In 1729 South Carolina’s population included 10,000 white settlers compared to 20,000 African slaves. Rice planters, who also served as Colonial legislators, feared slave revolts. Colonists also feared hostile Spanish, French, and Native Americans. To address these concerns, Governor Robert Johnson proposed his Scheem for Settling Townships. The idea was that poor white Protestants would be given land and provisions to immigrate to South Carolina. More white settlers would prevent slave revolts. Further, new frontier settlements would protect Charleston from Spanish, French, and Native American attacks (Meriwether 1940, 3-30). Saxe Gotha was one such township established according to Governor Johnson’s plan. Located in the heart of the South Carolina Midlands, in the upper Congaree Valley, Saxe Gotha was established along the Cherokee path to Charleston. During Colonial times, and through antebellum and post bellum years, the Saxe Gotha settlement grew. Maps from different time periods and other primary sources, such as Robert Mills's Statistics of South Carolina depict the geographical and historical lay of the land.
To learn more about South Carolina Backcountry settlement and the nature of historical interpretation, click here for Finding Saxe Gotha.
Learn how historical maps can help us learn about change over time in Lexington County--from colonial times to the late 19th Century. Take the Lexington County Map Challenge.Return to Yard