Settlement of South Carolina, c1762



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Source:Cowan, 2012
Person:Andrew Cowan (32)
Person:Andrew Cowan (38)


Extracted from:Source:Cowan, William R. Andrew Cowan, His Descendants of the Ninety Six District of South Carolina

The people of Charles Towne S.C. (Charleston) needed a buffer zone between them and the Indians in the upper Piedmont of the State which was controlled by the Cherokee Indians. The English desired to gain wealth and taxes from the area and to hold it against the Spanish to the south and the French to the west. Whoever settled the area first would be the owner. The Scots-Irish had proved they could guard the frontier.

This caused the Colonial Government’s Grand Council to make plans and the English Crown to issue settlement grants and bounty for three districts or townships; Boonesborough , Londonborough; and Hillsborough. The Boonesborough Township consisted of 20,500 acres on the head waters of Long Cane Creek and was surveyed in 1762 by John Liviston. Its’ northern border was called “The Ancient Boundary” because it separated treaty land from land then reserved for Native Americans. The Ancient Boundary is now the line that divides Abbeville and Anderson Counties in South Carolina. On July 25, 1761, the General Assembly of South Carolina passed the bounty act, which required the public treasurer to exchange money for bounty certificates issued by the Governor’s Board of S.C. to compensate (via agents who received the certificates) ship owners or masters for transporting emigrants who could certify that they were protestants.

Head-rights were the “right” to free land of every “head” settling in the colony. The first settlers were authorized head-rights for 150 acres for every male aged sixteen and above and 100 acres for every female and every male under sixteen. After 1755, heads-of-households could receive 100 acres plus an additional 50 acres for every other member of the household. In 1752, as an added encouragement, the Council provided for tools and provisions. There were changes from time to time but in July 1761 the Council authorized four pounds sterling to defray the expense of the poor for passage from Great-Britain and Ireland to Charleston, S.C. above age 12 and two pounds sterling for those under the age of twelve, and above the age of two years. Twenty shillings was authorized to purchase tools and provisions for those above the age of 12.

Upon arriving in Charleston, after a hazardous journey that took two to three months from Ireland, no one was allowed ashore before being checked for sickness, especially contagious diseases. A certificate of allegiance to the Protestant faith was required to be signed.

The petition for a land-grant had to be made in person by the head-of-household; he had to give his name, the names and ages of his spouse and children, the number of acres requested, and the location of the land. There was no requirement to request all the land due a family, but the household had to have as many persons as claimed. The head of the household was required to declare that he was worth less than five pounds sterling.

After receiving a warrant from the Grand Council, the prospective grantor carried it to a surveyor who surveyed the land and drew a plat, or map, of its’ boundaries. After the surveyor provided the plat, it was given to the Colonial Surveyor General for final approval; the grant was then signed for the King by the Governor and Commander in Chief of the Province of South Carolina.

After passing through the Grand Council and the check-in process, the settlers set off on foot up the Cherokee Trail which led from Charles Towne to Columbia, South Carolina. From Columbia the Cherokee Trail led to the colonial settlement at Ninety Six, S.C., through Boonsbrough and on to Fort Prince George and the Cherokee village of Kewoee, the principal town of the Cherokee lower settlements (in present Oconee, Greenville, Pickens and Anderson Counties). The site of the village is now inundated by the waters of Lake Hartwell. These were courageous people as many of the settlers did not have a firearm and there was danger from hostile Indians and wild animals. In the 17th century the Cherokee Trail was used by the English and French fur traders, and later used as a military road during the American Revolution.

After arriving in Boonesbrough, one of the settlers was given the responsibility of issuing the bounty material such as flour, rice and Indian corn, and such tools and supplies as had been purchased by the Council for the settlers’ use. The settlers had few tools and in order to clear land as required by the Grant, they sometimes shared one hand saw between two or more families.

Trees were “ringed”. They used a hatchet or axe to cut a ring around the tree deep enough so the inner bark would be severed. This in turn caused the tree to die. Sap couldn’t circulate to keep it alive. Hard to kill trees might have a band several inches to a foot or more wide cut around the circumference of the tree, removing the inner cambium as well as the outer bark (cambium). This required a lot of work but resulted in a sure kill. The land could be cultivated right up to the dead tree because it would no longer compete with the crop after the ringing.