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DILLON COUNTY COURT HOUSE A
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INVENTORY OF COUNTY ARCHIVES
l OF SOUTH CAROLINA
Prepared by
The Historical Records Survey
_ Division of Womcn's and Professional Projects
Works Progress Administration
Q
No. 17. DILLON COUNTY (DILLON)
V
* * * * * x * * * * *
L Columbia, S. C,
The Historical Records Survey
December l958

  Q
%
.  
W The Historical Records Survey r
‘ A Luther H. Evans, National Director »
‘ Anne K. Gregorie, State Director "
\n
S
Division of Women’s and Professional Projects 5
“ Ellen S, Woodward, Assistant Administrator
Margaret D. Davies, State Director
Gt
, WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION
  Harry L. Hopkins, Administrator
r Lawrence M. Pinckney, State Administrator M
I “?

 i .
I
' FOREWORD
> The Inventory of_County Archives of South Carolina is one of a number
of bibliographies of historical materials prepared throughout the United
States by workers on the Historical Records Survey of the Works Progress
° Administration. The publication herewith presented, an inventory of the
_ archives of Dillon County, is number l7 of the South Carolina series.
_ The Historical Records Survey was undertaken in the winter of 1955-56
for the purpose of providing useful employment to needy unemployed histori-
» ans, lawyers, teachers, and research and clerical workers. In carrying out
* this objective, the project was organized to compile inventories of histori-
cal materials, particularly the unpublished government documents and records
which are basic in the administration of local government, and which provide
invaluable data for students of political, economic, and social history. The
archival guide herewith presented is intended to meet the requirements of day-
to—day administration by the officials of the county, and also the needs of
lawyers, business men and other citizens who require facts from the public
records for the proper conduct of their affairs. The volume is so designed
that it can be used by the historian in his research in unprinted sources in
the same way he uses the library card catalog for printed sources.
The inventories produced by the Historical Records Survey attempt to do
’ more than give merely a list of records - they attempt further to sketch in
the historical background of the county or other unit of government, and gov-
ernment agencies whose records they list. The county, town, and other local
inventories for the entire country will, when completed, constitute an ency.
clopedia of local government as well as a bibliography of local archives.
The successful conclusion of the work of the Historical Records Survey,
even in a single county, would not be possible without the support of public
, officials, historical and legal specialists, and many other groups in the
com unity, Their cooperation is gratefully acknowledged,
The Survey was organized and has been directed by Luther H, Evans, and
° operates as a nation—wide project in the Division of Women's and Professional
Projects, of which Mrs. Ellen S, Woodward, Assistant Administrator, is in
charge.
A HARRY L. HOPKINS
Administrator
0
  l

 PREFACE
9
The Historical Records Survey began on a nation-wide scale as a part of
the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration, and became
in October 1956 an independent part of Federal Project No. l. Under the na-
tional leadership of Dr. Luther H. Evans, formerly of Princeton, the Survey
has inventoried state, county, city, church, and, to a limited extent, private
records. At present, it is preparing for publication in a condensed form, de-
scriptive lists of public records of the county units of government. In each
state the counties are numbered in alphabetical order, and treated as sepa-
rate units, each with an introductory section giving the historical background
and a description of the present government and records system. All records
are referred to the office of origin, which is carefully described as to his-
tory, functions, and required records. Each type of record is given a number-
ed entry showing the comprehensive dates for which it is extant, the quantity,
an interpretation of contents, and details as to nature of recording, index-
ing and location. State, municipal, church, and other records will be de-
scribed in separate publications.
In South Carolina the Historical Records Survey was begun on March l,
1956. Through Professor R. L. Meriwether, head of the department of history,
it has enjoyed the active aid of the University of South Carolina, which, as
’ co-sponsor of the project, is contributing the offices of state headquarters.
The officials of the Works Progress Administration in South Carolina have
always given every cooperation in the administration of the project.
The Dillon unit of the Survey was opened on July l, 1956, with William
Douglas Hamer of Clio as sole member, under the general supervision of Mrs.
Mae Higginbotham of Florence. The first listing of the records was completed
on October 15, and the first condensation of the inventory was undertaken by
Mrs. Higginbotham, assisted by James C. Robinson and Mary Saleeby. A complete
recheck was then made and many entries were added to the first list. The inven-
tory was completely revised in the state office by Roberta Chestnut u der th 
l supervision of Robert W} Barnwell, Jr., who made the final recheck from the
records in May 1958. Florence Worthy typed the final draft; Vivian Barnette
rechecked contents and citations; Lena Lanning made the index; Paul Jordan drew
the illustrations and cut all stencils; Mrs. Willah Brown did the proofreading;
Mrs. Mary Kind and James C. Lever constituted the binding unit.
The forty-six separate units of the Inventory of County Archives of South
Carolini will be issued in mimeographed form for free distiituticn to State
and local public officials and to a selected group of public and institutional ‘
) libraries. Requests for information should be addressed to the state director,
University of South Carolina, Columbia.
/ .
Q,.,\__,__, \"c. ti! rage-txe
July l, 1958 Anne K. Gregorie
State Director
Historical Records Survey
I

