Mapping Colonial Abbeville District

 

    This site is the result of a project to determine the location of substantially all of the plats of land grants made by the British Crown in the portion of South Carolina which, after the Revolutionary War, became Abbeville District or County. The area constitutes modern-day Abbeville County and most of McCormick and Greenwood Counties. The earliest plat in this area dates from 1738, and plats of royal grants continued to be certified by surveyors until the fall of 1775. I have located approximately 1,700 plats for land grants in this area.

    The Savannah River constituted the southwestern border of Abbeville District, and the Saluda River its northeastern border. Its northwestern border (now the border between Abbeville and Anderson Counties) was the demarcation line between the lands held by the Cherokee Indians and the state of South Carolina. Long Cane Creek and its western branch, Little River or the Northwest Fork of Long Cane, were the principal internal watercourses. The southern corner of Abbeville District was the mouth of Long Cane Creek on the Savannah River. The southeastern boundary of Abbeville District ran generally northeast from this point to the Saluda River, near the mouth of Ninety Six Creek.

Major Streams

    Because access to water was so critical to early settlers, almost all of the plats were located on a creek, a run or a spring branch that connected to one of these watercourses. The names of the major streams included on the plat map, and their names in the colonial era, were as follows:

Modern Name Colonial Names
   
Long Cane Creek Long Cane Creek
Little River Northwest Fork of Long Cane Creek
Rocky River Great Rockey Creek or Rocky River
Swaney Creek Sawney Creek or Sanes Creek
Calhoun Creek Calhoun Creek or waters of Northwest Fork of Long Cane
Gill Creek waters of Northwest Fork of Long Cane
McKenley Creek waters of Northwest Fork of Long Cane
Shanklin Creek Swearingham's Creek
Penny Creek Penny Creek
Park Creek Parks Creek
Spur Creek Spur Creek
Johnson Creek Johnson Creek or Thomson Creek
Chickasaw Creek Clark Creek or Chickasaw Camp Creek
Hogskin Creek Hogskin Creek
Bold Branch Bold Branch
Reedy Branch Reedy Branch
Big Curltail Creek Curltail Creek or Cureltail Creek
Norris Creek Norris Creek or Frazer Creek
Bailey Creek Halliday Creek
Turkey Creek Turkey Creek
Mulberry Creek Mulberry Creek
Ninety Six Creek Ninety Six Creek
Wilson Creek Wilson Creek
Coronaca Creek Coronaca Creek
Cuffeetown Creek Cuffeetown Creek, Haw Tree Creek or Cheves Creek
Hard Labor Creek Hard Labor Creek
Rocky Creek Rocky Creek
Howe Creek Russells Creek
Russells Creek Russells Creek
   

 Hamilton's Great Survey

    The largest land parcel granted in Abbeville District was a grant of 200,000 acres made by King George II to William Livingstone & Associates, a group of English speculators, on 27 June 1752. From subsequent deed recitals, it appears that Livingstone and Associates ten years earlier in June 1742 actually obtained an order for the 200,000 acres, but the order lapsed. John Hamilton, a Charlestown speculator and merchant,  intended to petition for a renewal of the same order for himself, but agreed with Livingstone that Livingstone would use his name on the petition and would assign the property to Hamilton. The royal order, which was renewed on 28 June 1749, required that the land would be laid out in 4 lots of 50,000 acres each, within ten miles of each other. Livingstone & Associates were required to have the land surveyed and granted within three years, and to settle 1,000 Protestants on the parcels within ten years. John Hamilton was assigned all four parcels in June 1753 by William Livingstone pursuant to their agreement. The surveys of three of the four parcels (Nos. 2, 3 and 4) have been located at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History and are shown on the map. These surveys were made in November 1751. Numbers 3 and 4 are for 50,000 acres, while parcel number 4 covers 63,150 acres because of several large previously granted parcels within its boundaries. Number 1 was 50,250 acres (because of an included earlier parcel) based on a plat contained in the 1755 deed from Hamilton to Simpson and Murray referred to below. 

    Hamilton sold the 50,000 acre tract no. 1 in November 1755 to William Simpson and John Murray, both of Charlestown. Simpson and Murray in turn in July 1758 divided this parcel into a 25,000 acre northern parcel owned by Simpson and a 25,000 acre southern parcel owned by Murray. The town of Ninety Six was located on a parcel later conveyed to John Savage by John Murray, and Fort Ninety Six was located nearby.

    In November 1755, Hamilton conveyed tracts the northeastern and northwestern tracts, 3 and 4, to Joseph Salvador, a Jewish merchant in London. Salvador sold his son Francis Salvador a 5,166 acre tract on Coronaca Creek which became "Coronaca Plantation." Francis subsequently became a delegate to the South Carolina First Provincial Congress in January 1775, and was killed by Cherokee Indians in one of the earliest engagements of the Revolutionary War in South Carolina in August 1776.

    The plat map and index include the colonial era transfers of parcels within Hamilton's Great Survey if a surveyor's plat was included. These parcels are distinguished by double lines along their boundaries.

Townships

    The South Carolina royal government established three townships in the colonial era in Abbeville District. Two were established in 1762--Boonesborough Township, in the northern portion of the District near the head waters of Long Cane Creek and Parks Creek, and Belfast Township, on Hard Labor Creek. Both townships included 22,000 acres which were reserved for grants to "foreign Protestants from the Kingdom of Ireland," or Scotch-Irish immigrants.  In 1764, another township, Hillsborough Township, was established for a group of French Huguenot immigrants led by their pastor, Jean Louis Gibert. The township was a 28,000 acre square (containing 26,000 ungranted acres) located on the junction of Long Cane Creek and the Northwest Fork of Long Cane Creek. A fourth township, Londonborough, is referred to in several plats to immigrants from the German Palatine. No separate plat for Londonborough has been found, and since several of the plats are located within Belfast Township, Londonborough may just have been considered another name for Belfast Township.

Map and Index

    Below are links to the plat map and index. The map is a large file, and should only be viewed using a high-speed internet connection. It has been overlaid with a grid of 5 mile by 5 mile section, with letters (along the top of the map) and numbers along the left side of the map) assigned to each section.  The index contains an alphabetical listing of the grantees of the 1,700 plats shown on the map, the size and location of the parcel (map section and creek name), the surveyor, the identified neighboring plats and a link to the digitized original plat at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History.

Plat Map

Main Index Page