SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina, That a new judicial and election County, which shall be known as Dorchester County, is hereby formed, with the following boundaries, to wit: All that portion of Colleton County comprised in the townships of George, Koger, Carn, Burns, Girhans, Dorchester and that part of Collins township in said County of Colleton lying North of the public road leading from Parker's Ferry upon the Edisto River to a public landing known as Loundes Landing upon Rantowles Creek, and all that portion of Berkeley County included within the following lines, to wit: From the intersection of the County line between Colleton and Berkeley Counties with the run of Four Hole Creek a straight line to a point upon Saw Mill Branch one mile Northeast of the South Carolina and Georgia Railroad, thence along said branch to the Colleton County line, and thence back to the starting point along the line of division between Colleton and Berkeley Counties.
SECTION 2. That L. A. Klauber of St. Georges, T. Q. McElheney of St. Georges, R. L. Farrell of Harleyville, D. E. Thrower of Ridgeville, E. B. Fishburn and Geddings Ilderton of Knightsville, and Roach Platt of Delmars, are appointed Commissioners to have the boundaries of said new County of Dorchester, as above indicated, surveyed and properly marked, as well as to designate and establish the particular site for public buildings as hereinafter provided: Provided, That the County seat shall be decided by vote of the qualified electors in said County at an election which shall be held in accordance with law by order of the Governor, which election shall be held within thirty days after the approval of this Act: Provided, further, That if from any cause said election shall not be held on the day so ordered, that then, and in such an event, the Governor shall be, and he is hereby, empowered to order another election at his discretion; and should the people at such election fail to determine upon the selection of such County Seat, the Governor shall be, and he is hereby, authorized and empowered to call as many elections as may be necessary to determine upon the selection of such County Seat, and the place receiving a majority of the qualified electors voting at such election or elections shall be the County Seat, and the aforesaid Commissioners shall provide suitable buildings for the several Court and County officers as soon after the selection of County Seat as hereinbefore provided as shall be practicable, and shall select and purchase or procure sites for the usual public buildings, and shall contract for and superintend the erection of the court house and jail thereon, and said public buildings shall be built at the expense of the citizens of the said County of Dorchester as hereinafter provided in this Act, unless the aforesaid buildings shall be built at the expense of any municipality or private individuals of the said new County of Dorchester as a public donation to said new County; then, and in such an event, the buildings shall be erected according to the plans and under the supervision of aforesaid Commissioners, four of whom shall constitute a quorum, and no measures shall be passed and considered binding without having received the votes of four members of said Commission.
SECTION 3. That within thirty days after the selection of the County Seat by the qualified electors as provided for in Section 2 of this Act, the Governor shall call an election in the County of Dorchester for Senator and for the regular County officers provided for by the Constitution and laws of this State, who shall hold office until their respective terms would have expired had they been elected at the last general election held November 3d, 1896, and that the present members of the House of Representatives from Colleton and Berkeley Counties shall hold over until the expiration of their terms of office: Provided, That the Governor shall fill all appointive officers as provided for by law, which officers shall be commissioned at the same time and for the same period as herein provided for elective officers.
SECTION 4. That the voting precincts and school districts heretofore established by law in those portions of Berkeley and Colleton Counties embraced in the limits of Dorchester County shall be the precincts and school districts of Dorchester County until changed.
SECTION 5. That the territory embraced in Dorchester County shall belong to the Seventh Congressional District, and to the Second Judicial Circuit, and that the regular terms of the Courts of General Sessions and Common Pleas shall be held in the town which shall be selected as County Seat for the County of Dorchester on the fourth Monday of March and the first Monday of August and the first Monday of December of each year; and the Court of Common Pleas at the same place on the Wednesdays following the Mondays on which the Court of General Sessions opens for said County of Dorchester, the first term of the said Court of eGneral Sessions to be held on the first Monday of August, 1897. That the Magistrates shall be located as they now are in the territory covered by the County of Dorchester until otherwise provided for by law: Provided, however, That the Magistrates now in office shall bind over to the Court of General Sessions of Dorchester County such parties as are required by law to be bound over when the offense is committed in Dorchester County as formed by this Act, and to the Court of General Sessions for Colleton County when the offense is committed in Colleton County, and to the Court of General Sessions for Berkeley County when the offense is committed in Berkeley County. Said Magistrates whose offices are in Dorchester County shall in like manner be restricted in their official functions, powers and duties to the said County of Dorchester.
SECTION 6. That from and after the transfer of records as hereinafter provided for, and the full and complete establishment of said Dorchester County as herein provided, all suits pending in the Courts of Berkeley and Colleton Counties of which the defendants reside in that portion of said County now established as the County of Dorchester, and all indictments pending in the said Counties of Berkeley and Colleton where the offense was committed in that portion of said new County now established as the County of Dorchester, shall be transferred to the calendars of the Courts of the said County of Dorchester; and all records, commissions and other papers belonging to any of the said suits or indictments, together with all the legal incidents thereto appertaining, shall be transferred to the Clerk of the Court of said County of Dorchester, or the Probate Judge, as the case may be.
