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History of Givhans Ferry State Park
South Carolina

    After Charleston was settled in 1670, the early European immigrants began to move inland and
raise hemp, rice, and indigo on the rich swampy soil.  When the Dorchester colonists arrived in 1695, they
began to receive grants along the Edisto River   The Indians called it “Adusta, which meant “black.”
Tannic acid makes the water dark, but, in reality, it is very clear and pure.   For some time it was called
“Pon Pon” and there was an attempt to name it for an English lord, which did not work.  The name that
finally evolved was Edisto, which remains today.  The river has its source in two small branches of the
Santee.  These two, the North and South Edisto, meet in the middle of the state and flow  for several miles
to where Four Holes Creek flows into the Edisto, about one mile upstream from Givhan‘s Ferry.   There the
river makes a 90 degree turn to the south because it encounters a high  marl bluff.  When the European
settlers began to make their homes along the Edisto River, some of their earliest maps show an old Indian
trail that led from Charleston to a place near the big bend  of the Edisto. The path ended at a small area
where the high bluff tapered down to a  gentle slope.  The trail ended at the water’s edge and was known as
the Savannah Indian Path.  In early colonial days, a favorite sport was throwing coins into the water from
the bluff and watching  Indian boys dive to retrieve them.  The water was so clear and finding the coins so
easy, it was a favorite game of the young Indians.

    On September 1, 1704, James Moore, an Indian trader, received a royal grant of seven hundred
and twenty acres on both sides of the river at the bluff.  The Indian path was on that land.  The area became
known as Edisto Bluff.  He sent furs and other items down the river by canoe to the Atlantic where they
were met by ships which carried furs, deerskins, and other merchandise to England.  There is no record of
exactly when the ferry across the river was established and the path continued to the trading post at Ft.
Moore, a trading center near what became Augusta, Georgia.  The beginning may have been with Moore’s
trading business.  It became known as the “Charleston-Augusta Savannah  Path”  and gradually became a
well-traveled road.  A 1715 map in the London Public Records Office shows the ferry with the road
continuing to Augusta.

    Moore died of yellow fever in 1706 and the land was sold to satisfy debts of his estate.  It was
bought by James Rawlings from the administrators, Thomas Broughton and  John Guerard, November 5,
1709.  The record indicates that Rawlings was still living there in 1733.  During those years, the area was
known as Rawling’s Bluff and sometimes as Edisto Bluff..  On April 21, 1732 Rawlings was given title to
700 more acres that  bordered his 720 on the east side.

    In those early days,  there was a friendly relationship with the local Indian tribes.   In records of
that time, there is no indication of fear on the part of the settlers.  Many reports of cheating  on the part of
early white traders changed  the outlook of some tribes and brought the trouble to a head in 1715.  Reports
of scalping and other violence by some Indians caused  many plantation owners to flee to Charleston and
others to congregate at two or three fortified plantations.

