Posts Tagged ‘Orangeburgh Township’
David Coalter 909 acre plat on topographic map
As promised in my post of September 11, 2011 here is a copy of the Coalter plat, drawn by Alexander McInnis, on a topographic map. I have also included some nearby plats and indicated the original owners of each.
This drawing shows some of the challenges of working with these old plats. When Deputy Surveyor George Haig laid out the original tracts in 1735 and early 1736, he drew most of them with a 45 degree orientation. As he actually cut and marked the property lines through the woods and swamps he did not manage to stay on that 45 degree line. According to what McInnis wrote on the plat, the Stewets tract was adjoining the Coalter land but notice the slight overlap. Which line is correct on the topographic map? Perhaps neither is exact. There is no way to know as I have not been able to identify much in the way of those original plat lines in any modern tax maps or on Google Earth. The boundaries have been changed too many times.
In fact, notice how some of the original grants had already been changed and recombined between 1736 and 1821 when the Coalter land was surveyed. The Coalter tract took in all of the Tyse [Theus] grant, part of the Hatcher grant, some land for which an owner has not yet been identified, part of some land surveyed for Henry Felder, Jr. and some of what was surveyed for Henry Zorn (Zorn 2).
According to information provided by McInnis on this Coalter plat, Coalter owned almost all of the adjoining properties. The one exception was the balance of the later Henry Zorn plat which was identified as vacant. (Notice the faint dashed line on the McInnis plat drawing; a helpful indication of two different grants on that northeastern side of the property.) Whenever Coalter’s land was sold, whether by himself or his heirs or estate, it was most likely reconfigured in ways that did not follow any of the original grant lines.
So remember, whenever I or anyone else doing this type of work draws out boundary lines on a topographic map, those lines represent only an educated opinion of where the property lines actually were. Hopefully they are very close but probably not 100 percent accurate.
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.