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Where oh where is the land…

It’s an amazing set of records that The Legal Genealogist picked up at the South Carolina Archives last week.

Amazing, first, because it’s a set of surviving land records from the 1760s.

Amazing, second, because it’s a set of surviving land records from my family, which didn’t leave nearly as many records as I would have liked.

And amazing most of all because it centers on a land grant not to a however-many-great grandfather.

The grant, clearly and unequivocally, was issued to Sarah Gentry.


My fifth great grandmother.

To be eligible for that land grant in her own name, Sarah had to have been a feme sole — an unmarried woman — when she obtained that land. And we believe that we was widowed by then, bringing her family of as many as seven sons with her when she moved with her father and brother from Virginia to South Carolina.1 The law at the time would have allowed 100 acres to the head of household plus 50 acres to each additional household member,2 so her grant of 450 acres makes sense (100 acres for Sarah, 50 acres for each son).

This plat for Sarah’s 450 acres, dated 7 January 1767, is online at the Archives’ website:3

Sarah Gentry land plat

Pretty cool, huh? The other documents related to the land — the grant itself on 23 February 17684 and the memorial Sarah had to file on 2 May 17685 — aren’t online, and I had to retrieve those in person, but now I have a complete picture of Sarah’s land.


Maybe not exactly.

Because there’s the minor little issue of exactly where this land was located.

I mean, you can see even from the descriptions of these documents — “Plat for 450 Acres in Colleton County,” “Land Grant for 450 Acres in Colleton County,” “Memorial for 450 Acres on Ninety Six Creek, in Colleton County” — that the land was in Colleton County, right?

Except that it wasn’t. Not really. Not what people think of today as Colleton County.

You see, in 1767-1768, what was then called Colleton County was a part of South Carolina that was a county in name only and ceased to exist in 1768.6 Geographically, it stretched all the way from the coast well inland:7

Colleton County 1768

So don’t go looking for the Gentry land in the much smaller area known as Colleton County today. You won’t find it. It’s way up in the back country, in what became the 96 District, and what I expect today is Edgefield County.

Mapping Sarah is going to be a challenge…


  1. See “SONS OF NICHOLAS GENTRY, IMMIGRANT: Part 4. David-II Gentry,” Journal of Gentry Genealogy ( : accessed 17 July 2018).
  2. See “South Carolina Archives
    Series Description: Colonial Land Grants, 1731-1775
    ,” South Carolina State Archives ( : accessed 21 July 2018).
  3. Gentry, Sarah, Plat for 450 Acres in Colleton County, 7 Jan 1767; Record Group S213184, “Colonial Plat Books, 1731-1775,” vol. 9, page 156, item 1; South Carolina State Archives, Columbia; digital image, South Carolina Online Archives ( : accessed 21 July 2018).
  4. Gentry, Sarah, Land Grant for 450 Acres in Colleton County, 23 Feb 17678; Record Group S213019, “Colonial Land Grants, 1675-1788,” vol. 16, page 118; South Carolina State Archives, Columbia.
  5. Gentry, Sarah, Memorial for 450 Acres on Ninety Six Creek, in Colleton County, 2 May 1768; Record Group S111001, “Memorial Books, 1731-1778,” vol. 9, page 486, item 2; South Carolina State Archives, Columbia.
  6. See FamilySearch Research Wiki (, “Colleton (1682-1768) County, South Carolina Genealogy,” rev. 11 Mar 2017.
  7. Map adapted from AniMap, Colleton County outline added in red.
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