 h 1 I
TABLE OF CONTENTS
A. Dillon County and its Records System Page
1. Historical Sketch ........................................... I .~.... 4
2. Governmental Organization and Records System .....................~ 6
Administration. Judicial System. Finances.
V Education and Culture. Elections. Welfare and
Conservation Agencies. Roads. Record Keeping.
5. Housing, Care and Accessibility of the Records. ....... ..... ...... 15
A 4. List of Abbreviations, Symbols, and Explanatory Notes.. ........... 15
I B. County Offices and Their Records
I. Legislative Delegation ....... . .... . ............................... 18
II. Board of County Commissioners. ...... . ......................... .... 18
III. Road Supervisor ................ . .................................. 2O
IV. Clerk of Court as Register of Mesne Conveyance. .................. . 2l
Real Property: Deeds and Plats; Mortgages. Personal
Property. Statutory Liens. Attachments of Real
Property. Business Registrations. Surety Bonds.
Miscellaneous.
V. Clerk of Court .................................................... 25
Registers and Licenses. Military Records. Voters
and Elections. Vital Statistics. Alcoholic Liquor
Permits. Drainage District Records. c
VI. Circuit Court of General Sessions. ......~.................... ..... 29
Sessions Cases. Calendars. Minutes. Records of
Clemency. Jurors and Court Costs. Forfeitures.
VII. Circuit Solicitor ................................................. 52
) VIII. Grand Jury ............ . ........................................... 55
IX. Board of Jury Commissioners. ............ .. ........................ 54
X. Circuit Court of Common Pleas ...................... . .............. 54
’ Judgments. Calendars. Initiatory Proceedings.
Attachments, Injunctions and Bonds. Minutes.
Estate Records.

 Q 3 2 K
Table of Contents
Q Page
I XI. Master ................. . .......................... ... ........ . 38
XII. Judge of Probate ........................................¤.“... 39
Transmission of Property. Financial Records.
Marriage. Lunacy and Juvenile Cases.
Pensions. Maps.
XIII. Magistrates ................................................... 44
XIV. Sheriff ........ . ......... . ............... .... ............L.... 45
XV. Rural Policemen, ........ ..... ................................. 47
_ XVI. Coroner. .................... . .............................r... 47
XVII. Auditor ............. A .......................y................. 48
XVIII. Board of Equalization ......... . ............... . ......... ...... 50 A
XIX. Treasurer. .................................................... 50
Taxation. General and School Accounts.
Sinking Fund. Drainage District Taxes.
Correspondence.
XX. Tax Collector ............... . ........... ... ................... 54
XXI. Forfeited Land Commission ......................,..... ... .... .. 55
XXII. Board of Education... .... ....; ................................ 55
XXIII. Latta Library .............. ..~ .... . ........................... 57
Administrative Records. Circulation
Records. Catalogues.
XXIV. Board of Registration ....... . ................................. 59
XXV. Commissioners of Election .... . .... . .......................... . 60
. XXVI. Board of Honor ......... . ......... .. ........... . .............. 61
XXVII. Service Officer .................. .. .......................... . Gl
XXVIII. County Board of Health ....... . .................. . .... . ........ 62
Correspondence and Reports. Examinations.
XXIX. Farm and Home Extension Service ....... .. ............... . ..... . 64
XXX. Cou ty Board of Public Welfare. ...... ..... ..... . .............. 65
XXXI. County Forest Fire Control Organization ....... . .............. , 66