    During the Yemassee  Indian War, 1715-1717, there was an order by the government that a fort be
built at Edisto Bluff.  The initial order by the governing council was for ten soldiers to man the garrison.
Several months later an Indian trader by the name of John Jones, with a garrison of fifteen men, was ordered
to  the fort.  A few boats, called periaugoes,  were sent for transporting supplies and munitions.  Later,
gunboats were also sent to the fort.  The garrison was to protect the inland plantations from attack from the
river, keep communications open to Fort Moore, and  protect supplies brought up the Edisto from
Savannah.  Edisto Fort was one of three continued when others were disbanded in 1716.  In 1717 more men
and boats were sent there.  There was one incident in which a prominent Cherokee chief  reported to the
Royal Council that Jones had cheated him out of some valuable furs.  Since the Cherokees were allies,  this
did not help the overall relationship with their tribe.  Today it is difficult to understand how few fighting
men were available.  Because of help from New York, Virginia, and North Carolina, the colonists won out.
On page 9 of  “Colonial Forts of South Carolina, 1670-1775” by Larry E. Ivers, there are one hundred men
stationed there in the spring of 1717.  The men were known as the Western Rangers.  At that time Jones and
some of his men rode three hundred miles into the Creek Nation near present-day Columbus, Georgia,  to
conduct peace negotiations.  The fort continued into 1718, then was abandoned.  Barnwell’s 1722 map
shows the fort still sitting near the river’s edge.  Temporary forts of that time were built with tabby (a
mixture of lime, sand, and oyster shells that is almost indestructible) foundations and clay walls.  Ivers book
describes the location as  “on the east bank of the Edisto River” on James Rawlings plantation, known as
Edisto Bluff.  Today, on the bank of the river, beside the site of the old ferry road, between the present-day
clubhouse and cabins,  there are outcroppings of tabby remains of the fort.  .There are conflicting accounts
of the number of troops at the fort at any given time.  Some of the records are in the Council Journal
Minutes, which recorded business by the state governing council and others in the South Carolina Bureau of
Indian Affairs.  Copies of both are at the state archives.
    The early name for the ferry was Wort’s Ferry.  No record has been found of the origin of the
name.  In the early 1700s Daniel Axtell, who was part of the Dorchester Colony, had a sawmill in the
swamp across the river, but those records do not mention the ferry.  During the Yemassee War, a man
named John Wort was offered a bonus for a risky expedition to secure munitions and supplies to the fort at
St. Julien’s.  Since one of the constant problems was that munitions and supplies got wet at river crossings,
one might speculate that John Wort started the first crude ferry  at Rawling’s Bluff so he could deliver a dry
cargo.  On September 3, 1717, the governing council ordered that he be paid for completing his mission,
but there is no description of his area of travel and that is the only mention of that name found in the
Council Journal minutes.   Another possibility comes from a column  November 12, 1997, by Bo Peterson
in the Charleston Post and Courier: “In 1696 a community of Puritans from old Fort Dorchester founded a
community called Beech Hill.  British Loyalists built a fort on what was the bluff in 1715, and a loyalist
named William Wort ran the ferry.”  Since Peterson is not now listed as an employee of the paper, we were
unable to contact him to find the source of his information.  We did not find it in the Council Journal
minutes  when construction of the fort was ordered, nor in the minutes of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

    Records in Memorial book 7, page 425, record a transaction in which a Robert Hiett sells the
Rawlings 720 acres and adjoining tract of 700 acres to William Perriman April 10, 1744.  He states that he
“inherited” the land May 5, 1738 by “lease and release,” which would have meant that he bought the land,
so it is unclear whether it was an inheritance or purchase.  During those years land was sometimes
abandoned and became the property of the colonial government and then  issued as another grant..  No
record has been found of the 1420 acres after 1744 until Dr. John Swint sold two tracts of land( which he
had received as grants in 1765.), 1200 and 600 acres, to Philip Givhan in 1777.  The grants evidently
included the old Rawlings place, because Givhan moved his family to property that contained the old fort
site and the ferry.  The plats of the Swint grants do not show the location of the river, just note that the land
is on the south side of the Edisto.  Unless some land record has been lost, Givhan purchased no other land
until 1780, and that purchase from William DeWitt did not border the river..  German Friendly Society
records show that he moved to St. George’s Parish in 1777, so it is probable he moved to the Swint land.
For over 150 years, the “Ferry Place” has totaled about 1200-1400 acres.  Since all Colleton County deeds
burned in 1865, there is no way of knowing just how it came to be carved from the 1800 acre Swint

