The following articles are contributed by Louise Pettus, editor of The Quarterly, York County Genealogical & Historical Society.

Reverend Oliver Johnson

Enoch Gilmer, King's Mountain Spy

Gold Mining in York County

Contention Over the Estate of Eleanor Grier

Buster Boyd Bridge

"Beautiful Mary" of Ebenezer

Early York County Will

Early Methodism in York District

Erwin Family Research Errors

Estates' Inventories

Elias Newton Faris

Fiddles and Fiddlers

History of Flint Hill Baptist Church

The Fort in Fort Mill

Fourth of July Over Time

Counties Created in Order to Provide Courts

Asbury Coward, Soldier-Educator

Rev. William Cummins Davis

John P. Countryman---Warrant For Felony

Confederate Memorial Day

Last Confederate Cabinet Meeting Historical Marker

Records Tell A Lot About County's Confederate Soldiers

Company H, 12th SC Volunteers

17th SC Regiment Reunion--1889

Early Railroads of the Area

Catawba Indians in the Civil War

Bibliography of the Catawba

York County Men in Bloody Kansas

Blacksmithing in the 1830's

Bigger's-Mason's-Wright's Ferry

Downtown Yorkville, 1858

American Tune Book Sing

April Fool's Day

York County Aviators---Coleman, Bryant, & Springs

Squire Bailes---The Marriage Man

Kings Mountain

The Bethesda Circulating Library Society

Richard Gillespie's Civil War Experiences

Fourth of July at Bullocks Creek

James Cansler of Tirzah

Early Clockmakers of This Area

Lord Cornwallis in York County

Banks Family--Educators & Ministers

Rev. William Blackstock

Confederate Soldier's Letter

Robert Clendenin - Lawyer & Planter

Town of Clover

Ebenezer Academy

Archibald Barron

Bethesda Presbyterian Church

Beth-Shiloh Church & Rev. W.C. Davis

Fourth of July at Bullocks Creek

by Louise Pettus

Celebrating American independence from Great Britain was, from the end of the Revolutionary War on, a time for South Carolinians to celebrate. The state, as one of the original 13 colonies, had played a major role in the war - with more battles fought on its soil than in any other colony. And, the turning point of the Revolution had occurred in York County at the battle of Kings Mountain.

By the 1850s the pattern of celebration was fixed. Rural communities everywhere had a favorite picnic ground where the citizenry would meet. Usually, there was a parade, often led by the local militia. Sometimes the local militia demonstrated their skills and might blast away with their guns, but fireworks as we know them today were not likely to be present. Always, orators would hold forth. Most likely, a local sax-horn band would furnish music.

The Committee on Arrangements would have seen to it that stands were constructed for the listeners and a platform for the orators. They would also have put up rough-hewn picnic (pick-nick) tables ready for spreading with tasty dishes brought in picnic baskets. Glazed with a savory hot sauce, hogs from local plantations cooked all night over a fire fed by hickory chips.

The 4th of July 1858 celebration in the Bullocks Creek area of southwestern York District was typical of many in this area. The day was a very hot one but that did not keep a number of citizens from joining the procession that began at White’s Store and marched to the picnic grounds. The orators of the day, Colonel McCorkle and Major Burris, escorted by Bullocks Creek Band, led the parade.

The crowd, described as a “large multitude,” was orderly and quiet in deference to the importance of Independence Day. Ceremonies began with the invocation given by Rev. R. Y. Russell. The traditional reading of the Declaration of Independence was rendered by W. B. Russell, Esq. Many of the listeners knew the Declaration by heart. The crowd was hushed and respectful. They might become restless during some of the lengthy orations, but they never tired of hearing Mr. Jefferson's masterpiece.

Next was the main speaker, B. H. Moore, the Orator of the Day. The Yorkville Enquirer ported that Moore’s style was “easy and elegant.”

The Committee of Arrangements provided toasts in order of descending importance: 1. The Day We Celebrate; 2. The Heroes of Kings Mountain; 3. George Washington; 4. Soldiers of 1812; 5. The Palmetto Regiment (South Carolina troops in the War with Mexico); 6. John C. Calhoun; 7. the Administration (James Buchanan was president of the United States); 8. The Emerald Isle; 9. Women; 10. the Orators of the Day.

The Kings Mountain toast: “Upon its summit was enacted the greatest scene in the drama of the Revolution - the turning point of the noble struggle for the right. Its towering crest is its own enduring monument.”

The Emerald Isle toast: “May her Harp be attuned anew to the rapturous song of Liberty; and Emmet’s epitaph be written.” (Emmet was Thomas Addis Emmet, an Irish nationalist who fought for Irish independence from England.)

After dinner the crowd reassembled to hear more oratory. The Fourth of July celebration was interpreted to the Bullock's Creek crowd as a state holiday and not as a national holiday. Each speaker was careful to point out that the Fourth of July was the anniversary of South Carolina's independence as a state.

This viewpoint was a reflection of South Carolina's increasing uneasiness with the direction of national politics in mid-1858. Agitation over slavery in the territories, abolitionist activities, and the knowledge that the agricultural South was losing political power to the industrial North, weighed heavily on the minds of the orators and their listeners.

Thirty months later South Carolina seceded from the Union. It was to be a long time before the Fourth of July was again widely celebrated in York County.

James Cansler of Tirzah

by Louise Pettus

When James Cansler of Tirzah announced in the winter of 1916 that he was running for a six-year term on the South Carolina Railroad Commission no one was surprised. Cansler had been running for that office "since the time whereof the memory of man runneth not to the contrary," as one newspaper expressed it. Cansler had a habit of running every two years for the state post but had gotten so few votes in the past that few people foresaw Cansler's victory.

In truth, there was nothing in Cansler's past that would have predicted he had any chance of getting such a choice plum. Railroad commissioners had one of the plushest political posts in the state. Their control of railroads was complete down to the smallest detail. Railroads were quick to offer commissioners private cars with unlimited travel. There was no state ethics commission, either.

Cansler was a poor man and had never held a political office. A native of North Carolina, he had arrived at Tirzah, a rural community between Rock Hill and York, in 1877 to teach school. His father, though poor, had been determined that his children receive an education and had boarded school teachers for $3 a month in order to guarantee their instruction. Cansler finished Catawba College. Cansler did manage, on the meager salary of a teacher, to save enough money in 12 years to acquire a small farm. The work must have been hard for him because he long suffered physical pain which had left him crippled for life.

Ben Tillman was governor and his dispensary system was in full swing when Cansler first got into politics. The dispensary system was an attempt to control the sale of alcohol by having the state control the manufacture, distribution and sale of alcoholic beverages. Cansler was an ardent prohibitionist. In 1894 York County citizens went to the polls to decide if their local communities would have state operated liquor stores. The idea was rejected everywhere except in Tirzah which ended up selling the only legal whiskey in York County.

James Cansler's house sat on the road to the dispensary shop. He was incensed at the sight of "the thirsty" trudging the highway. He fumed for seven years. Finally, in 1901 Cansler circulated a petition to remove the dispensary. His petition first circulated in Tirzah, which had only 11 registered voters, and then all over the county. He got over one thousand signatures.

Henry Massey of Rock Hill took Cansler to Columbia to present his petition to the dispensary board. Cansler told the board that if they didn't act the people of Tirzah would. The board ordered the dispensary closed within 60 days.

During his 1916 race for railroad commissioner, one of Cansler's former pupils wrote about him: "There is nothing negative about him...He has a very high sense of honor and his character is unimpeachable...not a lazy bone....He has no friend to reward, and he is too manly to punish an enemy if he has one. The letter-writer, who admittedly was not fond of Cansler, added that Cansler was peculiar and eccentric and undaunted in adversity.

The governor's race in 1916 was between Richard I. Manning and a former governor, Cole L. Blease. Blease was favored but in the second primary to everyone's surprise, Manning won 71,463 votes to Blease's 66,785.

Cansler won, too, and by a far greater margin than Manning did over Blease. Cansler defeated incumbent Albert S. Fant by a vote of 83,054 to 54,271. It was hard to believe. The Greenville News commented: "Cansler probably does not know anymore about railroads than we do about farming, but men are not often elected to office in this State on the basis of what they know....may he revel in the plush luxury of his private car and the good things of this life...."

On September 12, 1917, the South Carolina Railroad Commission issued Order #169 to the Southern Railway Company. In the order were these words: " construct, without further delay, a freight depot at Tirzah, S. C., said depot to be in every way adequate for the demands of the patrons of Southern Railway Company at that be done in 60 days.”

James Cansler may not have gotten rich but he did get power.

Early Clockmakers of This Area

by Louise Pettus

A prized household possession a century and a half ago was a clock--the best that once could afford. Fine homes had a hall clock with a gold or silver dial ornately painted. Other rooms may have had shelf clocks. Lesser households prized a shelf clock, some of them made completely of wood.

It is said that people would sit and look at their clock with its mesmerizing pendulum in much the same fashion as later generations watched a record turn on a Victrola or stared at the test pattern of the early television sets.

It is amazing how much clockmaking and clock selling activity went on in this area.

The earliest clockmaker we know of was John McKee (1787-1871) of Chester district. He was advertising as early as 1816. One of his clocks of that time (now in the Museum of Southern Decorative Arts in Winston Salem, N.C.) has a label inside the clock which reads: "At J. McKee's Clock Factory, Chester Court House (S.C.) is made and sold all kinds of Clocks, with, or without, cases, warranted for their quality and performance, also packed up and warranted to go safe to any distance." This clock is 8 1/2 feet tall and has an iron dial painted with a global map that has Australia labeled "New Holland," Australia's name prior to 1811.

McKee ran a general store of quality on "the Hill" in Chester where sold plantation supplies, dry goods, household furniture and books. McKee started as a watchmaker and continued to make watches and repair them. He also served in the state legislature and was a delegate from Chester District to the South Carolina Secession Convention.

Other clockmakers were members of George Suggs' family of Bethel community in York District, who came by way of Virginia although originally of Waterbury, Conn. Records of Bullocks Creek Church show that Thomas E. Suggs was in that area in the 1840s. The Rev. R. Y. Russell, pastor of that church, purchased a clock made at "Waterbury Clock Factory at Bullocks Creek".

At Pinckneyville, the old courthouse town on the Broad River, it is said that Seth Thomas of Connecticut owned property and is thought to have done some of his work there. And there was "Carolina Fashion Clocks of Bullocks Creek District."

In Yorkville during the 1840s there was a firm doing business as a copartnership under the name of McElwee and Sutton. Jonathan McElwee and Alexander C. Sutton sold general merchandise but their trade was far broader than just the Yorkville area.

McElwee and Sutton employed at least a half dozen men to work at the combination trading of clocks, carryalls and slaves. Covering a geographical area that extended from North Carolina to Alabama, the "peddlers" roamed the countryside to show their wares.

The carryalls, most of them manufactured by McElwee and Hutchison, were wagons especially made to carry slaves and their luggage or to carry clocks. There is a record of 50 clocks picked up from a freight station in Cheraw, S. C. which were peddled across Georgia.

There is an account by Thomas N. Pettus of his taking a caravan of mules and carryalls (one carryall would pull two more with additional mules tied to the end gate of the last carryall) for sale in Alabama in October 1846. At Stewart City, Ga. on the Alabama line, Pettus said he met up with C. C. Horn, a clock peddler for McElwee and Sutton. Horn told him that he sold every clock he had.

Lord Cornwallis in York County

by Louise Pettus

From August 16 until October 8, 1780, which marked the time period between the American defeat at Camden and the American victory at Kings Mountain, York County's Whigs (most of the county were Whigs) were at the mercy of British troops under the command of Lord Cornwallis.

The American army under General Horatio Gates had been practically destroyed at Camden on August 16. Two days later, Colonel Tarleton of the British forces on Fishing Creek surprised Gen. Thomas Sumter's South Carolina militiamen near Beckhamville in Chester County. Sumter's army was badly defeated; Sumter himself barely escaped capture. The British officers were soon writing letters to their superiors in England reporting that they controlled the countryside with only a few Americans hiding out.

For some years, local historians who have a special interest in upcountry Revolutionary War battles have wrestled with the question as to whether or not Lord Cornwallis camped at the plantation of Thomas Spratt in Fort Mill and used the Nation Ford crossing of the Catawba River.

Those historians who believe that Cornwallis was at Spratt's Spring (at present-day Fort Mill) when the battle of Kings Mountain took place say that while it is possible that Cornwallis had left for Winnsboro before the battle of Kings Mountain took place, they are convinced that Cornwallis had been camped in Fort Mill and left there over the old Nation Ford Road. Others maintain that all of this is only traditionary evidence and ask for proof.

Certainly, Cornwallis was somewhere in the countryside between Camden and Charlotte (a regular hornet's nest, according to Cornwallis.) The best evidence for Cornwallis being at Spratt's Spring comes from a book with the lengthy title of Traditions and Reminiscences Chiefly of the American Revolution in the South: including Biographical Sketches, Incidents and Anecdotes, Few of Which Have Been Published, Particularly of Residents in the Upper Country. The book, authored by Joseph Johnson, M.D. of Charleston, was published in 1851.

In his book Dr. Johnson included extracts of two letters written by Joseph F. White of Fort Mill in 1848. White says that his mother, a daughter of Thomas Spratt, told him some stories about Cornwallis' encampment. The story was that Cornwallis and Colonel Tarleton, on their way from Charlotte to link with Colonel Ferguson near the Broad River, were stopped by a flood on the Catawba River.

Tarleton sought directions for crossing the river from an old Irishman who either (it is not clear) misled the troops or was disobeyed by the troops, but reported later that the British "plooted in any where." The troops quickly found the water too deep for crossing and "Colonel Tarleton cursed him [the Irishman] for a fool, and struck him with the flat of his sword."

If the incident reported by Joseph F. White is true, it leads to the conclusion that the American Whigs were blessed (perhaps equally) by the flood waters of the Catawba River and an old Irishman with no love in his heart for anything English.

Another incident reported by Joseph F. White: "The day on which Lord Cornwallis struck his camp at Spratt's, he caused to be hung one of his own men, who had been taken as a deserter. He was executed some short distance above the spring near the Charlotte Rail Road. The man was left hanging, and no person was left on the premises to cut him down and bury him, but a small negro boy."

Another British soldier died while camped at Spratt's and the "brutal officers ordered his grave to be made in the yard and buried him there. My mother told me that she recollected hearing the lamentations of the soldier's wife, that she had no means of getting her husband out of purgatory, until she could meet with the Catholic priest."

The Spratt family graveyard off Brick Yard Road in Fort Mill dates back at least 230 years. It is surrounded by an 18 inch rock and concrete wall and contains the grave of Thomas "Kanawha" Spratt on whose plantation Cornwallis once camped. Or did he?

Banks Family--Educators & Ministers

by Louise Pettus

The story of the Banks family in this area is an interesting one. The first to come was John Marjoriebanks (in the second generation the name was shortened to Banks). John came without his family from Thornhill, Scotland right after the Revolutionary War and died in Chester County not long after.

The Marjoriebanks family in Scotland received no word of John Marjoriebank’s fate. His son Samuel came to America to search for him. While in Chester Samuel fell in love with a Chester girl, Elizabeth Robinson. The newlyweds were to sail back to Scotland but Elizabeth is said to have taken one look at the Atlantic Ocean and refused to go.

The couple found land in Fairfield County, SC and raised ten children. The ninth child, William Banks, an ambitious lad worked his way through a series of schools before graduating second in his class from Franklin College (later the Univ. of Georgia) in 1837.

In 1841 William Banks became the pastor of Catholic Presbyterian Church near the town of Chester.

Rev. William Blackstock

by Louise Pettus

Rev. William Blackstock (1761-1831) had a rich and varied life. He was born in Ireland, educated in Scotland and licensed to preach by the Associate Presbytery of County Down, Ireland.

When 31 years of age he boarded a ship,“The Volunteer,” often referred to as “Irish Volunteer” because it transported so many volunteer Irishmen to fight American forces in the Revolutionary War.

Blackstock kept a journal of the voyage from North Ireland to Charleston, S. C. The ship left the port of Larne carrying 400 passengers on October 6, 1792. There were a good many passengers who were 60, 70 or 80 years old. No sooner than they were on the high seas, violent storms began. Blackstock said the old people were most vexed for having left their comfortable homes and exposing themselves to such dreadful conditions. There were 12 deaths during the voyage, a number somewhat counteracted by 5 births.

