Charles Town District, South Carolina


Years in Existence

1st District Seat

2nd District Seat

1769 - 1800

Charles Town


Significant Towns Established 1769 - 1800


Neilson's Ferry

St. James


St. Stephens

Click Here - To see how the Charles Town District evolved from 1769 to 1800-includes all the known towns and villages.

A History of the Charles Town District

In 1768, South Carolina eliminated all of the original counties and established seven new "overarching Districts," with judicial seats in each district. The Act creating these new districts was nullified by the British Parliament, but the re-introduction of the Act in 1769 was approved. From 1769 to 1785, these districts remained intact, however, the district seats did change some during that time-frame. After the American Revolution in 1785, South Carolina re-established the concept of counties and thirty-four (34) "new" counties were defined and established. Each of these new counties were "subsets" of, and subordinate to, the "overarching Districts" that had been in existence since 1769. Some of the newly-defined counties were abolished between 1785 and 1800, whereas other newly-defined counties were created during that period.

The 1785 County Court Act created six "subordinate" counties within the "overarching" Charles Town District - Bartholomew County (totally new), Berkeley County (a new incarnation with new boundaries), Colleton County (a new incarnation with new boundaries), Charleston County (totally new), Marion County (totally new - and not to be confused with the later county along the Pee Dee River that was created n 1798), and Washington County (totally new). Noneof these "new counties" took root with the local citizenship, who were apparently quite comfortable doing their governmental business in Charlestown, and these six "new counties" were abolished in 1791. Some were again resurrected by the state Legislature in 1800, but with totally new boundaries and descriptions just nine years later.

In 1800, South Carolina abolished all "overarching Districts" and essentially went with the county concept from that year forward. However, in 1800, all counties were now called "districts" and would continue being called districts until after the U.S. Civil War. In 1868, South Carolina reverted back to the term "county" and this term has been used continuously since then.

The boundaries of the original Charles Town District remained the same from inception in 1769 to its elimination in 1800. At the end of the American Revolution in 1783, Charlestown was soon thereafter officially renamed to Charleston, but there is no evidence that the Charles Town District was ever officially renamed. It may have been, but this Author has not found any conclusive evidence. If so, it could have been the Charlestown District or the Charleston District.

The first United States Census was taken in 1790 and each of the original seven "overarching Districts" were enumerated within that census. By the 1800 U.S. Census, however, all of the original seven "overarching Districts" had been abolished and new counties (called districts at that time) were enumerated separately in that census.

Also in 1800, what once was the Charles Town District now had become only two new counties - Charleston County (district until 1868) and Colleton County (district until 1868) - therefore, to compare population changes from 1790 to 1800 would not be too difficult.


© 2007 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved