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Marion County, SC
Livestock Brands and Markings

by Victoria Proctor

Stock raising, or cattle ranching, was a profitable pursuit in early South Carolina, and livestock owners registered their distinctive "brands" with the provincial government, and later, at the county courthouse.

Bishop Gregg tells us, in his "History of the Old Cheraws", that stock was driven to Charleston and other places on the coast, as well as to more distant markets. Large numbers of cattle were driven from Pee Dee to Philadelphia. There is a humorous story about Malachi Murphy and his efforts to get an unusually large cow named "Blaze Face" to stay put in Philadelphia. The story goes that Blaze Face escaped from the buyers in Philadelphia not once but twice, outdistancing his pursuers, and making his way back to Murphy's place on the Pee Dee. The feeling was that this was "a mighty remarkable beeve," but the cow had been sold and a third, and final, drive to Philadelphia was required.


  • Livestock marks books 1695-1737
    SCDAH Record Series: S 213012 Secretary of State. Recorded Instruments.
  • Marion County Deed Books

The sample at left is the fleur-de-lis mark of Huguenot rancher Isaac Mareque dated 1698.
Image from which this portion is drawn courtesy of South Carolina Department of Archives and History (SCDAH).

The list below, contributed by Roberta Hayes King, is a partial listing of what may be found in the Marion County deed books. If anyone has more of these, please consider sharing them here.

C72. 8 Feb 1805. ANDREW BERRY'S mark for past 9 mos. is an under Square & under nick in each Ear. Sig: ANDREW BERRY. Wit: SAML COOPER, Reg. Rec. 8 Feb 1805.

C72. 8 Feb 1805. STEPHEN BERRY'S mark for some time past is a Swallowfork in right Ear, & under Square in left. Sworn to bef SAML COOPER, Reg. Rec. 8 Feb 1805.

C72. 8 Feb 1805. CHRISTOPHER DEW'S mark for about 14 yrs. past is a crop in right Ear & under Square in left. Sig: CHRISTOPHER (his mk) DEW. Sworn to bef SAML COOPER, Reg. Rec. 8 Feb 1805.

C72. 8 Feb 1805. CHRISTOPHER DEW'S son WILSON DEW'S stock mark is a crop & slit in right Ear, & Slit & half moon under it in left. He has used mark for 1 yr. Sig: CHRISTOPHER (his mk) DEW. Wit: SAML COOPER, Reg. Rec. 8 Feb 1805.

C72. 8 Feb 1805. CHRISTOPHER DEW'S son ABRAHAM DEW'S stock mark is a crop & an under half moon in right Ear, an under Square in the left. He has used mark for about 1 yr. Sworn to bef SAML COOPER, Reg. Rec. 8 Feb 1805.

C73. 9 Feb 1804. STEVEN COLLINS to THOMAS COLLINS of Marion Dist. for $33.25 1 Cow with crop & under bit in left Ear & swallow fork & half moon in the right. 1 Bull yearling unmarked. 1 cow with under square in the right Ear & over bit in left, 1 Bull yearling unmarked. Two 3 yr. old Heiffers, both with under square in right ear, & over bit in left. Sig: STEPHEN (his mk) COLLINS. Wit: HENRY WM. HODGES*, JOHN (his mk) ALMOND/ALTMAN. Pr bef ROBERT HODGES, JQ, 9 Feb 1805. (Rec. date not given.)

C73. 20 Feb 1805. DANIEL DAVIS'S stock mark is a crop & saw tooth in Rite Ear, a Smoth Crop in the left. Sig: DANIEL DAVIS. Sworn before VALENTINE ROWELL, JUNR, JP. Rec. 20 Feb 1805.


From John A. Kennedy, May 2005:

Deed Book R pg. 473 William T. Askins made oath that the proper ear mark of kinds of Livestock for his two children William Thomas Askins, and Joseph Armstrong Askins is a swallow fork and an underbit in the right ear and a crop and a slit in the left ear.

Signed William T. Askins Dec 6, 1841 before Edward B. Wheeler
Recorded Dec 17, 1841

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