Blackstock kept an account of “wind and weather, of birds and fishes, and of ships that were seen or spoken to.” Several sharks were captured.

Every passenger was issued 8 pounds of biscuits, 4 pounds of beef, 1 pound of molasses per week and 2 quarts of water daily. Because of the rough seas it took 80 days to cross the ocean. Several days before they landed at Charleston all provisions were cut in half. It was Christmas eve when Blackstock first set foot on American soil.

Finding a church was no problem for Blackstock. He was ordained by the Presbytery of the Carolinas and Georgia on June 8th, 1794 and became the pastor of two York County churches—Ebenezer and Neely’s Creek—and of Steele Creek in Mecklenburg county. He was to leave the three churches in 1803 or 1804 when the congregations split over, as one wit said, whether to sing David’s Psalms or to the sing the Psalms of David. After several years he returned to this area.

Blackstock had gotten a lease from the Catawba Indians as indicated by a York County deed record in which he contracted with Alexander Faris, a blacksmith, to “build a mill dam, grist mill and cotton gin” on land on “Half Mile Creek, old Nation Ford, on west side of the Catawba River.” The mill dam was to be 10 feet deep.

Not long after Blackstock arrived in this country, he met and married Sarah Hutchison whose family had come first to the Waxhaws of Lancaster county and them moved across the river settling near the Nation Ford between present-day Rock Hill and Fort Mill. They had no children. She died in 1810 and he never remarried. It is not known where Sarah was buried.

About 1811 Blackstock became pastor of Tirzah ARP in Mecklenburg, now Union County, N. C. He served Tirzah until 1827.

Synod records indicate that Blackstock was very active. He was a regular correspondent with the Synod and frequently traveled to their meetings. He was a vigorous preacher but, very unusual for his time, not a long-winded one. When most ministers were sermonizing for hours, Blackstock kept his sermons at about 35 minutes in length. Described as “very short and his complexion very dark,” Blackstock also had great endurance on horseback.

In 1821 he made a trip to the west and was gone for 14 weeks. In 1827 he rode horseback to Obion County, Tennessee and preached the first sermon ever delivered there. The congregation at Troy A. R. P. was made up mostly of former York, Lancaster and Meckenburg folks who, in 1824 had moved by wagon train to an area near present-day Memphis but was then only wilderness. Among those present to hear Rev. Blackstock at Troy were many who bore the names of Harper, Hutchison, Garrison, Hood, Stewart, Nisbet, Brice, Erwin and McCaw.

Reverend Blackstock preached his last sermon at Sardis Associate Reformed Church in Mecklenburg County. He died October 7, 1831 and is buried at Tirzah ARP in Union County, N. C.

Confederate Soldier's Letter

by Louise Pettus

In a recently purchased Rock Hill house, the buyer found a discarded letter that was written July 25, 1862, headed "Camp Near Richmond, Va.

At a casual glance, the letter is of no significance other than it is representative of the type of letter a young Confederate soldier might send to a girl friend.

On the other hand, if we pursue all of the clues in this document and use our powers of inference, we can "discover" a good bit about the young soldier. In carefully-formed script, but minimal punctuation, the soldier begins: "Dear Friend I seat myself again to rite you a few lines in order to inform you that I am well and hope these few lines may find you well. I have nothing new to rite." Nothing important there. The stiff beginning and misspelling only indicate that the young man did not have a great deal of education.

He continued, "I landed safe at Richmond Va." Landed? Perhaps by ship from Charleston?

"I like the Place tolerable well. The 5th Regt. of S.C.V. [ South Carolina Volunteers] are camped in 4 miles of us." The 5th Regiment was commanded by Micah Jenkins, one of the two officers (along with Asbury Coward) who before the war, operated the Kings Mountain Military Academy at Yorkville and many, perhaps most, of the regiment's members were from York County.

The soldier continues: "I saw Bony Campbell he looks tolerable well." A search of Confederate Veterans Enrollment Book of York County, S. C.--1902 compiled by Jo Roberts Owens and Ruth Dickson Thomas, 1983, does not turn up a Campbell named "Bony." But there is N. B. Campbell of Bethel Township of Co. "H", 5th S.C.V., Jenkins Infantry, private, age 20. Guessing that "N. B." stands for Napoleon Bonaparte, a not unusual name of the time, it is likely that his nickname was "Bony." It is only a conjecture, but it makes sense. According to the pension enrollment book, N. B. Campbell was still living in 1902.

"There is no prospect of a fight here soon. I expect we will be in Longstreets Division." Civil War histories confirm that the reference is to Gen. James Longstreet, not Gen. Austustus B. Longstreet.

The soldier further writes: "The 17th Regt. of S.C.V. came in last knight they are Camped in 1/4 of a mile of us." The 17th Regt. was part of Evans Infantry.

"We get tolerable good water to Drink." Finding clean water was always a problem. Typhoid and other bacterial diseases killed more Confederates than did enemy bullets.

For the first time the soldier calls his "friend" by name. He writes: "Mary I hated to leave soon after you came that morning but I hope we will meet again. I would have liked to have stayed a while longer, but we were Pushed it was but little Pleasure to meet and Part so soon. I want you to rite to me and let me know how Thomas is so nothing more only I remain your Friend till death rite soon"

At the end of the one sheet of paper, used back and front, the soldier wrote: "B. B. Currence to M. E. Boyd. Direct your letters to Richmond Va 18th Regiment of S.C.V. Company H." Again, the Confederate Veterans Enrollment Book of York County... is helpful. While there is no "B. B. Currence," there is a "Bisop (Bishop?) Currence." "M. E. Boyd" is obviously Mary E. Boyd.

The unstamped letter may have been hand-delivered by a fellow soldier returning to York County. Sometimes a civilian would voluntarily gather up a wagon-load of goods and set forth to Virginia to deliver the supplies to York County fighting men. Returning home, the wagoner would bring letters to the families. Sometimes he would bring coffins, too.

What happened to B. B. Currence? If the writer of this letter was Bishop Currence of Bethel Township, his fate is clear. Bishop Currence of Co. H., 18th S. C. V., Evans Infantry, private, age 20, was killed at the second battle of Manassas in Virginia in late August 1862, a little more than a month after he wrote his letter to Mary E. Boyd.

Robert Clendenin - Lawyer & Planter

by Louise Pettus

From the 1750s until the American Revolution most of the settlers in this area were Scotch-Irish Presbyterians who migrated down from older Scotch-Irish settlements of Pennsylvania and western Virginia. A few Scotch-Irish came directly from northern Ireland.

Newcomers from the north of Ireland continued to come after the Revolution. The post-war immigrants tended to be single men hoping to make their fortunes. Some started as peddlers with packs on their backs (a few like Robert Latta of Yorkville became prosperous merchants). Some had learned the skill of weaving in Ireland and continued to weave in America.

The Clendenens of York District fit the pattern well. Irish-born Thomas Clendenen was a hard-working weaver of bedspreads. His son, Robert (1784-1830), had few educational advantages but used his quick intelligence, sound judgment, and amiable personality to advance in life.

Robert Clendenen learned the trade of merchant by clerking in a North Carolina store. Then he set up a store of his own in the town of Union, S. C. By the time he was 27 years of age Clendenen had acquired enough money to switch careers. He wished to practice law. In this time period, apprenticeship with a practicing lawyer was the general rule. Clendenen studied with a Mr. Hooker, a Yorkville lawyer.

Next, Clendenen studied with Judge William Smith, a native of Lancaster’s Waxhaws who practiced law in Yorkville before becoming a state judge and later U. S. Senator. Clendenen passed the bar in Charleston January 11, 1813. About this time, either before or after his bar examination, Clendenen and Smith quarreled. No one knew the cause of the split. The two never reconciled their differences.

Clendenen practiced law in Yorkville and was immensely successful financially. In five years time he began buying land and from 1818 to 1827 purchased 2,147 acres in York District and sufficient slave labor to run the plantation. (Clendenen’s estate inventory showed 44 slaves.)

Clendenen served as York District’s senator in Columbia from 1816 until 1829 where he served on numerous committees. He was also active in the state militia and once (1826) was candidate for brigadier general of the state militia.

In 1819 Clendenen married Mary Ellen Myers, the oldest daughter of Col. David Myers, a wealthy man. The Clendenens had five children, four daughters and a son. Only two daughters, Nancy McNiece and Mary Elizabeth, survived to adulthood.

Because Robert Clendenen was distinguished enough to be one of the state’s best lawyers he merited an account in John Belton O’Neall’s Biographical Sketches of the Bench and Bar of South Carolina, published in 1859.

Judge O’Neall described Clendenen’s person as “. . . inclined to be portly, his face, round and florid, and his eyes intensely black.” In his style of oratory, O’Neall said that Clendenen “had more care for ideas than for words.” “O’Neall thought that Clendenen’s basis for success in life “was his integrity and stability of character.” As for political skill, Clendenen was “prudent and conservative.” As a lawyer, Clendenen was “cool, sagacious, and scrupulously exact.”

O’Neall praised Clendenen as a “kind and indulgent protector of the younger members of the Bar.” Clendenen expanded his practice of law to include Union, Chester, Fairfield and Lancaster. He loved to ride the circuit, “more to enjoy the conversation of his associates than for profit.”

Judge O’Neall found that Clendenen’s great flaw (the only one mentioned) was being too “convivial.” Dr. Maurice Moore of Yorkville, who knew Clendenen personally, wrote more specifically, saying that Clendenen died early, “. . . his constitution worn out by his own abuse of it. How fatal has been the allurements of the liquor fiend to many of our prominent men.”

Clendenen died in 1830 at the age of 46 and was buried in the graveyard of Bethesda Presbyterian Church. Some years later his widow married Dr. Hemmingway of Yorkville and moved to Mississippi.

Town of Clover

by Louise Pettus

Other than the courthouse towns of York, Lancaster and Chester, there were no population centers before the laying of railway track in the three counties. Beginning in 1851 with the arrival of the C. C. & A. (Charlotte, Columbia and Augusta) Railroad which created the towns of Rock Hill and Fort Mill, we can discern a pattern of town-building that lasts until this century.

First, the railroad came and a depot was built. For the Piedmont farmer that ended long wagon trips carrying goods (chiefly cotton but including grains) to seaports. Within the year storehouses were built and the first “town houses” followed. Streets with lots large enough to have a barn, or stables, in the back were laid out. Ten to 20 years later the town would incorporate with a mayor and city council, a small police force and a volunteer fire department.

Gradually, other businesses would be established. A cotton gin in town along with a cotton warehouse was likely. If enough farmers were attracted there would soon be a variety of small businesses that would include a lumber company, a blacksmith shop, a hardware store, a drug store, etc. The first business to employ more than 100 people was invariably a cotton mill.

Take the town of Clover in York County as a good example of 19th century town-building. Before the Civil War the area was known as Bethel, named for the Bethel Presbyterian Church which drew a congregation from an area up to 10 miles in all directions. The plantations were large in area and the population sparse.

In 1872 the Kings Mountain Railroad, which had a depot in Yorkville, merged with a North Carolina railroad called the Carolina Narrow Guage. In 1874 tracks were laid through what is now the town of Clover by a man who brought horses and mules from Kentucky to do the work. He called the place Bowling Green, named for his Kentucky home.

The first train arrived two years after the track was laid. There was no regular schedule for the train which went as far as Gastonia, N. C. There was no way to turn the train around, so it came back to Clover in reverse. There were three railroad cars. One carried white passengers. One was for black passengers. The third car was for baggage. The people called the train the “Short Bob,” named for the engineer, Bob Smyre.

A 5,000 gallon water tank furnished the steam locomotive. The story goes that when the locomotive tanked up the water frequently spilled on to the ground. At that spot grew a lush crop of clover. The train crew ignored the Bowling Green name and called the village Clover Patch for the spot in which they killed time by hunting for four-leaf clovers.

Every town has a notable personality. Clover’s was “Blind Sam” Campbell who pumped the water into the tank for 15 years. When Campbell was in the Confederate army he was shot through the head. The bullet passed just back of the eyes, destroying his sight but leaving him otherwise healthy. He was a skilled whittler and excellent conversationalist.

Clover got a one-room post office with a pot-bellied stove in 1884. The second postmaster, Josiah I. Gwinn, endeared himself to children by adding a showcase filled with candy, cookies and crackers. Three years later the town was chartered.

Clover’s first cotton mill was built in 1890, three years later than Fort Mill, but financed in much the same fashion. A local citizen, Capt. Beatty Smith, headed a subscription drive. Captain Smith rode a horse from farm to farm selling enough stock to finally set up the Clover Spinning Mill with 3,000 spindles. The cotton mill had come to the cotton fields. In 1899 a mill village was added to accommodate workers making their transition from an agricultural economy to an industrial economy.

Ebenezer Academy

by Louise Pettus

A century and a half ago, Ebenezer was one of York County’s largest settlements. Now, what was once the village of Ebenezer has been absorbed into the city of Rock Hill.

Fortunately for the natives of Ebenezer, the name is still identified by Ebenezer Road, which still has a few old homes left among the medical offices and commercial establishments. There is also Ebenezer Presbyterian Church, which dates back to shortly after the end of the Revolutionary War and is now a part of the Associate Reformed Synod.

The small brick building facing the historic cemetery on Ebenezer Road is the remainder of the Ebenezer Academy, often called “the Athens of York.” Here upcountry boys were once prepared for the South Carolina College, Davidson and other strongholds for Presbyterians.

The date of the establishment of the academy is uncertain. Typically, early ministers served the dual roles of pastors and schoolmasters, so there was probably instruction in reading, writing and arithmetic from the beginning of the church.

An academy at the church offered upper grades and a college preparatory course. The academy dates to at least 1819 when Job Nelson became the principal.

A year later, the Rev. Eleazar Harris, a York District native, was principal and minister of the church. Harris was such a scholar that the faculty of Washington College conferred on him the honorary degree of master of arts in 1823.

In 1826, Albert Gallatin, who had been Thomas Jefferson’s secretary of the treasury, influenced Congress to pass a measure that would support a national work that would result in the published “Etymology” on the vocabulary of the Catawba Indians. The study was designed to collect and interpret the grammar and structure of the various Catawba languages and dialects.

Both Gallatin and Secretary of War James Barbour asked Harris to assist in the work. He consented only if he had enough hours to spend beyond that required by his duties as principal.

Apparently he did not follow through because there is no record of the project ever being completed.

In 1828 Harris was assigned to preach in Tennessee. In 1854, when he was 65, Harris wrote from Obion, Tenn., to A. Eugene Hutchison begging a favor for an old man who was “in the deepest poverty.”

Harris wanted to sell property on Steel Creek (that cost him $275) for $100 and offered to sell his 35-volume edition of the Edinburgh Encyclopaedia for which which he paid $4 a volume for $2 each, saying that the plates in the books alone were worth $1 a piece.

Ministers of the time were notoriously underpaid, but Harris must have been worse off than most. He concluded his letter to Hutchison with the statement: “I am very much pushed for money for the very necessities of life.”

The third principal of Ebenezer Academy was Capt. Peter Campbell of Harrisburg, who like his predecessors, was known as a stern disciplinarian.

Not much is known about Peter Campbell, including how he got the rank of captain. He came to Ebenezer from his previous teaching post at Harrisburg, a settlement of a few houses and a grist mill at the confluence of Steel and Sugar creeks, northeast of the present town of Fort Mill.

Within 10 years, Campbell had married 14-year-old Mariah Pettus, had three sons and ended the stormy marriage by disappearing to the West.

Because divorces were not permitted in South Carolina, Mariah got a divorce from Campbell in Obion County, Tenn.where she had a brother in the same area to which Rev. Eleazer Harris had migrated. Obion County was on the Mississippi River near Memphis and attracted a large number of settlers from upcountry South Carolina during the 1820s and 1830s.

The first three principals at Ebenezer — Job Nelson, Eleazar Harris and Peter Campbell — actually presided over an elementary school, not an academy. Ebenezer Academy’s heyday would really come during the two decades preceding the Civil War.

Archibald Barron

by Louise Pettus

Archibald Barron, son of John and Jane Duncan Barron, was born on a farm in 1800 in the Tirzah community of York District. His early life was typical of the times.

Archibald had a “common country education” (meaning that he attended a local one-room school, probably taught by a young unmarried man who had not yet settled upon what he wanted to do with the rest of his life). The school session was likely 2 or 3 months in the dead of winter because the youngsters’ were expected to prepare themselves to become farmers and therefore would participate in the planting, laying-by and harvesting of crops. Archibald was a good student in both school and work.

