Geodetic Survey

« back

SC/NC Boundary Program

3. Why can’t we leave the boundary where it is? How and why did the boundary “move?”

The South Carolina Code of Laws defines South Carolina’s boundary. The boundary has not “moved.”  When creating these local maps, adjacent jurisdictions have used differing resources that have caused gaps, overlaps and inaccurate plotting of the States common boundary, which has led to confusion. 


The boundary between South and North Carolina was created by five surveys between 1735 and 1815 (refer to map below). The first survey began in 1735 and ended in 1737.  The second, third, fourth and fifth occurred in 1764, 1772, 1813, and 1815, respectively. Two hundred years have elapsed since these surveys were completed.  Except for a few stone monuments set during the 1813 and 1815 surveys, the surveyors for the original surveys marked trees to locate the state line. As years passed, when “boundary trees” died or were cut down, neither state made the effort to maintain the boundary with new monuments, resulting in a dubious, unclear, South Carolina – North Carolina boundary.


The technical work to re-establish the boundary used copies of the original survey plats, historical research and extensive land record research to recover evidence that could be used to identify the location of the original boundary as best as possible. Monuments defining the re-established South Carolina – North Carolina are now defined by geographic and state plane coordinates; so that, if a monument is destroyed its position can be relocated using its mathematical coordinates, and conventional or GPS surveying techniques.



Signed and sealed survey plats were completed for the re-establishment of the state boundary have been recorded at each of the county’s Registry of Deeds Office and copies are available at the SC Department of Archives & History and the SC Geodetic Survey.