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South Carolina Archives
Series Description

Judgment Rolls, 1703-1790


CALL NUMBER:        S 136002

CREATOR: Court of Common Pleas.

TITLE: Judgment rolls

DATE: 1703-1790

VOLUME: 58.50 cubic ft. and 144.00 microfilm reels

ARRANGEMENT: Series arranged chronologically by court term and thereunder by assigned number. Oversized rolls were indexed to oversized boxes 168A through 171A but were microfilmed in chronological sequence with the regular sized rolls and can be located by year and number on the microfilm reels.

BIOGRAPHICAL/HISTORICAL NOTE: Until the Circuit Court Act of 1769 at long last provided for courts sitting outside Charleston, this court, which had been set up by the Lords Proprietors as the Berkeley County Court, functioned as the civil court for the entire colony. Under the 1769 act, all writs and other processes triable in the circuit courts of law still had to issue from and be returnable to the Court of Common Pleas in Charleston. S.C. Statute 1789(7)253 gave the circuit courts full original and final jurisdiction. Because the Judgment Rolls through 1790 thus include more than just the cases of the Charleston District Court, they have been cataloged here and the successor series, the Judgment Rolls of the Charleston County Court of Common Pleas, begins in 1791.

SUMMARY SCOPE NOTE: This series comprises the original papers of record in each civil suit in which judgment is signed. All papers pertaining to a particular case are filed together in one bundle or "roll." The early rolls contain the plaintiff's complaint and the court's judgment. Later authentication of the complaint (the bond signed by the defendant or an account) was added to the roll. Judgment rolls of the last half of the eighteenth century usually contain the complaint and supporting documents, such as the writ of attachment, verification of execution, defendant's reply, and the court's judgment. Arbitrated cases contain the auditor's name and the commission to settle the amount due. Information consists of the names of the plaintiffs, defendants, and attorneys; the nature of the suit; and the final judgment. Documentation of indebtedness entered into cases sometimes contains considerable data on purchases and other information valuable for social history.

INDEX/FINDING AID: Names of plaintiffs and defendants are included in the repository's On-line Combined Index to Multiple Record Series, 1675-1929, and in the Combined Alphabetical Index produced by the repository on computer output microfilm (COM) in 1991. The plats found in oversized rolls in the series were also indexed separately in these indexes and were indexed to all personal names, geographic names, and plantation names on the plats. The plantation names were indexed as topics rather than as geographic names. A separate plaintiff and defendant index on two rolls of COM produced by the repository in 1975 is shelved with the microfilm of the series. The numeric code 0151 002 was used to designate this series in the computer output microfilm indexes.

ADDITIONAL FORM: Entire series available on microfilm produced by the repository except for 1787 No. 244A, a photograph of a plat from an estrayed case provided by the Christie's Auction House in 2001.

HIERARCHICAL NOTE: Forms part of the records of the South Carolina Court of Common Pleas.