In 1696 Rev. Joseph Lord, son of Thomas Lord and grandson of Robert Lord, left Dorcester, Massachusetts with his family and an entourage of fellow believers for South Carolina. Rev. Lord spent twenty years in South Carolina before removing with his family back to Massachusetts. Part of his family is believed to have remained and started a southern branch of the Lord family. The following describes the area where he settled.



About twenty-six miles from the city of Charleston; on the north bank of the Ashley River and about six miles in a southwestwardly direction from the railroad depot in the present town of Summerville can be seen an old church tower with an overgrown disused graveyard around it, and some two hundred paces farther on - on the edge of the river - are the walls of an old fort, constructed of that mixture of shells in lime mortar formerly called "tapia" or "tabby". (Often spelled "tapis" in early records. - Editor.) These two conspicuous objects, with some scattered and shapeless masses of brick at irregular intervals, marking the sites of former houses, are all that remains of the town of Dorchester, once a comparatively flourishing, hamlet in the Low-Country of South Carolina, but which with the lesser hamlets of Jamestown, New London or Willtown, Jacksonborough, Purrysburgh and Somerton, and the still lesser, or only projected, villages of Radnor, Ashley Ferry, Childsbury and Chatham, has so long been deserted that its story has been nearly forgotten, and its very site nearly obliterated.

In the case of Dorchester its frequent mention in histories of the Revolution of 1775-1783 in South Carolina; the fact that it gave its name to one of the ecclesiastical and political divisions of the Province and State, viz: the parish of St. George, Dorchester, joined to its vicinity to the town of Summerville have conspired to preserve its name, the tradition of its former existence, and the place of its location, but beyond this practically nothing else is generally known concerning its history. It has cost no little time and labour to dig out of vanishing records the following account of itís origin and fate.

The site of the old village of Dorchester is on a neck or peninsula of land between the Ashley River and a creek now called Dorchester Creek. This creek was originally known as Boshoe, or Bossua Creek. It is called now Rose Creek, where it crosses the road from Summerville to Dorchester: Newington Creek, or Swamp, a little higher up, where it crosses the road from Summerville to Baconís Bridge and curves through the old Axtell, or Blake, plantation styled Newington (the northern part of which is now Dr. C. U. Shepard's tea farm), and finally is known as the Saw Mill Branch where it forms the southeastern boundary of the town of Summerville.

A little below the point where Dorchester Creek debouches into Ashley River, another creek called Eagleís Creek also empties into the Ashley - this last creek deriving its name from one Richard Eagle, who, about 1734, possessed the tract of land where the public road crossed the creek.

The region about the mouths of these two creeks - especially about the penisula between Dorchester Creek and Ashley River - was known by the Indian name or Boo-shoo-ee.

It was first granted to John Smith, who on 20th November, 1676, obtained a grant for 1,800 acres covering this penisula and the site of the future village.(Sec'y State's office, Vol 38 (Prop. grants), p. 4.) He was a man of considerable estate who had arrived in Carolina in 1675 with his wife and family and especially recommended by the Earl of Shaftsbury "as my particular friend" with directions that he be allowed to take up a manor in some suitable place. John Smith was subsequently a member of the Grand Council and was created a Cassique, and died in 1682. From the name of the locality in which his grant was situated he was styled "John Smith, of Boo-shoo". (Sec'y State's office, Grant Bk. 1696-1703, p. 92. Collections S. C. Hist. Soc., Vol.V., p. 470.)

The meaning of this Indian term is unknown save that the termination "ee" or "e" seems to have some connection with water - viz: Peedee, Santee, Wateree, Congaree, Co-pah-ee, etc., etc.

The creek near the village of Mt. Pleasant, now called Shem, was originally Shem-ee Creek. (M.C.O., Charleston, Bk. U 7, p. 87.)