SECTION 7. That the Governor is authorized and empowered to appoint a Commission of five persons, two of whom shall be residents of the County of Dorchester, one resident of the County of Berkeley, one resident of the County of Colleton, and one resident of some other County in this State, which said Commission shall divide and apportion between the Counties of Berkeley, Colleton and Dorchester the present lawful and bona fide indebtedness of the old Counties of Colleton and Berkeley, having regard to the amount of unpaid taxes due to the said Counties of Colleton and Berkeley. The said Commissioners shall receive, as compensation for their services, three dollars per day for every day actually engaged in such service, not exceeding six days in the aggregate, with mileage at five cents per mile each way, which compensation shall be paid by the Commissioners provided for in Section 2 of this Act.
SECTION 8. That the Commissioners named in Section 2 of this Act shall be the proper corporate authorities of Dorchester County, and of each of the townships thereof and therein, for the purposes of this Act, and until the duties imposed upon them by this Act have been fully performed or imposed upon others; and in case of the death, removal, disability, resignation or disqualification of any one or more of them, the place or places thus made vacant shall be filled by appointment of the Governor, which appointees shall be selected from the same locality or localities from which his or their predecessor or predecessors was or were selected. The said Commissioners shall have power to organize and elect their own necessary officers and to remove them by a majority vote of the members. They shall keep minutes of their meetings and proceedings and decisions. They shall procure and keep a seal of their office.
SECTION 9. That the said Commissioners named in Section 2 of this Act are hereby authorized and empowered to receive gifts and grants for the benefit of the County of Dorchester as inducements for the selection of particular Constitutional sites for the County Seat, and to enter into proper contracts therefor, and to enforce the same according to their terms and conditions, and that they do acquaint the people by advertisement of the value of the offers made, so that the vote may be cast intelligently as to the location of the County Seat. That they may take conveyances to themselves of lands or personal property by way of a bonus for the County, and may by a majority of said Commissioners execute deeds and conveyances to third parties in their own names as Commissioners in carrying out sales made or to be made by them of any property received by them as aforesaid for the use of said Dorchester County.
SECTION 10. That the Clerks of the Court, Registers of Mesne Conveyances, Judges of Probate, Sheriffs, County Supervisors, Masters, County Boards of Commissioners, County Superintendents of Education, Jury Commissioners, and the Courts of Common Pleas and General Sessions, and all other County officials and Courts of Berkeley and Colleton Counties, as they stood and were organized prior to the formation of Dorchester County, shall have full jurisdiction and power in and over the people and the territory embraced within the lines of Dorchester County until after the officers shall have been appointed, or elected, as the case may be, and qualified for and in the County of Dorchester, when the records shall be removed to the County of Dorchester: Provided, That the Auditors for Berkeley and Colleton Counties shall each make up a set of books and take tax returns for Dorchester County separately, for the use and benefit of said Dorchester County, and that the Treasurers for Berkeley and Colleton Counties, respectively, shall each keep the taxes collected for Dorchester County separately until the Treasurer for Dorchester County be appointed and qualified, to whom they shall then at once turn over all funds for Dorchester County, and the books, as hereinbefore provided.
SECTION 11. That the County Auditor and the County Treasurer of Dorchester County shall, on their appointment by the Governor as herein provided, proceed to levy and collect State, County and school taxes as County Auditors and County Treasurers in the several Counties of the State are required by law to do; and such levy shall be made on the basis of the estimates made for Colleton County and at the rate provided for Colleton County for the present fiscal year; and in addition thereto they shall levy and collect a tax of three-quarters of a mill to meet the annual interest on the bonds hereinafter provided to be issued.
SECTION 12. That the said Commissioners named in Section 2 of this Act be, and they are hereby, authorized to issue the bonds of Dorchester County in convenient denominations, not to exceed twenty thousand dollars in the aggregate, to run twenty years, bearing a rate of interest not to exceed six per cent. per annum, payable annually, and to advertise for and to receive sealed cash bids for said bonds, no bid to be accepted for less than par, and to sell said bonds to the highest bidder, to raise a fund to erect suitable County buildings, to furnish said public buildings with the necessary vaults, etc., and to defray all other necessary expenses required to properly carry out the provisions of this Act, which fund, with all other moneys received by them, shall be by them deposited in some national bank in the city of Charleston of good financial standing, subject to check or draft of a majority of said Commissioners, countersigned by the Secretary of said Commissioners, until the Treasurer of said Dorchester County shall have been appointed and shall have qualified, when it may be drawn out in the same manner, and shall be turned over to the Treasurer of said Dorchester County, subject to the check or draft of a majority of the said Commissioners. And said Commissioners are authorized and empowered, in advance of the sale of said bonds, to borrow two thousand dollars, if so much be necessary, on the hypothecation of such bonds, or so many of them as may be necessary, for the purpose of paying expenses incurred by the said Commissioners in carrying out the provisions of this Act. And the County Board of Commissioners for the County of Dorchester, and their successors, shall annually levy and collect a sufficient tax on the property of Dorchester County to pay the interest on said bonds when the same is due, and at a convenient time before the maturity of said bonds they shall levy and have collected a sufficient additional tax to create a sinking fund to pay up said bonds at their maturity.
