The history of Orangeburg County, South Carolina
It is a remarkable fact that very many persons are prone to study the history of every other country, while totally neglecting that of their own country; and yet the study of local history is one of the most delightful of studies.
The State of South Carolina, in historic interest, stands among the very first of our States; but, nevertheless, the numerous valuable historical works on South Carolina have long since passed out of print be- cause of the lack of interest manifested in them, and many people in this State to-day accept as history the false writings of uninformed partisan writers, and, what is worse, permit their children to be taught these falsehoods as truths.
Orangeburg County is rich in historic treasures, and although a few of these treasures have been collected and given to us in several works on South Carolina, they are still out of the reach of the average reader, on account of the scarcity of these works to-day. It is my purpose to present in these pages the various extracts pertaining to Orangeburg, from several of the works referred to above, and in addition, to give much history of Orangeburg County that has never before been published, including the record of marriages, births and deaths, kept by Rev. John Ulrick Giessendanner and his successor. Rev. John Uiessendanner, from 1737 to 1761.
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There have existed in South Carolina various territorial divisions. There have been counties, parishes, townships, districts or precincts, election districts and judicial districts. Landgrave Joseph Morton became governor of South Carolina in 1682, and one of the first measures required of him was the division of the inhabited portion of the province into three counties. (Order of Proprietors, May 10, 1682.) Berkeley, embracing Charles Town, extended from Sewee on the North to Stono Creek on the South; beyond this to the northward was Craven County, and to the southward Colleton. Shortly afterwards Cartaret County was added to the number. This County included the country around Port Royal; later, about 1708, it was called Granville County.
The territory now embraced within Orangeburg County formed parts of Berkeley and Colleton. That part of Orangeburg East of the Edisto river, with the exception of a narrow strip along that river southward from a point a few miles below the city of Orangeburg, was in Berkeley County, and that part West of the Edisto. together with the above mentioned strip, was in Colleton. In 1704, an Act was passed creating parishes within the several counties. In Berkeley County six parishes were established, but none of them included any territory now embraced by Orangeburg County. In 1706 two parishes were established in Colleton County, but did not likewise include any of the territory now embraced by Orangeburg County.
In 1780, by royal authority, eleven townships were laid off in square plats on the sides of rivers in South Carolina, each containing 20,000 acres. They were designed to encourage settlements, and the plan was that each township should eventually become a parish. When their population increased to one hundred families, they were to have the right to send two members to the General Assembly. Of these eleven townships two were laid off on the Santee, (or more properly on the Congaree, a branch of the Santee, and the Santee), one on the Pon Pon, (Edisto), and one on the Savannah, opposite to the present site of Augusta. These were Amelia, so called probably after the Princess Amelia; the township that was at first called Congaree, but which was called Saxe-Gotha by Governor Broughton in 1736; the township that was at first called Edisto, but after its settlement by the Germans, Swiss and Dutch in 1735 was called Orangeburgh, presumably in honor of William of Orange; and New Windsor.