    Searching passenger and immigrant lists has yielded no information as to when or where Philip
Givhan entered the colonies.  Family legend says he was a Huguenot.  To this date, 2004, his name has not
been found in Huguenot records.  Two possibilities exist:  1. That his family fled to another county,
intermarried, and became known under that surname before migrating to America  2.  An old Huguenot
statement that some of the fleeing Huguenots placed an  H in an odd position in their surname to identify
them to other Huguenots.  There were Givan and Givens Huguenots who came to America.  There were two
Givens families along the South Carolina coast from about 1700..  Their births, marriages, and deaths are
accurately recorded  in the Christ Church and St. Helena parish records and have been published in several
sources..  Many have thought  he was part of that family and later changed  his spelling and moved inland,
but no dates coincide with his birth date of  1748 or 1749. His full name was Thomas Philip Givhan and no
Thomas Philip Givens is listed.  The laws of that time allowed an immigrant youth to receive a land grant as
early as age 14.  In 1762, when he would have been about fourteen years of age, Philip Givhan did apply for
a grant, which was approved and completed in 1773.  It was for 200 acres along the Upper Broad River.
However, there is no evidence that he ever claimed the grant or paid “quit rent.”  On the day Philip
petitioned for a survey of the 200 acres in 1773, George Muckenfuss and John Clayton also petitioned for
survey of  grants they were receiving.  Later they  became neighbors.

    A puzzling family legend is that a sister accompanied him to America and became “one
grandmother of Bishop James Osgood Andrew, of the Methodist Church.”  James Osgood Andrew’s
paternal grandmother was Mrs. James (Esther) Andrew.  They were part of the Dorchester Colony living in
Beech Hill.  When the colony moved to Midway, Georgia, James and Esther moved in 1754.  She was
already a married adult and Philip Givhan would have been only five or six years old.  Careful research in
the Midway Library has revealed no connection.  Esther Andrew’s maiden name is not known, but she was
almost certainly a descendant of the 1695 Puritan colony and not a Huguenot.  Andrew’s maternal
grandmother was a descendant of  Overtons and Cosbys  from Virginia with no connection to the
Huguenots.  The other mystery is that a grant of 200 acres would include more than one person.

    There is an old family history which relates that a Joseph Givhan came to South Carolina with
several children, that the children remained and Joseph Givhan went to New York and became a wine
merchant.  The source of the document is unknown except that it seems to be connected to the family of
James Maull Givhan, a grandson of Philip.  Searching New York records found no record of any Givhan
during that era.  South Carolina records have no record of any Givhan but Philip and his children.

    By 1773, Philip Givhan had met and married a young Swiss widow, Mary Morgandollar Geiger,
who had inherited a house, one-third of a 542 acre farm near Bacon’s Bridge, one-third of 700 acres of pine
land,, and eighteen slaves from her husband,  German settler Jacob Geiger, at his death in 1769.  One family
history recounts that she was a wealthy German widow, that they met in Charleston and married there, but
there is no record that either ever owned or rented a house in Charleston.  Mary was evidently born in
Rhyndal, Switzerland, grew up in Purrysburg, then Goose Creek Parish, where her father, Kaspar
Morgandoller, was a wheel-wright and indigo farmer.  When she married Jacob Geiger, she moved to the
Bacon’s Bridge area.  Their infant daughter was to receive the rest of the inheritance if she lived to the age
of 18.  She died when she was about two years old..  The will instructed that, in the event of her death, her
share of the estate was to be sold and the money invested for relatives in Germany.  In 1772 the child’s
share of the land was sold to Jacob Williman and a Geiger relative in Germany.  Evidently Philip and Mary
lived in her house until 1777.  They sold Mary’s third of the 542 acre farm and 700 acres of pine land (in
what is believed to have later become the old part of Summerville) to Jacob Williman in 1780.  In the
transaction to close the sale of the daughter’s inheritance, which took place in London,  Jacob Geiger is
referred to as “a resident of Charlestown,” but Jacob Geiger’s will states clearly that he lives on the
plantation in the home he wills to his wife.     

