First Families of Orangeburgh District, South Carolina


1. AARON(IV) ("Big Aaron") WAY was born in 1740 in Berkeley County South Carolina[1,2]. He was the son of THOMAS WAY and ELIZABETH BACON[1,2] and the grandson of AARON(III) WAY, born 27 Jan 1674/5 in Salem, Massachusetts and MARY GORTON[5].

While Aaron(IV) Way was the first Way in Orangeburgh District, he was in the sixth generation of the Way family in America, the first having left Bridport on the south coast of England to help found Dorchester, Mass, in 1630. After two brothers of the third generation were embroiled---on the right side of history---in the Salem Witch trials of 1692, the extended Way family sailed, along with more than a hundred other New England Congregationalists from Massachusetts, to South Carolina in 1697, where they helped found Old Dorchester on the Ashley River[4].

Aaron(IV) Way lived with his four sons and a daughter on extensive landholdings between the Edisto River and Four Hole Swamp in the lower part of present-day Orangeburg County. At the time that the area was referred to as St. Mathew's Parish, Aaron(IV) Way had become prominent enough to appear on the Petit Jury List for St. Mathew's in the 1778-79 court session. Their abandoned and destroyed family cemetery is in the middle of a field near Way Road, which branches off south from US 301 about a mile east of US 176. Way Road was named for the homestead of Aaron(IV) Way[5].

Already owning land in Berkeley County surveyed earlier but registered August 6, 1765[1], Aaron(IV) Way began acquiring tracts of land in Amelia Township and the Four-Hole-Swamp area as follows: 200 acres from Michael Vogt on May 5, 1769; 200 acres from Michael Vogt in Amelia Township on April 4, 1770; and 100 acres from Jacob Giegelman on Four Hole Swamp, Berkley County, on July 25, 1774[3].

Children of Aaron(IV) Way and Unknown are:

a. Aaron(V) ("Little Aaron") Way, born abt.1770 in Berkeley County, South Carolina[5].

Aaron(v) was a veteran of the War of 1812.

b. John Way, born abt. 1771 in Berkeley County, South Carolina, died 12 Sep 1859 in Holly Hill, South Carolina, married (1)Elizabeth Joyner abt. 1803 and (2)Mary Jane Hoster in 1812[5].

c. William Way, born abt. 1773, Berkeley County, South Carolina, died 3 May 1822, married. 19 Mar 1812, Mary Carne. She was born 20 Jul 1770[5].

d. Sadie Way, born abt. 1780 in Berkeley County, South Carolina[5].

e. Jacob Way, born 1782 in Berkeley Co., died Goose Creek, Berkeley County, South Carolina, married (1)Elizabeth Chapman, (2)Mary Jane Hoster[5].

While many descendants of Aaron(IV) Way remained in the Orangeburg area, others fanned out over the South and West. Descendants, also named Aaron Way, 1) bought land in Clarke, Ala, in the 1850s and 1860s, 2) was murdered in 1867 for helping send a thief to prison in Lavaca Co., TX, or 3) settled in Indian Territory, later Oklahoma[5].


1. Unpublished MS, Charles Granville Way, "The South Carolina Way Family: The Aaron Way Line," 306 typewritten, double-spaced notes with Index, New England Historic Genealogical Society (hereafter referred to as NEHGS), Boston, MA, pp. 29,30

2. Mary Elizabeth Way Collection, NEHGS.

3. Computerized Index, Microfilm of South Carolina Department of Archives and History, Columbia, SC, pp. 32,952-3.

4. Henry A.M. Smith, "The Town of Dorchester, in South Carolina---A Sketch of Its History," The South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine, Charleston, SC, 1905, Vol. VI, pp. 70-75.

5. A. Dane Bowen, Jr., Henry Way (1593-1667) and Descendants: Pioneering Four Centuries Across America, Baltimore, Md., 2001, 488 pp.

6. Way Cemetery, coordinates 33deg, 26'56.54" N, 80 deg, 36'05.93" W. The cemetery lies just west of Weatherby Lane, a north/south dirt lane west of Way Road. (The cemetery was re-discovered in May of 2011 by cousins Jack and Brooks Ruple with the help of L.Wayne Shuler, a local resident.)

Other references to this surname are found in OGSGS Newsletters: Vol. 1, #1, p. 4, #11, p. 53, #19, p. 93, #20, pp. 97, 108, Vol. 2, #1, pp. 6,7, #8, p. 100, Vol. 3, #5, p.41, #7, p. 56, #8, P.61, Vol 4, #4, p. 27, #5, p. 40, #7, p. 62, Vol. 5, #6, p. 111, Vol. 6, #4, p. 88.

Information provided by A. Dane Bowen, Jr. 01/20/03, update by Jack D. Ruple, Sr. 06/19/12.