THE HISTORY OF
BY A S SALLEY
THE GIESSENDANNER RECORD.
Almost every South Carolina historian who has mentioned Orangeburg has spoken of the Giessendanner Church record-book, but Dr. Bernheim is the only writer who has gone beyond a mere mention of the fact that this record-book existed. What Dr. Bernheim has said of this interesting work has already been given in these pages.
After the death of Rev. John
Giessendanner in 1761, his son Henry came into possession of the
book, and a few scattering records were made by him. After his
death the book fell into the hands of his second wife, who,
previous to her marriage to Henry Giessendanner, was the widow
Larey; and through her it fell into the hands of her son, Daniel
Larey. Daniel Larey left it to his daughter, Mrs. M. B.
Treadwell, of Orangeburg. Mrs. Treadwell, after keeping it for
many years, turned it over to the late Mr. John Lucas, Senior
Warden of the Church of the Redeemer (Episcopal) at Orangeburg,
and Mr. Lucas, after making a copy of it, turned it over to the
Diocese of South Carolina, and it was deposited in the Episcopal
Library in the small building in the rear of St. Stephen's
Chapel, on Anson Street in Charleston. It was there that the
writer first saw the book, and copied it by permission of Rev. A.
R. Michell, Secretary of the Diocese of South Carolina. Since
then Bishop Capers has had the book returned to Mrs. Treadwell at
The book appears to have been an ordinary, but substantial, blank book, over which Rev. John Gies-
sendanner, or some subsequent keeper of the book, had stretched a raw-hide binding and sewed it on with thick, twisted, white chord. It is in a very dilapidated condition; some of the pages being torn in half, and numerous pages have been lost.
It is evident that the first Giessendanner, who began to keep the record in the fall of 1737, and kept it until his death, the latter part of 1738, kept it in a different book; for when his nephew began to keep the record in 1739 he says that the record kept by his uncle has been copied from the old book into the new, and after giving the record kept by his uncle, he begins his own record. The record kept by the elder Giessendanner and most of that kept by the younger before his trip to England for ordination was written in German, and the records here given for that period are from translated notes made by Dr. Bernheim, and others, for Mr. Lucas; and possibly some of them were made by Henry Giessendanner, as the papers appear to be of different ages, (some appear to be very old) and in different handwritings.*
The parts preserved and translated, of those records kept up to the time when the younger Giessendanner went to England are very meager and scattering, but those kept after his return are very complete. It is doubtful if there was a church record-book kept in the Province at that time, that is as complete.
The younger Giessendanner started to keep all of the records of marriages, births, and deaths in one book and divided the book equally into three parts and kept the marriages in the first part, the births in the second part and the deaths in the third part. His record before his departure for England only covered
* I have heard that Dr. Bachman translated some of the German records into English for Mr. Lucas.
a few pages in each part. After his return from England he continued with the record but the record of one part usually took up more than its allotted space, so that he would have to run it over a few pages beyond the record of the next part and continue it there from. On this account it requires some patience to get the records straight.
I give the record as nearly like the original as I can with the style of spelling punctuation and abbreviations unchanged. The following is the imperfect translation of the incomplete record kept in German by Rev. John Ulrick Giessendanner and by Rev. John Giessendanner before his departure for England:
"This Book contains the names of all those who were Married and Baptized by me in Orangeburgh in Public as well as in Private & herein accurately Recorded.
"This Book should be carefully preserved that those who may wish to know of their family may find it in the Book of Record." John Giessendanner the younger.
Then follows a quotation from
Genesis 2 Chap. 18 v.
"And the Lord said it is not good for man to be alone I will make a help meet for Him";
then follows another passage from 128 Psalm and another from Hebrews 13.4.
"Here follows a Register, or List of such persons as were married and joined together in matrimony by my predecessor & Uncle, deceased, and now in Heaven. This register is copied from the old Book into this new oneword for word accuratelyas he wrote and kept it." John Giessendanner the younger.