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South Carolina Archives
Series Description

Unrecorded Plats for Lands Not Granted, 1731-1882


CALL NUMBER:        S 213197


CREATOR: Surveyor General's Office.

TITLE: Unrecorded plats for lands not granted

DATE: 1731-1882; (bulk 1731-1866)

VOLUME: 2.00 cubic ft. and 2.00 microfilm reels (35 mm)

ARRANGEMENT: Series arranged alphabetically by surname of intended grantee. Forty-one oversize plats are housed in a separate alphabetic sequence and six plats are filed out of order at the end of the regular sequence. For indexing purposes, the plats were assigned numbers and are indexed to box and plat number.

BIOGRAPHICAL/HISTORICAL NOTE: The process of granting particular parcels of public land to individuals began with the preparation of plats by deputy surveyors pursuant to warrants or precepts. In the colonial period these original surveys were returned directly to the surveyor general for recording. In the post-revolutionary land grant system the warrants for survey were issued by local commissioners of locations, and the plats were also returned to them for recording before being forwarded to either the Columbia or Charleston office of the surveyor general for recording in the state plat books. 

Sometimes plats were prepared for land that then was not subsequently granted. It may have been determined that the land had been previously granted, the acreage may have been too large, the individual may have failed to pay recording fees at the state level, or the prospective grantee may have died or otherwise have failed to complete the process.

SUMMARY SCOPE NOTE: This series consists of 1,273 original surveys for intended but unperfected land grants. The plats are scale drawings and show the scale to which they were drawn; acreage; boundaries; boundary markers; natural features; improvements, if any; and the names of any surrounding landowners. The series also includes (Number 627 in Box 1) one original 1734 warrant from Governor Robert Johnston to Surveyor General James St. John and the accompanying precept from St. John to "any Lawful Deputy Surveyor" to survey 700 acres that were not granted in Queensboro Township. 

The plats are accompanied by the deputy surveyor's certificate of admeasurement, which includes the date of the precept or warrant from the surveyor general, deputy surveyor general, or commissioner of locations; name of the prospective grantee and, where applicable, the person for whom the land was originally surveyed; the location by county or district and more specific locators such as relationship to a particular river, road, or other landmark; acreage; date of the certificate; and the names of the deputy surveyor who drew the plat, the surveyor general, deputy surveyor general, or commissioner of locations who issued the precept or warrant, and the surrounding landowners. 

Some of the plats include endorsements on their back as to where they were recorded by commissioners of locations; many of them include a notation of the page number where Surveyor General Thomas Frean copied them in volume one (called "State Record Plats") or volume two (called "State Records Misc. Plats") of series S 213193, Copies of Unrecorded Plats for Unperfected Grants.

INDEX/FINDING AID: All personal names and all geographic features on these plats are included in the repository's On-line Combined Index to Multiple Record Series, 1675-1929. Names of baronies were indexed as topics rather than as geographic locations, and the topical term "blacks, free" was included when free blacks were so identified in pre-1865 records. Names of surveyors general, deputy surveyors general, or commissioners of locations issuing precepts or warrants are excluded from the every-name indexing, but the surveyors who actually drew the plats are included. 

These access terms are also available on a separate one-reel computer output microfilm (COM) index to this series produced by the repository in 1981 and in the Combined Alphabetical Index produced by the repository on computer output microfilm in 1991. The forty-one oversize plats (#1233-#1274) and four plats in the regular sequence (#624-627) were omitted from these computer output microfilm indexes. In the computer output microfilm indexes the numeric code 0009 018 was used to designate this series.

ADDITIONAL FORM: Entire series also available on microfilm produced by Genealogical Society of Utah volunteers.  By agreement with the society, the repository has reproduction duplicates of this film and has the right to sell additional research copies.

Many of these plats were copied into two volumes by Surveyor General Thomas Frean in 1845. These volumes now comprise series S 213193, Copies of Unrecorded Plats for Unperfected Grants. A number of post revolutionary plats for unperfected grants for land in the lowcountry are omitted from these copies; they were apparently in the Charleston office of the surveyor and unavailable to Frean.

HIERARCHICAL NOTE: Forms part of the records of the Surveyor General's Office of the Secretary of State.