When he was 24 he married Margaret Watson and bought a small farm between Tirzah church and the Catawba river. For 12 years he worked hard and saved his money for a larger farm.

Archibald Barron had 8 brothers and sisters. By the mid-1830s they had all moved from York County to either Tennessee or Alabama. Barron heard that Alabama soil was mighty rich and knew that Alabama had granted 2 of his brothers and his sister’s family 640 acres each.

He went to Alabama to see what his siblings had gotten. He came back with the decision to stay where he was. Even though he never achieved the wealth of his brothers in Alabama he never regretted his decision to stay in York county.

In 1836 Barron bought a Catawba lease for 318 acres from John McCaw. He moved his wife and 4 children to a farm next to Thorns Ferry, the present-day site of the bridge over the Catawba river on Highway 49, at River Hills. He built a comfortable two-story house and he and Margaret had 4 more children there.

To each child, Barron promised either a farm or a college education. Three sons and Jane, the only daughter, chose a farm. Jane kept her father’s books. The others chose college and showed a particular interest in studying medicine.

Barron devised his own plan for farming. The best one-third of his acreage was planted in corn (the staple for man and beast). One-third was planted in cotton (the money crop). On the other one-third he put in grain. Along with the field crops he raised hogs and a few cattle—enough to feed his family and have some extra for profit.

A descendant has written that at the outbreak of the Civil War, and after 36 years of farming, that Archibald Barron was the “largest real estate owner in his section of the country” and that he had loaned out $20,000 in cash. The 1850 census shows Barron owning 19 slaves, a goodly number although far from approaching Cadwallader Jones’ 91 or John Springs’ 86 slaves and a half million dollar estate. Still, Archibald Barron had prospered much beyond the norm and was respected by his neighbors for his accomplishments.

When the Civil War came along, every one of the seven sons fought. Two of them, Samuel and Alexander, did not return.

After the Civil War Barron found himself a much poorer man, for not only did he lose the monetary value of his slaves, his neighbors paid their debts to him in Confederate money—a now useless currency.

The war did not deter Barron of take away his customary cheerfulness. He “spent most of his time riding around the neighborhood seeing that no one of the aged or very young needed for food, shoes, cotton to make cloth or land needing cultivation.”

Archibald Barron died September 15, 1879 at the age of 80, 15 months after his wife Margaret. Margaret had been as strict an A.R.P. church member as her husband. It was remembered that in her married life she only once cooked a meal on the Sabbath and that exception only because travelers had stopped and needed to be fed.

Bethesda Presbyterian Church

by Louise Pettus

Bethesda Presbyterian Church, located 8 miles southwest of Rock Hill on Highway 322, was founded in 1769. It was the second church in York County (Bethel is 5 years older)

Originally Bethesda was a "meeting house." To be called a church, the congregation had to be served by an ordained minister. Presbyterian ministers were few and far between on the frontier. Old Waxhaw Presbyterian Church (founded in upper Lancaster County in 1755 and the oldest church in the South Carolina upcountry) was served by the Rev. William Richardson.

The original site was about a mile east of the present building. The first building was of logs. The log building burned in 1780 and was replaced by a wooden frame structure.. About 1820 the present brick building was constructed. It is now the oldest church structure and the oldest brick building in York County.

In 1785 the first meeting of the South Carolina Presbytery was held at Old Waxhaw. Assignments were made for supply pastors. Rev. John Simpson preached at Bethesda once a month.

Robert E. Walker became the first full-time pastor in 1795, serving the church for 40 years. For 25 of those years Walker also was pastor of Ebenezer Presbyterian Church. At other times he supplied various smaller churches. In 1835 Walker was succeeded by the Rev. Cyrus Johnston who served for five years. Johnston, like so many of his parishioners, went "West." In Mississippi, Johnston established a Presbyterian church also called Bethesda Presbyterian..

As the years passed, cotton culture attached itself to the area. Slave labor was an element of the cotton culture. Blacks attended the same churches as their masters. In 1854 Bethesda's rolls listed 73 black members.

Records show remodeling from time to time. The original church floor had been made of brick. In 1857 the brick floor was replaced by a wood floor. In 1880 the present-day altar was installed. In 1979 the church received a $24,200 grant to apply new mortar to the old brick and to restore the pews.

The women of the church played a major role in improvements. The Ladies Aid Society of Bethesda was organized in 1887. They raised money for a handsome chandelier (there was no electricity before the 1930s so kerosene was used for lighting.) The Ladies Aid Society carpeted the church several times, bought various items of church furniture, purchased a silver communion set, all of which contributed to the general attractiveness of the church.

An education building was completed in 1954. The first floor has 8 classrooms and there is an assembly room and kitchen upstairs.

Any time of the year, but especially in the summer, passersby can see visitors amidst the cemetery's ancient tombstones. The oldest known tombstone can no longer be read but in 1937 was transcribed as, "William Neely, Dec. 8, 1776. 42 years old." Also, still legible in 1937 were two others: "Elizabeth Neely, Oct. 25, 1785. 91 years old" and "Mary Neely, Oct. 16, 1815. 73 years old." The oldest tombstone still legible is for Peggy Black who died Nov. 5, 1777, aged 28 years.

The names most frequently found that date before this century are: Adams, Ash/Ashe, Black, Bratton, Burris, Byers, Clinton, Crawford, Davison, Erwin, Gordon, Hanna, Johnson, Lindsay, Love, Lowry, Mendenhall, Moore (the most frequent of all), McConnell, Sadler, Sandifer, Wallace, Williams, and Williamson.

Bethesda is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Beth-Shiloh Church & Rev. W.C. Davis

by Louise Pettus

In 1828 about five miles northeast of York on what was once called the “Great Road from Yorkville to Charlotte,” and is now called Highway 49, Beth-Shiloh Church was organized.

There was no building to start with, just a “stand,” or wooden platform on which the minister would stand, was erected in a grove of trees.

The church-goers of the community had previously attended Bethel Presbyterian Church about 7 miles distant. The new congregation persuaded the Rev. William Cummins Davis to visit them about once a month, if the weather permitted. After a year of preaching in the grove, Davis persuaded the people to construct a church. The walls were hewn logs.

Reverend Davis was then 67 years of age and nearing the end of a long and colorful career. He had been ordained in 1789 and from the beginning was considered a trouble-maker by the Presbyterian church.

In the 1790s Davis insisted upon his congregations singing Watts’ Psalms and hymns accompanied by musical instruments. His conservative congregations resisted. By 1803 he was in York District as missionary to the Catawba Indians. Davis had no more success with the Catawbas than earlier Presbyterians, Methodists and Baptists had had.

In 1805 Davis began ministering to the Bullocks Creek congregation in York District. For at least two years he had been condemning slavery from the pulpit. Davis preached that slave-holding was a sin and for the masters to withhold religious instruction was the “unforgivable sin.”

Davis was called to Phildelphia by the Presbyterian church and was officially reprimanded for his “transgressions against accepted practices of worship”. Davis replied to the church officials: “Against government I have never preached. . . . Against slavery I will always preach!”

Davis was tried for heresy in 1811. He resigned from the Presbyterian Church and established his own church, the Independent Presbyterian Church. Bullocks Creek remained loyal to Davis and by 1835 Davis had 11 churches, all of whom were opposed to slavery. Six of the 11 were in York District. Two were in Union County, SC, two in Lincoln County, NC and one was in Lowndes County, Mississipi. The last was ministered by Silas Feemster, Davis’s son-in-law.

When Davis died in September 1831, the membership of the Independent Presbyterian Church was about 1,000. In 1831 and 1832 York District was the center of a Great Revival (the last Great Revival had been in 1802).

Many people were converted but at the same time the migration to the west (Mississippi and Alabama, especially) was in full swing so that the membership of Carolina churches did not appear to increase. Families by the names of Jamison, Kolb, Robinson, Love, Randall and Davis left York District and transferred their membership to Salem Church in Lowndes County, Mississippi.

After Davis’s death, his son-in-law, Rev. Silas J. Feemster served as pastor of Beth-Shiloh for five years before removing to Mississippi. Feemster was succeeded by Rev. George W. Davis, a nephew of William Cummins Davis. He stayed at Beth-Shiloh for 10 years and then west.

In December 1863, in the midst of the Civil War. The Independent Presbyterians dissolved and united with the Bethel Presbyterian, Synod of South Carolina. That is, the Carolina Presbyterians united. In Mississippi, the Independents of Salem Church merged with Congregationalists.

Thirteen young men who were members of Salem Church were scheduled to be drafted in the Confederate army. All escaped to Ohio; several attended Wheaton College, a Congregationalist school and all returned to Mississippi after the war but the Ku Klux Klan soon scattered them to neighboring states.

The Bethesda Circulating Library Society

by Louise Pettus

Bethesda Presbyterian Church, located about 8 miles southwest of Rock Hill on S. C. 322, has the oldest church building in York County, dating back to 1822.

A dozen years before the construction of the Bethesda meetinghouse, the Bethesda Circulating Library Society was organized along the lines of the pre-Revolutionary circulating library established by Ben Franklin in Philadelphia. Penn. Philadelphia was America's most cosmopolitan city (chiefly because Franklin made it so). Bethesda was completely rural, not even a crossroads village. The only town in York County in 1810 was Yorkville and it had probably no more than 20 houses. This alone makes a circulating library most unusual for the time and place.

The constitution of the Bethesda Circulating Library stated that their object was " promote and facilitate the acquisition of great advantages resulting both to individuals and to the community at large, from a general diffusion of divine and natural knowledge."

The membership was made up of 50 men (no women and children were listed) from all over York District. Subscriber's surnames represented were Black, Simpson, Walker, Sadler, Givans, Love, Starr, Hanna, Moore, Hope, Davidson, Rainey, Martin, Grier, Cooper, Daugherty, Aiken, Wallace, Clendennan, Ross, Anderson, Douglass, Robertson, Mitchel, Miller, Crockett, Beattie, Watson, Roberson, Williamson Sandifer, Davis, Powell and Ardrey.

The money needed to establish the library was acquired by charging an initiation fee and an annual installment payment. The books were purchased in Philadelphia, Pa. and in Charleston, S.C. Quarterly, the men met to exchange the books which were bundled in lots of from one to four.

Since there were 50 members and 50 lots, over time,each man had access to all the library's holdings ( or would have if the society, which disbanded by mutual consent in 1816, had lasted longer). A list of the books shows that they were mostly histories, religious and philosophical books. There was a scattering of books of essays and travel books. The Works of Benjamin Franklin and David Ramsay's History of South Carolina were probably among the most popular.

A Yorkville Enquirer correspondent who signed himself "Juvenis," wrote in 1860 about the men of the Bethesda Circulating Library Society of a half century before that they had read uplifting literature of substance. He applauded the concept of the circulating library and thought it worthy of imitation by villages, churches and communities.

Juvenis bemoaned the fact (in his view) that the "modern passion" was for "the sickly, trashy nauseating stuff of which so many novels are made." He was especially appalled to observe people racing after the "wishy-washy, namby-pamby, demoralizing matter that floats through so many of the periodicals of the present age."

Juvenis' viewpoint was probably too harsh. At the time of his writing Yorkville had two academies and the Yorkville Lyceum. The Lyceum, underwritten by Yorkville's merchant and professional class, sponsored visiting lecturers and concert artists. It also subscribed to New York, Philadelphia, Washington and London newspapers and magazines.

In one week in 1860, Yorkville, the "Athens of the Upcountry," could boast of having two lectures on astronomy by Maj..P. R. Stevens of Charleston (" a lucid and highly satisfactory lecture on the Ptolemaic and Copernican theories"), Bailey's Varieties (comic and sentimental songs, music and dancing by the "genteel and clever" 11-member Bailey family), a parade of the Jasper Light Infantry with the cadets from the Kings Mountain Military Academy and a "Streamers of Light" show displaying the aurora borealis.

Lectures and concerts were generally held in the auditorium of the Yorkville Female Collegiate Institute at the site now occupied by the McCelvey Center in York. The college, the military academy and the Lyceum all suspended activities when the Civil War broke out. Concerts, lectures and public libraries had to wait until the tumult of the Reconstruction Era subsided.

Kings Mountain

by Louise Pettus

October 8, 1999 marks the 219th anniversary of the battle of Kings Mountain. Most textbooks call the battle the "turning point of the Revolution." From that point on the British were on the run.

It was a remarkable battle in many ways. For one thing, there was only one Englishman involved--Major Patrick Ferguson. The battle was fought between two sets of Americans, one favoring independence and the other loyal to the mother country.

It was also a battle of weapons--the frontier rifle vs. the musket. Frontier warfare won out over the traditional fighting style of Europeans. The Redcoat had been trained to be an automaton, to not question an officer's judgment. Once in battle the Tories were permitted to only move forward or backward. In contrast, the Patriot leader Col. Isaac Shelby told his men, "When we encounter the enemy don't wait for the word of command. Let each of you be your own officer and do the very best you can."

Kings Mountain sits like a raised diagonal across the state boundary of the Carolinas. The low range runs from North Carolina in a southeasterly direction forming a ridge on the South Carolina side for about a mile and a half. The crest of the ridge is around 600 yards long. Its width varies from 60 to 120 yards. The ridge's summit rises about 60 feet.

In 1780 the crest was described as treeless but the slopes were heavily forested. The slopes were not gentle. There were deep ravines and boulders large enough to impede an invading army.

The Patriots marched to Kings Mountain from Cowpens on a moonless night on rough roads in a steady drizzle of rain. To add to their problems the soldiers had to keep their rifles and powder dry. They wrapped their blankets and jackets around their weapons and shivered.

All night and all morning of the following day they marched. At noon on October 8 they stopped at the base of Kings Mountain and checked their weapons. The countersign "Buford" was passed along--in honor of the general whose men were given no quarter in an earlier Lancaster County battle.

Their were 8 columns of Patriots, about 900 men. The Tories had an equal number. The Tories had the natural advantage of being on top of the mountain. The Patriots would have to carry the battle to them and climb the rugged slopes to get to them.

Looking back, military analysts now say the Tories were over-confident and lax. The Patriots had a simple plan and moved quickly. The men under Colonels William Campbell and Isaac Shelby were in the center on each side of the mountain and when ready to fire gave an Indian yell and rushed the enemy. The others were to follow.

The plan worked. The Tories were on top but in the open. The frontiersman fired from cover. Realizing that he was in trouble, Major Ferguson ordered a bayonet charge against Campbell's men and seemed to be winning. But Colonel Campbell rallied the men who recharged their rifles and drove the Tories back.

Three times the Tories charged with bayonets. Each time they were thrown back. The frontier riflemen were more accurate. As the Patriots neared the top they gained the advantage of facing soldiers who were silhouetted against the sky.

Major Ferguson, who had fought desperately well, fell with a half-dozen bullets in him. His death broke the spirit of the Tories.

The Patriots tallied 28 men killed and 64 wounded. The Tories had 157 killed and 64 wounded and 698 taken prisoner. The battle that turned the war around lasted for just one hour.

Squire Bailes---The Marriage Man

by Louise Pettus

From 1785 until July 1, 1911 South Carolina did not require a marriage license. On the other hand, North Carolina had strict requirements which included putting up a bond to guarantee that neither party had been previously married.

In 1897, Willard O. Bailes, who lived north of Fort Mill on the North Carolina border (close to the present-day Carowinds location), saw an opportunity to take advantage of the situation. Bailes, then 27 years, advertised himself at the “Greatest Marrying Man” in the world.

Bailes had a card printed that listed the marriage fees— “to those who can’t pay more, $1.00; common fee, $2.00; secret service, $5.00; advertising price, $3.00; rich man’s price, $10.00.” He also offered marriage certificates in different styles and sizes for free.

Within three years Bailes boasted that he had married 395 couples. In 1900 a news article in the Atlanta Constitution noted that Bailes was marrying couples who lived as far as 700 miles away. The Constitution said that Bailes guaranteed that “his services will be short, intelligent, very binding and hard to break.” (Indeed the marriage would be hard to break—prior to 1950, South Carolina forbade divorce.)

By summer of 1903, Bailes’ Flint Hill neighbors were petitioning the governor to take away Bailes’ notary public commission. When they didn’t hear from the governor they hired a lawyer who maintained that a notary public license did not give authority to perform marriages—that Bailes had committed a fraud.

