First Families of Orangeburgh District, South Carolina

Fersner (Ferstner, Forstner, Vorstner)

1. JOSEPH FERSTNER probably arrived in South Carolina in 1749.

Joseph Vorstner was given a warrant for 250 acres of land in Saxe Gotha and bounty for three on 22 Oct 1749[4]. Joseph was among a number of petitioners described as "... Palatines lately arrived in this province ...". Joseph's warrant for 250 acres would imply a household of five persons but the bounty for only three makes it uncertain that all were immigrants.

Apparently, there was some difficulty in exercising some of these warrants for on 7 Nov 1749 Joseph was mentioned in a second petition:

"Read the humble Petition of Peter Faure, Dept. Surveyor, setting forth that the 3 warrants ordered for Nicholas Dirr, Clements Fromm and Joseph Vorstner for Land in or near Saxe Gotha Township will be of no service to the Pet'rs because there is no lands thereabouts vacant but what is so miserable poor & barren or else Drowned River Swamp that it can do them no good, and ..."[4]

The petition goes on to ask that the petitioners be allowed to take their land in or near Orangeburgh Township. The petition was granted[4]. Joseph's 250 acres were platted on 8 Sep 1750[5] and granted on 14 May 1752[6].

There are several mentions of Joseph Festner and his wife Anna Maria as godparents in the "Giessendanner Record" between 1750 and 1757. This is also where we find the baptism of their only known son, John Henry.

Children of Joseph Ferstner and Anna Maria Unknown are:

a. John Henry Festner, b. Aug 1751, bapt. 8 Sep 1751 in Orangeburgh Township, South Carolina[1,2].

Following the American Revolution, a Catherine Festner made a claim for expenses or losses arising out of that war[7]. Other than Joseph, the immigrant, whose wife was Ann Mary, there was no known male Ferstner who could have been the husband of Catherine, other than John Henry, born 1751[3,7] Our assumption is that Catherine was the wife of John Henry. A further assumption is that John Henry, the son of Joseph Ferstner and Ann Mary, and Catherine were the parents of Joseph Fersner, who married Rachel Snell 23 Feb 1804[8], and Catherine (Katy) Fersner who married Henry Bossart about 1800-1805[3]. These are the best assumptions that can be made given the limited data available and will have to serve unless additional records are found to suggest otherwise.


1. A. S. Salley, Jr., The History of Orangeburg County, South Carolina, 1898, pp 160-1.

2. Joop Giesendanner, "The Book of Record, Orangeburgh, SC".

3. Julian Dantzler Kelly, Jr., Fersner of South Carolina, Privately Published

4. Brent Holcomb, Petitions for Land from the South Carolina Council Journals. Vol. II: 1748-1752. 1997, pp. 86, 93).

5. SC Archives, Colonial Plats (Joseph Vorstener), Ser. S213184, Vol. 0005, Pg. 00265 Itm. 01.

6. SC Archives, Colonial Grants (Joseph Vorstener), Ser. S213016, Vol. 002F, Pg. 00070.

7. SC Archives, Accounts Audited of Claims Growing out of the American Revolution, (Catherine Festner),File No. 2367A.

8. Bible of Frederick Snell, A certified copy of some of the entries is in the Calhoun County Museum, St. Matthews, SC.

Other references to this surname are found in OGSGS Newsletters: Vol. 2 #6 p. 67 and Vol. 5 #7 pp. 124,125,126.

Information provided by Julian Dantzler Kelly, Jr. and Jim Rickenbacker on 3/21/03.