Camden-Charleston Path

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Camden Charleston Path.png

The Camden-Charleston Path connected the South Carolina pioneer towns of Camden and Charleston. Charleston was the largest European settlement, the capital, on the King's Highway, and the start of several other trails. Camden was at a crossroad on the southwest portion of the Occaneechi Path. The southwest part of the Fall Line Road overlapped the Occaneechi Path from Camden to Augusta, Georgia. Part of the south fork of the Great Valley Road also overlapped the Occaneechi Path from Salisbury, North Carolina to Augusta, Georgia. The Camden-Charleston Path was opened to European settlers about 1732.[1] It began in Charleston County, South Carolina and ended in Kershaw County, South Carolina. The length of the path was about 150 miles (240 km).[2]

Historical Background[edit | edit source]

Camden was settled in 1732 by a few English colonists from Charleston. It was the first inland town in South Carolina. It was built on the "fall line" of the Wateree River. The Camden-Charleston Path probably followed older Indian trails. A number of Quakers were the next to settle along the river.

As roads developed in America settlers were attracted to nearby communities because the roads provided access to markets. They could sell their products at distant markets, and buy products made far away. If an ancestor settled near a road, you may be able to trace back to a place of origin on a connecting highway.

Route[edit | edit source]

The first European colonists settled in counties along this path (north to south) as follows:[3]

  • Kershaw 1732 by English from Charleston
  • Sumter 1740s by English, and French Huguenots
  • Calhoun 1730s by Scots-Irish, Germans, and French Huguenots
  • Orangeburg 1730s by Reformed Swiss, German Lutherans, and French Huguenots
  • Dorchester 1696 by New Englanders from Massachusetts
  • Charleston 1670 by English and African Barbadians

Connecting trails. The Camden-Charleston Path links to other trails at each end. The migration pathways connecting in Charleston include:[4]

The migration routes connecting in Camden include:

Modern parallels. The modern roads that roughly match the old Camden-Charleston Path start in Charleston. Follow I-26 north to the Orangeburg. Take State 601 north to Camden.

Settlers and Records[edit | edit source]

Most of the early colonists along the path and in Camden were Englishmen from Charleston. Later settlers included Quakers, and eventually immigrants from the Ulster part of Ireland.

No complete list of settlers who used the Camden-Charleston Path is known to exist. However, local and county histories along the road may reveal first pioneer settlers who were candidates to have travelled the Camden-Charleston Path from the Charleston area. Later pioneers also may have used other connecting trails such as the Occaneechi Path, King's Highway, Fall Line Road, and Great Valley Road.

For partial lists of early settlers who probably used the Camden-Charleston Path, see:

in Kershaw County:

in Sumter County:

in Calhoun County:

in Orangeburg County:

in Dorchester County:

Sources[edit | edit source]

  1. Based on the 1732 Camden settlement date and the fact that the settlers were from Charleston as cited in South Carolina - The Counties, (accessed 22 March 2011).
  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), 848. (FHL Book 973 D27e 2002). WorldCat entry.
  3. South Carolina - The Counties, (accessed 22 March 2011).
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), 847-61. (FHL Book 973 D27e 2002) WorldCat entry., and William E. Myer, Indian Trails of the Southeast. (Nashville, Tenn.: Blue and Gray Press, 1971), 12-14, and the book's pocket map "The Trail System of the Southeastern United States in the early Colonial Period" (1923). (FHL Book 970.1 M992i) WorldCat entry.
  5. "South Carolina Counties and Parishes - 1740" in The Royal Colony of South Carolina at (accessed 22 April 2011).