    Jacob and  his brother, Michael, had migrated from Wurttemburg, Germany, landing in
Philadelphia.  Jacob arrived on the “Duke of Bedford” September 14, 1751, and Michael on the “Snow
Louisa”  November 8, 1752, according to records in the Pennsylvania archives.  Michael was 21 years old,
and Jacob, 20.  No record has been found of when they arrived in South Carolina.  Later letters they wrote
home to their parents in Germany told a sad story of each marrying, having children and wives and children
dying.  This is recorded in Carl Boyer’s “Ship Passenger Lists #3.“   Boyer also includes  information, in
German, that tells an unusual legal question about whether an unborn child ,who was in the womb when the
will was written, is also a legal heir.  Jacob and Michael bought jointly 1000 acres between the Ashepoo
and Cheehaw Rivers, and Michael bought the 542 acres near Bacon’s Bridge and built a home there.  Jacob
was his overseer.  Michael bought an additional 300 acres nearby.  No record has been found as to the
disposition of the 300 acres..  One, or both, of the brothers also bought 700 acres of pine land.  That record
has not been found.  The 700 acres had been an original grant to Benjamin Cummings.   According to
family letters Michael was poisoned by one of his slaves in 1767.  Jacob married again, Mary
Morgandollar, date unknown, but before 1767.  He and Mary had a least one child, the daughter, Mary,
named in Jacob’s will in September,  1769.
    While they were living near Bacon’s Bridge, Philip Givhan joined the German Friendly Society,
which had been organized in 1766.  Jacob Geiger and his brother, Michael, were early members until their
deaths in 1767 and 1769.  The only requirements were that members be born in Germany, born of German
parents, or able to speak fluent German.  There were three rules, violations of which led to stiff fines: 1.
Drinking too much liquor at a meeting.   2. Using profane language.   3. Speaking any language other than
German during a meeting.  When a person petitioned for membership, his name was to be read aloud at two
meetings, then voted on at a third.  Philip Givhan was accepted at his first meeting, April 8, 1772, which
would indicate he was well known to the members, among  whom was Dr. John Swint, one of the executors
of Jacob Geiger‘s will.   At one of the first meetings Philip attended, he was asked to substitute for an
absent officer.  He was fined for breaking into French during a heated discussion.  If he came from the
Alsace-Lorraine area, as many have thought, speaking both French and German was to be expected .
Almost constant wars over that area by Germany and France had made the area  part of one country, then
the other, so many times that most citizens had to use both languages.  His spontaneous change from
German to French would also indicate that French was his native language, and that he had not been away
from France very long.

    The Givhan marriage date is not known, but they were probably already married when he joined
the society in 1772.  By the time they moved to the Edisto area, they had at least two children, John born
about 1773, and Elizabeth, born in 1776.  Mary‘s unmarried younger sister, Elizabeth Morgandollar, lived
with them until her death in 1783.   Job Philip was born in 1777.  It is not known whether he was born
before or after the move.  They had four more children, George,  born before 1782, Frances, born about
1783,  Mary, born 1786,  and Jacob., born March 31, 1789.    John never married,  Elizabeth married
Francis Elijah Ford, of Barnwell County, sometime after September, 1806. Job Philip married (1) Susan
Wilson about 1800,and (2)Jemima Clayton in about 1821..  Frances married Daniel Henry Milhous from
the Wateree area January 24, 1799.   .  Mary married Captain James Maull, a merchant from
Jacksonborough,  June 20, 1804.   Jacob married Martha Ringer March 25, 1808.  She had lived in the
Cypress area, but  was born in Germany.   An interesting fact about the family is that Philip was French,
Mary,  Swiss. While both were living Job Philip married an English girl.  After Mary’s death, Frances
married an Irish Quaker.  It is not known whether Mary’s husband was from the British Isles or Germany.
Elizabeth and Jacob did not marry till after Philip’s death.  Elizabeth’s husband was English and Jacob’s
wife was German.  Family gatherings must have been interesting!

