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South Carolina Archives
Series Description

Colonial Land Grants, 1731-1775 


CALL NUMBER:        S 213015

CREATOR: Secretary of State. Recorded Instruments.

TITLE: Colonial land grants

DATE: 1731-1775

VOLUME: 60.00 volumes

ARRANGEMENT: Series arranged chronologically in letter designated volumes beginning with AA and continuing through 3Y. An unlettered volume between the two and three letter series contains grants recorded in 1765-1766. There are no volumes designated DD, EE, and FF in this series, those designations being used for volumes of township and town lot grants.

BIOGRAPHICAL/HISTORICAL NOTE: South Carolina began as a proprietary colony. Prior to the 1719 revolt of the colony against the proprietors' government, land grants from the proprietors were recorded by the Register of the Province. Formal granting of land ceased for a decade during the wrangling over what would become of the proprietors' land and governance rights, but the crown purchased these rights from seven of the eight proprietors by an act of Parliament in 1729. The eighth proprietor, John, Lord Carteret, who soon became Earl Granville, refused to sell his share. He received one eighth of the crown's proceeds from rents and sales until 1744 when he was given a strip of land in North Carolina. 

Royal policy for the granting of land in South Carolina was set forth in the September 1730 instructions for the first regular royal governor, Robert Johnson. Johnson was proclaimed governor in the colony in January 1731 and began issuing warrants for surveys for land grants late that same year. Although the earliest grants based on these warrants were not issued until March 1731/32, this series has been traditionally dated as beginning in 1731, which appears in the heading of the first page of the first volume.

The initial policy for royal grants entitled settlers to headright grants of 50 acres for each member of the household, including slaves and servants. Grants were also issued as rewards for service to the colony, to clear up ambiguous titles, and by purchase. Headright grants were the most common. In 1755 Governor Henry Lyttelton's instructions increased the size of the headright for the head of the family to 100 acres, but the allotment remained 50 acres for all other persons.

SUMMARY SCOPE NOTE: This series consists of recorded copies of colonial land grants issued by the governors of South Carolina in the name of the British monarchs. Most entries include the name of the grantee; the number of acres granted; the county in which the grant was located; the boundaries, including the names of surrounding landholders; the quitrent requirements; the conditions of the grant; the certification date of the plat; and the date of the grant. 

The first few entries follow the form of abstracts of grants that had been used by the secretary of the province in the proprietary period, but beginning in 1733 the full text of grants are recorded. Beginning with Volume CC in 1735 printed forms were used for the bulk of the standard text and separate volumes of printed forms with different texts for township grants and town lot grants were started. Volume II, 1737-1775, was reserved for recording in manuscript those special grants that did not fit the standard printed forms. Separate volumes for Bounty Grants were started in 1767.

FINDING AID: Volumes contain internal grantee indexes. Two successive consolidated grantee indexes covering Vols. AA-ZZ and Vols. 3A-3Y are available in manuscript in the repository. The unlettered Vol. 1765-1766 is not included in either consolidated index, and Vol. 3E is omitted from the 3-letter index (3E in Bounty Grants is included but not the 3E in this series). 

Those grants that were not copied into Colonial Land Grants (Copy Series) are indexed in the repository's On-line Combined Index to Multiple Record Series, 1675-1929. All personal names, including the names of surrounding landholders, and geographic locations mentioned in the grants were indexed. These access terms are also available on a separate two-reel computer output microfilm (COM) index produced by the repository in 1978 and in the Combined Alphabetical Index produced by the repository on computer output microfilm in 1991. The numeric code 0002 006 was used to designate this series in the computer output microfilm indexes.

A more detailed description of the land grant process and history can be found in Robert K. Ackerman, South Carolina Colonial Land Policies (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press for the South Carolina Tricentennial Commission, 1977).

ADDITIONAL FORM: Most of this series was copied into the Colonial Land Grants (Copy Series), 1675-1788. 

ASSOCIATED MATERIAL: The related series Township Grants, 1735-1761; Town Lot Grants, 1735-1775; and Bounty Grants, 1767-1775, are also in the repository. Land grants from the proprietary era are to be found in Abstracts of Grants, 1692-1718, and in the Conveyance Books, 1673-1719, of the Register of the Province.

HIERARCHICAL NOTE: Forms part of the records of Recorded Instruments of the Secretary of State.