South Carolina Archives
State Plat Books (Charleston Series), 1784-1860
CALL NUMBER: S 213190
CREATOR: Surveyor General's Office.
The legislature abolished the purchase price for land in 1791. Thereafter grants were issued upon payment of the office fees. The 1784 act had prohibited grants larger than 640 acres. This provision was repealed the following year, and the speculative mania that ensued was further encouraged by the remission of the purchase price. Despite legislative attempts in 1787, 1793, and 1794 to restrict the size and number of grants, many very large tracts were granted in the 1780s and 1790s.
To accommodate citizens of the backcountry, the 1784 act created a new office, the commissioner of locations, in each of the seven court districts of 1769 and authorized the surveyor general to appoint as many as six deputy surveyors in each district. After 1801 there was a commissioner of locations for each of the greatly expanded number of circuit court districts, and after 1839 the clerks of court became ex officio the commissioners of locations. The commissioner of locations received the petition for survey and issued the warrant to a deputy surveyor. The plats were initially recorded by the commissioners of locations before being fowarded to the surveyor general.
The South Carolina Constitution of 1790 required the surveyor general to maintain offices in both the new capital at Columbia and in Charleston. The surveyor general began to use separate volumes for recording plats in his Columbia office in 1796. Before that, all plats were recorded in the set of volumes begun in Charleston in 1784. After 1796, most plats for land grants in the Upper Division of the state were recorded and filed in Columbia. The surveyor general chose to make the Columbia volumes a continuation of the state plat volumes begun in Charleston and gave the initial Columbia volume the number thirty-six to correspond with the number of the volume that had then been reached in the Charleston series. As a result, there are volumes numbered thirty-six through forty-three from each office, some with similar recording dates, but the records in them are not duplicative.
Some entries contain the surveyor general's certification, others the deputy surveyor's certificate of admeasurement. The certification gives the names of the prospective grantee and, where applicable, the person for whom the land was
originally surveyed; the location by district and more specific locators such as relationship to a particular river, road, or other landmark; acreage; date of survey; the authority under which the plat was drawn if other than the general land acts; the date of certification; and the names of the deputy
surveyor who drew the plat, the surveyor general or deputy
surveyor general who certified it, and the surrounding
landowners. The deputy surveyor's certificate of admeasurement also gives the name of the commissioner of locations who issued the warrant and the date of the warrant.
Because little grantable public land remained in the Lower Division of the state, the number of Charleston plats after 1796 is small in comparison with the Columbia plats. The series contains some previously unrecorded colonial plats, largely dating from the 1770s. Most of these appear in volumes nineteen, twenty, thirty-two, and thirty-three. In the microfilm edition of the series, the original plats or some other copy are substituted for a few missing pages in the
Nineteenth century manuscript indexes (only to the names of the persons for whom the land was surveyed) are also
available in the repository and on microfilm produced by the Genealogical Society of Utah. Volumes 1-42 of this series are included in the manuscript index included in this series. Vol. 43 (1847-1860) is included in an index to the later volumes of the Columbia Series. Both the Charleston and the
Columbia Series are described in more detail in the printed pamphlet that accompanies Microcopy No. 10.
HIERARCHICAL NOTE: Forms part of the records of the Surveyor General's Office of the Secretary of State.