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.
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.