   ..5..
Table of Contents
Index Page
Chronological ....L........... . .................... . ..,... 67
Alphabetical .....c“%....J......................... . ...... 68
_ Illustrations
Dillon County Courthouse ,.... . ...L................ frontispiece
Map of Circuit Court Districts, 1769 .............. following 5
Map of Counties and Circuit Court Districts, 1785. following 4
Chart of County Government ..... Q .~....¤. . °...... .. following 12 ’
Map of Dillon County .............. .. .~... . ........ following 17
Map of Counties, 1958, showing year of origin .... ... ¤..... , end

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   - 5 -
§ Historical Sketch (First entry, p. 20)
é A
Q Modern Dillon County is the result of a railroad. In 1887 the Atlantic
§ Coast Line Railroad built a short cut from Wilson, North Carolina, to the
7 crossing over the Great Peedee in Marion County. The town of Dillon began
as a railroad station, and grew rapidly as it became the trade center for
the upper part of the county. Dhrion_ County was seventy—five miles long
{ and the courthouse was twenty miles from the town of Dillon. Moreover, the
‘ upper portion of the county paid over half of the taxes, so a twenty—year
~ struggle for the establishment of a new county began. Immediate demands
I came to naught, as the constitution of 1868 required a county to be 625
I square miles in area. Following the adoption of a new constitution of 1895,
which permitted smaller counties and provided that the question of the es-
` tablishment of new counties be voted on by the people of the area affected,
an election was held in 1897. Though the election carried, the attempt was
given up when it was found that the courts were unfavorable. An election
in 1902 failed by a narrow margin, but an election in 1909 was a complete
y victory for the proponents of the new county. The act establishing Dillon
County was passed by the legislature in February 1910, The county was named
J in honor of James W. Dillon. He had been influential in securing the rail-
` road for that section and the station had been named for him, though at that
time he was not a resident, Subsequently he moved to Dillon and became a ‘
prominent merchant. A leader in the movement to create the new county, he
contributed $25,000 toward the construction of the courthouse and jail.
(Thompson and Stephens, pp: cit., pp. 10-15.)
The establishing act named a commission to mark the boundaries of the
county and build the courthouse and jail. The members were R. P. Stackhouse,
( R. P. Hamer, Jr., T. C. Sherwood, R. L. Ivey, Rembert K. Hays, R. S. Moore,
J. H. Manning, H. A, Bethea, J, Rich Hays, T. A. Dillon, and J. H. David.
(Acts 1910, p. 864.) A special election was held in April 1910 for choosing
the officials whom the law required to be elected (ibid. p. 866). The first
officers were J. H. Manning, state senator; P. L. Bethea, representative;
W, J. Adams, E. L. Moore, J. E. Henry and T, W, Berry, county commissioners;
J. W. Rowland, supervisor; John C. Bethea, clerk of court; A. B. Jordan,
master in equity; R. A. Brunson, Sr., judge of probate; S. V. Lane, sheriff;
B. F. Gasque, coroner, C. G. Bruce, auditor; William Molnnis, treasurer;
J. P. Lane, superintendent of education; W. P. Coker and N. B, Hargrove,
members of board of education. (Reports 1911, IV, 559, 565, 575, 574.)
A There is a bronze tablet on the courthouse which shows that the court-
I house was built in 1911-12 and that there were two committees.
The first committee was composed of Thomas A. Dillon, chairman; Dr.
f J. H. David, secretary; R. P. Stackhouse, J. H. Manning, K. A. Bethea,»
` R. P. Hamer, Jr., R, K. Mayes, T. G. Sherwood, R. L. Ivy, R. S. Moore, J.
R. Hayes.
The "final committee" was composed of Thomas A. Dillon, chairman; Dr.
J. H. David, secretary; H. A. Bethea, R, P. Hamer, Jr., T. C. Sherwood, R.
S. Moore, J. R. Hayes, Dr. Wade Stackhouse, J. W. Nicholson, R. S. Rogers,
J. C. Henry.
` For abbreviations and explanatory notes see pages 15-17
f
A

