Posts Tagged ‘Forks of the Edisto’
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.
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.