During the British colonization of the Americas between 1607 and 1774, European nations sent settlers to the thirteen east coast Colonies from north (Maine, formerly part of Massachusetts) to the south (Georgia). Within British America, the Province of Carolina was founded in 1663 and divided into two colonies, North Carolina and South Carolina in 1712. In 1730, to encourage settlement, King George II and the General Assembly of England (by royal authority) and the British Parliament established eleven townships of 20,000 acres each in the shape of a parallelogram 15 x 5 miles along the banks of the chief rivers, including the Edisto and Savannah, and the Orangeburg Township and outlying countryside in South Carolina.
People settled in the Province, 1734 through 1744, on the large land grants from England. The settlers of Orangeburg Township District were mostly German-Swiss, who began arriving in 1735 and continued to reach the district for several years. The family head was to receive a lot and fifty acres in the township for each member in the family.
“Swiss Family Salin”, left Zeglingen, a small town in Canton Basel, Switzerland, and arrived in Carolina with about two hundred and twenty (220) other settlers from Switzerland in 1735. At government expense with provisions, Heini Salin and his wife Mariah von Arx and their children, Anna Maria, Heini, Barbara, Martin and Elizabeth, departed Charleston that year and traveledto settle in the Orangeburg Township District located on the North Edisto River in July, 1735.
The isolated coast region coast was within an almost impassable morass of underbrush and swamps, but was very good land for wheat and corn. With a British post on the North Edisto River in Orangeburg, Rangers protected the early settlers from both Indians and white outlaws.
Heini Salin received a grant of land, September 20, 1735, with measurements certified of two hundred (200) acres and known on the Township plat as tract No. 168 in the name of Zaley, because the letter ‘S’ was pronounced as a ‘Z’ in German/Swiss.According to Swiss Emigrants in the Eighteenth Century to American Colonies -- there were different ways to spell their name, in addition to Salin: Sali, Säli, Sähli, and Söhli. Later, like many settlers in the American Colonies who changed the spelling of their names to fit the English sound of the name during the late 1600s and early 1700s, Heini Salin changed the spelling of his name to “Henry Salley” This took place before 1783.
His three sons became substantial land and plantation owners. Especially his youngest son, John Salley, born in 1740 in Orangeburg District, South Carolina, who became a citizen of wealth and influence and owned more than fifty thousand (50,000) acres of land.
All thirteen colonies in North America rebelled against British rule in 1775 in what was called ‘The American Revolutionary War’ and the American War of Independence. The Battle of Dean's Bridge took place in the Orangeburg region and seventeen Tories (British supporters) were buried in an unmarked grave during the eight years of war. After the Treaty of Paris in 1783 was ratified by this new national government, and ended British claims to any of the thirteen states, settlers were very successful there in the lumber industry and built spacious mansions.
The American Civil War (1861–1865), also known as the War Between the States, was a civil war in the United States of America. By April 1862, the Confederate States of America found it necessary to pass a conscription act, which drafted men into the Provisional Army of the Confederate States. Orangeburg was some 50 miles south of Fort Granby, and tragedy struck during the war as General William Tecumseh Sherman's Union troops burned many homes there, and battled the troops of Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston through South Carolina. General Sherman brought modern warfare to the state in early 1865, plundering and destroying homes, farms, and railroads in their march from Savannah northward. Acts by Union troops was significantly greater in South Carolina, and North Carolina. Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant on April 9, 1865 and General Johnston surrendered to General Sherman on April 17, 1865 at Raleigh, North Carolina.
Precipitating the Civil War, American had fought against American and the war was a horrific four years for the nation. The wartime destruction nearly ruined the basic agricultural economy in the Orangeburg District, but after the war, people began speaking of the United States in the singular, as the name of the nation. Being landowners in that area, the affluent Salley families became vigorous planters and merchants and managed to recoup their plantations, fortunes and farm tenancies from 1877 to 1887.
Gradually the district continued to grow and the settlement of ‘Johns Town’ became “Salley, South Carolina” on December 19, 1887. Dempsey Hammond Salley is credited with the incorporation of the town and it was named for him. Dempsey Hammond Salley was very instrumental in getting a charter for the town, and also donated land for the streets of the said town.
Born Oct. 20, 1838, on his father’s plantation at Johns Town Mill in Orangeburg, Dempsey Hammond was the eighth child and the sixth son of John Allan Salley (born 1797- died 1870) and his wife Ann Catherine “Hartzog” Salley (born 1800- died 1883). He served in the Confederate Army with ability and skill, which was noted by his superiors, and for which he was advanced in rank to Captain. He enlisted June 26, 1861 at Richmond, Virginia, under Captain Stephen D. Lee, assigned to Hart’s Battery, South Carolina Light Artillery. Paroled May 1, 1865, after which, he became a member of the South Carolina Legislature and was responsible for bringing the railroad through Salley, SC.
“Salley” is today a town in Aiken County, South Carolina. The county was formed in 1871 from parts of Orangeburg, Lexington, Edgefield, and Barnwell counties.