Posts Tagged ‘Forks of the Edisto’
An article appeared in the January 8, 2014 edition of The State discussing a possible location for a colonial community or landmark known as Indian Head. This article claimed that the community was located on a bluff along the North Edisto River and seemed to imply that it was in the area now known as Big Pond Branch.  As can be seen from the map at the end of this article, Big Pond Branch flows southerly into the North (Fork of the) Edisto River.
The article identifies four sources that mention Indian Head, including a 1767 Davis plat and a 1770 Act from the South Carolina Statutes. The Davis plat can now be viewed online but I first obtained a copy of it from the state archives about twelve years ago. I have been intrigued by the mention of Indian Head Branch on the plat since I first saw it.
Most plats are difficult to locate accurately on a map unless they are part of a larger group of plats. I have not yet come across any adjacent plats that mention the Davis property but had developed a theory about its location. Show below is my drawing of the plat to help clarify some of the details included on it. 
An interesting feature of the plat drawing is the semi-circular section of road or path that branched off the main road. This certainly suggests that this might have been a place to stop and rest or camp.
The plat shows the road that went from Long Cane to Charles Town via Orangeburgh. This would have been the road running between the North and South Forks of the Edisto River that has historically been known as the Ninety Six Road. The statute mentioned in the article established this as a public road in 1770. It was “An act for establishing a Road from Orangeburgh Bridge to Indian Head; a Road from the Indian Head to the Road which leads from the Ridge to Augusta; another Road from the Ridge Road to Long Cane Creek; …” 
The next two images are from William Faden’s 1780 map of South Carolina and a part of Georgia.  There are not many details of the various branches along the North and South Forks of the Edisto but the roads described in the 1770 act are shown.
The portion of the 1780 map shown above shows the road leaving the central portion of Orangeburgh Township (where the town lots were located) by crossing the North Fork of the Edisto. The bridge crossing the North Edisto at this point was established in 1757.  The road then ran between the North and South Forks to the district line. I have added a red circle to highlight this point on the map sections above and below.
After the road crossed the district line it connected with the road “from the ridge to Augusta.” (Augusta is located near the bottom of the map, across the Savannah River from New Windsor Township.) After going a short distance in a south westerly direction along the ridge road the road leading to Long Cane forked off in a west, north westerly direction. (I have added the two red arrows for clarity.) The modern town of Ridge Spring is located very near the junction of the ridge road and the road coming up through the forks.
So where along the road between the forks was Indian Head Branch located? I have not yet done enough mapping work in the area to say with strong certainty but my working hypothesis is that Indian Head Branch was one of the uppermost branches of Goodland Swamp lying just east of the modern town of Perry. A detailed topographic map of the area shows the “fingers” of Goodland Swamp and a higher terrain that could have been the “camping area.” I have not studied the possible road changes in the vicinity nor worked with later plats in the area so am not yet willing to try to map the exact spot. The distance from Charleston would also be approximately correct. I have circled this area in red on the map below:
What does seem most likely to me is that Indian Head or Indian Head Branch was located between the North and South Forks of the Edisto River and not on the north side of the North Edisto River. I would be interested in hearing any thoughts or additional information from my readers.
 Joey Holleman, “Rediscovering “The Indian Head,” a special place lost to history,” The State (Columbia, South Carolina), 8 January 2014, online archives (http://www.thestate.com/2014/01/08/3196667/rediscovering-the-indian-head.html : accessed 10 January 2014).
 Richard Davis plat, 1767, Colonial Plat Books (Copy Series), 1731–1775, volume 14, page 322, item 1; Surveyor General’s Office Series S213184; South Carolina Department of Archives and History, Columbia.
 David J. McCord, The Statutes at Large of South Carolina; Edited Under the Authority of the Legislature (Columbia: A. S. Johnston, 1841), volume 9, page 233; digital images, Google Books (http://www.Google.com/books : accessed 2 January 2008).
 A Map of South Carolina and Part of Georgia containing the Whole Sea-Coast; all the Islands, Inlets, Rivers, Creeks, Parishes, Townships, Boroughs, Roads and Bridges: As Also, Several Plantations with their proper Boundary Lines, their Names and the Names of their Proprietors. Composed from Surveys taken by The Hon. William Bull, Esq., Lieutenant Governor; Captain Gascoign; Hugh Bryan, Esq; and William De Brahm, Esqr., Surveyor General of the South’n. District of North America, Republished with considerable Additions from the Surveys made and collected by John Stuart, Esq., His Majesty’s Superintendant of Indian Affairs (Charing Cross: William Faden, 1780). (I purchased my copy of this map many years ago from the Cartographic Research Laboratory, Department of Geography, University of Alabama.)
 McCord, The Statutes at Large of South Carolina, volume 9, page 189.