SECTION 13. That the County Auditors and County Treasurers of Colleton County and Berkeley Counties, respectively, shall receive such compensation for themselves for the duties imposed herein as shall be agreed upon between the said Commissioners and themselves; and if no agreement can be reached, then said duties shall be performed without compensation.
SECTION 14. That the said Board of Commissioners provided for in Section 2 may receive compensation for themselves for their services at a rate not to exceed two dollars per day, and mileage at five cents per mile each way, for each and every day while actually engaged in the performance of their duties imposed by this Act, and the person selected as the Secretary of said Board shall receive such compensation as shall be fixed by said Board or a majority of them: Provided, That the per diem and mileage of said Commissioners, together with salary of Secretary, shall not exceed in the aggregate the sum of one thousand dollars: Provided, further, That the Solicitor of the Circuit to which Dorchester County shall be attached is hereby required to render to the Board of Commissioners provided for in Section 2 of this Act such legal services as may be necessary.
SECTION 15. That the County officers of Dorchester County when elected or appointed shall receive the following fees and salaries, to wit: The Sheriff, Clerk of Court of Common Pleas and General Sessions, the same fees as are now allowed by law to the Sheriff and the Clerk of Court of Common Pleas and General Sessions. The Judge of Probate shall receive a salary of four hundred dollars per annum, and may perform the duties of Master. The Treasurer shall receive a salary of twelve hundred dollars per annum in lieu of all fees and commissions. The County Auditor shall receive an annual salary of five hundred dollars from the State Treasurer, and in addition from the County the sum of three hundred dollars; the County Superintendent of Education an annual salary of four hundred dollars; the County Supervisor an annual salary of four hundred dollars; the Coroner an annual salary of fifty dollars; and the Magistrates and Constables to be appointed in and for said County, each, the sum of one hundred dollars in lieu of all fees in criminal cases. Said salaries to be paid quarterly by warrant of the County Supervisor on the County Treasurer.
SECTION 16. Immediately after the question of the location of County seat is settled by the votes of the people as hereinbefore provided, that the Clerks of Court for the Counties of Colleton and Berkeley be, and they are hereby, directed to make, or cause to be made, within three months, copies of all conveyances, mortgages and liens of every kind and description now on record in their respective offices affecting or pertaining to all that territory embraced in the County of Dorchester as aforesaid: Provided, That the Clerks of Court, as hereinbefore stated, shall each receive for making and certifying such copies one-half of the compensation, and no more, that they would be entitled to under the present law for recording deeds, conveyances, mortgages, liens and other papers of similar character. That such copies shall be made in substantial books to be procured for said purpose, and shall be filed with the Commissioners provided for in Section 2 of this Act, or their successors in office, within three months after the vote is declared locating the County seat. That the cost of books and stationery, as well as making the copies herein required and all other expenses incident to the same, shall be paid for by the Commissioners provided for in Section 2 of this Act.
SECTION 17. That immediately after the approval of this Act the Governor is hereby authorized to appoint three Commissioners of Election for Dorchester County, who shall conduct all elections provided for in this Act in accordance with the law. And the Supervisor of Registration in the Counties of Colleton and Berkeley shall, and they are hereby directed to, immediately furnish the aforesaid Commissioners of Election with certified copies of the registration books for all the election precincts of their respective old Counties, but now embraced within the limits of Dorchester County.
SECTION 18. That the Commissioners appointed under Section 2 of this Act shall audit and pay all bills of the Commissioners and Messengers of Election for the Counties of Colleton and Berkeley for the per diem and mileage of Managers, Commissioners and messengers and their clerks for the conduct of all elections held by the said officers to settle the questions necessary for the formation of Dorchester County. And the Commissioners as aforesaid shall also audit and pay for the per diem and mileage of Managers, Commissioners and messengers for all elections to be held under the provisions of this Act, which compensation shall in every instance be the same as is now allowed by law for all general elections held in this State.
SECTION 19. The bonds of the various County officers for Dorchester County shall be, and is hereby, fixed as follows, to wit: Sheriff, ten thousand dollars; Clerk of Court, five thousand dollars; Treasurer, ten thousand dollars; Judge of Probate, five thousand dollars; Auditor, twenty-five hundred dollars; Superintendent of Education, two thousand dollars; County Supervisor, two thousand dollars; Coroner, five hundred dollars.
SECTION 20. That this Act shall take effect immediately upon its approval.
SECTION 21. That all Acts or parts of Acts inconsistent with this Act be, and the same are hereby, repealed.
Approved the 25th day of February, A. D. 1897.