Colonial History of South Carolina

News and Notes

Update on research and books 2018

July 5, 2018

It has been some time since Cheves and I have updated this website and reached out to those of you who share our interest in early SC history. The six years of research and writing French Santee followed by several years of book talks and signings plum wore us out! The response to French Santee by families descended from those early Huguenots in Carolina has been gratifying and we appreciate all the emails and letters from our readers. Many have provided us with additional documents on their families which is wonderful.

Now, in response to a number of requests, we are back at work abstracting several more volumes of the earliest records of the colonial South Carolina – the Records of the Secretary and Register of the Province of Carolina. As some of you know, the period from 1670 to 1700 – the years when Carolina was founded and was a wilderness frontier with the port of Charles Town as its the only settlement – is our favorite time period.

One of the books we are currently working on is the Records of the Register of the Province 1682-1690. This volume, carefully preserved in the South Carolina Department of Archives and History, shows more than any other we have examined the vicissitudes of over 300 years of time and misfortune. It is always a challenge to decipher the elaborate 17th century script employed by the various officials, each with their own unique style of swirls and flourishes. The faded ink, water stains and patches of mold that obscure sections of this book makes it an even greater endeavor. But so worthwhile to see the remarkable entries beginning just twelve years after the first colonists stepped ashore. To come across names previously unknown and the details of indentures providing “5 L sterling for passage& dyet;” to find grants and deeds of settlers who identified themselves not as “of Carolina,” but of towns and counties in England and Scotland, as they moved out from “Oyster Poynt” into the countryside still identified by its Indian names. This is a wonderful book we can’t wait to bring you.

French Santee and our newest work 2018

July 3, 2018

Our newest book French Santee is almost sold out and we are considering a reprint. Presently we are at work on abstracting one of the early volumes of South Carolina records, The Records of the Register of the Province 1682-1690. This book was badly damaged by mold before SC Archives and History preserved it, making it a challenge to read. We have already found the arrival dates for a number of colonists, including a few French. Such a pleasure to work with these old volumes!

Fall Book Signings

September 25, 2015

After a summer off, Cheves and I will be speakers at several events this fall that are open to the general public. The first is to be held on Friday, October 16 at 7 pm at the McClellanville Arts Council. This evening program will kick off a weekend of events by the Arts Council exploring the French Santee area within the Francis Marion National Forest. These will include walks and tours at Hampton Plantation and a paddle on Wambaw Creek. Additional information can be found at the McClellanville Arts Council website.

For those of you unable to attend our local book signings, it is not too early to pick up your copies of this beautiful, limited edition book for Christmas gifts! French Santee, A Huguenot Settlement in Colonial South Carolina is sold at the following local book stores: Litchfield Books in Litchfield, Waterfront Books in Georgetown, The McClellanville Arts Council and The Village Museum in McClellanville, Royal Hardware in Mt. Pleasant, The Preservation Society and The Huguenot Society of South Carolina in Charleston.

French Santee is also available by mail order from the Village Museum and the Huguenot Society of South Carolina. Check their websites for details.

Book Signing October 17, 2015

September 25, 2015

October 17 is the beginning of a big weekend in Georgetown, SC when they host their annual Wooden Boat Show. There are many beautiful boats to see and competitions and races. Cheves and I will be there as well, at Waterfront Books  on Saturday, October 17 from 11 AM ’til 1 PM to sign copies of our new book French Santee.  It is not too early to think about buying extra copies for Christmas gifts, so we hope to see many of you there.

French Santee, A Huguenot Settlement in Colonial South Carolina

September 4, 2015

French Santee, A Huguenot Settlement in Colonial South Carolina is in local bookstores and the response from our readers to all those years of research is gratifying! We thank you for your kind calls, emails and notes. We are pleased that we have provided so many of you with “a vivid image of our ancestors’ lives in colonial South Carolina” and that we have given you new links to pursue in your own genealogical lines.

As many of you have commented, it is a book rich in details – a book that can be dipped into and savoured over time. And the reader is not limited to reading just their own family’s history. The French settlement on the Santee River was a community of families dependent on each other for survival. There is much to be learned from all their stories – from that of Pierre Robert, who came from Switzerland and was the first known minister of French Santee, and Claude Philippe de Richebourg, the minister whose house became a fortress during the Yemassee Indian War.  It tells how Pierre Royer, a tanner who lived on Echaw Creek, and Pierre Couillandeau, a blacksmith on the Santee River, contributed to the settlement. It is the account of the elderly nobleman Sieur Arnaud Bruneau who fled France at the age of 77 to bring his son and grandson to a land of religious freedom. And of young Andre Rembert, a shoemaker, who with his wife Anne Bressan crossed the Alps on foot  and settled at French Santee where they raised at least nine children. It is the story of the strong women like Rembert’s daughter  Marguerite who raised a large family and buried three husbands in the wilds of Carolina. It is the story of how all of these men and women struggled together to build a new future far from their beloved homelands.

