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The Official Web Site of the State of South Carolina


J. Verne Smith Gallery Exhibit

"Nothing is more necessary...than the...Publick Records"

The Records of Proprietary Era South Carolina, 1663-1721

Image of Records of Proprietary Era SC, 1663-1721

The current exhibit at the Department of Archives and History features documents from the founding of South Carolina as a colony. In 1663 King Charles II gave Carolina to eight English noblemen who had supported the restoration of the monarchy. These men came to be known as the Lords Proprietors. The earliest surviving government record in South Carolina, a record book begun in 1671 by Joseph Dalton, the first secretary of the province, is included in the exhibit as well as other epic documents from the colony’s seventeenth century beginnings. The proprietors envisioned a hereditary landed nobility headed by persons bearing the titles of Landgrave and Cassique. The 1672 Landgrave patent in Latin of Sir Edmund Andros with its perfect impression in red wax of the great seal of the Lords Proprietors is also on display. A warrant for surveying a land grant in the exhibit documents a slave family that the first governor brought to the colony with the first fleet. The colonists were an obstreperous lot and in 1719 they revolted against the proprietors’ government. Documents from that revolt that emphasize the importance of the public records provide the quote used in the title of the exhibit.


Exhibit is open from 9 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Saturday
except State Holidays at South Carolina Archives & History Center,
8301 Parklane Road, Columbia, SC 29223, 803-896-6196


A special thank you to:

Dr. W. Eric Emerson
Dr. Chuck Lesser
Mr. Patrick McCawley
Mr. Bryan Collars
Image of South Carolina Archives & History Foundation
for supporting this exhibit.