Posts Tagged ‘Forks of the Edisto’
Two years ago I wrote a post on the location of Indian Head. The record I used to identify the likely location was a plat, certified on August 4, 1767, for Richard Davis. It was for 100 acres on “a branch of Edisto River called Indian Head lying on the road leading from Long Canes to Charles Town.” I did not try to put this plat on a map since I had never been able to find any other plats that adjoined it. One plat alone is rarely adequate evidence to show its location. Since my original posting about the location of Indian Head I have had a chance to review some additional records that clearly indicate Indian Head as being at the headwaters of Goodland Swamp, just east of the modern town of Perry as suggested in my original post.
The records of interest were not found among the colonial and state plats. Nor were they available in the courthouse in Orangeburg since all of the deeds and land records recorded there prior to 1865 were lost when they were sent to Columbia for “safe keeping” near the end of the Civil War. The records showed up as part of a collection of “family papers.” These collections often contain “landowner copies” of documents that were probably filed at the courthouse as well as various other items. Some of these collections still exist in private hands and some have been deposited in manuscript collections in various repositories.
The collection containing the documents pertaining to Indian Head were owned by Mrs. Cornelia Danforth in 1977. She took the documents to the South Caroliniana Library so that they could be microfilmed. Many, but not all, of the records were abstracted in the South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research, volume 8 (Summer 1980), pages 137-139. Several documents in this collection pertain to the Richard Davis plat. Other documents refer to a 200 acre plat located on the head of Goodland Swamp and certified for John Smith on August 15, 1788. An interesting feature on this Smith plat is the notation for some of the adjoining land as “Granted to said Jno. Smith, known by the name of Indian Head.” 
Given the ongoing interest and discussions about the location of Indian Head, I have put together a timeline showing the documented references to the area. This list is probably not complete but does establish the location and can provide at least a few clues as to the activities of the area.
1767, August 4th – 100 acres certified for Richard Davis on Indian Head Branch and the road from Long Canes to Charles Town. The precept date on this plat was May 28, 1767 and it was on that date that Richard Davis, along with a large group of fellow immigrants, applied for a warrant of survey on the bounty. The group also requested the bounty payment for their passage to South Carolina.  The 100 acres indicates that Richard was a single male at the time of his request.
1767, October – Thomas Griffith, an Englishman, stopped at this location overnight on his journey to the Cherokee Nation. He kept a journal of his trip but did not give a positive report of the area. He had stopped in Orangeburgh for two nights “and then proceeded for Indian Head; and after a hot days march was obliged to sleep under a tree with my horse very near the place where five people had been robbed and murdered but two days before … The next day I went on for a place called the Ridge.” 
1768, January 29th – Thomas Griffith again spent the night in the woods at Indian Head on his return from the Cherokee Nation. 
1770, April 7th – The Governor’s Council approved an act making the “Road from Orangeburgh Bridge to Indian Head; a Road from the Indian Head to the Road which Leads from the Ridge to Augusta … ” a public road. The act appointed commissioners for each section of the road. Those appointed for the first section were John Jennings, Philip Jennings, Johannes Wolf, John Pou, and Henry Young.  All of these individuals owned land in the area between the North and South Forks of the Edisto. 
1771, January 1st – William King had a plat surveyed for 100 acres. His land was crossed by the above mentioned road and adjoined land held by Mr. Dorman. An 1841 resurvey of the Richard Davis plat identifies “Land granted to William King in 1771” as bounding on one side of the Davis plat. The King plat shows “Land held by Mr. Dorman” where the Davis plat was located.  Richard Davis owned the 100 acres for less than four years.
1788, August 15th – John Smith had a plat certified for 200 acres on the head of Goodland Swamp. The plat shows adjoining land as “Granted to said Jno. Smith, known by the name of Indian Head.” 
1811, July 23rd – Frederick Brown, merchant of Orangeburgh District, sold to Thomas Yarborough, of Columbia County, Georgia, 200 acres “in the Forks of Edisto Rivers on the head of Goodland Swamp and the waggon road leading from Orangeburgh to Niney Six … granted to John Smith, Senr. known by the name of the Indian Head.” A sketch of the John Smith plat, surveyed in 1788, is included on the document. 
1821 – A. Yarboroough taught 6 students at Indian Head School in Orange Parish. 
1823 – A. Yarborough taught 15 students for 3 months at Indian Head School in Orange Parish. 
1825 – Archibald Yarborough taught 10 students at Indian Head School in Orange Parish. 
1827 – A. Yarborough taught 11 students at Indian Head School in Orange Parish. 
1831 (?) – A. Yarborough taught 10 students for 3 months at Indian Head School in Orange Parish. 
1834 – A. Yarborough taught 11 students for 3 months at Indian Head School in Orange Parish. 
1835 – A. Yarborough taught 11 students for 3 months at Indian Head School in Orange Parish. 
1839 – S. N. Davis [likely Sidney M. Davis] taught 20 students for one quarter at Indian Head School in Orange Parish. 
1841, May 14th – The 100 acre Richard Davis tract was resurveyed for John Johnson and found to contain 109 acres. The resurvey specifically identified the land as being on “Indian Head , a branch of Goodland Swamp, waters of South Edisto River.” It also indicates an adjoining property as “Land granted to Wm. King in 1771.” 
1841, May 15th – James Stevinson sold the 100 acre Richard Davis tract to Joseph Johnson. 
1845 – J. M. Camboa taught 5 students for 38 days at Indian Head School in Orange Parish. 
1846, March 29th – Thomas Yarborough of Randolph County, Georgia sold to James Knotts of Lexington District, South Carolina, 200 acres “adjoining to what is commonly called the Indian Head on the waters of Goodland Swamp … known as the land on which Archabell Yarbrough formerly lived.”  Archibald Yarborough was probably related to Thomas Yarborough and had served as the teacher at Indian Head School over at least a fourteen year period.
1846, September 17th – James Knotts, of Lexington District, sold 200 acres “on the Old Ninety Six Road and branches of Goodland Swamp” to John Corbitt Sr., John Corbitt Jr. and John A. Salley.  This was likely the 200 acres he had purchased from Thomas Yarborough only six months earlier.
 Plat for John Smith, Orangeburgh District Land Papers, 1787–1874, South Caroliniana Library (SCL) microfilm R722, University of South Carolina, Columbia. From originals owned by Mrs. Cornelia Danforth, 1977. This plat is also available as part of the State Plats (Charleston Series), volume 23, page 160, item 2 at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History, Columbia.
 Janie Revill, A Compilation of the Original Lists of Protestant Immigrants to South Carolina, 1763-1773 (1939; reprint, Baltimore: Clearfield Company, 2008), pages 70-72.
 Thomas Griffiths’ Journal, page 12, Southern Historical Collection No. 01983, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
 Thomas Griffiths’ Journal, pages 32-33.
 David J. McCord, The Statutes at Large of South Carolina; Volume the Ninth Containing the Acts Relating to Roads, Bridge and Ferries, with an Appendix, Containing the Militia Acts Prior to 1794 (Columbia: A. S. Johnston, 1843), page 233; digital image, Google Books (http://books.Google.com : accessed 2 January 2008).
 A search in the SCDAH online index on any of these names will turn up records of their landholdings in the area, often referred to as the forks, that was between the North and South Forks of the Edisto.
 Joseph Johnson 1841 resurvey of Richard Davis 1767 plat, SCL microfilm R722.
 John Smith plat, 15 August 1788, State Plat Books (Charleston Series), 1784-1860, volume 23, page 160, item 2; Surveyor General’s Office Series S213190; SCDAH, Columbia. This plat and the grant for it are among the Danforth papers microfilmed by SCL but both records are only fragments.
 Frederick Brown to Thomas Yarbrough, 1811, SCL microfilm R722.
 Daniel Marchant Culler, Orangeburgh District History and Records, 1768-1868 (Spartanburg: The Reprint Company, 1995), pages 495-96.
 Culler, Orangeburgh District History and Records, pages 496-97.
 Culler, Orangeburgh District History and Records, page 497.
 Culler, Orangeburgh District History and Records, pages 497-98.
 Culler, Orangeburgh District History and Records, pages 499-500.
 Culler, Orangeburgh District History and Records, page 501.
 Culler, Orangeburgh District History and Records, pages 501-502.
 Culler, Orangeburgh District History and Records, pages 503-504.
 Joseph Johnson 1841 resurvey of Richard Davis 1767 plat, SCL microfilm R722.
 James Stevinson to Joseph Johnson, 1841 deed, SCL microfilm R722.
 Culler, Orangeburgh District History and Records, pages 507-508.
 Thomas Yarbrough to James Knotts, 1846 deed, SCL microfilm R722.
 James Knotts to John Corbitt Sr., John Corbitt Jr., and John A. Salley, 1846 deed, SCL microfilm R722.
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 red circle on this map shows where the road crosses the district line and is the same location as the red circle on the second map since I had to show the map as two images.
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.