Fort Congaree II - 18th Century Evidence

In 1935, Dr. Edwin Green documented that there were still signs of Fort Congaree II in a grassy field just off the old State Road about 1 mile south of the Cayce House (Fort Granby). Unfortunately, Dr. Green did not go into any details on these signs but others have done work that give us a good idea of what may be found at this forgotten site. Dr. Dan Tortora's paper on Fort Congaree II gives us some great Fort details and Genealogical work (below) by the Campbell family point out a couple of physical characteristics of the Fort which might be found today.

James Campbell built Fort Congaree II in 1748. Campbell married Elizabeth Taylor who was of the first generation of Taylors born in the area. She was the sister of Revolutionary War hero Thomas Taylor. James lived a long life and died in Granby in 1801. Fortunately for us, the following documentation from 1748 confirms the Fort had a ditch (moat) around it which was probably about 6 or 7 feet wide and 2 to 3 feet deep.

Below is a drawing showing what the moat/ditch looked like at Fort St. Maries. Fort Congaree II may have been similar.


Even if the area of Fort Congaree II became plowed farmland, a 2 to 3 foot deep ditch would be possible to detect with modern day technology like ground penetrating radar or a gradiometer. The old documentation also states that money (60 lbs) were acquired to pay for nails and locks for the construction of Fort Congaree II. Based on the price of nails in 1750, 60lbs would pay for 60,000 10d size nails. The Congarees Store account book from 1784, shows that Richard and Wade Hampton bought 500 nails for 7 shillings and 6 pence (.375 lbs).


At the price the Hampton's paid for nails, 80,000 nails could have been purchased with 60 lbs. Some of these nails should still be under the surface. Probably less than 20 inches underground like the over 1000 pre-1800 nails we have found in the Granby dig.

So, if we are looking for signs, we should keep these in mind.



As well as the evidence from a 1939 aerial and Colonial period plats, we also have location evidence from an 18th century survey and map. Below is an overlay (on today's aerial photo) of the Fort Congaree II position from a 1789 Taylor family map of Granby.


Below is an overlay (on today's aerial photo) of the Fort Congaree II position from an 18th century survey of the Saxe Gotha Township. The yellow circle is our Granby dig site. Notice the pond that is drawn from the old survey. Today, this is the area of the Riverland Park neighborhood that is prone to flooding as it is about 4 feet lower in elevation than the rest of the neighborhood. One of the Colonial plats also shows this pond in the same position. We now have 5 pieces of evidence (18th century plat, map, and survey. Early 20th century aerial photos and the testimony of an early 20th century historian.)that all place the fort in the same position. This is all circumstantial evidence. The next step is to go in and find physical evidence to prove the case.


Below is a set of mid-18th century plats that fit nicely together on the curvature of today's Congaree River. One plat shows the Fort in the same position as the other pieces of evidence show it. It also shows a pond which is continued on the plat above the Fort plat. This pond position falls today in the low flood prone area of the Riverland Park neighborhood. Also, note that the property line between two of the plats is where the old road must have traveled to come to the recently found remains of Friday's Ferry. Everything fits.


From: Common Journals: January 19, 1748 - June 29, 1748:

"9 Feb 1749/50: Friday petitioned again: "there is a very proper Place for a ferry, about half a mile above the said Fort, and on the road that leads to the Catawba nation, where Martin Fridig, Miller at the Congaree, has on his own Lands on the west side of the said River Convenient Houses for a Ferriman, and has also a large Canoo, and is building a Flat for the carrying over Horses and Loads. He prays to please grant Liberty to the said Martin Fridig to keep a Ferry at the said place." The petition was tabled again. However, the license for Friday's Ferry was finally issued by an Act of 11 May 1754."
Below is a modern day aerial showing our expected fort site and the known locations of the Old State Road and the road to Friday's Ferry. Using the Lexington County GIS system to make the measurement, this route from the ferry to the fort is exactly 1/2 a mile.


Fort Prince George

Above, SCIAA drawing of Fort Prince George based on Archaeological work.
This fort was built just a few years after Fort Congaree II and may have been very similar.