"In Adversis Etiam Fide" - "With Faith even in Adversity"
I think that motto appropriately describes us. I know that times have been tough for everyone and there isn't a generation that I've studied in this line that didn't have major events to handle in life. The early generations I've found in South Carolina moved to Stono just a few years before the Stono Slave Rebellion. I am still looking to see what role, if any that they played in that. They later would become involved in the Revolutionary War on the side of the Continentals. Moving up a bit, there were several Dandridges that were in the War of Northern Aggression on the side of the Confederacy. My great grandfather, Henry Durant Dandridge, lost his land because of the boll weevil in the 1920s and had to uproot his family to move to Charleston. My grandfather, Thomas Carlisle Dandridge, lived a full life but not without its trials. I know that he lost a big portion of his esophagus after an incident when he was young from swallowing lye soap. When I knew him in his older years, he was loosing his vision. I also remember how much he missed my grandmother when she passed away…but all of these difficult times never adversely affected him in a negative way. He was full of love and hugs, race cars and model trains, invention and art and always, always Mary Jane caramels! My grandfather had a very unique and infectious laugh that I can still hear clear as a bell even though he went Home more than one and half decades ago (as of the time of this writing - Sept 2009). I remember his roses, azaleas, 'hill', workshop, 'roller coaster', and b b gun as well as his beloved cars and dune buggy. My father is equally as great with a love for God and his family, knowledge and wisdom of history and scripture and faith stronger than stone. He is a very talented artist and photographer and avid backpacker. He has always reached out to me, though I didn't always reach back, and he is the kind of man that would give you the shirt off of his back if you needed it, but at the same time you don't want to ask because you want to show him you can do it and make him proud. So, to say "with faith, even in adversity" is to describe a Dandridge thoroughly!
Here is what I know about the facts of my Dandridge ancestors.
I have seen a few documents from South Carolina Department of Archives and History but have yet to see them all. According to their online index of their collection, there are a total of 41 records that contain the surname Dandridge. I have been to the Archives myself and were able to find a few items and copy them; however, this task is a daunting and very time consuming activity. I have the option to have Archives photocopy everything and send them to me but this takes money as well. I will get what I can, when I can.
The earliest date for this collection is 1731-1733 for land in Colleton County. I have not seen this document and therefore do not know the relationship between the William Dandridge listed and the land. It is a lease and release of 245 acres in Colleton County. Other names listed are John Bailey and his attorney, Alexander Trench. There are actually two documents regarding this transaction. Next is from 1736 and I do have a copy of this. It's a land grant of 550 acres in Colleton County "lying in part of a Cyprus Swamp, on the head of Island Creek…and is bounded all sides on land not yet laid out." I have yet to find this particular plot of land but believe it to be in Stono, just three years prior to the Stono Slave Rebellion. The image of this document is available online via the Archives Index; however, it is a small size and not all of the writing is legible, making it difficult to find more information about the plot of land and its exact location. I am also unsure of my lineage to Francis, the man that was granted the land. I believe him to be a direct ancestor but until I can prove it, I can only speculate. 1736 Land Grant to Francis Dandridge
From this point, the next document concerns "Francis, of Colleton County, Planter to his son John Dandridge, Deed of Gift for Two Hundred Acres of Land Bounding on all sides on land of Thomas Elliot and formerly granted to Thomas Elliot, Sr." This is, unfortunately, a document I have not seen yet and do not know the details of. It does however connect Francis 'Planter' Dandridge to John Dandridge, who is supposed to be a lateral ancestor and is mentioned in Revolutionary War documents as being in the Continental Army (I'll expound on this topic later). There are several other documents but I will not list all of them as I'm not certain to their relationship to the Dandridges listed, though they are my suspected ancestors (such as Francis).
The next pertinent document is from 1825 and it is the tax return from 1824 for John Dandridge. This is not the same John mentioned above but rather is that John's nephew. This John was son to Joseph, who was brother to John and both were sons to Francis. This document is also available online. 1824 Tax Return of John Dandridge Another interesting thing at this point in time is the 1825 Mills Atlas. Mills was a brilliant cartographer that visited every state and did maps of every county and listed the land owners. Dandridge is on the Mills map of Colleton County! The Dandridge name appears near Givhans Ferry on the eastern side of the Edisto River along modern day Highway 61 (this land is now in Dorchester County). 1825 Mills map of Colleton County via David Rumsey map collection Below is a screen capture of a close up of where the Dandridge land was:
The next interesting document is a petition to build a canal to connect the Ashley and Edisto Rivers! I'm so glad they (obviously) were NOT successful in this particular venture! The petition dates to 1845 and has a long list of names involved. Again, I have not seen this one but hope to eventually. So that is the gist of the documents available at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History.
Ancestry.com was a great way to start my search! They have all the US Federal Census records, with only one exception - 1890. There was a warehouse fire where these records were stored and nearly everything from that year's census was completely lost! I have all of the images from the available census records. Please contact me if you are interested in receiving them (firstname.lastname@example.org). I will add a summary of the census records at a later time.