Cathey Family

The Steele Creek Historical and Genealogical Society
Of the Old Steele Creek Township
Mecklenburg County, North Carolina

Steele Creek In The Revolutionary War:
Battle of Fishing Creek


|  Battle of Fishing Creek, Carothers/Hook's Mill, Thorn's Ferry  |

Battle of Fishing Creek, Carothers/Hook's Mill, Thorn's Ferry
Submitted by Woody Carothers

Patriot: Alexander Faris of York District Neighbor of the John Carothers Family of McKee Road, Mecklenburg County

Shortly after the Battle of Hanging Rock there was the Battle of Fishing Creek which also involved Scotch-Irish residents of Mecklenburg and York Counties.

Elias Newton Faris was born April 1830, two miles west of the present site of the Southern Power Company Dam at India Hook, York County, South Carolina. The site of the dam having been the home of Alexander Faris and his wife Jenett, who settled in this site before and served in the Revolutionary War. He served in the war under General Thomas Sumter. Alexander Faris was among those captured by Tarleton when they were completely surprised at the mouth of Fishing Creek. Sumter's army was cut to pieces on August 17, 1780, at The Battle of Fishing Creek. Two hundred prisoners were that night tied together and marched to the British prison at Camden. Andrew Jackson, a lad of about 14 years was among these unfortunate heroes.

Alexander Feris, with others had turned his horse into an enclosed field to graze. He heard a shout in the cane and ran to the gate where he had leaned his musket. By the time he could grasp it, two British soldiers came charging up to him and exclaimed, "Surrender, you damned Rebels." He did not surrender but instead fired his musket at them. Before the smoke had cleared one of them had given him a severe blow across the side of his face with a broad saber. He was never sure that one of his attackers had been killed, but soon after this mishap he had occasion to pass this spot and saw a new grave near the spot of his capture.

On the way to Camden that night his wound bled so much that his clothing failed to absorb it all and his shoes ran full as he walked and blood splashed on the ground. He grew weak and nervous but said he would have died before he would have asked any favors of his captors. On the second night after his capture he and two others escaped prison. He walked to his home at India Hook on the Catawba River. His wife, Jeanette, wanted to protect him in his condition against the Tories of the community. She went with him about 1 and miles up the river on the east side to a spring near old Thorn's Ferry, and there in the dark forest at the spring, nursed him several days until he had regained some strength. Although his wound still bled, he hurried on to Charlotte and there joined his chief, General Sumter. He later performed his duty in the famous Battle of Kings Mountain. One can only imagine his satisfaction at being able to contribute to the total British defeat at Kings Mountain of a part of that same army that had subjected him to capture and punishment as above described.

He was born in 1750 and was a descendent of the well known Scotch family mentioned in early history as "Farie" which is the English name Faris in it's earliest form. The Battle of Kings Mountain took place 7 Oct 1780 with General Thomas Sumter serving under the command of General Nathanael Greene.

From the book; Tradition and Reminiscences, Chiefly of the American Revolution in the South, by Dr. Joseph Johnson, M D, of Charleston, SC, published in 1851, recorded on pages 347, 348, and 349.

The following article is of interest because it helps to locate the Faris family as neighbors of the Carothers. At the time this documentation is written it has not been determined if any Carothers were in the Battle of Fishing Creek although we know they were at the Battle of Hanging Rock.


We have been presented by the proprietor of this mill with a bag of most excellent flour. These mills, known heretofore as "Carothers" have long enjoyed an enviable reputation, and have recently been overhauled and made as good as new, are ready to serve the public. They are situated on the Catawba River, about four miles to the left of Ebenezer and 1 1/2 miles below Thorn's Ferry. (Yorkville Enquirer, July 18, 1861. An advertisement for India Hook Mills showed the proprietors as J. F. Carothers, and B. B. Taylor)

The India Hook/Carothers Mill article indicated that the mill was four miles to the left of Ebenezer and 1 and 1/2 miles below Thorn's Ferry. We have the Gordon Moore, 1820, survey of the northeast corner and part of the southeast corner of York District, South Carolina. It is in the Hill's Atlas of 1825, and is located in the Dallas, Texas Public Library. It indicates Thorn's Ferry crosses the Catawba River just south of the state line where Tega Cay is now located.

We now have the Alexander Faris information that places the Faris house two miles west of the dam and they went up river about 1 and 1/2 mile to a spring on the east side of Thorn's Ferry.

When you combine the information from these two sources it puts the J. F. Carothers mill just over two miles below the David Carothers farm, which Mrs. McKee identified on McKee Road, which was just north of the state line. It would also place the Faris property about two miles south of the state line. Thorn's ferry Road went to Yorkville. It is also where you would have crossed to go the Concord Presbyterian Church. That is where the Catawba Nuclear Plant is now.

The son of James S. Carothers, William Carothers, married Dorcas Dinsmore. Dorcus was the daughter of Mary Faris Dinsmore, who was the daughter of Alexander Faris. It is interesting that John Knox Carothers, brother of our David Jno Carothers, married his cousin Mary E. Carothers, daughter of William Carothers and Dorcas Dinsmore. William Carothers' nephew, J. F. Carothers, is the proprietor of the India Hook Mill.

Though-out all of South Carolina's history, ferries have been franchised by the state which set the rates for persons, their servants, carriages, hogsheads, houses, cattle, sheep, goats and hogs: Ministers of the Gospel were not charged. The last ferry in the state closed in 1959 (it was state owned).

Thorn's Ferry
 1796-- John Drennan and Hezekiah Thorn 
1813, 1826, and 1834 -- Hezekiah Thorn

The wording of the 1796 franchise: " That a public ferry be established on the Catawba River, at a place called the Long Island, and at the lower point of said Island; and that the said ferry be vested, for a term of fourteen years, in John Drennan and Hezekiah Thorn, their heirs and assigns; and that it shall and may be lawful for the said John Drennan and Hezekiah Thorn, their heirs, executors, administrators or assigns, to take and receive the following rates, and no other; - for every foot passenger, four cents; for each led horse, four cents; for a man and horse, seven cents; for a wagon and team, or other four wheel carriage, seventy-five cents; for a chair or cart, with one horse, twenty-five cents; for each head of black cattle, two cents; for each head of hogs, sheep or goats, one cent." The wording of the 1813 franchise: " That the ferry over the Catawba river, in the district of York, commonly called Thorn and Drennan's Ferry, the term of which is now expired, shall be, and the same is hereby, re-established, and vested in Hezekiah Thorn, his heirs and assigns, for the term of seven years:----for every man and horse, ten cents; for every foot passenger, six and a quarter cents; and in all other cases, the same ferriage as has been heretofore fixed by law."

More About Hezekiah Thorn, Sr.: Burial: September 22, 1845, Flint Hill Baptist Church Cemetery Census 1800-1840: York County York District South Carolina Census 1860: Newton County Conyers Georgia Christening: July 03, 1763, St. Johns Parish Prince George Maryland

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