Update on French Santee for Genealogists

April 29, 2015

Our new book French Santee has proven to be very popular with family genealogists. Accessing the little used land records and Proprietary  Period records of South Carolina, in addition to research in France, we have provided new genealogical information and links between families. For those wondering if their family is in the book, I am adding the list of  the 104 biographical sketches in the book. Of course, these families all had dealings with others in the colony, as well as in other colonies and in Europe, so many other names are mentioned in the book. Be sure and check the index attached to the write up for French Santee on this page under the heading Books.

Biographical sketches in French Santee, A Huguenot Settlement in Colonial South Carolina:
Andrivet, Jean and Antoinette [Buvier?]
Barnet, Jean (John) and Hannah
Benoit, Jacques and Sara Mounier
Berteaud, Jean
Bochet, Abel
Bochet, Nicholas and Susanne Dehays
Boisseau, Jean and Marie Potell
Bonnet, Elie
Bonnet, François
Bouvell, Elias
Boyd, Gabriel
Boyd, Jacques
Boyd, Jean and Jeanne Berchaud
Brugnet, Marye, widow of Nicholas Potell
Bruneau, Jean-Arnaud
Bruneau, Paul
Bugnion, Joseph and Elizabeth
Cadeau, Peter
Caillabeuf, Isaac (II) and Mary
Carion, Moïse and Anne Ribouleau
Carrière, Jean and Elizabeth
Carron, Claude
Chastaigner, Alexandre Thésée and Elizabeth Buretel
Chastaigner, Henri Auguste
Chauvin, Isaac
Colladon, Mr. and Sarah
Couillandeau, Pierre
Coulet, Stephen
Courège, François and Madeleine [Joubert?]
DeJean, Isaac
De Rousserie, François
Donnedieu, Jean
DuBosc, Isaac and Susanne Couillandeau
DuCros de la Bastie, Charles and Hélène
Dumay, Etienne and Jeanne Elizabeth Guerri
DuPlessis, Peter and Marguerite Rembert
Durouzeau, Michel
Dutarque, Louis and Christian Marie
Dutartre, Daniel and Mary
Faucheraud, Gideon and Mary Villepontoux
Fleury, Isaac
Fougeraut, Marie
Gaillard, Joachim and Ester Paparel
Gaillard, Barthélémy and Elizabeth
Gaillard, Jean, Susanne Le Serrurier and Mary Esther Page
Gaillard, Pierre
Garnier, Daniel and Elizabeth Fanton and Magdalen
Gendron, Jean
Gendron, Philippe and Madeleine Chardon
Gignilliat, Jacques François Benedict and Marie Potell
Gignilliat, Jean François, Louisa Pineau and Susanne Le Serrurier
Girodz, Solomon
Gourdin, Louis
Goutier, David
Guérin, François and Anne Arriné
Guérin, Mathurin and Marie Nicolas and Susanne Desserex
Guérin, Pierre
Guerri, Pierre and Jeanne Broussard
Guibal, Jean and Ester Le Cert
Guneau, Pierre
Hartman, John and Mary
Horry, Elie and Margueritte Huger
Huger, Daniel and Margueritte Perdriau
Jacquette, Jacques
Jaudon, Daniel and Elizabeth
Jeanneret, Abraham and Susannah Favre
Jeanneret, Jacob and Elizabeth Gourdin
Jermain, Ralph
Juin, Georges and Suzanne Le Riche
LaPierre, John and Susanne
Lapôtre, Jacob David and Catherine Allaire
Laurens, Augustus
Laurens, Charles and Marianne Gourdin
Laurens, Jean and Ester Grasset
Laurens, Jeanne and John Perdriau and Jacques Savineau
Le Bas, Jacques and Catherine Varing
Le Gendre, Daniel
Leger, Pierre and Marie
Le Grand, Isaac and Madeleine Dieu
Le Grand, Jacques and Anne Françoise
Le Nud, Nicholas and Mary
Le Roux, Estienne
Le Roux, Louis
Longuemare, Nicholas de and Marie Bonneau
Manigault, Gabriel
Manigault, Pierre and Judith Giton
Marion, Benjamin and Judith Baluet and Marie
May, Jean Rodolph and Marie Elizabeth Gignilliat
Mayrant, James Nicholas and Susanna Gaillard
Michaud, Honoré
Michaud, Pierre and Sara Bertomeau
Michaud, Abraham and Esther Jaudon
Mounier, Pierre and Louise Robinet
Pasquereau, Louis and Madeleine Chardon
Pelé, Jean Pierre and Gabrielle
Perdriau, Etienne
Perdriau, Louis
Perdriau, Pierre
Perdriau, Marguerite and Daniel Huger
Peyre, David and Judith Boisseau
Philippes, Pierre and Jeanne
Picault, Michel
Poitevin, Anthoine (II) and Marguerite De Bourdeaux
Porcher, Isaac and Claude de Cherigny
Potell, Jean and Madeleine Pepin
Pouderous, Albert
Prou, Jean
Ravenel, René and Charlotte de St. Julien de Malacare
Rembert, André and Anne Bressan and Madeleine [Joubert?]
Richebourg, Claude Philippe de and Anne Chastain
Robert, Pierre and Jeanne Bayer
Royer, Pierre and Anne [Rembert?]
St. Julien, Louis de
St. Julien de Malacare (II), Pierre de and Damaris Elizabeth Le Serrurier
Satur, Abraham and Jane
Savineau, Jacques and Mary Bremar and Jeanne Laurens
Sénéschaud, Daniel and Magdeleine Ardouin
Seron, Jacques and Frances
Serré, Noë (II) and Esther [Michaud?]
Spencer, Joseph and Elizabeth
Tamplé, Etienne
Tamplé, Etienne (II) and Marie Du Bosc
Tauvron, Etienne and Catherine [Le Chevalier?]
Thauvet, Jeanne
Thauvet, Marie
Thauvet, Susanne
Thibout, Etienne
Valvot, John
Videau, Pierre and Jeanne Elizabeth Mauzé


