The 1742 map, or plan for the town of Dorchester, contains many questions and curiosities. By looking closely at this map and other documents, one can find certain clues that can help us better understand the history of the town of Dorchester. You may wonder why this map was created. How was it used, and who used it? Why would a town like Dorchester have a map like this?
Imagine you are holding this map in your hand. What would you do to answer those questions above? Well, you'd want to take a good look at it, of course! You can click on the map image to your left to get a larger view. Also, you may notice that there is some writing on the bottom left corner of the map. Click here to read that text. Maybe there is something on the back? View other side of the map. Or, maybe you want a closer look at the town lots. Once you have looked over the map closely, read below for more clues.
So why was the map created? On March 8, 1742, the colonial legislature of South Carolina passed an act to "encourage and induce handicraft tradesmen, shopkeepers and others, to settle in towns and villages upon the passes over rivers and other places in this province." The act exempted white settlers that resided in towns or villages like Dorchester from all provincial taxes and jury duty for ten years. Those towns and villages that wanted to take advantage of this act had to submit a plat or survey to the colony for record keeping purposes. Because of this act, the town of Dorchester created the map you see here. An entry in the Council Journal minutes dated August 20, 1742 contains a reference to the plan of the town of Dorchester. Here is that entry:
The Honble Joseph Blake Esqr laid a Plan of the Town of Dorchester Before his Hon. The Lieut. Govern and Council pursuit to direction Of the act to Encourage and Induce handy craftmen, shop keepers and others to Settle in Towns and Villages upon the passes over Rivers and other places in this Province for approbation and the same was accordingly approved by his Hon. the Lieut. Govern. And the Majority of his Majestys Council. (Click here if you want to see the original entry.}
Now you may wonder who created this map. If you look closely, you will find a signature of a man named Samuel Stevens. In fact, you will see his signature written twice. Maybe he drew this map, but how can we know? The clue is near one of the signatures. The signature at the very bottom of the map is followed by a Latin word. Can you read that? It says "fecit." That word means it was Stevens that drew the map. Samuel Stevens was a prominent man in the town of Dorchester. He was the son of John Stevens, the settler who received the original Dorchester land grants for the town.
Take a look at the map and see if you notice anything unusual. Notice how someone has used a pencil to draw little boxes inside some of the lots. What do those drawings represent? Could they be houses or buildings? We think that someone made these drawings many years after the map was made. Click here to learn more about the pencil drawings on the map.
Also, you may know that Colonial Dorchester had a fort. Can you tell where the fort is located? This map predates the construction of the fort, which was completed between 1757 and 1760. The fort occupied lot 13-land once owned by the Congregational Church.
Where would you find the church on this map? See if you can find Lot 99. The pencil drawings on the map might give you a clue.
Now that you have learned these things about the 1742 map of Dorchester, you are ready to take your Webquest! There are many clues and information about Dorchester within this website. You will also see another version of the 1742 map.
If you want to ask us any questions about Dorchester, just ask Cosmo.