A few English-speaking non-German settlers were present in the area from the early 1730s, but active settlement began in 1735, when the first organized immigration of 220 German-Swiss settlers arrived.

Originally entitled “Edisto,” but renamed by its German-speaking Swiss inhabitants to honor William IV, Prince of Orange-Nassau, the 48,000-acre Orangeburgh Township was situated on the North Fork of the Edisto River. A few English-speaking non-German settlers were present in the area from the early 1730s, but active settlement began in 1735, when the first organized immigration of 220 German-Swiss settlers arrived. These were not indentured servants, but were provisioned by the colonial government, granted land, and exempted from taxes for ten years. More German-Swiss immigrants joined them there in subsequent years, so that by the mid-1750s, 45,000 acres had been granted in tracts of 200 acres or less and the township was home to some 800 people. Shepherded by its Lutheran pastor John Ulrich Giessendanner and the Anglican priest John Giessendanner, the German village soon developed into a tightly knit, small farming community and transportation center. Orangeburgh’s farmers grew hemp, indigo, and rice and produced enough wheat to help South Carolina reduce its dependence on imported flour from Philadelphia. A few merchants with Charleston connections established businesses there in the 1750s, and a circuit court was established at the village of Orangeburgh in 1769, whereupon the land was resurveyed and a town laid out. By the eve of the Revolutionary War, Orangeburgh Township had been incorporated into St. Matthew’s Parish (along with Amelia Township) and was a prosperous German community.

Meriwether, Robert Lee. The Expansion of South Carolina, 1729–1765. Kingsport, Tenn.: Southern Publishers, 1940.

Salley, Alexander S. The History of Orangeburg County, South Carolina from Its First Settlement to the Close of the Revolutionary War. 1898. Reprint, Baltimore: Regional Publishing, 1969.

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Citation Information

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  • Article Title Orangeburg Township
  • Author Michael Everette Bell
  • Website Name South Carolina Encyclopedia
  • URL http://www.scencyclopedia.org/sce/entries/orangeburg-township/
  • Access Date March 26, 2019
  • Publisher University of South Carolina, Institute for Southern Studies
  • Original Published Date June 8, 2016
  • Date of Last Update October 21, 2016