French Santee, A Huguenot Settlement in Colonial South Carolina Published

March 6, 2015

At the end of the 17th century, driven by the terrible persecution in France, thousands of Huguenots fled their country in search of religious freedom. A large number found what they sought in the fledgling colony of (South) Carolina in the new world. Here these noblemen, craftsmen and artisans took up axes and guns and struggled to build their homes and survive in the wilderness with their wives and children.

Nowhere was this more evident than on the banks of the Santee River where a group of French and Swiss Protestant refugees arrived in 1687 and where “a sail from a boat was our first house and the earth our bed. A cabin like that of savages …was our second house.” Through their letters and the tantalizing bits and pieces of recorded history they left behind, their struggles and triumphs to forge a new settlement are revealed. At French Santee they established a wealthy plantation society, until time and fate returned the land they had conquered to wilderness once more.

French Santee A Huguenot Settlement in Colonial South Carolina by noted authors Cheves Leland and Susan Bates is an in-depth study of the 17th century Huguenot settlement on the Santee River in South Carolina with biographical sketches of the more than 100 French Protestant families who lived there. Detailed maps, photographs and copies of old plats show the changes in the area as the settlement grew and evolved into the eighteenth century. The book also includes translations of two letters written from Carolina prior to 1700, explanatory notes and footnotes. You may begin by reading about your own family, but you will soon find yourself checking out their neighbors and friends, tracing land sales and untangling relationships.

The cost of this 428 page (8.5″x 11″) hardcover book is $50.00 (plus shipping). It can be ordered from two organizations we are proud to support: The Village Museum, PO Box 595, McClellanville, SC 29458; telephone 843-887-3030; (email: (website:

and The Huguenot Society of South Carolina, 138 Logan Street, Charleston, SC 29401; telephone 843-723-3235; (email: (website:

We will be giving two talks and signing books for these two organizations. We will be at the McClellanville Town Hall on Saturday, March 28, 2015 at 7 pm and at Charles Towne Landing in Charleston, SC on Thursday, April 16, 2015 for the 130th Annual Meeting of the Huguenot Society of South Carolina. Non-members are welcome at the April event, but need to contact the Society (843 723-3235) in advance and there is a small guest fee.

Genealogical Research in France

October 10, 2014

This past spring, we spent two weeks in France searching for Huguenot ancestors and the places they lived.  We began in Paris at the Societe de l’Histoire du Protestantisme Francais where the staff was very helpful – they have collected many records from the small villages and towns in France and are well worth a visit.

