastern side of the property.) Whenever Coalter’s land was sold, whether by himself or his heirs or estate, it was most likely reconfigured in ways that did not follow any of the original grant lines.
So remember, whenever I or anyone else doing this type of work draws out boundary lines on a topographic map, those lines represent only an educated opinion of where the property lines actually were. Hopefully they are very close but probably not 100 percent accurate.
Which version of this plat is correct?
Thomas Wyld was granted 100 acres on Long Branch of the North Edisto River in 1786. The plat was surveyed by William Wright when it was laid out and granted to Wyld. Another survey for some adjoining property was done in 1834 by Alexander McInnis. McInnis sometimes included outlines of adjoining tracts in his drawings and did so with the Wyld grant on this occasion. The Wyld grant was then involved in a lawsuit involving Trespass to Try Titles in 1841 and another survey was done by John N. Barrillon. The drawing below gives the pertinent details of the three surveys of this 100 acre tract.
This is perhaps the most extreme example of survey variations for one parcel that I have come across in my research but it is by no means the only example. We could attempt to decide which surveyor drew the grant “correctly” but there is a more important point to keep in mind. Plat drawings were a surveyor’s attempt to record the lines, points and corners he either originally made on the land itself or found from a previous survey. The legally recognized boundaries of a tract were those actually marked on the property. It is just possible that none of these three surveyors got it quite right.