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St. Matthews in Calhoun County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

First Land Granted in Calhoun County Area

 
 
First Land Granted in Calhoun County Area Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mike Stroud, 2010
1. First Land Granted in Calhoun County Area Marker
Inscription.  
George Sterling was granted 570 acres of land here on March 14, 1704. During the lifetime of his daughter, Mary Sterling Heatly Russell, the plantation was a stopping place for Indians and travelers on the Cherokee Path. The Rev. John Giessendanner held early religious services in the house (1750-1754). (Marker Number 9-1.)
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Settlements & Settlers. A significant historical month for this entry is March 1812.
 
Location. 33° 38.178′ N, 80° 42.341′ W. Marker is in St. Matthews, South Carolina, in Calhoun County. Marker is on Old Number 6 Highway (State Highway 6) near Bluebird Trail, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Saint Matthews SC 29135, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Honoring a Pioneer Woman (here, next to this marker); St. Matthew's Lutheran Church (approx. 2.3 miles away); John Adam Treutlen (approx. 3.2 miles away); Tabernacle Cemetery (approx. 3½ miles away); Shady Grove Church (approx. 3.7 miles away); Calhoun County
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(approx. 4.6 miles away); Patriots of Calhoun County (approx. 4.6 miles away); "Lest We Forget" (approx. 4.6 miles away); Mount Pleasant Baptist Church (approx. 5.1 miles away); St. Matthew's Parish (approx. 5.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in St. Matthews.
 
Also see . . .
1. Cherokee Path, Sterling Land Grant. In 1704, George Sterling received a proprietary land grant for 570 acres of land along Ox Creek (today called Lyon’s Creek). (Submitted on February 11, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

2. Cherokee Path. The Cherokee Path (also Keowee path) was the primary route from Charleston to Columbia, South Carolina in Colonial America, connecting all of the Cherokee territories. (Submitted on February 12, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 
 
Additional commentary.
1. Cherokee Path, Sterling Land Grant
In 1704 George Sterling received a grant for 570 acres of land on Ox Creek. It was an unpopulated section of South Carolina and Sterling became one of the area's first white settlers. Although Sterling's land was
First Land Granted in Calhoun County Area Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mike Stroud, January 3, 2010
2. First Land Granted in Calhoun County Area Marker
Shares location with Mary Sterling Heatly Russell, Pioneer Woman, South Carolina Tribute
isolated, it was traversed by the Cherokee Path, an early Indian trading path which in South Carolina led from Charles Towne to Keowee, the principal Lower Town of the Cherokees. From Keowee the Path led over the Appalachian Mountains to the valley of the Little Tennessee River.

A house, the home of Sterling's daughter Mary Russell and her husband Charles Russell, once stood on the Sterling land; however, no records indicate the exact location of the house or the date of its destruction.

Two acres, crossed by the Cherokee Path, is the portion of the Sterling land being nominated to the National Register. Today, this land is located just off a rural highway and remains somewhat isolated. The site of the grant itself is a deserted overgrown field which is dotted with scattered trees. The Cherokee Path crosses the state of South Carolina, and many modern highways follow the route of the Path, but Calhoun is one of the few counties in South Carolina where portions of the original path remain visible.

Significance
In 1704, George Sterling received a proprietary land grant for 570 acres of land along Ox Creek (today called Lyon's Creek). This grant marks the first settlement of the area that was to become the Orangeburg District and later Calhoun County. Sterling died in 1706, but his family established a home along Ox Creek. The Cherokee Path, an
First Land Granted in Calhoun County Area Marker, (r) looking southward along Old Number 6 Highway image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mike Stroud, January 3, 2010
3. First Land Granted in Calhoun County Area Marker, (r) looking southward along Old Number 6 Highway
important Indian path, crossed Sterling's land.

Originally, the Cherokee Path was an Indian footpath leading from Charles Towne to the Cherokee territory in South Carolina, across the Appalachian Mountains, and into the valley of the Little Tennessee River. As white settlers began to develop a more extensive trade with the Indians, the Path developed into a larger trading path. Later, wagon roads and even modern highways followed the route of the Cherokee Path.

During the lifetime of Sterling's daughter, Mary Sterling Heatly Russell, the Sterling plantation was a stopping place for Indians and other travelers along the Path. By 1725, Mary and her husband, Charles Russell, had established themselves at the Ox Creek Plantation; however, they did not officially purchase the Sterling home from Mary's brother William until 1731. from the time of their marriage until Mary's death, the Russells were involved in Indian affairs and entertained Indians and other travelers in their home. On an expedition to Cherokee County in 1725, Captain George Chicken, Commissioner of Indian Trade, recorded in his journal an overnight stop at Captain Russell's. In 1731, Sir Alexander Cuming, Ambassador to the Cherokees, also recorded stopping overnight at the Russells.

In 1734, the Assemble appointed Captain Charles Russell, "at his plantation, on the South side of the Santee
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river," as one of the several officers with whom Indian traders were required to enter the number of skins and furs for which they had traded. Also in 1734, Russell was appointed as an agent to the Cherokees. He died in January 1737 while on a special mission to the tribe.

Mrs. Russell's home continued to be a stopping point for travelers along the Cherokee Path. Until her death in 1754, Mrs. Russell periodically petitioned the Commons House of Assembly for repayment of expenses incurred by supplying Indians and other passers-by with food and drink. Her home was also used by the community for religious services. From 1749 until 1754, the Reverend John Gissendanner recorded that services in the Amelia Township were held in various homes including that of Mrs. Russell.

No archaeological work has been planned for the Sterling land; however, the site could have potential for archaeological excavation. (Source: National Register nomination form.)
    — Submitted February 12, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 23, 2020. It was originally submitted on February 6, 2010, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 1,325 times since then and 38 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on February 6, 2010, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 20, 2024