Evolution of South Carolina Districts and Counties

 

1710

Four Judicial Districts

IN THE BEGINNING:
From the establishment of a colony on the Ashley River in 1671 until roughly 1710, South Carolina was part of "Carolina" which embraced both modern North and South Carolina. South Carolina was recognized as a royal colony in 1723. In 1682-83, the first three counties were established by the Lords Proprietors for the purposes of local government, administration of justice, granting of land, and the election of representatives to the legislative assembly: Berkeley, Colleton, and Craven, with a fourth, Granville, established somewhat later. All were discontinued in 1769 and the present Berkeley County is NOT the original. These old county names are found on early documents and can cause confusion when searching for records.

Of primary importance to the researcher is the fact that records pre-dating 1785 were all filed in Charleston, irrespective of the residence in these old "royal" counties and such early documents will be found at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History in Columbia, South Carolina.

 

OLD BERKELEY COUNTY
(1683 - 1769)
Created: 1683, discontinued 1769
One of the original "counties" created by the Crown for administrative purposes, this Berkeley County centered around Charleston and extended from the Stono River on the south to Seewee Creek (modern Awendaw Creek) on the north. See map above (1710) for modern counties represented in this area. NOTE: All records for this area were filed in Charleston and this is NOT modern Berkeley County.

 

OLD COLLETON COUNTY
(1683 - 1769)
Created: 1683, discontinued 1769
One of the original "counties" created by the Crown for administrative purposes, Colleton extended from Seewee (Awendaw) Creek on the north to the Combahee River. See map above (1710) for modern counties represented in this area. NOTE: All records for this area were filed in Charleston.

 

OLD CRAVEN COUNTY
(1683-1769)
Created: 1683, discontinued 1769
One of the original "counties" created by the Crown for administrative purposes. See map above (1710) for modern counties represented in this large area. NOTE: All records for this area were filed in Charleston.

 

OLD GRANVILLE COUNTY (1683 - 1769) Created: 1683, discontinued 1769
One of the original "counties" created by the Crown for administrative purposes, Granville extended from the Combahee River in the north to the Savannah River in the south. See map above (1710) for modern counties represented in this area. NOTE: All records for this area were filed in Charleston.
The area known as Granville County became Beaufort District in 1769.

 

1769

Seven Judicial Districts

NOTE that the royal "counties" have completely disappeared and that the names "Berkeley", "Colleton" "Craven" and "Granville" are NOT used as district names.

1801

26 Counties

(Black titles are 1801, hi-lighted are recent)

PARISHES OF THE ANGLICAN CHURCH

In addition to normal church functions, Parishes of the Anglican Church served as election districts during the colonial period. You will note, for instance, on the 1790 federal census, that many parish names were used as enumeration districts. You'll need to know the names and geographic location of these parishes.