The land included in the grant in 1678 to Arthur Middleton of 1,780 acres on Goose Creek (Sec'y State's off. Grant Bk. 1696-1703, p. 92.) (on a part of which the present Otranto clubhouse stands) is called "Yeshoe", and in the grant to James Moore of 2,400 acres on Fosterís Creek in 1683, the lands are described as known by the Indian names of Boo-chaw-ee and Wapensaw. (Sec'y State's off. Vol. 38 (Prop. Grants), p. 209.) The Indian name of Foster's Creek was Appee-bee. (Sec'y State's off. Vol. 17, Miscellaneous, p. 109.)

The appellation Boo-shoo-ee was not confined to the site of the future village on the riverside, but was applied to the low land in the vicinity as "Boshoe Swamp" and generally to the whole tract or plantation of 1,800 acres. -

It is spelt(sic) very variously in the old deeds and plats, viz: Boasoo, Boshoe, Bosho, Boosho, Booshooe, Boosoo, Bossoe, Bossua, Boochaw-ee, etc.

The high land or bluff on the river where the village was afterwards located was, at the time of its location and afterwards, an "old field" and probably the site of the first clearing and settlement of John Smith.

John Smith, of Boo-shoo, died prior to December, 1682, as in December, 1682, his widow, Mary, married Arthur Middleton, and on the death of the latter, about 1684, married Ralph Izard. (Sec'y State's off. Vol. "Grants, etc., 1704-1708", p. 250)

John Smith seems to have left no children, and in some way his grant for 1,800 acres must have lapsed to the State or the method of a new grant must have been adopted so as to confer a good title, for in the year 1696 this same 1,800 acres is re-granted to the settlers who were to confer upon it the name of Dorchester.

The history of the town and township (so-called) of Dorchester, in South Carolina, begins wiht the immigration thither of a small colony from the township of Dorchester, in the then Province of Massachusetts Bay.

The earliest record notice is in the records of the First Church at Dorchester, in New England.

On those records it appears that on the 20th October, 1695, Joseph Lord, Increase Sumner and William Pratt were "dismissed", i. e. transferred, from that church for, "Ye gathering of A church for ye South Coralina." (Records of the First Church at Dorchester, New England, published in 1891,p. 13.

Two days later, 2nd October, 1695, we read:
"ocktober ye 22 being ower lecktuer day was sett apart for the ordering of Mr. Joseph lord for to be pastuer to A church gathered that day for to goe to South Coralina to settell the gospell ther and the names of ye men are thes

Joshua Brooks
Nathaniel Billings

} of Concord

William Norman


William Adams


Increase Sumner
William Pratt

} Dorchester

George Foxe


Simon Daken


thes with Joseph lord did enter into a most solem Covenant to sett up the ordinances of Jesus Christ ther if the lord caryed them safely thither accordin to gospell truth withe a very large profeson of ther faithe." (Ibid, p. 109)

One William Norman had some Years before, viz: on 22nd September, 1684, obtained the customary survey to a grant from the Lords Proprietors of Carolina for 320 acres of land, which was located on the Ashley River, on the northeast side, about three miles above the spot where the Village of Dorchester was afterwards laid it out, i. e. above the old Boo-shoo settlement.

This William Norman was probably the one of that name mentioned in the above list as of Carolina. Possibly to his desire for neighbours of congenial spirit and social disposition was due the original suggestion of the colony. Of the rest of the list, Joshua Brooks, Nathaniel Billings, George Fox and Simon Daken do not appear, from any records we have, to have ever settled in Carolina - at least their names nowhere appear among the actual land-owners at Dorchester.

There are two other references to the settlement in the records of the Dorchester Church in Massachusetts.

"December 5th, 1695 - The church for Carolina set sail from Boston Dec 14th at night the skiff was neer run underwater ye Stormy wind being so boisterous. they kept a day of pray on board: & safely Landed at Carolina December ye 20th ye other vessells had a Moneths Passage this but about 14 days.

"Febr: 2nd Then was ye first Sacrament of ye Lords Supper that ever was Celebrated in Carolina Eight persons received besides Such as were of ye Church by virtue of Comunion of Churches, and there was Great Joy among ye Good People of Carolina & many Thanksgivings to Ye Lord". (Ibid, p. 145.)