    In addition to the 1800 acres he had purchased from Dr, John Swint, Philip Givhan bought several
other tracts of land in the area and was given a grant of 1300 acres that stretched from Four Holes Creek to
the Cypress Swamp.  By 1790 he owned over 4000 acres.  He later became a partner , with Richard Ellis, in
a business that loaned money, rented slaves to other plantation owners, and other financial transactions.
Often they had to sue to collect money due them and there are many records of those court actions at South
Carolina Dept. of Archives and History.

    By the time the Givhans moved to their new home, the Revolutionary War was in progress and,
later, a fierce battle was fought at Four Holes Creek.  Philip Givhan furnished the troops with wagons,
horses, grain, beef, pork, and other supplies.  There are ten records of payment after the war in the AGA
office,  He was referred to in one document as a Forage Master, which carried the rank of Captain.  One of
his neighbors, David Maull, also furnished supplies.  In later years it was known as “providing patriotic
service” and was respected on a level with active combat.  The Army recognized it could not have
functioned without  the help of those farmers.  An act passed in 1778 ordered that a road be built from the
Ashley River area to Wort’s Ferry.  This shows that the Ferry was in active use during the war, which
presents the question of what happened if the British tried to use it!   At that time the Indian path officially
became recognized by the state government as a public road with the ferry as an integral part.

    When the war was over, Philip Givhan petitioned the state government to change the name  from
Wort’s Ferry to Givhan’s Ferry and establish a legal toll charge for ferry use.  This was granted December
9, 1789, for a period of fourteen years.  When the charter was renewed in 1804, plans were begun for a
bridge over the river, but Philip Givhan’s death September 22, 1806, at the age of 58,  prevented his
participation in that undertaking.

    Mrs W. F. Kinard, of Givhans, pursued a ten year research  into the history of the Givhan family in
the 1970s and early 80s.  One of her discoveries in the Bishop Asbury journals at Walterboro Library was
some visits to the Givhan home by Rev. Francis Asbury..  Asbury arrived in America in 1771 and began his
circuit riding ministry almost immediately.  He kept careful records of his travels, visits in homes, his
ministry, and results.  He had others edit his writings and the final revisions omitted much of his detail.
The date of the first visit recorded in the Walterboro copy was March 17, 1788.  He writes that he left
Charleston in the morning and arrived at the home of his “good friend, Philip Givhan”  ten minutes after
church services were over.  It would appear that he had been there often enough that a church had been
organized and  was meeting regularly in the home, also that he had known Givhan for some time.  The
second  mention is February 24, 1789.  He wrote that, after riding thirty-six miles, he was kindly entertained
by Mr. Givhan, “but there was still something missing.”  The Givhan’s youngest son was born about a
month later.  Mary may not have felt up to entertaining and he missed her hospitality.  The third was
February 9, 1990, when he reported that he had preached a sermon there on “Great Salvation.”   The fourth
was January 4, 1793.  He writes that  several people gathered that evening, but that he was too sick for
much ministry.  The last was one month later, February 4, 1793, when he recorded that he ate dinner there.
Asbury continued his circuit riding ministry till after 1810, but there is no other mention of Philip Givhan.
By that time, the group may have had a church building for their meetings.

    Philip’s wife, Mary, died, in 1792, leaving sons  19, 15, 10, and 3 and daughters 16, 9, and 6.    

    The marriage date is not known, but Philip later married Frances Molet.  He bought about a
thousand acres at Bobb’s Savannah, near Parker’s Ferry, and began to build a home.  He began to be known
by his first  name, Thomas, to avoid confusion with the name of his son, Job Philip Givhan.  He and Frances
had three sons,  Lot, William, and Abden and one daughter, Margaret Susannah.   All four children were
living when he wrote his will in April, 1806.  The three sons died within a few years after their father’s

    May 5. 1807, Frances married Fred Hamilton, whose family owned land near the Givhans.   Her
daughter,  Margaret Susannah, married Moses Hamilton.  Both couples moved to Alabama about  1820.