Meantime, as word spread, Bailes married more and more couples. On weekends couples waited in line. His advertising expanded to attract more couples. He didn’t charge for the marriages of ministers or couples over 50 years of age. And he promised that if the couple had no money he would marry them anyway. Even at that, people began to say that he was becoming wealthy.

Governor Heyward finally responded to Fort Mill’s objections to Bailes. He said that although he highly disapproved of Bailes’ advertising, it was not enough to take away his commission in the absence of proof of wrongdoing.

His neighbors then got busy gathering the proofs that Bailes had a racket going. They submitted his price lists, which by 1904 ranged from $1.00 to $100.00 (the last for “Regular Millionaires”). Bailes promised “No hard questions. No license.”

Fort Mill citizens overwhelmingly voted against Heyward in the 1904 election. This time Governor Heyward paid heed and canceled Squire Bailes’ notary public commission but that action made absolutely no difference. Bailes continued in his marriage business.

In April 1905, Willard O. Bailes and a cousin, Ed Bailes, got into an argument. W. O shot Ed Bailes and was arrested on a charge of assault and battery with intent to kill. It was termed “a family row” in the newspapers. The circuit court found Bailes guilty of assault and battery and imposed a fine of $20 or 20 days. Bailes paid the fine.

Two years later Bailes was charged with bigamy and adultery. Before the S. C. law enforcement officers could catch up with him he was out-of-state. One report was that he was in New York and suffering from malaria. Another said that he had gone to Oklahoma.

By November 1910 Bailes had managed to persuade the solicitor to drop charges and was back at his old stand on the N. C. line. He was as popular as ever as couples lined up to be married by him.

But it wasn’t long before the S. C. legislature passed a law requiring that marriage licenses be issued by the county probate judge. Willard Bailes’ salad days were over. Out-of-state customers went to the courthouse for the license and stayed there to be married by the probate judge.

York County Aviators---Coleman, Bryant, & Springs

by Louise Pettus

On August 1957, Maj. William C. Coleman, a Rock Hill native and a 1935 Winthrop Training School graduate, was back in the area to carry out an unusual Air Force assignment. It was his task to locate anything related to early aviation that could be placed on display at the Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio. It was a fruitful trip.

One of the first people Major Coleman sought out was Bob Bryant of Rock Hill. Coleman had two very good reasons to go to Bryant. One was Bryant's own outstanding aviation record; the other reason was that Bryant knew everybody connected to aviation in the area and would enthusiastically aid Coleman in his search.

In various interviews over the years, Bryant has stated that his love affair with the sky began when he was two years old and saw Halley's Comet. In 1913 he saw his first airplane on the Winthrop College campus when a pilot in a small open plane was the star attraction of the first York County fair.

In 1918 Bryant was a spectator at a Liberty Bond Drive in Columbia where 7 Jennies flew over while Fort Jackson soldiers marched. One of the Jennies stalled and crashed at a spot on Assembly Street near the state capital (precisely where the Market Restaurant was later located.) Even though he witnessed two pilots killed, Bryant decided that day that he would learn to fly.

Bob's older brother ran a motion picture house in Rock Hill. Whenever a new movie came in for showing on Monday there was a standing order to deliver it to Capt. Elliott Springs in Fort Mill for a Sunday night showing. Capt. Springs was a genuine World War I air ace who had been decorated by four governments.

Springs had his own projector and always sent a car for the film and returned it after the showing. One night he didn't have a car to spare and phoned to ask if someone could bring the film to Fort Mill. Bob Bryant had read everything he could get his hands on that was written about or by Springs. He jumped at the chance to see his hero.

That night Springs told Bryant he would teach him how to fly. Springs had three planes and said he would start Bryant in a Waco. Bryant's first lesson was simple. Using a broomstick, Springs showed Bryant how to maneuver the plane. Springs did all of his own mechanic work and taught Bryant how to repair engines. Bryant taught Springs how to ride a motorcycle.

Fifteen years after Springs taught Bryant how to fly, Bryant set the first of two world records for the longest non-stop flights. In 1936 the distance was 700 miles; in 1938 Bryant flew 1,050 miles non-stop. He later said, "I set records to show Col. Springs that I could. He had a great influence on my life."

Bryant flew some of the first mail routes. In World War II he flew anti-submarine missions. One of the items he gave Coleman for the museum was a World War II German pilot's summer uniform.

Bryant took Coleman over to Springs Park in Lancaster County. The recreation center for Springs employees had opened at the end of World War II. In a rustic setting on the backwaters of the Catawba River, Colonel Springs had gathered together a fascinating collection of "toys" for kids of all ages (including the Colonel.) There were three miniature railroad locomotives to carry passengers around the park, a genuine working merry-go-round, a war surplus amphibious vehicle called a "Duck," two B-24 bombers, an A-20 attack plane, a T-6 trainer, and the prize, the only King Cobra Fighter Plane, P-63, known to be in the United States.

The King Cobra was a tracer and fighter bomber with a 1200 hp Allison engine situated behind the pilot which had been built for the Russians. Thousands had been delivered through Alaska.

Springs generously donated the King Cobra to the Air Force Museum along with the original manuscripts of four books on the exploits of aviators in World War I: "War Birds and Lady Birds," "Contact," "Above the Black-Blue Sky," and "Nocturne Militaire."

April Fool's Day

by Louise Pettus

It is an ancient Roman holiday. Later it was called All Fool’s Day. We call it April Fool’s. From ancient Rome to the present, it is the day for pranks played on the unsuspecting.

Dr. Maurice Moore in his book, Reminiscences of York, was born in the village of Yorkville (now York) in 1795. In his old age he remembered some pranks that occurred on All Fool’s Day when he was young.

Jack Kuykendal, a hatter, was a victim of a Fool’s Day joke. Jack was industrious, sober and well-liked. Still, his friends couldn’t resist bedeviling him for his great affection for an uncle. “Uncle Jonathan Kuykendal said this, or did that, was the burden of his song; and from his acts or ideas in the devoted nephew’s mind, there was no appeal.”

A fellow with an unfamiliar voice was hired to go to Jack’s place and tell him that his uncle was dying of colic. Jack was told to take Dr. William Moore with him and go immediately to his uncle’s house. Jack immediately threw down his work and began to seek a horse he could ride.

Since all of Jack’s friends were in on the joke, each had an excuse when Jack approached him and asked to borrow a horse---the horse was lame, someone else had asked for the horse, etc. Everyone knew that Jack’s landlord, Mr. Jimmy Ross, never lent out his horse but Jack’s desperation took him to Mr. Ross. The jokers were shocked that Ross lent his horse to Jack.

Knowing they mustn’t let the good doctor ride the long distance to Uncle Jonathan’s house, the pranksters rushed to stop the two with the question, “Isn’t it the first of April?” Dr. Moore “took the alarm, came to a full stop and wanted to know how Jack got the news of Uncle Jonathan’s illness.”

The doctor was annoyed with the funmakers but Jack was elated to know that his Uncle Jonathan was well after all and gave “not one picayune” for the joke that was played on him.

Dr. Moore’s tales of practical jokes and jokers generally reveal that the jokes played on friends were never vicious or mean. They were intended to scare or confound but not to hurt the victim. Joe Martin was so popular in York that he was elected captain of the militia. “He had studied law but did not practice it. Most of Joe Martin’s friends in Yorkville were business men. After discovery of gold in the late 1820s at Haile Gold Mine in Lancaster District and lesser amounts around Kings Mountain in York District, a joint stock company was formed in York for the purpose of speculating on gold sites. A Mr. Leach became the company agent to take leases and sell them.

Dr. Moore said the gold fever was so powerful that if a flint rock was found on a plantation, Leach would be there to lease all of the farm’s minerals for 20 years.

Martin decided that he would teach his friends a lesson. He wrote a letter in his own handwriting (well known by his friends) with no attempt to disguise it, saying that he was from Richmond District and would exchange 10 likely Negroes for a mine. He creased and crumpled the letter so as to appear that it had been handled carelessly.

Martin found Leach, the agent, on the court house steps and casually handed him the letter saying that he had been given the letter a week ago but had forgotten about it. Leach fell for it and excitedly took off to see his partners. In no time his horse was ready, a bag of rocks collected and Leach was mounting for Columbia.

At that point Dr. Moore, who was in on Martin’s joke, stepped up to ask if they had read the letter. The men said it was fine. “Did you notice the writing, you better read the letter again.” They yelled for Leach to stop. He heard them and returned. They all reread the letter and recognized that once again Joe Martin had played a practical joke on them. Dr. Moore called the joke effective for “the gold mine speculations seemed to die out like the extinguished smoldering wick of a candle.”

American Tune Book Sing

by Louise Pettus


For many years, at least from 1920 through the 1950s, there were gatherings of singers who brought with them their often tattered copies of an 1856 edition of the American Tune Book by Dr. Lowell Mason. The singers, most of them men and few of them young, would gather at a country church or school for a day of singing and picnicking.

The roots of the event were in what old-timers called a “singing school.” There are references to groups meeting for “all-day singing” as far back as the early 1800s. The first song book that was appropriate for such singings was Southern Harmony by William Walker, published in 1835. In 1844 Walker’s brother-in-law, B. F. White, published Sacred Harp. These books, alongside the later American Tune Book, were used for as long as the bindings held together.

In 1919 singers formed the York County Tune Book Association. There was a similar organization in Gaston County, N. C. and another in Mecklenburg County. Members of any one county group were likely to show up in the neighboring counties. The singers came from all over - Columbia and Charlotte always had good representation at the annual events. E. Meek Dickson directed York County’s singing for many years. LL. Henderson of Union Church in Gaston County, N. C. and R. C. Freeman of Steele Creek in Mecklenburg County were other noted leaders.

There were others who never missed an annual meeting and not just annual meetings. Often groups got together to practice before the major event. I. P. Boyd of Mount Holly near Rock Hill had perfect attendance. The usual time to meet was “lay-by” time, or “slack time,” for the farmer—the period in late August when the cotton had been chopped and was not yet ready to be picked.

In 1934 the American Tune Book Sing was at Kings Mountain Chapel. About 150 joined in the singing. The audience came from four or five counties and often totaled 3-400. Candidates for political office were usually present. They didn’t sing but but they did “work” the crowd.

Typically, the singing began at 10 a.m. Soup simmered in giant kettles ready for a break around noon when the picnic baskets were opened and people got ready for “dinner on the grounds.” After lunch, singing continued until five p.m. when people departed in an assortment of vehicles including wagons, buggies and Model-T cars.

Elizabeth Reed, writing about the 1950 Tune Book Sing at Beth-Shiloh Presbyterian Church near York, described the singing in this fashion: “Many of the songs are in a strange and unusual minor key. Often the director dispenses with the piano and the voices of the singers rise and fall in a slow cadence of unusual beauty. . . . Above the song is the meter, S. M. for short meter; C. M. for common meter, L. M. for long meter and P. M. for peculiar meter.”

Ms. Reed added that the songs didn’t really have titles, or at least didn’t have titles with any meaning. At the head of the page were terms such as “Beloath,” “Perez,” “Otto” and “Ovio.” Some people called it “round-note music.”

About 350 people attended the 1950 meeting. The major event was the distribution of a newly published reprint of the 1856 songbook. Kelly Robinson of Gastonia had found that J. E. Lindsay, a York County native then living in Gastonia, had a perfect copy of the old book. Robinson was instrumental in getting the reprint published in Charlotte.

Frances Glenn wrote of the 1952 annual meeting at Allison Creek Presbyterian Church: “Just as in the old-time singing school, the tenors, altos, basses, and sopranos, sat in sections to provide harmony to the singing. Differing from modern-day singing, the congregation sang “do-re-mi’s” for the length of the tune, substituting the words on the second stanza.”

In 1953 the Annual York County Tune Book Association singing was held at Olivet Presbyterian Church at McConnells. Several hundred were present. N. Blair Dulin of Bowling Green was the leader of the 1953 group.

In 1958 the 38th annual all-day singing meeting was held at Beersheba Presbyterian Church. It was a joint meeting with the singing led by York County’s N. Blair Dulin of Bowling Green, Gastonia County’s Roy Lineberger and Claude Davis and Eddie Meek Williams of Columbia.

We don’t know when the last meeting of the York County Tune Book Association occurred but we suspect it died out along with some of the old-time leaders. One factor undoubtedly would have been the vanishing of old patterns of rural life, particularly the disappearance of cotton farming (now being revived but along different lines).

Downtown Yorkville, 1858

by Louise Pettus

A visitor to downtown Yorkville in 1858 who picked up a copy of the Yorkville Enquirer and examined the newspaper's advertisements would have to conclude that Yorkville was a thriving town.

Most impressive was the number of manufacturers of carriages, buggies and harness. Wheeler's Carriage Emporium, owned by B. T. Wheeler, built carriages, buggies, and harness using the brand name "Excelsior.". Wheeler also repaired carriages and buggies. He assured the reader that he had on hand enameled and patent leathers, fringes, tassels, carpets, mats, ivory, brass, silverhead nails and varnishes of all kinds.

Wickert & McCants Coach Co., formerly Wickert & Walker, turned out carriages and buggies while J. Ed Jeffreys specialized in making and repairing wagons in his shop near the Masonic Hall.

The Railroad Hotel kept rental conveyances for the convenience of their guests. The hotel also accommodated stock drivers (cattle were brought from the countryside and shipped by train.)

The business house of Allison and Bratton, one of the largest, had available 40 gallons of "Burning Fluid" manufactured from 95% alcohol. The smokeless substance was guaranteed to furnish a "clear and brilliant light."

Allison and Bratton also boasted of its York District franchise on Dayton's Imperial Sealing Cans with air exhausters for "canning vegetables, fruits, fresh and sweet for winter use."

There were other dry goods stores. L. Bloomberg & Brother simply advertised the best quality goods without a hint of what they might be, but "Fancy Dry Goods," which was apparently the name of the shop, offered silks, linens, hosiery and embroideries.

Yorkville Grocery Market offered more than groceries. They advertised bagging, bale rope, candles, nails and yarn as well as coffee, mackerel (salted in barrels), rice, sugar,and salt.

There was also the Yorkville Produce Market which advertised "wagon prices" on apples, bacon, butter, beef, beeswax, cotton corn, chickens, eggs, feathers, flour, fodder, lard, meal, oats, pork, peaches, peas, potatoes, turnips, tallow, wheat and wool.

Dr. Alfred Craven, Yorkville's "resident surgeon dentist," was also a skilled goldsmith and silversmith. Another dentist-surgeon, Dr. J. T. Walker of Chester, came to Yorkville's Cornwell House on Monday and Saturday. He announced that he mounted teeth "on the cheoplastic process--the perfection of mechanical Dentistry for the mounting of partial or full sets of teeth."

John R.Schorb, an instructor in the Female Academy, advertised that he took pictures next door to the Presbyterian Church on Saturday between half-past eleven to two o'clock.

M. Johnson advertised for "green and dry hides". Mrs. L. D. Owens' ad only needed one word: "Dressmaking." Richard Hare advertised tombstones and Louis Smith, boot and shoemaking.

Evidence that Yorkville was in a pre-industrial stage is found in Adams, McCorkle & Co.'s ad: "WANTED 50,000 yds of cloth--woolen janes and linsey cloth." Obviously, Adams, McCorkle & Co. factored cloth that was woven in households spread over a rather large area. Sheep and flax were still commonly grown.

Yorkville, a county seat, had its share of lawyers: Col. I. D. Witherspoon, G. W. Williams, Col. William C. Beatty, Walter B. Metts, John L. Miller and Samuel Youngblood , let the public know of their services. Today's citizens would immediately cry "conflict of interest!" John L. Miller was the Commissioner of Equity, an elective office, and Samuel Youngblood was also the sheriff of York District. Both carried on a private law practice from their courthouse offices. Lancasterville and Charleston lawyers also advertised.

The paper regularly ran notices on stray horses, unfenced cattle, partnerships being formed and dissolved, and the notices of candidates for tax collector, sheriff and the legislature. There were even lists of names of people who had undelivered letters at the post office.

Lindsey & Gordon purchased all the clean cotton and linen rags available--probably for paper making.

