Posts Tagged ‘Bull Swamp of North Edisto’
Since my previous blog entry seems to have created a bit of discussion on other sites about the location of the Richard Davis plat, I thought I would offer some additional information on the subject.
There were multiple individuals with the Davis surname who owned property in Orangeburgh District by 1780 when the Faden map, used in my prior posting, was drawn. I have determined the location of the land of at least three of those Davis individuals but will focus in this article on the one indicated by the Davis name on Faden’s map.
Deputy Surveyor Peter Faure certified a plat on January 19, 1757 for John Plat [or Platt]. This land (#1 on the drawing below) was located along Bull Swamp which flows into the north side of the North Fork of the Edisto River. Two other plats that help correctly position this survey are included in this drawing:
John Platt filed a memorial for his 300 acres on May 9, 1761. (1) Two memorials filed on February 10, 1767 indicate what happened to his property after that. John sold 150 acres of his tract to George Cornwall and Cornwall sold the same 150 acres to John Horning. This memorial states that the deeds were lost in a house fire and offered a certificate from Gavin Pou as evidence of that event. (2) The loss of the deeds probably accounts for the fact that no dates were given for these two sales. In June 1764 Platt sold the other 150 acres to John Davis. (3) It is interesting to note that John Davis signed for both of these memorials.
The Faden map does not identify the creek where the Davis name is shown but it was likely Bull Swamp. Bull Swamp is the largest creek flowing into the north side of the North Edisto between Orangeburgh Township and the district line so it would seem reasonable that this was the creek drawn on the map. This unidentified creek is also in approximately the right position relative to Beaver Creek to be Bull Swamp. Bull Swamp is certainly not drawn to its correct size or shape on this map, though.
Another piece of evidence also supports the idea that this is Bull Swamp shown just to the left of the Davis name. Notice the appearance just below Davis’ name of the name Horning, shown as Herning on the map. Since John Horning and John Davis purchased the Platt property, it seems quite reasonable that the Davis name on the Faden map is in reference to the plat first surveyed for John Platt and not the one surveyed for Richard Davis.
Since there has also apparently been some confusion about where I was suggesting that the Richard Davis plat might be located, I have included, below, a more detailed topographic map than was included in my prior blog entry. It shows the area, just east of Perry, that I mentioned in my previous posting as the likely location of that plat. This area is where the upper reaches of Goodland Swamp come very close to what would have been the road to Long Cane mentioned on the Richard Davis plat.
Without some adjoining plats to help locate the Richard Davis plat, I am not willing to make a strong claim about its exact location. If anyone has more specific details that might shed more light on the precise location of the Richard Davis plat, I am more than happy to discuss and consider them.
(1) John Platt Memorial, 1761, Memorial Books (Copy Series), 1731-1778, volume 14, page 82, item 2; Auditor General’s Office Series S111001; South Carolina Department of Archives and History, Columbia. [Gavin Pou was a justice of the peace in Orangeburgh District.]
(2) John Horning Memorial, 1767, Memorial Books (Copy Series), 1731-1778, volume 9, page 172, item 1.
(3) John Davis Memorial, 1767, Memorial Books (Copy Series), 1731-1778, volume 9, pages 172-173.
Capt. Donald Rowe’s plat between Bull Swamp and Little Bull Swamp
Today’s posting discusses another plat I have located that is useful for tracing the enumerator’s trip through Orangeburgh District in 1840. This plat also serves as a good example of several points to keep in mind when doing this work.
This survey brings out the need to be familiar with the geography of the area. There are two fairly large watersheds that are known as Bull Swamp in Orangeburgh District. One flows into the North Fork of the Edisto River northwest of Orangeburg. The other flows into Four Hole Swamp east of Orangeburg. I distinguish these two streams as Bull Swamp of the North Edisto and Bull Swamp of the Four Hole. Fortunately, most surveyors also made this distinction but not all did! (There is also a small stream in the Forks of the Edisto area that was called Bull Branch for a brief period of time in the 1800s.) As they say in a similar line of work: Location, location, location …
Donald Rowe owned property in many areas of Orangeburgh District. The 1851 Orangeburg District Tax List (published in South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research, v. 7, p. 110) shows that he owned 11,297 acres when he died. This brings up another important point when working with plats and doing this mapping work. It is often easier to locate and map property for someone who owned only one parcel than it is for someone who had multiple landholdings. Many people had land that they did not live on. Census records can give us clues to where someone lived. Donald Rowe did not live on this acreage he had surveyed in 1843, but, the plat gives us important clues about who did live in the area.
By substituting sequential numbers from my 1840 census book for names of some of the adjoining landowners on this plat, it becomes possible to identify portions of two routes used by J. J. Andrews when traversing the area in 1840. These sequential numbers also clear up some conflicting data on the plat document. On the drawing of the plat, Walter Knight was listed as the adjacent owner in two places. In the text of the document, Anthony Patterson’s name appeared in one of those positions. By using the census numbers it appears that Patterson was the correct adjoining property owner. Remember that most of these plats have been copied one or more times, increasing the chance for errors like this to happen!
The map I’ve drawn for this plat has several other features of interest as well. The plat shows some roads that no longer exist in addition to one that still does. By noting the location of the Knight Family Cemetery on the map, this probably helps focus on the area where the Knight household may have been located. Keep in mind that most of these household locations are only very approximate, though!
Click here for a PDF file of this census map:
1840 Census 451 to 457 and 484 to 489
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.