South Carolina Archives
State Plat Books (Columbia Series),
CREATOR: Surveyor General's Office.
TITLE: State plat books (Columbia series)
VOLUME: 28.00 volumes, 6.00 microfilm reels, and 0.01 microfilm reel
ARRANGEMENT: Series arranged roughly chronologically by recording date.
BIOGRAPHICAL/HISTORICAL NOTE: The General Assembly created the
post-revolutionary land grant system with S.C. Statute 1784(4)590, An Act for
Establishing the Mode and Conditions of Surveying and Granting Vacant Lands
Within this State. It amended the act twice in 1785 and again in 1786. These
acts provided for the purchase of vacant land at a price of $10 per hundred
acres and allowed the holders of treasury indents for unpaid Revolutionary War
debts to use them as legal tender. S.C. Statute 1784(4)647 provided that bounty
lands promised to officers and men of the South Carolina Continental Line, three
independent companies, and officers of the South Carolina Revolutionary Navy were to be granted and recorded free of the usual office
The legislature abolished the purchase price for land in
1791. Thereafter grants were issued upon payment of 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 This provision was repealed the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 forwarded 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, but the records in them are not
SUMMARY SCOPE NOTE: This series consists of recorded copies of plats for
state land grants with their certificates of admeasurement or certification. 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 surrounding landowners. Roads, creeks, branches, swamps, and the like
are named, and bounty lands are generally so annotated.
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.
This series contains some previously unrecorded colonial
plats, largely dating from the 1770s. Most of these appear in volumes thirty-six
and thirty-seven. In the microfilm edition of the series, the original plats or
some other copy are substituted for a few missing pages in the volumes.
INDEX/FINDING AID: All personal names and geographic features on these plats are included in the repository's On-line Index to Plats for State
Land Grants and in a thirteen reel computer output microfilm (COM) index that
the repository produced in 1987 to accompany its Microcopy No. 10, South
Carolina State Plats, 1784-1868. Plantation names are indexed as topics and the
topical term marshlands was used when the plat indicated the granting of
of surveyor generals certifying plats and of commissioners of locations issuing
warrants are excluded from the every-name indexing, but the surveyors who
actually drew the plats are included. In the computer output microfilm index the numeric code 0009
009 was used to designate this series.
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. This
series is described in more detail in the printed pamphlet that accompanies
Microcopy No. 10.
ADDITIONAL FORM: Entire series, except for an early twentieth century
transcript of volume forty-three (1811-1815), also available in the repository's
Microcopy No. 10, South Carolina State Plats, 1784-1868. Some, but not all, of
the volumes are also available on microfilm produced by the Genealogical Society
of Utah. In addition, entire series also available in digital form on the repository's website. The images can be accessed through the On-line Records Index link on the Research and Genealogy webpage.
ASSOCIATED MATERIAL: Plats for large grants were recorded in a parallel
series of Plan Books contained in series S 213212. The repository has
microfilm copies or originals of many of the recorded plat books of the
commissioners of locations as well as a few of the books in which they recorded
warrants. The original surveys forwarded to the surveyor general for recording
in this series are called "duplicate plats" because they are duplicate to the
officially-recorded copies. Both the Charleston and Columbia duplicate plats are
in the repository, but in the early years neither series parallels the volumes
of recorded copies. The original surveys for land granted in the Upper Division from 1784 to 1796 (and
even a few surveys for grants in the Lower Division) are filed with the Columbia
series of these records even though there are no separate Columbia volumes until
GENERAL NOTE: This series begins with a volume numbered 36; there are no
volumes 1-35 in the series. The series includes a copy of volume forty-three
(1811-1815), not reproduced on Microcopy No. 10, and a copy of volume fifty-six
(1851-1855). Volume 58 contained in series S213195, Public Land Plat Books, Vol.
HIERARCHICAL NOTE: Forms part of the
records of the Surveyor General's Office of the Secretary of State.