Bigger's-Mason's-Wright's Ferry

by Louise Pettus

An 1811 act of the S. C. legislature establishing “certain Roads, Bridges and Ferries” included the following:

That the ferry on the Catawba river, in York district, commonly called Bigger’s ferry, and lately, by law, vested in Dr. John Allison, be, and the same is hereby, re-established; and vested in James Mason, his heirs and assigns, for the term of fourteen years. And that the following rates of ferriage, and no more, be received at the same, to wit: — for every foot passenger, four cents; for every led horse, four cents; for every rider and horse, six and a quarter cents; for every carriage with two wheels, horse and driver, twenty-five cents; for every four wheeled carriage, driver and horses, seventy-five cents; for every hogshead of tobacco, horse and driver, twenty-five cents; for every head of black cattle, sheep, goats or hogs, two cents.

In 1827, following the death of Daniel Mason, the ferry was vested in his widow, Nancy Mason. Nancy Mason was allowed to keep it for 7 years at the same terms except that “she be allowed the sum of 12 12 cents for every man and horse.

In 1841 the above ferry was rechartered. James Mason and his heirs sold their right to operate to James L. Wright and William Wright for 7 years. The road that led to and from the ferry was now termed the “great road leading from Yorkville, South Carolina, to Charlotte, North Carolina.” In this century the “great road” received a number — Hwy. 49, a part of the national road network.

Sometime around the turn of the 20th century, perhaps as a result of the Great Flood of 1904, ferry service across the Catawba River was dropped at the site of Wright’s Ferry. People from the town of York and northern York County found that, if they wanted to go to Charlotte, N. C., they had to go through Gastonia, N. C., an addition of about thirty-five miles. After much debate and political maneuvering, Mecklenburg County, N. C. and York County, S. C. agreed to build a bridge over the site of the old Wright’s ferry route. W. M. Boyd, a Mecklenburg citizen, the access land on both sides of the river and agreed to sell.

Mecklenburg County paid for two-thirds of the cost of construction of the projected $120,000 needed to build the bridge which would have concrete supports and a plank flooring covered with asphalt. Mecklenburg also hard-surfaced the road from its side of the bridge into Charlotte. York County, which customarily built all of its roads and bridges with convict labor, ran into all sorts of problems from bad weather to quicksand and had only three miles of paved road by the date of the bridge opening on August 17, 1923.

The governors of both Carolinas and numerous county officials were present that hot day in August, along with a crowd estimated at over 10,000. There were community bands and scout bands. Local farmers contributed free barbecue. Cold drink stands and picnic tables were spotted over the landscape. There was a forty-acre parking lot but it was not large enough for all the cars which lined the roadsides for two miles. The Pathe and International motion picture companies filmed the celebration for distribution through the nation.

Following the speeches by the two governors, a highlight of the celebration was the appearance of stunt pilots who flew under the bridge to the awe of the crowd. First, two young men from Charlotte, P. R. Redfern and B. F. Withers, Jr. swooped a Curtis plane under the bridge. Later, Capt. Elliott White Springs of Fort Mill, a World War I flying ace and local hero, made a perfect flight under Buster Boyd bridge.

The following spring York County asphalted the road from York to the North Carolina line.

Blacksmithing in the 1830's

by Louise Pettus

Samuel Campbell of York District was a master blacksmith who worked from a shop on John Springs’ large Fort Mill plantation. Campbell’s ledger, with entries from 1823 to 1826 covering 118 neatly written pages, is a fascinating glimpse into the plantation world of that time.

Campbell made new or repaired every iron or steel object to be found. Most often his entries show him shoeing horses and making plow points of every description. With each entry he showed the method he used. “Founded” meant that he made the object by pouring molten metal into a mold. “Laid” meant that he twisted metal strands together and “upset” occur when he improved a metal tool by making it shorter or thicker by hammering on the end.

Campbell mentioned three kinds of iron - “ware iron,” Rag iron,” and “rold (rolled) iron.” He also wrote “Casteel (cast steel),” and “Blistered steel” beside some of the objects worked on.

Fortunately, Campbell wrote in a clear handwriting with each letter carefully formed. His spelling was atrocious, however, sometimes making it impossible, even with a dictionary, to understand what he meant. What was “kee for a forked dog”? “Ottering cranes for bells”? “Gudgers upset”? And, “Elettric iron bradd skeins band hurders”? The last item is mentioned only once, gotten by James Spratt on 18 August 1824.

The variety of items that Campbell worked on is amazing. For William Goodrich, in one year’s time, Campbell repaired the big wheel and the tub of his grist mill, shod his horses, and made for him horse shoes, plow points, a spring for a lock, weeding hoes, dressing hoes, iron wedges, harrow teeth, and laid an axe with iron and steel. He mended pot hooks and two bread trays for Goodrich who was a fairly typical customer.

In some cases Campbell traded services. Susan Sembler brought in her hand-woven cloth valued at $1.50 in exchange for “2 new Clappers put in Bell - .25: Mending tongues (tongs) & fire Shovel - .25; 1 foot put on pot - .25; spout put on tea pot - .75.” Sarah Auton also traded weaving for blacksmithing services. Dr. Joseph R. Darnell’s medical bill was canceled by Campbell’s frequent shoeing of the doctor’s horses.

John McCoy was a butcher whose entries showed his trade: “To Fleshing nife made - .75; 3 tanner’s nives upset - .75”, etc.

“House hanging made frison welded” shows that Samuel Campbell could do fancy designs. Did Widow Mary Guyer, or her son Isaac Guyer, happen to see some fancy wrought iron in Yorkville, or perhaps Charleston, that led them to add an ornamental ironwork to their house?

Widow Nancy F. Potts paid Campbell for “Ironing Waggon complete with sand boxes - $65.00.” Campbell in turn paid a “Hammerman” (carpenter?) $57.50 for doing the “woodwork of waggon banding hubs and boxes” and $1.25 for making a “feed troft and side box.”

Other interesting items made or repaired in the blacksmith shop: plating leather shoes, gate hinges, window hinges, nails, locks, keys, loom collars, harness rings, stilards (steelyards used to weigh bulky items like cotton in the field), and stone augers.

Campbell worked for John Springs in an arrangement in which Springs furnished the shop and equipment but the ledger book does not show what Springs may have paid him for his labor. Campbell died in 1830. His estate papers do show that in 1825 he purchased a lease on 223 acres of Catawba Indian Land from John Springs. Campbell’s widow, Elizabeth R. Campbell sold the lease after his death to Samuel K. Pettus.

York County Men in Bloody Kansas

by Louise Pettus

On May 15, 1856 the Yorkville Enquirer reported that on the previous Saturday there had been what they called the “Kansas meeting,” in which nearly $1400 had been raised to send “in aid of Kansas.” More accurately, the aid was for southern slaveholders who had moved to Kansas in anticipation that it would become a slave state as a result of a special election to be held in the summer of 1856. State-wide the aim was for each of the six Congressional Districts of South Carolina to raise enough funds to send 100 men each to Kansas for the purpose of declaring their citizenship in order to vote in a scheduled election later in the summer.

Back in 1820, after fierce debate over slavery in the territories, the U. S. Congress had passed a bill known as the Missouri Compromise in which it was legislated that there would be no slavery north of the line of 36° 30’. The land in question had been a part of the Louisiana territory which was purchased from France in 1803. Missouri met the requirements for statehood in 1817 and was admitted to the Union as a slave state while, at the same time, Maine, which also met the requirements of statehood, was admitted as a free state.

In 1850, slavery in the territories was a hard-fought issue that ended in compromise but in 1854 Stephen A. Douglas, a native of Illinois, anxious to have Southern support for his bid for the presidency, shepherded a bill through the Congress, the Kansas-Nebraska Act which would allow the people of the territories to decide if they wished slavery or not. “Popular Sovereignty,” a term borrowed from Sen. Lewis Cass of Michigan, became Douglas’s slogan.

The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 effectively set aside the Missouri Compromise of 1820. At first, Southerners had assumed that Kansas would be slave and Nebraska would be free but when slaves were brought into Kansas, abolitionists got busy. The Republican party was formed as an anti-slavery party. The New England Emigrant Aid Company sent over 2,000 settlers to Kansas. A race was on between Southern slave-holders and Northern abolitionists to gain a majority of the vote to determine the status of slavery. Two legislatures were elected, one by the pro-slavery group, the other by the anti-slavery people and their Free-State Party. Pres. Franklin Pierce’s State of the Union address in January 1856 left no doubt that he was pro-slavery.

Henry Ward Beecher, a very popular New York preacher, endorsed the use of violence and there followed a large number of Sharp’s rifles shipped to Kansas in boxes labeled “Beecher’s Bibles.” Men of the Southern secret societies were preparing to strike at the Free-State Party headquarters in Lawrence, Kansas. John Brown was organizing and arming his own irregular army.

Meantime back in York County, eighteen men applied for funds from the $1,400 raised at the Kansas meeting. Seven were chosen: Dr. Thomas B. Whitesides, Meek Whitesides, John Whitesides, Ross Bird, C. A. Connor, R. H. McClain and Isaac B. Dunlap. Daniel J. Young, Robert P. White, Jr. and J. C. McClain became alternates. Dr. Whitesides was chosen to take charge and gave bond for the proper expenditure of the funds.

Civil War (actually guerilla warfare) in Kansas lasted from May 21—September 15, 1856. At least 200 men were killed and over $2 million in property was destroyed. The territorial governor, John W. Geary, called for federal troops and managed to restore peace (shaky though it was) to Kansas.

The major outcome of Bleeding Kansas was the escalation of tension between the sections. There was even bloodshed on the floor of Congress as Representative Preston Brooks of South Carolina attacked Senator Charles Sumner of Maine following Sumner’s inflammatory “Crime Against Kansas” speech.

The fanatic, John Brown, became a popular hero in the north. York County, which had opposed the idea of secession in 1830 and 1850, in 1856 began to talk of the possibility of seceding from the Union.

Bibliography of the Catawba

by Louise Pettus

In the fall of 1987, Scarecrow Press published Bibliography of the Catawba compiled and annotated by Thomas J. Blumer.

The 502-page book is the 10th volume of the "Native American Bibliography Series" and will, no doubt, be invaluable to anyone interested in locating information about the Catawba Indians. It is of special local interest because of the tremendous number of references to people and events associated with York County

In combination, the entries (arranged chronologically) and the lengthy index serve to point out the major events of Catawba history

There are 4,271 references that cover 305 years of Catawba history. Of these references, 612 deal with events before the American Revolution and 640 more cover the period between the Revolution and the Civil War. The bulk are in recent times. More than 500 references are cited for the Catawba land claim as it has moved through the U. S. court system during the past ten years.

Blumer found these references in many places. Newspapers were a valuable resource. Blumer cites 75 newspapers, many of which are no longer published. In the colonial period, the South Carolina Gazette carried all of the official news and its accounts reveal the significant role played by Catawbas in serving as a go-between for other Indian tribes and the Royal government.

In modern times the major suppliers of articles on the Catawbas were the Rock Hill Herald, the Fort Mill Times, and the Yorkville Enquirer. Blumer's position (senior editor of the law library) enabled him to take advantage of the tremendous capabilities of the Library of Congress to locate materials and articles that can only be labeled as obscure.

Among the sources, as would be expected, are the official archives of the state of South Carolina and the National Archives in Washington.

The South Carolina Archives houses a large number of the extant Catawba Indian land leases--some 128 leases. Blumer lists each of the leases, the date of the lease, the number of acres involved, and the names of the leaseholders and the Indian officers who granted the lease.

The National Archives' holdings begin in the 1880s and include all of the Bureau of Indian Affairs files on the Catawbas.

Besides the land leasing system, and references to cultural artifacts (chiefly pottery), there are numerous references to Catawbas and warfare.

The entries reveal Catawba involvement in all of the wars. Catawba warriors fought in the Revolution while their women and children stayed in Virginia with the Pamunkey Indians. North Carolina Moravian records showed that more than 100 Catawbas passed through Salem, N. C. on their way from Virginia to South Carolina on June 13, 1781.

During the Civil War, the Lancaster Ledger, November 12, 1862, reported "The Catawba Indian population is estimated between 80-100. Most of the men are serving in the army, and their families are destitute."

The Rock Hill Record, September 2, 1918, under the heading "Indian Women Showing Their Loyalty," stated that "Catawba Indian women are knitting for the Red Cross, and the Mormon Relief Society has donated $8 to the cause. Four Catawba Indians are in the service and one is serving in France. Nettie Owl's daughter, Lula Owl, is a Red Cross Army Nurse."

The Evening Herald, May 27, 1944, in an article headed, "Catawbas have 28 Braves in Armed Services,"listed the names of the men. By March of the following year there were 34 Catawba men in the military.

Catawba pottery is the subject of many of the bibliographic entries. There are 33 articles cited on the pottery tradition alone. Many more entries fall under such topics as demonstrations, exhibits, manufacture, peddling, sales, etc.

The Journal of Southern History recommended the bibliography saying, "The book is a must for historians, ethnologists, genealogists, folklorists, economists, local historians, and students of the American Indian.

Catawba Indians in the Civil War

by Louise Pettus

When the Civil War began in April of 1861 there were 55 Catawba men, women and children living on 630 acres in York County. Nineteen Catawba men enlisted in the Confederate Army—almost every adult male.

The Catawba Confederate enlistees were: Jeff Ayres, John Brown, Frank Canty, William Canty, Bob Crawford, Billy George, Gilbert George, Nelson George, Allen Harris, Epps Harris, Jim Harris, John Harris, Peter Harris, Jr., Bob Head, James Kegg, Robert Marsh, John Sanders, John Scott, and Alexander Timms.

These men enlisted in three different units, more of them members of Co. H, 12th SC Volunteers, headed by Captain, later Colonel, Cadwallader Jones, than in any other unit. Co. H, which was attached to the First Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia, is believed to have seen more military action than any other company of the war.

Other Catawbas served with the Lacy Guards, Co. K of the 17th SC Volunteers and still others with Co. G of the Fifth S. C. Infantry. In all cases the Catawbas served with units which were largely recruited out of York County.

Laurence M. Hauptman, author of Between Two Fires, a book published in 1995 about American Indians in the Civil War, wrote a chapter on the Catawba soldiers. In his concluding paragraph, Hauptman wrote: “The Catawba were not the largest Indian group to join the Confederates, nor were they the most significant in military terms. But they were far and away the most committed to the Confederate cause. Brave and loyal to the bitter end, they were exposed to the very worst of the war, and though nearly utterly destroyed, they fought as a matter of course, with deep commitment and as a matter of pride.”

Among the examples Hauptman used to make his point about Catawba bravery was that of two brothers, John and James Harris. both in Co. H, 12th Infantry. The Harris brothers had enlisted as cooks but were also foot soldiers. In the Battle of Antietam they were both wounded and both taken as prisoners of war.

John Harris had a musket ball in his leg when he was sent to Fort Monroe. He was freed in a prisoner exchange in May 1863 and immediately rejoined his company. In September 1864 Harris was discharged because his leg had not properly healed. (After the war he was elected chief of the Catawa tribe.) James Harris, John’s brother, remained a prisoner of war until the war’s end.

William Canty, who served in both the 17th SC and the 12th Inf, was wounded 3 times—in the Second Battle of Bull Run, Antietam and Boonesboro. Again there were medical problems. Canty suffered from jaundice, a condition believed caused by infection of his wounds.

Jefferson Ayers was wounded at Boonesboro and reenlisted only to be shot in the head at Hatcher’s Run, near Petersburg. He was captured and taken to a Union hospital in Maryland where he died in July 1865.

Alexander Timms was wounded in the Second Battle of Bull Run. Robert Head died of wounds or disease (the record is not clear). Peter Harris was captured after the fall of Petersburg and imprisoned at Hart’s Island in New York harbor.

In fact, Hauptman found that almost all of the Catawbas were casualties of war. He only found one, John Scott, who was later chief of the tribe, to have survived the war without being wounded, killed or captured.

There was a great deal of sentiment after the war among white neighbors that something should be done to give tribute to the brave Catawbas. The tribute finally came on August 3, 1900. A 10 and 1/2 foot statue was unveiled in Fort Mill’s Confederate park that was dedicated to the Catawba soldiers. The statue was erected by Samuel Elliott White and John McKee Spratt. The main speaker at the unveiling was Ben Harris, son of John Harris, one of the brave Catawbas who fought with the Army of Northern Virginia.

Early Railroads of the Area

by Louise Pettus

The late 1840s and the decade of the 1850s witnessed a great railroad boom in South Carolina. The state legislature was in the hands of men who believed that cotton was king and were willing to finance the railroads that would haul cotton to the port of Charleston.

