Joseph Duke founded the Orangeburg County SC Dukes family (the terminal ŅsÓ in his name appeared only with the baptism of his last known child, Rebecca). He first appeared in the parish records of Rev. Giessendanner in 1750. This was fifteen years after the first Swiss settlement. The early settlement of Orangeburgh Township and the surrounding area involved the Swiss settlers for whom the township was designated, accompanied by a network of cattle-raisers, traders, and businessmen who moved into this frontier area at about the same time.

There are many things that we do not know about this Joseph Duke. His parentage remains unproven, although evidence suggests that he was derived from a coastal South Carolina family, rather than being a recent immigrant to the colony. Other files at this site discuss the Dugue and Duke families that might have a connection to Joseph. JosephÕs date of birth is unknown, although he was an adult with at least one child by 1750, his wife Barbara Forster was born by about 1722, and thus a birth date of about 1720-22 can be estimated for Joseph. His date of death is unknown, although we know that he was deceased by 1768. He may or may not have had a wife before the first recorded wife in Orangeburgh, Margaret Eisenhut. He may have had more children than we can name. The people of Orangeburgh occasionally wrote and signed petitions on matters of general interest; he isnÕt known to have signed any.

We do not know what he did for a living. He waited for years after arriving in Orangeburgh before obtaining land, and he sold his largest land grant soon after obtaining it, so that farming is not an obvious choice. He does not appear in the lists of licensed Indian traders and no reference to him has been found in documentation related to their activities. Some members of the Duke family in the 18th century were carpenters, a broad category that included house builders, shipbuilders, and furniture makers; that is a possibility. Cattle were also raised in the area; that is another possibility. He could have been in the leather business, although no direct evidence of that has been obtained.

In 1750 only one other group of Dukes other than JosephÕs family can be identified in South Carolina. Thomas Goodman Duke and William Duke of the Charleston area were primarily involved in sea trade with Jamaica. Shared associates and naming patterns, as well as their having appeared in South Carolina at the same time as Joseph, indicate that Joseph might have been closely related to these families.

It has been proposed at various times that Joseph was descended from several Duke families of English origin. The documentary evidence was never there to prove this, however, and yDNA studies of Duke males in the United States and England have established that Joseph did not share a direct male line of descent with persons from any of the suggested English Duke families during the past 40,000 years. The tests have included Duke families in Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Dorset, England. The Orangeburg Dukes family is not a match for any of them (see data and summaries at This excludes as his origin the extensive Duc/Duke family of Norman origin in southern England and its offshoots in Barbados, Maryland, and Virginia as well as several other English Duke families.

JosephÕs Earliest Friends in Orangeburgh

The following Joseph Dukes entry is found in the Giessendanner parish records and provides clues to JosephÕs network of family and friends when he first appeared in the local records:

[1751] On Thursday September 26th In Orangb. Church By Banns, Freeman Snellgrove of Amelia Township to Ann Jenkins, widow, being present: Miles Riley, John Fairy, Joseph Duke. [1]

Freeman Snellgrove immigrated to the Fort Motte area in Amelia Township from Virginia in about 1735. His grant was placed for efficiency in trade rather than farming, precisely at the intersection of the old Charleston Road and the road that ran from what became McCord's Ferry to Orangeburg.

ŅJohn FairyÓ of the Snellgrove wedding (in other documents John Farree) was often associated with Peter Faurˇ, who was from a Huguenot family that settled on the Cooper River in 1780; he may have been a relative of Peter Faurˇ. John Farree married Ann Eisenhut, aunt or sister of Margaret Eisenhut Dukes on 5 Feb 1743 (Giessendanner Book of Record, The Faurˇ family in Orangeburg was closely associated with others from Charleston including the Hasfort and Pendarvis families.

Miles Riley, a witness with Joseph at the Snellgrove wedding, married Elizabeth Weekly 22 Sep 1750. On Thurday, 31 Dec 1741 Geissendanner baptized William Weekly, legitimate child Thomas Weekly and his wife, with sponsors Freeman Shnellgrove W. Cammel and Mrs. Cammel. Elizabeth was the widow of this Thomas Weekly. Witnesses at the Riley wedding were William Cammel (Campbell), William Cooper, and Caspar Ott. William Cooper had married Sarah, widow of Thomas Hasfort. Thomas HasfortÕs brother Richard Hasfort married Barbara Dietrichs, half sister of Peter Faurˇ. Joseph Hasfort married Hannah Goring Keys Pendarvis, widow of John Pendarvis.

The name Miles Riley is not uncommon, and occurs in SnellgroveÕs home counties in Virginia. However, another possible source in this case is the Railey, Riley or Reiley family of Colleton County, which lived adjacent a Miles family, and also owned land adjacent Joseph Pendarvis[2] and Tobias Fitch and his wife Marianne Duguˇ Fitch at Spoons.[3]

Because Freeman Snellgrove was associated with the Duke family of Prince George County, VA, his presence has suggested a tie to that family. Research, including yDNA studies, has conclusively rejected this interpretation. It is apparently more important that the participants in this wedding connect to a network of Charleston-area traders and planters that included the Faurˇ, Hasfort, Pendarvis, Weekley, Campbell, and Barker families.


This document is copyright © 2007 by Lynn Teague. All rights reserved. The copyright must appear on all copies.


Orangeburg Dukes Index



[1] Salley, A.S., Jr. 1898. The History of Orangeburg County, South Carolina, from Its First Settlement to the Close of the Revolutionary War, Orangeburg, S.C.; reprinted Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore, Maryland, 1994. Page 114.

[2] Colonial Plats. Series Number S213184. Vol. 0001. Page 00254. Item 00. South Carolina Department of Archives and History.

[3] Colonial Memorials. Series Number S111001. Vol. 0005. Page 00140. Item 00. South Carolina Department of Archives and History.