    A 1795 map shows four houses in the area along the road to the ferry, one in almost the same
location as the present park clubhouse, which , from early records, was the original Philip Givhan home.
The others were nearby.  An 1821 plat shows six houses in that location.  In later accounts, only the family
home is mentioned.  The others may have been occupied by overseers and other employees.

    A family history written many years later by his grand-daughter, Eliza Dicea Givhan Miller, of
Pontotoc, Mississippi, gives this as her recollection of the home: “Our house on the Edisto, to the best of
my recollection, was built with two large rooms and two galleries below, four rooms upstairs and the front
gallery.  The house was built on the bluff, on what was called ‘the green,’ the back yard opening on the
river, the road winding round the bluff to the front to an avenue a quarter of a mile long, alternating cedar
and China trees.  From the eastern upper windows could be seen the family burying ground, the white
tombstones appearing through the evergreens of laurel and bay.  Last, but not least, to my childish
imagination, was the large apple orchard on the left of the avenue.  Brother James, before his
marriage(1849), visited the home of his ancestors, and found the house in a good state of preservation,
though 80 years after its construction.  It had been recovered, the cypress shingles with which it had been
originally covered  wore the appearance of a green carpet.  He found in the parlor, on the mantle, a large
mirror placed there when the house was furnished.  Also, hanging on the wall was the saw of a sawfish,
probably hung there by my grandfather, this the more remarkable, as the house had passed into the hands of

    When Philip Givhan died, he left a sizable estate to his widow and children.  His will is now on file
at the state archives.   A copy was found in the Lowndes County, Alabama courthouse in connection with a
lawsuit by his daughter, Mary Givhan Maull vs. Williams.   He was a respected citizen,  executor of several
wills, plantation owner, business man, devout Christian, road commissioner, grand jury member, and a
supporter of the colonies in the Revolution.  There is much evidence that he was well-educated, but no
record has been found of his schooling.   He left a legacy of which any family could be proud.

    In 1817, Job Philip and Jacob Givhan were given a renewal of the ferry charter.  No bridge had
been built.

    About that time, the family began to move to Alabama, where fertile land could be bought at the
government land office in Cahaba for a dollar and twenty-five cents per acre.  The South Carolina land had
been planted for over 100 years in crops that deplete the soil, mainly rice and cotton, until the land was no
longer productive.  Families had multiplied till they could no longer support themselves from the crop
income.  James and Mary left first, before 1820, founding a town in Lowndes County that was first called
Maull’s Landing, but is known as Benton today,  then the Hamiltons,  then Jacob and Martha in 1821,
followed by Elizabeth Givhan Ford.  Jacob and Elizabeth settled near the Alabama River in Dallas County..
Job Philip had made a trip to Cahaba and bought 800 acres of land (which later became the town of
Hayneville, county seat of Lowndes County, Ala.)  He became ill and died in 1824, before he could follow
the others.

    In 1830 Job Philip’s family moved to the land in Lowndes County, one of four original families to
settle the town of Hayneville.  

    The family was forgotten and a local legend developed that the name evolved from “Give us a
hand across the ferry.” 
    When the family moved, Job’s heirs and Jacob still owned the 1300+ acre “Ferry Place” and Jacob
owned half of the 1300 acre Cypress grant.  The family received renewals of the ferry till 1843 when the
state took possession  because of  an absentee operator  and unpaid obligations..  The ferry was to be
operated by Christian  Rumph, but George and Mary Rumph were given title to the land.  George Runph
was also commissioned to build a bridge.  The existence of a bridge is noted in state records in 1852.  It was
a toll bridge vested in Moses West for fourteen years.

      Local tradition says that the house and bridge were burned by Sherman.  This is probably true
because the ferry was re-chartered in 1866.  This time it was vested in John Strobel..  In an act dated
January 30, 1882, the ferry was vested in George Rumph for seven years.   There is no further mention in
state records and there is no record of when the next bridge was built, but one record indicate that the road
was changed and the bridge moved.

