Orangeburg German-Swiss Genealogical Society

The First Families of Orangeburgh District, South Carolina

During colonial times, the British government wished to encourage settlement into the South Carolina interior. The Commons House of Assembly established Orangeburgh Township in 1730. The government contracted with Swiss gentleman, John Peter Purry, to escort a party of Swiss settlers to the township of Orangeburgh on the Edisto River in 1735. Other Swiss and Palatinates followed these colonists from Germany in 1736 and 1737.

The settlers were encouraged to come on a promise of land, food, tools and transportation for themselves and their families when reaching South Carolina. Swiss-German families and others continued to come in the 1740's, 1750's and 1760's to the Townships of Orangeburgh, Amelia and Saxe-Gotha. There were also English, Scots, Irish, French, Welsh, Dutch, Swedish and Jewish settlers who located in the area. By the end of the colonial period, however, Orangeburgh, Amelia, and Saxe-Gothe Townships were predominately German. At this time, the Orangeburgh District included Orangeburgh, Amelia (Calhoun County), Saxe-Gothe (Lexington) and Winton (Barnwell)(Aiken/Bamberg, Allendale).

Many of the first families who settled in the Orangburgh District are the origin of familiar family surnames in the area and other parts of the country today. Included here are short biographies of some of these first generation families.

Walter Edgar, South Carolina, a History
William Gilmore Simms, History of South Carolina

Hugo Ackerman, A Brief History of Orangeburg

Historical Records Survey, W.P.A, 1938


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