Camden was the upcountry market town for Lancaster, Chester and York. Transporting cotton to Camden meant putting bales on wagons and then struggling through the mire or dust of unpaved and nearly impassable roads. In spite of attempts to build canals, the Catawba River was not navigable except for short distances.

Because of the difficulties in shipment, any railroad construction was eagerly anticipated. The first railroad to contemplate building in the area was the Charlotte and South Carolina Railroad, which in 1849 became the Charlotte, Columbia & Augusta Railroad.

The exact route that the Charlotte & South Carolina Railroad should take was the subject of much debate. The most western route proposed would have taken the railroad through the village of Ebenezer (now a Rock Hill suburb), but people objected. They considered a railroad too noisy, too dirty and a despoiler of fine cotton land.

Ebenezer residents proposed that the line should run through the “blackjack” land — poor land for growing cotton because it lacked potash. The move away from Ebenezer created Rock Hill, which was destined to outgrow its older neighbor.

About six years passed before the first wood-fueled locomotive reached Rock Hill in 1852. While there is no record of how many cars comprised the train that day, it is known that the total rolling stock of the railroad in 1851 was four engines, two passenger cars and 12 boxcars.

The Rock Hill site was the highest point on the railroad between Charlotte and Augusta (Withers-WTS Building on the Winthrop College campus sits on the highest hill in Rock Hill). The story is that the crew laying the track encountered so much rock that the supervisor, J. Lawrence Moore, gave the place the name “Rock Hill.” At any rate, the village got a post office by the name on April 17, 1852. Two months later, the first train came to Rock Hill.

A trestle was built across the Catawba River not far south of the present location of the Hoescht-Celanese plant. The first train arrived in Fort Mill on July 4, 1852. Fort Mill, like Rock Hill, had less than half a dozen homes before the arrival of the railroad, and most of those homes were scattered. Rail traffic provided a great stimulus for the growth of both towns.

At Fort Mill, the railroad crews ran into quicksand that turned out to be harder to handle than Rock Hill’s roack. It took a tremendous amount of gravel, sand and rock before the track could be laid. Most of the labor came from slaves. Local slave owners would contract labor for the laying of the roadbed by their property. Between the river and Fort MIll a majority of the earth movers were slave women who carried the dirt in their aprons, according to old accounts.

Fort Mill celebrated the arrival of the train and the Fourth of July with a picnic and all-day festivities. Col. A. Baxter Springs, forefather of Springs textile leaders, hosted his neighbors with a barbecue. His father, John Springs, was one of the major investors in the railroad. A. B. Springs was awarded the Fort Mill contract to furnish the wood that was stacked in wood racks along the railroad.

One of the early locomotives of the C&SC was “The John Springs.” Col. Elliott White Springs, a descendant of John Springs, had a 4-foot replica of that locomotive cast into the weather vane that adorns the Williamsburg-style depot of the Lancaster and Chester Railway in Lancaster. It is an interesting reminder of the days when water tanks and wood racks were essential to the transport of goods in this area.

17th SC Regiment Reunion--1889

by Louise Pettus

After the withdrawal of Federal troops from the state of South Carolina in 1877 Civil War veterans began planning reunions. At first the reunions were generally small in scale but as the state began recovering economically and railroads began offering special rates, the reunion groups became larger and met more frequently.

In August 1889 the Seventeenth South Carolina Volunteers met in their 25th reunion in what was described as “the biggest entertainment of the kind ever held in the upcountry”. The Seventeenth had a considerable number of York County soldiers (4 companies) along with Chester (2 companies). Lancaster and Barnwell counties had present one company each.

The reunion was held in a park called Overlook Place on Whitaker Mountain near the town of Blacksburg, now in Cherokee County but in 1889 in York County (Cherokee County was created in 1897 from York and Spartanburg counties).

The town of Blacksburg was created in 1872 by the arrival of the Chicago, Cincinnati and Charleston railroad. Sally Whitaker had once lived with her family in the gap of a nearby mountain. One day Sally took her little brother with her to search for the family’s cows. The boy was attacked by a large panther. Sally carried a rifle and managed to kill the panther. The mountain was named Whitaker Mountain in Sally’s honor.

The old soldiers arrived in every way possible: by train, wagon, horse or mule back, even on foot. Blacksburg had several hotels which quickly filled and a number of citizens invited veterans to their homes. Some camped in wagons or tents on the outskirts of the town.

Col. F. W. McMaster met the veterans at the depot to shake their hands and distribute badges to 109 of his old comrades. McMaster then mounted a white horse and led a parade through the main street of Blacksburg and headed to Overlook Mountain where the special events would take place. An observer noted that some marchers were vigorous while others were “weak and tottering.” He also noted empty sleeves and here and there a wooden leg.

Originally the Seventeenth had 1,035 enlistees with 230 of that number either transferred or dismissed. Of the remainder, 393, or 49 per cent, were killed or died of disease. The casualties were 67 per cent at Second Manassas. At the end of the war the regiment had 410 survivors.

At Overlook Place there were present some 2-3,000 people to cheer the veterans. A “sumptuous feast” was laid out on tables. The band played “Dixie” and “Yankee Doodle”.

The Orator of the Day was Col. William Blackburn Wilson, captain of company F and now a distinguished Yorkville lawyer. Wilson was followed by Colonel McMaster who opened with a resounding “Comrades!,” followed by a long pause. “Visibly affected,” the colonel added “friends of my might!” He spoke in glowing terms of those soldiers who had sacrificed their lives.

When the speeches were over a resolution was presented to have the next year’s reunion at the Columbia fair grounds. Within a few years most state reunions would be held at the State Fair on the same grounds. The State Fair was generally held in late October when farmers were likely to have sold enough of their crops to have money to spend.

Later, a huge tent was erected yearly on the fair grounds to house the Confederate veteran groups. United Daughters of the Confederacy would serve the old veterans food and drink contributed by various businesses. This practice, along with free admission, lasted as long as their were veterans who could manage to travel to Columbia.

Company H, 12th SC Volunteers

by Louise Pettus

Following the fall of Fort Sumter in April 1861, York County men began to take up arms. A majority of the York Countians joined one of four companies: Company H, 12th South Carolina Volunteers of McGowan's Brigade; "The Whyte Guards," South Battalion, 46th Regiment; Company H of the First Battalion of S. C. Cavalry; or, "The Indian Land Tigers," Company E, 17th Regiment of S. C. Volunteers.

Company H of the 12th S.C. Volunteers probably saw as much hard fighting as any company that served in the Confederate Army. An excellent account of Company H's service can be found in the regimental history,Gregg's-McGowan's Brigade by J. F. J. Caldwell, an officer in the brigade. Dr. Douglas Southall Freeman, an eminent Civil War historian, considered Caldwell's account to be the best brigade history of the Army of Northern Virginia and one of the best of the early books on the Confederacy.

From Caldwell's history we learn that the 12th S.C. Volunteers responded to the 1st of July, 1861 appeal of Jefferson Davis by rendezvousing with other companies from all over South Carolina at Camp Lightwoodknot Springs about five miles from Columbia. It was the first regiment formed.

The first commanding officer was Col. R. G. M. Dunnovant, who was soon replaced by Lt. Col. Dixon Barnes of Lancaster District. After the death of Barnes at Sharpsburg, Maj. Cadwallader Jones of Mount Gallant plantation near Rock Hill) took command of the company.

In November 1861, the regiment was sent to the defense of Hilton Head. They were briefly engaged at Port Royal, and then at Green Pond the 12th, along with the 13th and 14th regiments, came under the command of Brig. Gen. Maxey Gregg, a Columbia lawyer. They went to Virginia in April 1862 and fought 23 battles on Virginia soil.

A roster of the company was brought home by Col. Cadwallader Jones and is now in the York County Library. The list shows 8 commissioned officers, 18 non-commissioned officers and 111 privates. Of that number, 59 were wounded, 22 killed in battle, one killed accidentally, 22 died of wounds and disease, and 16 were discharged for sickness. The total was 120 casualties among 137 men.

On a separate list, Col. Jones named 16 men who were taken prisoner in the course of war. J. McRainey was twice prisoner, taken at Gettysburg and at Spottsylvania. Private McRainey died of disease in 1864.

Notes besides the names reveal various things about the men. Four of the privates--Nelson George, A. Tims, W. Canty, and James Harris--were marked as Indian. Canty and Harris (who was the company cook) were wounded.

Many of the men were brothers and cousins. Cadwallader Jones had a son, Cad Jr., who was a junior officer.

A father of 12 children, John R. Rodgers, died of typhoid fever. Rodgers enlisted with his two oldest sons, Marion DeKalb and John Blair. The sons, luckier than most, were not on the casualty list, but their cousins, William Ashley Sparks and John Calvin Sparks, were both wounded. John Calvin Sparks was crippled for life and brought home in a wagon.

Private J. F. Wherry was killed accidentally; no details were given. W. J. Kimbrell, the Color Sergeant of the Regiment, proved how dangerous his post was by being wounded four times--in '62, '63, '64, and '65. Sgt. D. F. Simpson was also four-times wounded. Cpl. W. J. Boyd was wounded in three different battles and died in 1864 after his arm was amputated.

Caldwell's description of the soldiers after only six months of the four-year long war was vivid: "They were sun-burnt, gaunt, ragged, scarcely at all shod, spectres and caricatures of their former selves....they had fed on half-cooked dough, often raw bacon as well as raw beef, had devoured green corn and green apples; they had contracted diarrhoea and dysentery of the most malignant type, and lastly, they were covered with vermin. They now stood, an emaciated, limping, ragged, filthy mass, who no stranger to their valiant exploits could have believed capable of anything the least worthy."

Records Tell A Lot About County's Confederate Soldiers

by Louise Pettus

Having fought on the losing side, York County veterans of the Civil War were not eligible for the benefits that were offered to Union veterans. Before 1889, South Carolina provided no disability benefits or pensions for military service.

On the other hand, the veterans of the lost cause were held in the highest esteem. Parades, pulpits, political platforms, holidays, songs and plays were used to honor the living and eulogize the dead Confederate soldiers.

Finally, the state began to recover financially from the war and the obvious plight of many old men and their widows resulted in legislation that established classes of disability. Much of the pressure on the legislature came from veterans and their children.

There are three major sets of war records on individual soldiers, each set duplicating each other in the basic information but also offering information that cannot be found in other records. The three sets of records are federal, state and county of origin.

Confederate records of individual soldiers are located in the National Archives of the United States. The United States Army and Navy kept records of the Confederates who were captured during the war and surrendered when the war ended in 1865.

From the official Confederate records, one can discover much about the individual soldier and his company as well. For instance, the record of Marion DeKalb Rodgers, Catawba Township, York County, shows that he enlisted as a 20-year-old private in August 1861, in Capt. Cadwallader Jones Company of Dunovant’s Regiment, South Carolina Volunteers (the company subsequently became Co. H, 12th Regt, SC Infantry).

Rodgers reported to Lightwood Knot Spring, near Columbia. He enlisted for the duration. The company muster rolls show when he was paid (every two months). The notation was made that he was in the hospital in November and December of 1862.

The last two sheets of Rodgers’ records were filled in by Union officers. One is headed “Prisoner of War at Hart’s Island, New York Harbor.” Rodgers, still a private, was captured at Southernland Station, Va. The last record states that Rodgers signed the Oath of Allegiance to the United States on June 16, 1865. It gave his place of residence as York District, S. C., and the officer filled in the description: “Complexion fair; hair dark; eyes blue; height 5 ft. 8 in.”

York County has a more complete record of identifying its veterans by branch of service, time in service and residence after the war than most South Carolina counties. In 1902, in response to the state association of Confederate veterans, York County made a concerted effort to enroll veterans by township.

The Confederate Enrollment Book of York County includes the dead as well as the living. An entry example: “Bethesda Township. Page 1. Abshear, Joseph K., 17th S.C.V. Evans Infantry Private, 30, killed at Petersburg 1864.”

The state of South Carolina published the names, addresses and amounts of payment to the veterans and their widows who collected pensions beginning in 1889. These are included in the yearly “Reports and Resolutions of the South Carolina House of Representatives.” A 1910 example, “Class B. Perry, W. C., Fort Mill (Co. B, 6th S.C.T.), lost left hand; wounded right hand; entered payroll 1901.”

In 1901 there were 287 York County pensioners on the state rolls. The total of all their pensions was $1,205.40. For all but the blind and limbless, the amount of the pension was $3 per month. The number of York County widows who collected the pittance outnumbered the Confederate veterans 2-1.

Last Confederate Cabinet Meeting Historical Marker

by Louise Pettus

Official historical markers were first authorized by the state of South Carolina in 1905. The responsibility for authenticity was given to the S. C. Historical Commission (now the Department of Archives and History). Because of a lack of funds very few markers were erected before the mid-1930s. In 1936 a Historical Survey was authorized and Dr. Nora M. Davis was given the authority to identify potential sites and encourage local historical societies to finance the markers.

One of the prime sites for a marker was the White Homestead at Fort Mill which was the scene of the last official meeting of the Confederate Cabinet. Correspondence between Dr. Nora M. Davis and Elliott White Springs, who had inherited the White Homestead, began in 1939. There were 32 letters between the two from April 26, 1939 to March 18, 1940.

The letters, now preserved in the SC Archives, are instructive to read, partly because they show how a historian (Dr. Davis) seeks to get the true facts about an event with undoubted historical importance but without complete documentation.

In the first letter (mistakenly addressed to Col. Leroy Springs), Dr. Davis wished to know if Elliott Springs (son of Colonel Leroy) would be interested in erecting a standard historical marker at the home of his grandparents. The price for a marker was $65.

Springs replied the next day and was happy to defray the expense. He also wrote, “My great-grandfather’s name was William Elliott White, and he owned the house at Fort Mill where President Jefferson Davis and his cabinet spent the night on April 26, 1865. I have always understood that a meeting of the cabinet was held in the front yard of this house under an oak tree on the morning of April 27th, and that Secretary Trenholm handed in his resignation, due to ill health, and proceeded to his home. My grandfather, Andrew Baxter Springs, was present at this meeting, and strongly advised the Confederate cabinet to split up and take different routes to their destinations.”

Davis and Springs both knew that various accounts of the event disagreed about details. Some historians contended that the gathering of cabinet members with Jefferson Davis was not official. They said there had not been an official meeting since the fall of Richmond to Union troops. Others said that the last full meeting of the cabinet was in Charlotte at the home of Col. William F. Phifer and his wife, Mary Martha (who was the daughter of Col. William Elliott White). The Abbeville, SC claim to be the last was not taken seriously by the state archives because it was not a full cabinet meeting.

Elliott Springs stated that, “We of Fort Mill have always considered that this was the last full meeting of the Confederate cabinet, though the newspapers of Charlotte each year publish the fact that the last full meeting took place in Charlotte.”

Dr. Davis was already convinced that the Fort Mill meeting was official. Her problem was with the wording of the marker. Her first letter offered “three suggested inscriptions.” A major source of information was the diary of the wife of George Trenholm, the Secretary of the Treasury. Another major source was the “Official Records of the Confederacy.” Most of the correspondence dealt with the actual wording of the marker and finally stated, in part, “. . . the cabinet held its last meeting at which the resignation of G. A. Trenholm, Secretary of the Treasury, was accepted and Postmaster General John H. Reagan was appointed his successor ad interim.”

Springs helped by sending pictures and biographical data on the Whites and Springses who were involved. He found something that said that the meeting was under a pine tree in the front yard. Then he was told by his cousin, Harvey White of Graham, N. C., that the meeting was held under a cedar tree. An 1890s account said that the meeting was under a sassafras tree. Wisely, no specific tree was mentioned in the final wording.

Finally, the marker was ready and on March 11. 1940, Elliott Springs had the monument erected at its present location on North White Street in Fort Mill.

Confederate Memorial Day

by Louise Pettus

The traditional date for Confederate memorial services is May 10 - Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's birthday. The custom began in Charleston in 1866 after a group of ladies led by Mary Amarintha Snowden met in the parlor of Mills House and organized the Ladies' Memorial Association.

The idea spread until practically every town in South Carolina that was any size at all had at least one organization dedicated to keeping alive the memory of Confederate gallantry.

Money was raised to build statues, place markers or hang plaques in connection with public buildings or cemeteries. In an age that saw few women working outside the home, avenues for raising money were limited. Somehow, the proceeds of bazaars, cake sales, surplus garden produce and "egg money" gradually built up. Sometimes it took two decades or more from the initial plans until the unveiling of a statue.