    There was some confusion over title to the land.   Moses West and John Strobel both claimed title
for some time.  The controversy was settled in 1882 when George Rumph found records on file with the
Secretary of State that proved he was the true owner.  The ownership passed to D. R. Hutto sometime
before May 1, 1892, then to Hutto heirs.  December 3, 1898, I. J. Hutto sold the land to Samuel Lapham.
Lapham, a Charleston city council member,  sold  1000.89 acres on the east side of the Edisto River, and
313.24 acres on the west to the city of Charleston January 5, 1899, as a source for their water supply.

    The description of how that pure water reaches Charleston is a story in itself.  In a carefully
protected area near the river there is a high fence which protects the beginning of the water’s journey.
Gwen Kinard’s brother, William Wiggins, was the park superintendent for many years.  Her husband, W. F.
Kinard, was the city’s caretaker for the water’s source,  Their son, Steve Kinard, was head of the Charleston
Water Department before his retirement.  He built a home in Givhans and still lives there.

    October 11, 1934, the Givhan’s Ferry tract was conveyed to the State of  South Carolina to be used
as a state park and forestry preserve.  Two of the stipulations were:  (1) If the land should ever cease to be
used as a state park, it would immediately revert to the possession of the city.  (2) That the Department of
Parks and the Commission of Forestry must never, in any way, pollute the river.

    In 1934 the CCC was commissioned to build an administration building, some cabins, bathhouse,
and boathouse..  On June 30, 1935, the State Commission of Forestry  reported that plans called for the
following: boat house, combination administration building and bathhouse, caretaker’s house, 2 picnic
shelters, a group of cabins, and over 500 acres to be planted in Southern Pine and mixed hardwoods.  A
wading pool along the Edisto was already provided  and a group camp for underprivileged children of the
surrounding area was under  construction.

    Initially the park was called Edisto State Park, but the name was changed to Givhan’s Ferry when
the state acquired land on Edisto Beach. 

    The report of June, 1936, states that the CCC crew had been moved out to work at other parks, but
that a side crew from Edisto Beach was helping.   One record stated that bricks from the old Givhan home
were used in laying the walk.   The 1937 report stated that all construction had been completed and that a
group camp was  planned.  By 1938 swimming facilities, hiking trails, a refreshment stand, and a tea room
had been added.  The park had its official opening  June 1, 1937.

    Because of the war, there was no summer recreation at state parks in 1942 and there were
shutdowns of other facilities until the report of June, 1947 states that everything was in operation again.
Although the date of construction was not listed in the reports, from the beginning of the park, a
superintendent’s cottage had been added as part of his compensation.  The only time the first superintendent
is mentioned is in a general report, undated, but evidently 1945 or 6.  Adam H. Clayton is named as
superintendent at the end of the report.  One of his sons, John Clayton, still remembers living at the park for
several years when he was a child.  Clayton may have resigned after  the park was virtually shut down for
such a long time during World War II.  He evidently served about ten years..  William Wiggins became
superintendent in 1946 and served until his death in 1972, over 26 years.  One of the park areas is named in
his honor.  He fell from the roof of the superintendent’s cottage while he was helping other workers,
possibly from a heart attack.

    The first annual report that gave the number of visitors was 1964.  The number was 42, 862.  For
1971-72, it was 98,122, 1975-78, 159,752, 1987-88, 78,478  There have been visitors from almost all the
states and from some foreign countries.  Many have asked about the origin of the name.

    The majestic oak that once held the ferry cables became a victim of erosion and fell onto the
river’s edge in 1982.  Eventually it was cut up and hauled away.

