A handsome 1793 survey and grant of a massive parcel along South Carolina’s Edisto River

Peter Bremar, prs Surv[eyo]r Gen[era]l, I do hereby Certify for Samuel Mashbourn a Tract of Land containing Ninety two thousand three hundred and twenty seven acres… Situate in the District of Orangeburg. Columbia, Aug. 1, 1793. Manuscript in ink and watercolor on laid paper, 29 ½”h x 14 ½”w at sheet edge. Wear and losses along some folds, including a 1” x ½” triangular chip along one fold, with modern archival tape reinforcements on verso. Verso with faint stain from large wax seal, no longer present. [with:] William Moultrie, The STATE of SOUTH CAROLINA…. KNOW YE, That… We have ganted, and by these Presents do grant, unto Samuel Mashbourn his Heirs and Assigns a Plantation or Tract of Land, containing Ninety two thousand three hundred and twenty seven acres… Situate in the District of Orangeburg… Columbia, Aug. 5, 1793. Broadside form, letterpress on laid paper with seated Britannia watermark, 12 ½”h x 15 ¾”w at sheet edge. The form accomplished in ink, signed by Moultrie in ink on verso, and docketed. Originally affixed to the survey by a piece of silk string, recently untied (Images of the knot and the process by which it was untied are available.)

Grant of a huge parcel of land along the Edisto River in the District of Orangeburg, South Carolina, signed by Revolutionary War hero Governor William Moultrie and accompanied by an unusually large and handsome manuscript survey.

The survey depicts a 92,327-acre parcel between the North and South Forks of the Edisto River in the southwestern part of the state. The parcel straddles Lexington and Windon Counties in the Orangeburg District, very roughly 40 miles northeast of Augusta. Rendered at a scale of 80 chains to the inch (63,360:1), the survey depicts the parcel’s boundaries in great detail, delineates tributaries of both forks of the Edisto, and names numerous inhabitants along the South Fork. The text below states that the parcel has been surveyed for one Samuel Mashbourn and goes on to give a detailed description of the boundaries. The survey is signed by Deputy Surveyor A. B. Stark, and the text is signed by South Carolina Surveyor General Peter Bremar, dated August 1, 1793.

Accompanying the survey is a letterpress broadside, accomplished in ink to confirm the grant of said parcel to Mashbourn and signed on August 5, 1793 by Governor William Moultrie. As a colonel in the state militia, Moultrie gained fame in 1776 when he successfully defended Charleston against a British invasion, and later served terms as Governor in 1785-87 and 1792-94. The broadside appears to be rare, with OCLC recording but one institutional holding.

I find no Samuel Mashbourn (or Mashburn) in South Carolina at this time, but the 1790 and successive censuses do list a head of household by that name in Fayetteville, Moore County, North Carolina (A historian of the Mashbourn family writes that “when looking at the entire 1790 US Census map for persons with the any spelling of the Mashburn surname, it is immediately obvious that there were very few persons named Mashburn, and that they all lived in North Carolina!”) The 1790 census, at least, does not list Mashbourn as owning any slaves, so he seems to have been a man of modest means and accomplishments, and indeed searches of Google, Ancestry.com, Fold3.com and Newspapers.com have yielded almost no biographical information. Prima facie, it seems odd that such a man received such a huge grant, but perhaps it is not so odd after all. Per the on-line South Carolina Encyclopedia,

“The state… continued to grant land after the Revolution by passing an act in 1784. Vacant land could be purchased from the state for $10 per hundred acres. The fee was dropped in 1791, and this measure, along with the repeal of the limits to the amount of land that could be granted, fueled land speculation in the state. Consequently the state granted many large tracts of land in the 1780s and 1790s. The process was abetted by decentralizing land granting: the state surveyor general possessed the authority to appoint numerous deputies in the backcountry to assist in surveying the lands.”

In 1799 Mashbourn received a much smaller grant of 194 acres, which he had surveyed in 1799 on a branch of Bohts Creek, Lexington County, Orangeburg District.

In all, a handsome 18th-century survey of a large South Carolina parcel, accompanied by a rare land-grant broadside.

The broadside is probably described by OCLC 79791477 (Clements Library only, as of Oct. 2022). Mary Fern Souder, “History of the Mashborne, Mashbourn, Mashburn, Marsburn Family, London, England”, posted 2017 on line at maryfern.com.