A Worthwhile Endeavor. The Search for Church Records and MonumentsAlthough typically church rolls were kept and maintained, listing members names, baptism dates, marriages and deaths, they were difficult to locate. Oh, If we had the church membership roll along with our own record of the tombstones! Even so, the genealogist should make an active attempt to locate specific church information. After perusing the neighborhood, a search of local libraries and State Archives is indicated. The reason is because some rolls were taken by individuals to the archives and microfilmed. Such a roll could be resting in a microfilm drawer somewhere. I have sometimes found old church membership rolls while visiting cemeteries and asking local people for information concerning the stewards of the church. Interestingly, there is an old church in Charleston whose cemetery has been declared unsafe. Since no one is allowed to enter the cemetery, the names and dates of all of the tombstones were placed on the wall inside the sanctuary. What I am saying is that a stroll around the neighborhood turns up interesting stuff. The preservation of data is precious to the generations which follow. Monuments and other structures provide important historical details. For this reason, we should pause to read the monuments surrounding court houses and other public structures. It will help us to better understand the conditions of the times wherein our ancestors resided.
Inhabitants from Barbados Settled in South CarolinaEconomically South Carolina was associated with the West Indies where most of their trade came from. At the close of the 17th century, the white population was about 5500 persons, most of whom came from Barbados and other Caribbean Islands, as well as England, Ireland and France. They settled the area extending from the Santee to the mouth of the Edisto rivers, which included several of the islands, and reached back from the coast about fifty miles. The social and economic center was centered in Charleston. In the back country there were only two small towns and most of the inhabitants were located on plantations along the rivers and on the islands. The Barbadian planters had settled mainly on the Cooper River, Goose Creek, along the Ashley River and on the islands of James, John and Edisto. Four or five hundred Huguenots, most of whom had left their country because of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, had located on the Santee, where they had received land grants aggregating over 50,000 acres. Almost half of this land grant was the property of two individuals, while other Huguenot estates varying from 100 to 3,000 acres. Rice is the crop which enriched the economy of Charleston and provided important staples both domestically and abroad. Early in the colony, a Swiss settlement south of Charleston tried the silk industry. The Barbadians brought slaves into Charleston where the harsh slave code of Barbados was adopted.
Prisoners taken to St. Augustine, FloridaWhen they were captured, South Carolina patriots and French allies were taken to St. Augustine, Florida where they were retained as prisoners of war. Three of the brave signers of the Declaration of Independence were from Charleston and included the persons of: Thomas Heyward, Jr., Arthur Middleton and Edward Rutledge. They were held until the end of 1780. Oddly enough, these prisoners of war were allowed the freedom of the streets and received good treatment from the Spanish.
The British Occupation of CharlestonThis is all that is left of Moncks Corner from the Revolutionary days. It was important for the British to capture Charleston because it was an active port city and they needed to prevent incoming goods and weapons and the commerce of the locals who supplied the armies behind the scenes. General Clinton was sent on April 1, 1780 to siege the city with his 14,000 troops and 90 vessels, following a bombardment which had begun on March 11th. The rebels were led by General Lincoln with about 5,500 men. Their fortifications were inadequate to repel the British, especially after the enemy cut the supply lines. Lincoln of necessity had to retreat during the battles of Monck's Corner and Lenud's Ferry, and surrender on May 12th.
The Oaks Plantation
Berkeley County, South Carolina Wills and Estates
Berkeley County was formed in 1682 from the parishes of St. John Berkeley, St. James Goose Creek, St. James Santee, St. Stephen, St. Thomas and St. Denis. It was named for two of the Lords Proprietors of Carolina, Lord John Berkeley (died 1678) and Sir William Berkeley (d. 1677). Berkeley county is referenced many times in the old deed records, but one needs to be aware of the fact that in 1769 it became part of Charleston District, and that it did not become a separate county again until 1882. This is why you see many of the Charleston County deeds headed up Berkeley County. During the late seventeenth century English and French Huguenot planters and their African slaves settled the area, establishing large rice plantations which are now covered by the waters of Lake Moultrie.
Earliest settlers: General William Moultrie (1730-1805), General Francis Marion (1732-1795), known as Swamp Fox, Henry Laurens (1724-1792), president of the Continental Congress but a resident of Mepkin Plantation.
Berkeley County Records Available to Members of South Carolina Pioneers
- LWT of Mathias Elmore (1766), transcript
- 1825 Map of the Plantations in Upper St. John's Parish
The Elms Plantation