To all whom these presents shall come, Greeting.
Thus wrote Abraham Waight in 1701. The phrases linger throughout the centuries, a lot because the Angel Oak may communicate to generations current and future. It’s acceptable the story the patriarchal oak would inform is the story of Abraham Waight, for he was the primary man to personal the property on which Angel Oak grows. The story the tree might inform is the story of Carolina. So to all whom these presents shall come, Greeting.
Return to the yr 1663. Charles II is restored to the British throne. To reward eight of his necessary supporters, the king grants them an incredible piece of property within the New World. The northern boundary is Virginia, the southern boundary at present-day St. Augustine, Florida, and the western boundary the Pacific Ocean. This, the colony of Carolina, is granted to eight proprietors, all skilled in colonial affairs.
A British crown. Reprinted from The Angel Oak Story by Ruth Miller with Linda Lennon (pg. 15, The Historical past Press, 2018).
The land is theirs to colonize, to manipulate and to revenue from. In essence, the settlement of Carolina was a enterprise operation, and the company house owners’ chief intention was to earn cash. They understood the best way to revenue from a colony was to populate the land with industrious, productive settlers.
The proprietors used their data of colonial affairs to compose a authorized doc that ruled Carolina. Difficult and unworkable in lots of specifics, the early regulation held two irresistible guarantees for Carolina’s pioneers: land and non secular freedom.
The Spiritual Toleration Act is usually credited to the ablest of the proprietors, the Earl of Shaftsbury, and the affect of his affiliate the English thinker John Locke. Carolina provided an island of toleration to Europeans and discontented settlers in different colonies. The Basic Orders for Carolina learn, “Any seaven or extra individuals agreeing in any faith shall represent a church or a occupation to wch. they shall give some identify to tell apart it from different.” This was a singular expression of non secular liberalism in an age boiling with non secular persecution.
The Angel Oak tree. Picture by Agupta96 [CC-BY-SA 4.0], through Wikimedia Commons.
By 1700, Baptists, Huguenots, Jews, Presbyterians, Puritans and Quakers had all come to the Lowcountry.
The lure of the land was equally engaging. A system of “headrights” promised acreage to each immigrant for himself and any others whom he dropped at Carolina, together with household, indentured servants and slaves.
The proprietors envisioned a feudal system of large estates supporting a rich aristocracy. Their plan for titled the Aristocracy with North American landgraves and cassiques might sound comical at present, however the large tracts of land grew to become the plantation system that decided the entire course of Carolina’s historical past.
The precise property on which Angel Oak stands was a part of a small grant to Abraham Waight dated July 25, 1717, for ninety-six acres on the head of Wadmalaw (the marsh on the supply of Church Creek). It must be famous that head in these previous plats refers back to the supply of the stream, its “head waters.”
In 1734, the story strikes to the church of St. Johns, on the entrance to Angel Oak Highway, previously referred to as Agricultural Corridor Highway. Within the early 1700s, the Church Act was handed by the Meeting of Carolina and authorised by the proprietors. The regulation continued to permit freedom of worship however required taxes for the assist of Anglican parishes.
The primary sanctuary of St. Johns was destroyed in the course of the Revolutionary Struggle and changed by a brand new constructing in 1817 on the previous basis. The primary pew checklist of the antebellum church comprises an necessary new identify: quantity twenty-seven is labeled Angel. This is similar Angel who’s to present Angel Oak its identify, for the Waight plantation turn out to be the Angel plantation within the yr 1810.
However the Angel Oak’s story really comes into focus with two sons…