The monument in front of the Ebenezer A. R. P. Church, 2132 Ebenezer Rd., Rock Hill, was built in just such a manner by the S. D. Barron Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. The obelisk was unveiled on Sept. 3, 1908.

The ceremonies were typical of the times. There was an "orator of the day." A quartet and a chorus furnished musical accompaniment.

Special guests at the Ebenezer unveiling were members of the local "Catawba Camp," a group of Confederate veterans led by Iredell Jones. It was 43 years after the surrender at Appomattox.

The chapter's name honored Samuel DeKalb Barron, who first enlisted in the army at the age of 15. Local men persuaded him to come home and enter Erskine College. Determined to reenlist, Barron convinced his mother to equip him for service when he reached his 16th birthday.

Barron enlisted in Lafayette's Artillery, which had the task of protecting the S. C. coastline from Union invasion. He quickly proved his bravery by being the first to volunteer for the dangerous assignments. Several times he distinguished himself before he was captured by Kilpatrick's cavalry during Sherman's march. Barron spent 11 months in prison at Point Lookout, Md. When he got out, he was described as "a physical wreck."

Barefoot, emaciated and dirty, Barron walked from Richmond, Va. to York County. Though not as robust as he had been before his army service, Barron was not ready to settle down. He went west. After one year teaching school in Missouri, he was in Texas working for a newspaper. After that he was a farmer in Louisiana.

In Louisiana, Barron received word that he was needed in York County. It was the time of Merrill's Raiders and the Ku Klux Klan. Barron's brother had had to flee for his life; his father was not able to operate the farm alone. Barron returned to York County.

In 1874 Barron married. Farming turned out to be too demanding on his health and he returned to teaching. He began writing letters to the newspapers in which he pleaded for assistance for disabled Confederate veterans. In 1885, two years before his death, Barron and his Bethesda Academy students organized memorial services for the Confederate dead. It is the first known Confederate memorial service in York County.

During the early 1900s, the S. C. Barron Chapter would join with Rock Hill's Ann White Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the Winthrop Chapter of the UDC, the Sons of Veterans, ministers of the city, family and friends, for a memorial service at Laurelwood Cemetery in Rock Hill.

This would be followed by a picnic in Hutchison's grove. After dinner the old veterans would deliver reminiscent talks. What tales they must have told!

John P. Countryman---Warrant For Felony

by Louise Pettus

On July 3, 1825 a laborer, John P. Countryman, "entered the dwelling house of Robert Love" and stole "one Spanish milled dollar of the value of one dollar, one quarter valued at twenty five cents, one seven pence in silver of the value of twelve and a half cents and one three pence half penny in silver at the value of six and one quarter cents."

The same day or soon thereafter, Countryman stole from James Love some paper bank bills-- a $10 note issued by the Bank of the State of South Carolina, a $10 note on the Bank of North Carolina and several small notes-and a few silver coins, in all amounting to around $30.

Countryman's apparent motive was to get enough money to allow him to move to the west. To South Carolinians in 1825, the west was Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee or Kentucky.

Countryman only got as far as Chester District where, on September 10, 1825, he was apprehended by Abraham Petty and Rutherford Hayden who took Countryman to Clement Wood, a justice of the peace. Wood charged Countryman with theft, placed him in the Chester Gaol (jail) and informed York District Sheriff John M. Harris of the money found on Countryman.

The records are not clear on what Sheriff Harris did next but do show that before the quarterly court session assembled he had secured three material witnesses against Countryman and had required the three, William Currier, John Turner and Elijah Carroll to post bond of $200 each to guarantee their appearance in court.

A "Warrant for Felony" was issued for Countryman. The case was officially recorded as "The State vs. Countryman" and the 21 assembled jurymen were summoned by a state court called the Court of Oyer and Terminer which had the power to try treason and felony and the power of general "gaol" delivery.

In the October 1825 court session the story unfolded in the testimony of the three subpoenaed men.

William Currier testified that on August 5th he received the 1822 Spanish milled dollar which was marked, apparently with a knife, "on the edge opposite the foot of the left hand pillar," from John Turner.

John Turner then took the stand to testify that earlier on August 5th he had received the same dollar from John P. Countryman.

Elijah Carroll then took the stand and swore that he received the marked dollar from Currier on the same day.

John Countryman was found guilty by the jury. If he ever testified in his own defense the record does not show it. The judge's verdict did not appear on the records filed in York. Since the judge was a circuit judge trying a state case it is probable that the records showing the judge's decision are in the State Archives.

Actually, John Countryman's guilt or innocence is irrelevant. What is instructive in the case of Countryman is that as late as 1825 in York District foreign coinage was still in general circulation as demonstrated by the exchanges on August 5.

The people undoubtedly would have preferred all United States currency rather than dealing with a variety of foreign coins. It was certainly easier to calculate the domestic currency's relative value by using the decimal system devised by Thomas Jefferson some 35 years earlier than it was to translate Spanish, English and Dutch coins into American money..

This area was in a state of economic depression in 1825, a depression that became particularly severe by 1827. Cotton had created great prosperity in the uplands of South Carolina following the invention of the cotton gin in 1794. By the mid-1820s new cotton lands in the west were out-producing the older cotton lands of the Carolinas.

A significant number of York, Chester and Lancaster District farmers sold their land for what they could get and formed wagon caravans with their slaves and many of their relatives and neighbors and headed west to grow in far richer soil. For the most part they prospered in the west and soon persuaded more folk to join them in a western migration that lasted until the outbreak of the Civil War.

We do not know whether John Countryman ever joined the westward migration.

Rev. William Cummins Davis

by Louise Pettus

In York's Rose Hill Cemetery there is a tombstone that reads: In memory of Rev. William C. Davis Founder of the Independent Presbyterian Church Who was born, 16 Decr. 1760 and died 28 Sept 1831 age 70 years 9 mos and 12 days."

The marker gives no hint of the stormy career of William Cummins Davis, who might have been termed the "Great Emancipator," instead of Abraham Lincoln, if Davis had had his way a half century earlier. Davis, surely, was a man who lived before his time.

He was from obscure beginnings, born "somewhere on the inter-Carolina border." Davis' training for the ministry was at Mt. Zion College at Winnsboro, S. C., where he was ordained in 1789. His first pastorates were in the Spartanburg area where he stirred up trouble for himself by insisting upon the singing of Watts’ Psalms and hymns. His conservative congregations refused to change from their position of no musical instruments and no singing.

Davis scandalized each of his succeeding congregations--Carmel, the Old Stone Church at Clemson, and Bullock's Creek and Shiloh in York District. The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia called him to answer for his transgressions against accepted practices of worship. It would not be the last time he was officially reprimanded.

During the years 1803-1805, Davis was a missionary to the Catawba Indians. In 1804 he reported to the Synod at Bethesda that the school he had established for the Catawba children was taught by Robert Crawford who was owed $240 for his teaching. In spire of Crawford's capability and efforts, the "prospect of teaching the Indians not at all flattering." In this regard, Davis had no more success than earlier Presbyterian ministers, the Baptists or the Methodists.

In 1805 Davis began his supply of Bullock's Creek. For at least years Davis had been condemning the institution of slavery from the pulpit. He preached that slave-holding was sinful and for masters to fail to give religious instruction was the "unforgivable sin" to Davis. In 1807, while on trial by the church in Philadelphia, charged with preaching against government and holding and preaching erroneous doctrines, Davis responded in ringing tones: "Against government I have never preached...Against slavery I will always preach!"

In 1811 Davis was tried for heresy. He escaped the charge by resigning from the Presbyterian Church and then preceded to found the Independent Presbyterian Church. Five churches split in the process. These were Bullock Creek, Salem, Edmonds, Shiloh and Olney (in Concord, N. C.).

The membership of the Independent Presbyterian Church grew to about 1,000 in 1831, the year of Davis' death. Two of Davis' successors were Robert Y. Russell and Silas J. Feemster. Silas Feemster was Davis' son-in-law. In 1832, Feemster, who was of the Bullock's Creek community, founded Salem Church in Lowndes County, Mississippi, a church that still flourishes.

Like the mother congregations in South Carolina, in Mississippi the Independent Presbyterian Church took in blacks on an equal footing with the whites. After the Civil War the practice was attacked by Ku Klux Klan members and the Salem Church merged with the Congregationalists.

In South Carolina at the end of the Civil war the issue of slavery was dead, so in 1867 the Independent Presbyterian Church membership merged with its mother denomination the Presbyterian Church.

William Cummins Davis left his mark on this region. As late as 1859 the Yorkville Enquirer could say that Davis was still being debated because of his anti-slavery writings.

In 1852, a Queens College biology professor, Dr. A. L. Pickens, put together a collection of Davis' writings, including the Gospel Plan that condemned all those the "dealers in human flesh and souls." The Gospel Plan was published the year that Abraham Lincoln was born.

Asbury Coward, Soldier-Educator

by Louise Pettus

Asbury Coward came to Yorkville in 1854 to study law under the direction of William Blackburn Wilson, Esq., one of the leading lawyers of his day. Young Coward, who liked to sign his name "A. Coward," was the son of a lowcountry rice planter and a recent graduate of the Citadel.

After only a couple of months Coward decided against law as his life's work. He was more inclined toward physical activity and preferred hunting, fishing and horsemanship to the indoors life of a lawyer. Coward persuaded a brilliant Citadel classmate, Micah Jenkins, to come to Yorkville. Together they founded Kings Mountain Military Academy in January 1755. Coward and Jenkins were both 19.

The academy was designed as a prep school for the Citadel. The first class had 12 students ranging in age from 11 to 16. The school quickly gained an excellent reputation both for its discipline and its academics. The five-year curriculum included mathematics through trigonometry, Latin, French, German, grammar, chemistry, astronomy, geology, physiology, history, English literature and philosophy.

By 1859 the Kings Mountain had handsome barracks, 10 instructors and 139 cadets.

When South Carolina seceded from the Union, Coward and Jenkins both enlisted, and their academy, which had nearly 200 cadets, closed its doors. Jenkins formed the Jasper Light Infantry, the first unit to be raised in Yorkville for the Confederacy.

Asbury Coward entered the Confederate Army as captain in the adjutant general's department. He was soon transferred to the field where he was advanced to major after the Battle of Malvern Hill. A few months later he was made colonel in the 5th Regiment.

Not all of Coward's fighting was in Virginia. He was in the battles of Chickamauga, Chattanooga, Lookout Mountain and Knoxville plus a number of smaller skirmishes in the western campaign. At the end of the war Coward was with Lee at Farmville and Appomattox.

Following the surrender Coward returned to Yorkville with his wife and growing family. Coward had married Eliza Blum on Christmas Day 1856. Eventually the couple had 17 children and outlived all but one.

Coward reopened the Kings Mountain Military Academy, but things were not as before. Micah Jenkins had been killed in the war. Not many families could afford a boarding school. The South was under military rule, and military cadets were not allowed to use rifles. Colonel Coward reluctantly closed the school's days in 1886.

For four years before closing the Academy, Coward also held the office of state superintendent of instruction. In 1890 Coward became superintendent of the Citadel in Charleston. The Citadel made great strides under the leadership of Coward who gained the respect and affection of every student body he ever commanded

The effect of Coward's work on education in general caused the University of South Carolina to award him the honorary degree of doctor of laws in 1896. President Theodore Roosevelt appointed Coward to the West Point Board of Visitors.

Coward retired from the post of commandant of the Citadel in 1908. At that time he was awarded a Carnegie Pension for his service to mankind. The money allowed a "retirement in dignity." A special delegation of Yorkville citizens went to Charleston in an attempt to persuade Coward to retire in Yorkville. They even promised him a cook and "a boy," but the Cowards went to live with a child in Johnson County, Tenn., for a while. When he was 89 and she was 87, the Cowards returned to Yorkville to live the remainder of their lives.

Counties Created in Order to Provide Courts

by Louise Pettus

Nine upcountry counties, including the present counties of Chester, Lancaster and York, were created after the American Revolution out of Craven District with its seat in Camden. One of the reasons upcountrymen fought the British was dissatisfaction over the lack of convenient places to vote, to register their land deeds, and to take their grievances, especially cases of horse thievery. The new counties were created as places that would have courthouses. It was ordered that they be located as close to the center of the county as practicable.

Chester’s first courthouse was located at the Old Puritan Church site; Lancaster’s at the home of James Ingram below Heath Springs (Kershaw county was then a part of Lancaster county); and York’s was at Fergus’ Crossroads, now the town of York.

In 1791 each of the county’s duties was enlarged by making each an election district. By being able to elect representatives to the legislature, each county came to have a more precise identity in the minds of the citizens, but there is no question but that the most important function of government in the minds of citizens was to provide law and order. The major officer of the county for the pre-Civil War period was the sheriff.

Using York County as an example of all three counties, we can look at the Minutes of the County Court and see how a county came into being from nothing. The first York County court met in January 1986. It was composed of 7 men who were commissioned as justices of the court by Gov. William Moultrie — Col. William Bratton, Col. William Hill, John Moffet, David Leech, Francis Adams, James Wilson of Kings Creek, and John Drennan. The governor had also appointed James Hawthorne as sheriff for two years. The first sheriff elected by the people of York County was Adam Meek.

The first business of the county commissioners was to elect a clerk of court. John McCaw was unanimously elected. There were to be two courts, one a court of law to try criminal cases and another called court of equity, which was to handle civil cases. Jacob Brown was appointed the first county attorney. In the old English custom, jurors would be selected from “freeholders” (men who owned land). In fact, the jurors for some time came from the ranks of the militia (probably they were the group in frontier society considered to be vigorous enough to endure the hardships of travel to court).

One of the first orders was to build a set of stocks and a whipping post for prisoners. The records show that the stocks were built but only one prisoner, a man by the name of Reuben Duling was ever placed in the stocks (a wooden contraption designed to hold a prisoner’s arms and legs in place so that the public could view his humiliation). Duling, or Doolen, spent 15 minutes in the stocks for contempt of court.

Those who committed petty larceny were punished by use of a lash on the bare back. The first to be sentenced was William Davis who received 10 lashes in July 1786. Such cases were fairly rare and the number of lashes varied. In the only case of a woman being whipped, Catherine Wason was given 20 lashes on her bare back in April 1787. In 1788, Adam Young was given “39 lashes well laid on the Bare Back,” the largest number of lashes found.

In April 1786, the first TAB case (trespass, assault and battery) resulted from an assault made by James Kincaid on Robert Patterson. The jury found Kincaid guilty and he was ordered to put up a secured bond of £25 to be forfeited if he failed to “keep the peace” with Patterson.

There were a fair number of TAB cases that sometimes were described as “Riotous actions,” indicating that our ancestors had hot tempers. A rough estimate is that, in the 1790s, a man was about 10 times as likely to lose his temper and hit someone than he was to steal any kind of property. In some cases slander was the charge. An examination of the cases leads us to believe that the court made a distinction between quarrels of physical violence and name-calling. The slanderer was likely to pay only a small fine if found guilty.

Fourth of July Over Time

by Louise Pettus

The year was 1867. The place: a divided and war-weary York County.

But for a day at least, resentments and animosities were set aside. Blacks and whites sat down together to eat, talk and share in the revival of a national holiday.

The spot was a plot of ground in western York County. The day was the Fourth of July.

Fourth of July observances, which had begun as a way to honor Revolutionary War veterans, had been suspended during the Civil War. In 1863, the Fourth had marked two major Confederate defeats—the losses of Gettysburg and Vicksburg—further straining the holiday in the eyes of the South.

As Independence Day 1867 approached, black residents in Yorkville, then the name of the county seat, wanted to celebrate the holiday for the first time since war’s end. But they wanted their white neighbors to join them.

Careful to make the day nonpolitical, organizers promised the event was for “tendering the hand of friendship and unity,” according to the Yorkville Enquirer, with the desire to “live and let live.”

The day was planned by “Wagoner (colored), assisted by Nelson Hammond (white), and James McKnight (colored).”

The next week the Enquirer reported that “thousands of the colored population collected in our streets, arrayed in gay costumes and carrying baskets of provisions, etc., to contribute to dinner.”

Blacks from the countryside poured into Yorkville “in squads and companies and fell in line under the charge of the Marshal of the Day. A banner that headed the procession proclaimed, “Union—In God We Trust.”

After the march down Main Street, the crowd—-estimated at 3,000 blacks and 1,000 whites—-filed to a grove in the rear of the McCaw residence where they found a stage, seats and long tables.

