Hilton Head Island
By Jeannette Holland Austin
Hilton Head Island is named for the English sea captain William Hilton who was hired by a syndicate of Barbadian planters. He sighted the high bluffs of the island in August of 1663 while exploring the Port Royal Sound, and named it "Hilton Head," which referenced the visible head lands of uncharted waters. Upon the onset of the American Revolutionary War, the colonists on Hilton Head sided with the patriots. During the war he British frequently raided Hilton Head Island from their stronghold located on Daufuskie Island, capturing slaves later selling them in the West Indies. The raids were constant throughout the war, even continuing after the surrender of Lord Cornwallis. Sea Island Cotton was grown on the banks of the Beaufort River as a lucrative crop. Once again, during the War of 1812 the British invaded Hilton Head Island and burned the town and most of the beautiful sea island homes. Thus, the old county records were lost.
Beaufort County Wills and Land Grants
Beaufort County was formed in 1769 from the parishes of Prince William, St. Luke, St. Peter and St. Helena. The county and county seat were named for Sir Henry Somerset, Duke of Beaufort (1684-1714), one of the Lords Proprietors of Carolina. French explorers first visited this area long with the English arriving in 1562 to establish a fort. Later, in 1566, the Spanish established a temporary fort on this site The town of Beaufort was founded in 1710 and is the second oldest town in South Carolina. It was visited by pirates, including Blackbeard who is thought to have hidden some of his treasure nearby. Large and rice and sea island cotton plantations later enhanced its economy. During the War Between the States, Federal troops occupied Beaufort in December 1861.
Among the earliest settlers were: Alexander Garden (ca. 1730-1791), Stephen Elliott (1771-1830) and Robert Smalls (1839-1915).
Probate Records Available to members of South Carolina Pioneers
- Deloach, Jesse, 1785 Land Grant
- Deloach, Jesse, 1785 plat
- Goette, Henry, distribution of slaves. Bond of David Horton (1 Feb 1841)
- Lawton, Sarah LWT 1832
- Lawton, Joseph LWT
- Nielson, Nicholas of Hilton Head Island, LWT
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