And again:
"Nov. 1, 1696, Deacon Sumner's wife & family & His Brother Samuel Sumner with his wife & family with Peter O Kellys wife & six children Dismissed to ye Church of Christ neer Newington in South Carolina (since called Dorchester)" (Ibid, p. 148.)

The first of these entries, viz: that of December 5th, 1695, was evidently made after its nominal date, as it mentions the date of sailing, the 14th, nine days after the apparent date of the entry. The expression as to the "other vessels" must refer to vessels other thin the one that carried the "Church", is we shall see presently by Elder Pratt's diary there was but one vessel which at that time conveyed the members of the Church. It only marks the contrast between the quick passage of the vessel that carried the "Church" and the time taken by other vessels which sailed about the same time.

The statement as to the communion celebrated on the 2d February, 1695/6, being the first ever celebrated in Carolina is entirely erroneous. There had existed in Charles Town for many years before that date the Church of England, known as St. Philip's, on the site where St. Michael's Church now stands; also a Meeting House, or a Congregational Church, upon Meeting Street, supposed upon the present site of the Circular Church, as well as a Hueguenot, or French Protestant Church, on or near the site of the present French Protestant Church, on a lot originally granted to one Michael Lovinge, a carpenter, and which having been sold by Lovinge to Arthur Middleton was by the latter's widow with her husband, Ralph Izard (whom she married after Middleton's death), sold to James Nicholls on the 5th May, 1687, "for the use of the commonalty of the French Church in Charleston". (Sec'y State's off. "Grants, etc, 1704-1708", p. 250.)

There can be no possible doubt but that communion had been repeatedly celebrated in these churches according to their respective, rituals long before the emigration from Dorchester, Massachusetts.

The entry, of 1st November, 1696, is worthy of note as showing that the name "Newington", which was the name given to the plantation of Mrs.(generally styled "Dame" or "Lady") Rebecca Axtell, the widow of Landgrave Daniel Axtell, had come into general use, evidencing that she had for some time been settled there.

We have in the diary of Elder Pratt - the William Pratt mentioned in the Dorchester (Mass.) Church entry of 22d.
October, 1695 - an account of the voyage of the party from Boston to Charles Town. This, as being from first hand, is more authentic than the entry in the church record of Dec. 5, 1695, made from information.

Elder Pratt's diary, as a picture of the time, would, save for its length, be worthy of production here in full. It has been substantially all printed by the Rev. James Stacey, in his History of the Midway Congregational Church, Liberty County, Georgia, printed in 1899, at Newnan, Georgia.

The original diary is now in the possession of one of Elder Pratt's descendants, Mr. Joshua Eddy Crane, of Bridgeport, Mass.

Summarized, Elder Pratt's diary gives the account of the sailing of the "Church that was gathered in order to carry ye gospel ordinance to South Carolina" from Boston on Dec. 5, 1695, in one vessel (not two as has been erroneously stated. They had good weather until the 9th, when they encountered a gale, but from a favorable direction, and after its abatement made such progress as to get into Charles Town harbour on the 2Oth December. They were welcomed with a salute of 9 guns "which was more than us all", and were very kindly entertained on shore.

After a week in the town he "was carried by water up to Mr. Normans -Increase Sumner and I were kindly received and entertained by the Lady Axtell (of Newington) and tho' two other men were endeavouring to get into favour with ye lady and other neighbours and to obtain the land at Ashley River" yet the lady and others of the neighbours were more kindly disposed to them.

The minister, Mr. Lord, and others of the "Church" who had remained in Charles Town were urged by "ye Lieut: General Blake (Joseph Blake, Governor and Proprietor, then residing on his plantation called "Plainsfield", on Stono River, near New Cut.) and many others" to settle at New London (on Pon Pon River, generally known as Willtown) and had gone to Landgrave Morton's near that place.