 Z` - 6 e
g Governmental Organization and Records System (First entry, p. 20)
E Dillon County is roughly triangular in shape, with North Carolina to
A the northeast, Marlboro County to the northwest, and Marion County on the
A south. A small portion of Florence County touches it on the southwest, as
. does a portion of Horry County on the southeast. The boundary with Marl-
E boro is very old, being part of the line which separated Georgetown Dis-
i trict from Cheraw District in 1769. The boundary with Marion County is ir-
· regular. The principal natural boundaries are the Great Peedce and Lumber
Rivers, which separate Dillon from Florence and Eorry Counties respectively.
There have been no boundary changes since the formation of the county.
I The area of Dillon County is 471 square miles. In 1950 the population
was 25,755, distributed as follows; native white, 15,265; foreign born white,
54; Negro, 12,067; Indian 565; Mexican 2. The county scat in 1950 had a
population of 2751.
Though small in area and population, Dillon County is one of the most
progressive counties in the state. -It has some industries, notably cotton
mills, but agriculture is the prevailing occupation of the people. Dillon
County has fertile soil and its per capita crop value is one of the highest I
in the state. Cotton and tobacco are the chief money crops. (Thompson and
Stephens, op. cit. p. 79; South Carolina . . ., prepared by Department of
Agriculture? Cbmmerce and Industry of Clemson College, Columbia, S. C.,
1927, p. 207.)
2. GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION AND RECORDS SYSTEM
Counties in South Carolina date back to 1682, but the early counties
functioned as units of local government only for a brief period in a portion
of the coastal region. These counties existed in name until the American
Revolution but were merely vaguely defined divisions, used only in describ-
ing the general location of land grants. In portions of the province, es-
pecially the region near the coast, parishes were established, but the only
local government in most of the back country was vested in magistrates and,
to a certain extent, the militia organization. The only court in the prov-
ince met at Charleston,
This condition existed until 1769, when South Carolina was divided into
A seven precincts or districts for circuit courts. These districts were
T Charleston, Beaufort, Georgetown, Orangeburg, Cheraw, Ninety Six, and Camden.
(Grimkej Public Laws, pp. 268-75.) Present day Dillon County was within
T Georgetown District. A district sheriff was appointed by the governor. The
A judges and clerk of court were provincial rather than district officers.
These districts were judicial units only and not administrative ones. If
any matter arose, such as laying out a road, building a bridge or clearing
_ a stream, the general assembly would appoint commissioners to supervise the
work and to levy the necessary taxes.
3 For abbreviations and explanatory notes sec pages 15-17
ig

