- Savage says: SUMNER INCREASE, Dorchester, s. of William the first of the same, m. 26 Mar. 1667, Sarah Staples, had Increase, b. 15 Jan. 1668, d. at 15 yrs.; Sarah, 12 May 1669; William, 9 July 1670; Sarah, 15 July 1672, d. young; Benjamin, 29 Aug. 1676; Thankful, 20 June 1678; Roger, 24 Apr. 1680; Samuel, 27 July 1684; and Mehitable, 18 June 1686; was freem. 1678, selectman 1693, one of the constables, 1694, and rem. 1696, with Rev. Joseph Lord and others, to found the settlem. in Berkley Co. S. C. aft. nam. Dorchester.
On 5 Dec. 1695, the brigantine Friendship left Boston, Mass., for South Carolina carrying a number of Congregationalist settlers aboard. They landed on 20 Dec. 1695 in Charleston, SC -- they had made astonishingly fast time since the trip often took 4 full weeks. The settlers laid out a village in the style of the New England towns they had grown up in and called it Dorchester.
The reason the settlers left Massachusetts for South Carolina is unknown, but it was not religious intolerance. It could have been the recent Indian Wars in the 1670s, the political turmoil of the 1680s or even the Salem witch hysteria. It may also have been the draw of plenty of new land for their families in South Carolina.
They obtained grants for 2 tracts totalling 4,050 acres about 30 miles northwest of Charletown, SC. The land extended from the north side of Ashley River from the mouth of Bossoe (now Dorchester) Creek to William Norman’s property about 3 miles to the west. It extended several miles to the north to encompass much of what is not the southeastern part of Summerville.
The settlers created a town based on a New England plan -- farm lots, a common and a section reserved for a mill. Lots were divided into 50 acre farm lots, 45 acre agricultural lots and about 50 acres for a trading area for the outlying farm lots. In the village, 116 quarter acre lots were laid out along parallel and perpendicular streets (but by the time of the Revolution, the town only had about 40 homes and church in it).
The town was mostly “dissenters”, i.e., puritans or congregationalists, but in 1706 South Carolina passed an act declaring the Church of England the established church of the colony. In 1717, there were sufficient Anglicans in the Dorchester area that St. George’s parish was set up -- and teh new pastor set about converting the Congregationalists.
As rice became the predominat crop in SC, the slave population also grew -- by 1741, there were 3347 slaves in the parish with only 468 in the white population.
After many years, the settlers realized that they could not sustain their families by splitting their existing land and leaving parts to their children -- there wasn’t enough land., They determined to move to nearby Midway County, Georgia, where they obtained land grants for nearly 32,000 acres. Eventually the town of Dorchester disappeared -- the runied steeple of the church was all that remained by the late 1800s; it is now a park named Dorchester Park. [3, 4, 5]