    Today the only visible reminder of a family who called this land home for over fifty years is the
lonely tombstone of a baby girl.  When Philip Givhan wrote his will in 1806, his oldest daughter, Elizabeth,
was unmarried.  Sometime after that, she married Frances Elijah Ford, of Barnwell County.  In 1818, their
only child, Mary Elizabeth Ford, was born when Elizabeth was 42 years old.  The child only lived three
months.  Perhaps the tragedy of that loss contributed to the fact that the couple separated a few months later
and were divorced in 1824.  Elizabeth Ford moved to Dallas County,  Alabama, and never remarried.

    Old-timers in the 70s recalled that the rest of the tombstones, about twenty, were pushed into the
river to make room for cotton farming, but, somehow, the baby’s grave was spared. 

    There are few public parks in America where the life of a community is so interwoven with its
history.  William Wiggins’ father farmed cotton on the land ,  some Strobel and Clayton descendants live in
Givhans.  The fact that the name has remained in spite of numerous attempts to change it is a miracle in

    In October, 1982, Givhan descendants from at least six states met at a motel in North Charleston,
had a get-acquainted dinner at the motel, and spent most of the next day at Givhan’s Ferry State Park, where
Gwen Kinard had arranged for a catered lunch.  Posters  displayed the family tree so each could trace his
ancestry.   Prizes were awarded for the most original name tag and the person who could name the most
cousins  he or she had met at the reunion.  After Ferrel Kinard had showed them  around the park and many
pictures were taken, the group was taken by chartered  bus to the Department of Archives and History,
where a special table displayed original grants and copies of deeds and other documents  This was followed
by a drive through the Cypress and Bacon’s Bridge areas.  The cabins were filled with Givhan descendants.
Return of the bus to the Charleston motel that night finished the unforgettable reunion.

    Descendants of Philip Givhan visit the park often and treasure the memory of a long ago Colonial
settler who helped pave the way for our land to become the nation we know today..


Rawling’s land--Memorial book 5, p. 141

Yemassee  Indian war--
    Commons House Journal, 1715-1717
    Book 4, pages 391-398, 429-432, Book 5, pp. 24-28, 34-35
    Bureau of Indian Affairs, vol. 1, pp.114-115, 142-143

John Wort---Council Journal 1, pp. 173-174, 202-204

Information about the Dorchester colony came from various books in the Midway Museum, Midway, Ga.

Dr. John Swint--Royal Grant Book XX, pp. 6-7

Mary Morgandollar Geiger--Wills of Kaspar Morgandollar, Elizabeth Morgandollar, and Jacob Geiger,
    Memorial book 12, p,440

Philip Givhan
    Records of German Friendly Society on file at Charleston City College
    History of Givhan family by Eliza Dicea Givhan Miller, on file at Charleston Historical Society
    and several libraries..
    Royal Grants, vol 29, page 34
    State grants--vol 5, p. 17, p. 116, vol. 6, p. 449, vol 7, p. 5, vol 15, p. 437, vol 17, p.64, vol 71, p.
    190, vol 72, p. 465
    Charleston RMC records--S6, p.121, D6, p.533, P.6, p.450, C5, p. 557, C5, p.561, D4, p. 215,
    R6, p. 221, E5, p.50, D6, p. 405
    Audited accounts in the Adjutant General’s office, #2876- 10 pages--1779--1782

Statutes at Large--Diviaion of roads and bridges--Vov. IX, pp. 264, 282, 314, 416, 490, 495;: Vol. XI, pp.
    83, 228, 267; Vol., XII, p. 180, Vol. XIII, p. 467, Vol. XVII, p. 740.

Other sources of information:
    Marriage and death notices in old Charleston newspapers.
    Jury list 1779
    Will abstracts
    George Rumph state grant,  1843, vol 6, p.239
    Documents on transfer of title to ferry property--Charleston City Archives.
    Reports on State Park--Department of Forestry and Parks.

Dorchester Co SCGenWeb


This file was contributed for use by the Dorchester County SCGenWeb Project  by:
Carol N. Rackley

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