  7
{ - 7 —
§ Governmental Organization and Records System (First entry, p. 20)
E Up to the time of the Revolution the parishes were the election dis-
if tricts. Host of them were near the coast and consequently the back country
Y had little or no representation in the assembly. In 1775 election districts
T were created for the first time in many parts of South Carolina for the pur-
Q pose of choosing members to the provincial congress, a revolutionary body.
5 The districts were arbitrarily fixed by a committee having no legal author-
i ity, but the constitutions of 1776 (art. XI) and of 1778 (art XII) recog-
nized and increased the number of these election districts.
There had long been a demand for county courts and in 1785 an act was
passed providing for surveys to divide the state into counties (Stat. IV,
561). In 1785 thirty-four counties were established (Stat. IV, 661-64), but
` all of these did not function. Among them was LibertyHCEunty (ibid. p. 665),
which included what is new Dillon County. The county court was“IH%©¤aed to
I be not merely a judicial body but also an administrative one, but it was
= never set up in Liberty County.
_ In 1800, under a complete reorganization of the judicial system, the
» county courts and also the old circuit court districts were abolished (Stat. ·
I VII, 287, 291). New circuit court districts were created which were much¤~
t smaller in size and which in a large part of the state were identical in
area with the defunct counties. Thus harion District had the same boundaries
as Liberty County (Stat. VII, 284). Each district had its sheriff, clerk of
I court, ordinary, commissioner of equity, and for a time a commissioner of
I location. In a large part of the state the district was also the election
l unit. However, in the lower part of the state the parishes continued to
‘ function for this purpose. Also a few counties continued to function as
n subdivisions of districts, so there was no uniformity in the organization of
local government. The matter is further complicated by the fact that up
until 1824 the equity districts did not coincide with the law court districts,
Z as usually several of the latter were combined to form one of the former.
a Administrative matters whether in parish, district or county were at-
Q tended to by various sets of commissioners, notably, commissioners of roads,
I commissioners of public buildings, commissioners of the poor, commissioners
yr of schools. (Stat. VII, 299; IX, 292; V, 599, 555, 659.) Some of these were
T elected by the*YEEkrs, but usually they were chosen by the general assembly.
, (§jat, IX, 274, 289.) The governor of the state had very little power in
@h0 eppcintment of local officers. The state made annual appropriations for
the free schools, administered by local commissioners. The other sets of
commissioners had power to levy taxes for their respective purposes. However,
—“ government was simple and the expenditures were small. The roads were kept
— up largely by men performing road duty or else using their slaves.
j This type of government existed until the end of the ante-bellum period,
§ when South Carolina for her constitution of 1861 adapted the constitution of
I 1790 to the constitution of the Confederate States. After the fall of the
g Confederacy in 1865, a new state constitution was adopted and thc state gov-
E ernment was reorganized very much along the old lines. This constitution was
i overthrown by the Reconstruction acts passed by Congress in 1866, and a
Q military government was set up.
g For abbreviations and explanatory notes see pages 15-17

 r  & 4 I ' ‘ ' ' , \
gf Governmental Organization and Records System (First entry, p, 20)
$2
4
§ In 1868 another state constitution was adopted which brought about a
is number of changes, and went much more into details in its stipulations about
g local government than had any previous constitution of South Carolina. The
i parishes as units for representation were abolished, and the judicial dis-
2 tricts were again called counties, For the first time the formation of new
2 counties by the legislature was regulated and the provision made that no
g county could be reduced in size to less than 625 square miles. (Art. II,
E 5.) The court of equity was abolished, and its functions divided between
?` the courts of common pleas and of probate (art. IV, 16, 17). The latter
i was the successor of the court of ordinary (art. IV, 20). The office of
i county school commissioner was created (art. X, 2). The duties of several
Q of the sets of commissioners were combined and placed under one group of
A three elected county commissioners (art. IV, 19). These had charge of roads,
{ public buildings, the poor, and they were required to make out a budget of
{ expenses for the ensuing year and submit it to the state comptroller general.
From this time dates the practice of having all levies for county ex-
E penses passed each year in an act of the general assembly. The duties of
i the tax collector were divided between the auditor and the treasurer, Boards ,
of assessors were also created. These fiscal officers were appointed by the v
» governor, who, since 1868, has exercised more power than formerly. The
counties were subdivided into townships, which were intended as units of
government, but have amounted to little except as road and tax districts.
{ The school districts also date from this period. l
L The decade from 1890 to 1900 saw considerable change in county govern-
ment. The most outstanding was the adoption of a new constitution in 1895,
r but there were also several very important acts of the legislature, The con-
I stitution changed the requirements for the formation of counties, reducing
p the minimum area to 500 square miles for old counties and 400 square miles
i for new ones, and also making all changes in the boundaries of counties de-
{ pendent on the approval of the voters of the area affected (art. VII, 2, 3,4
_, 7)- Provisions for several of the county officers, notably the county com-
i missioners and the superintendent of education, were left to statutory enact-
i‘l. ments. Since then there have been a great many changes affecting county ad-
Q ministration, so that the governing body varies not only between counties
{ but from time to time in the same county. The influence of the legislative
; delegation over administrative affairs has steadily increased. Up until
e 1920 there were a great many changes in the boundaries of counties, but the
? easy means of communication made possible by the state highway system, to-
I gether with the increased cost of maintaining a county government, has put
y an end to the formation of new counties, The duties of the government have
f steadily grown more complicated, and there are a number of agencies such as
health units and farm demonstration agents, which are supported in part by
Q federal and state funds.
{ It is exceedingly di