From Paris, we traveled to the Dordogne to see the Cave of Lascaux and we drove through the river valley lined with castles on almost every hilltop. We stopped in several small towns on our way to the coast looking for the villages our ancestors had left more than 300 years ago, stopping in Montigne, Mauze, Pons, Sepvret, La Granerie, La Mothe-Saint-Heray to name a few.

The most surprising thing we found was the architecture which remains from the 12th to 17th centuries – we have photographs of all the seventeenth century walls in all the towns we visited and we will share them with you in future blogs.

We spent a wonderful long weekend on Ile-de-Re, more time in La Rochelle at the departmental archives and then south to La Tremblade where we spent Easter and then to Bordeaux and home.

Visit the website of the Huguenot Society of South Carolina to see a more detailed account of our trip in the Huguenot Herald. There will be an even more in-depth article in Transactions #118 which will be out later this year.


New Ways to Research Colonial South Carolina History!

May 5, 2010

For those of you who do not know, there is a wonderful website called British History Online which contains a wealth of information about colonial South Carolina, as well as the other colonies and islands which were part of the British Empire.  We have really enjoyed working our way through it – part of the site is open to the public and part is by subscription only.  The numerous American and West Indies volumes are all part of the public site and are fascinating.  Have fun on it!

Colonial South Carolina Genealogy

May 5, 2010

Every now and then a little nugget of gold turns up in the genealogical searches that we all do. This one is for all of the William Pope of Hilton Head and Port Royal, the Smith family of Port Royal, South Carolina and the Samuel Green of Hilton Head, South Carolina descendants. I stumbled across the entry in an old New England Historic Genealogical Society volume (vol. 16, April 1863 pp. 172-3.) I have quoted the entry exactly as it appears in that volume:

“Genealogy from the Camp at Port Royal, S.C. Communicated by John L. Sibley, Esq.

The following Family Record is copied from vol. 1 of Macknight’s Harmony, 4to, Lond. 1746, found in irresponsible hands at Beaufort, S.C. on the 12th of November, 1861, and deposited 20th November, 1861 [sic], in the Library of Harvard University, subject to the call of the owner at any time, by Capt. Charles Henry Davis (H.U.,1825) the second in command of the U.S. naval forces at the capture of Port Royal, 7th November, 1861. The record is somewhat imperfect, from the wear of the leaf:

….Smith, b. April 28, 1691; …Smith, b. May 10, 1699, d. Dec….; they were married May 27, 1714. Roger Moore, b. Aug 24, 1694, d.__; Catharine Rhett, b. Dec. 14, 1705, d. June 11, 1745; they were married Oct. 10, 1721. Thomas Smith, b. Nov. 7, 1719; Sarah Moore, b. Sept 7, 1728; they were married Aug 2, 1744: Roger Smith, b. Aug.4, 1745; Tho. Smith, b. July 5, 1748, d. Jan. 17, 1748/9; Benj. Smith, b. Nov. 23, 1749, d. April 19, 1750; William Smith, b. March 26, 1751, d. June 1__, 175__; Sarah Smith, b. Aug. 22, 1752, O.S., 2nd Sept, N.S.; Peter Smith, b. Nov. 14, 1754, N. S.; Benj. Smith, b. Jan. 10, 1757; Rhett Smith, b. Aug. 13, 1759, d. June 21, 176__; James Smith, b. Nov. 2, 1761; Polly Smith, b. Feb. 7, 1764; Ann Smith, b. Sept. 26, 1765; Rhett, b. Aug. 23 1767; d. Sept 7, 17__.

At the same time with the above volume, Stephen Minot Weld. Jr. (H. U., 1860), of Jamaica Plain, Mass., 2d. Lieutenant, who witnessed the storming of Port Royal, among other printed matter, placed in the library a portion of a 4to Bible, London 1761, which on the day after the landing was taken from the house of William Pope, Senior, the house which was occupied by Gen. Drayton and his staff, and used as a hospital. It was the first house on which the US flag was raised and became the headquarters for Gen. Sherman and his staff. The fragment contained the following family record:

Samuel Green, b. Sept. 7, 1727, m. 27th Jan., 1752 Sarah Norton, d. 27 July 1770, and his wife 5th May, 1765; Mary Ann, daughter of Samuel and Sarah Green, b. 28th Oct 1752; James, b. 2d Nov., 1754; Samuel, b. 13th June, 1756, d. 25th Dec.,1776; Sarah b. 6th Feb., 1759; Mary Ann, b. 14th Aug., 1761; Susanna, b. 8th Nov., 1763; Samuel Green and Catharine Campbell, m. 1765, Sept 20th; their daughter Catharine, b. 10th Feb., 1768, d. 8th Sept. __.”