There was some singing, then a prayer by the Rev. T. Wright, a black minister. Wright gave way to the orator of the day, Cpl. William C. Beatty, Esquire, who was white.

Beatty’s speech on the need for cooperation was peppered with more than a pinch of partisan politics. He told the blacks that radical Republicans were making promises they could not keep. He particularly stressed the unlikelihood that the promise “40 acres and a mule” would ever be honored.

The president of the assembly, Jefferson McCall who was black, gave a half-hour speech in which he stressed that whites and blacks must cooperate, noting their interests were the same.

After the speeches, the crowd repaired to a picnic described by the newspaper as “a wonderful supply of provisions—turkeys, pigs, chickens, beef, mutton, ham, cakes, pies. . . . The colored had prepared a separate table for the whites who were their guests.”

The Enquirer also reported there was “not a single act of disorder nor a drunken person seen in the streets.” It was the “best behaved assemblage we ever saw on the streets of York.”

Such celebrations and hopes of cooperation did not last. Soon the Reconstruction era began, and York County was occupied by federal troops. The Ku Klux Klan became active; many prominent whites were arrested and a number were imprisoned.

Independence Day was back on the local calendar. But any chance for a united community in York County disappeared for a century.

The Fort in Fort Mill

by Louise Pettus

The area of York County that falls between Sugar Creek and the Catawba River has been called Fort Mill at least since 1832 when a post office given that name was established.

Why Fort Mill? Probably because the ruins of a fort and a grist mill, which lay several miles apart, were the oldest known landmarks in the area.

The fort was started in 1756 under the direction of Lt. Hugh Waddell of the British army after a commission appointed by the royal governor of North Carolina, Hugh Dobbs, selected the spot.

The French and Indian War had been going on for more than two years. The war not only pitted the French army against the British army in a struggle for control of North America, but had set Indian tribes against each other. By a rather large majority the Indian tribes chose to fight on the side of the French who posed the least threat to the Indian way of life. The Catawba and the Cherokee Indians, however, chose to fight with the English.

In May of 1756 a contingent of Catawba warriors headed by King Haigler marched to Salisbury, N. C. to meet with the colony's chief justice. The Catawbas pledged their allegiance to the English in case of attack by the French or by other Indians. The English promised to build the fort for the protection of the Catawba women and children while the men were away at war.

North Carolina lay between the Catawba Nation and their enemies, the Shawnees (their traditional enemy) and the Delaware Indians..

On January 1, 1751, Governor Dobbs wrote, "We are now building a fort in the midst of their [Catawba] towns at their own request." Four thousand pounds sterling was appropriated for the building of the fort but the building went slowly and after about a thousand pounds had been spent the Catawbas decided that the North Carolina effort was not enough. They turned to the South Carolina royal government in Charles Town for assistance.

The fort, which was located about one mile south of the present-town of Fort Mill was never completed. The site was pretty much forgotten until the 1870s when the historian Lyman Draper began researching in preparation for the centennial of the Revolutionary War. Draper wrote the sons and grandsons of Revolutionary War veterans of this area.

One of Draper's contacts was Thomas Dryden Spratt, a grandson of the famed pioneer, Thomas "Kanawha" Spratt who lived at the site of the old fort. Spratt wrote, "It is situated about 100 yards southwest of my house adjoining my barn & machine lot. is 2 3/4 miles north of Old Nation Ford & about a mile southwest of Fort Mill Depot. There is no branch or stream of water near it. It is on the summit of a gradually elevated ridge but little higher than the land adjacent."

A. S. White, also of Fort Mill, sent Draper a drawing of the fort showing two entrances and a well in the center. White said that the area was 200 ft. square. He had been told that each of the four corners was to have a cannon, but he did not believe any cannon were ever installed. White wrote, "Only tradition I ever heard in relation to this Fort was from old Sally New River [Catawba Indian queen]. She said she remembered when the redcoats, as she called the workmen, built the fort. It was when she was a little girl...."

The fort location was undisturbed until about 1901 when the field was put into cultivation. Today there is a marker to indicate the location of the fort.

Isaac Garrison and Theodorick Webb, two of the earliest settlers, erected a grist mill on Steel Creek where the Nation Ford road crossed the creek. Later, it was called "Webb's Mill." The date of construction is not known but it was pre-Revolutionary, perhaps in the late 1760s.

History of Flint Hill Baptist Church

by Louise Pettus

May 1, 1992 marks the 200th anniversary of Flint Hill Baptist Church, the mother church of Baptists in York County, S. C. and Mecklenburg County, N. C. In 1792 the Reverend John Rooker (1755-1840), his wife, Anna Hawkins Rooker, and eleven friends, most of them from Warren County, N. C., joined to found Sugar Creek Baptist Church of Christ. The name Flint Hill was later used because of a huge 6-foot outcropping of flint rock that is located in front of the main entrance of the church. The land was, until 1840, leased from the Catawba Indians.

The other founders besides the Rookers were John Dinkins, John Smith, James Spears, Ally Spears, William Pettus, Juba the servant of M. Harris, Margaret Dinkins, Celia Weathers, Mary Smith, Alice Weathers, and Mary Cooper.

Reverend Rooker, a Revolutionary War veteran, had joined the church in 1782 and the next year begun to preach in Warren county, N. C. Most of the Baptists in North Carolina were “Separates” or “New Lights,” theological descendants of New England Congregationalists. Rooker was not of this group. He wrote a book, An Essay on the Sovereignty of God, published in Charleston in 1839, in which he identified himself as an “Arminian” and further stated his belief in “the sovereignty of the Triune God, His everlasting covenant of redemption for his elect in Christ Jesus, the depravity of fallen man, his recovery through grace by effectual calling, and final perseverance unto eternal glory and endless felicity.” The only known copy of his book is in the Baptist Seminary in Louisville, Ky.

By 1837 Reverend Rooker was infirm and Rev. James Thomas came to assist him. One Sunday in 1837 no pastor came to the church so the people went to the home of Rooker. There he preached what is believed to have been his last sermon. It was titled, “Finally, Brethren Farewell.” In all, Reverend Rooker served Flint Hill for 48 years. He outlived all of the other original members except for his widow, Anna. The church carried out his instructions as written in his will, that he be buried “. . . in the northwest corner of the Baptist Sugar Creek graveyard.”

From the beginning Flint Hill offered more than just services on Sunday. Beginning in 1793, the church made efforts to extend its ministry to the Catawba Indians. A school was established for the Indians across Sugar Creek on the Lancaster County side. A converted Pamunkey Indian, Robert Mursh, served for many years as assistant pastor of Flint Hill and as a missionary to the Catawbas. The effort to convert the Catawbas was abandoned in the 1820s.

The first church building was log and replaced by a larger log building in 1811. In 1828 a frame building encompassed the log building. The church grew and by 1855 it was necessary to erect a larger building. The new frame structure was 40 feet by 60 feet. It served until the present building was completed in 1908. A parsonage, renovation of the sanctuary, erection of a marker for Rev. John Rooker, and an education building were added in later years.

The church is unusual in that it has preserved membership records and church minutes that span its entire history. The original records were copied by W. P. A. workers in the 1930s and typescripts made. The originals are now kept with other historical records at the South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina.

The large, well-kept cemetery is a point of pride. Buried there are veterans of all wars now approaching 200 in number. More than half of these were Civil War veterans. In 1891 the Flint Hill Memorial Association, originally called the Jefferson Davis Memorial Association, began the custom of meeting the third Sunday of each May for a special ceremony and decorating the graves of the veterans.

Fiddles and Fiddlers

by Louise Pettus

Our pioneers loved to sing and dance and warmly welcomed good musicians into their midst. Of all instruments we have more records of the violin than any other.

Our earliest violin story goes back to the 1760s. It is said that during the 106-year-long colonial period there was only one instance of a Catawba killing a white man. The story goes that a Frenchman appeared in the Nation with his violin which he played sweetly--too sweetly as it turned out.

A young warrior, entranced by the music he had heard, followed the Frenchman. Some distance from the village, the Indian killed the musician in order to gain possession of the "magic box". We can only wonder about his dismay when he found that the magic had been in the trained hands of the Frenchman.

The Frenchman's body was found by some white settlers who went as a group to inform King Haigler, the Catawba chief.

Justice was swift according to Maurice Moore. "[Haigler] . . . taking up his handsome, silver mounted rifle, put in fresh priming, blew a piercing blast on his hunting horn, with air of a king and eye of an eagle, watched the approaches on every side. In a few moments, an Indian came in view, toiling up the ascent with a fine buck on his back. As soon as the Indian king descried him, he raised his piece to his shoulder, fell on his knee, took a rest, deliberate aim, and fired. The unerring rifle did its work, the victim of the savage monarch's justice fell dead. . ."

A few violins are now more than 200 years old. A fiddle that ended up in the Hand family of York County's Allison Creek area was documented as having been made in 1780 and brought to this country in 1810 by a German by the name of Herman.

Around 1855, Alexander Sutton, who lived north of Fort Mill, send to New York for Mr. Herman to come to York County for the express purpose of teaching a slave named Mingo to play the fiddle for the country dances.

Mr. Herman stayed with the Uriah Hand family. Uriah Hand owned a grist mill at the site of Col. William Hill's old iron works. Many of the dances took place there. Hand eventually bought the violin from Herman.

A news item in 1923 told of a Rock Hill man, J.H. B. Jenkins, Sr., having a violin that was 113 years old. The Hornstiner violin was gotten in trade with a black man who said it was once the property of Dick Hackett.

Dick Hackett had been a slave of the Latta family of Yorkville. He, like Mingo, was taught to play for dances. Hackett, also known as Dick Latta, was considered to be the finest violinist of the whole area.

Hackett was playing for a dance in Lancaster in 1886 the night the big earthquake struck the Summerville-Charleston area with such force that the vibrations were felt as far as Canada, the Mississippi River and the Bermudas.

The quake so frightened Hackett that he "slammed the old violin down and could never be persuaded to play it again." When Jenkins acquired the violin he said the neck was broken off, there was a big hole in the side, the finger board was wrecked, and it had become unglued.

In spite of the violin's condition, a violin maker of national reputation was able to restore it.

There are records of the Virginia reel being danced in the area since the 1780s. A favorite: "Jenny put the kettle on; Molly, blow the bellows strong; we'll all take tea".

Elias Newton Faris

by Louise Pettus

Eli Newton Faris (1830-1902) was a wagon-maker when the Civil War broke out. As his son, J. S. H. Faris, later wrote, there were reasons for his fathers not to enlist immediately. Eli had 3 small children, an invalid wife and his home wasn’t paid for.

A year later, Pres. Jefferson Davis issued a “conscription proclamation” or draft notice. To Eli Faris it would have been a disgrace to be drafted. He hurried to enlist in Co. D, Jenkins’ Brigade, Longstreet’s Corps. He reached Virginia in time to fight in the Battle of Second Manassas (also called Bull Run).

His first time under fire, Eli had a bullet to pass through his coat sleeve, another bullet to strike the stock of his rifle and a third bullet to barely break the skin of the arch of his foot as it went through the sole of his shoe.

After Manassas, Eli went through every battle of his command from Virginia to the western front and back again all the way to Appomattox without being wounded or captured.

He later told his son that he may not have been wounded but that he was often hungry. Once he went 4 days without a bit of bread. He confessed to stealing a goose once when he was terribly hungry. He carried to goose back to camp where he and his fellow soldiers “relieved their hunger in a pleasant manner.”

Faris constantly read his Bible which he carried in his pocket throughout the war. He said that the Bible along with his carefully obeying commands were what saved him. He contended that Jenkins’ Brigade was the best and most disciplined in the whole Confederate Army. It was composed of York County boys recruited by Micah Jenkins, who before the war had, along with Asbury Coward, headed the Kings Mountain Academy in Yorkville.

Of all the battles he went through the battle of Wilderness was the one he remembered most. There, when he arrived there was a great body of pines “as large around as a man’s thigh.” When the battle ended the only thing standing was a few splintered trunks.

Not long after Eli went off to war, a son, his fourth child was born. When he returned to the India Hook section he found that three of his four children had died. His wife, Sarah Ann Garrison, a distant cousin, was sick. She soon died and a short time later his remaining child died.

Eli lived along and worked his farm until his marriage in 1874 to Cynthia Catherine Choate. They had five children. The family were devout members of Old Concord Methodist church.

The land on which Eli lived had been originally owned by Alexander Faris who had fought under Gen. Thomas Sumter in the American Revolution. Alexander Faris was captured at Fishing Creek with 200 other soldiers and taken to Camden to jail. Young Andrew Jackson was in the group of soldiers who were tied together for the long march.

Alexander Faris had a sabre wound before he was captured. The wound bled as he marched— “his clothing were not sufficient to absorb all, so as he walked the blood splashed out of his shoes.”

Alexander managed to escape during the second night. He walked all the way to his India Hook. His wife, Jeanette, hid him in the forest near a spring. Alexander survived and the story of his trials were very much on the mind of Eli Faris as he withstood the hard times of his own army service.

Eli Faris moved to Rock Hill two years before his death. He died of a third stroke on March 18, 1902 and is buried at Ebenezer cemetery beside two of his brothers, also veterans of the Civil War.

Estates' Inventories

by Louise Pettus

When historians have reason to wonder about the daily life of people who lived several hundred years ago, there are not many records to investigate. What would York County residents have possessed two centuries ago besides the objects that have survived (luckily) and are displayed in museums and historic houses (like Brattonsville)?

Probably the best source of information on household and personal possessions is preserved in the courthouse (or microfilmed records of old court records). Called either "Estates Inventories" or "Sales Inventories," the records exist for several reasons.

If the deceased left no will, then his (or her) property would be sold at public auction to satisfy the creditors. The court would appoint five appraisers of the estate's goods and accept the appraisal of any three of them.

If the deceased left a will, then he might designate certain articles to go to his heirs and then order that all else be sold to pay his debts. In that case, the court would require a Sales Inventory to be kept of the auction's proceeds. When the deceased person was a storekeeper, the list could become quite extensive.

Among the first of the estates inventories was that of Joseph Davies which was drawn up March 7, 1791 by Nathaniel Irwin, John Smith and Thomas Barnett, appraisers. Their list is a good indication of what a household might possess in the 1790s.

Davies possessed the obvious "beds and furniture" (furniture was the term used for the mattress, pillows, quilts, sheets, etc.), and "all of the furniture of the shelf" which referred to dishes, bowls, and other cooking articles exclusive of "furniture of the hearth" which would mean the heavy iron pots, fire tongs, andirons, and such. Davies had mounting and locks for drawers, one "spaid", one old gun, one pair saddle wallets, some Indian crocks and pans, an ink stand, a black bottle and a 14-gallon "kegg". Davis also had 10 3/4 pounds of iron and 6 1/2 pounds of nails.

Most people made clothes at home. Evidence of this is in the Davies inventory. The parts of a loom (reeds, shuttles, temples, heddles, "reaths") were named. There was 11 pounds of wool, a pair of wool cards, 3/4 lb. of indigo, a flax break (used in preparation of linen cloth), a buckskin and a small fawn skin.

Joseph Davies had some education.. He had 2 Bibles, a geography book, a spelling book, 1 Tatler, a primer, and a music book. It is hard to say whether these items had been merely for home instruction of his children or whether he may have taught school.

Although no horse is mentioned, "Horse geers" was listed. He worked a small plantation although no land is specifically mentioned in the inventory. Evidence of this is in the inventory listing of watered hemp, scythe, sickle, and1 bushel flaxseed. There was also a beescap and bees. and 395 pounds of tobacco.

Elizabeth Davies, the widow, was administratrix of the estate. Besides the household goods, there were debts due to her husband. These included debts of William Hill (York County's famed early Ironmaster), James Duncan, Martin West, Thomas Barnett, Walter Davis and "Due from General New River, 5 pounds, 16 shillings and 8 pence." General New River was the head of the Catawba Indians. Ordinarily the white men owed him small sums for leasing the Indian lands. Why did New River owe Davies?

In "Charles Senseng's Hands" there was 1,500 lb. of tobacco. This is very unusual, especially when added to the 395 pounds in his inventory. That is a great deal of tobacco which might grow in York County but not extensively. At that date, it is probable that the tobacco was imported from Virginia. It is possible that New River owed Davies for tobacco used by the Catawba Indians. Was Davies a trader in tobacco?

Walter Davis' debt was in the form of 11 1/2 lb. of nails. In a money-scarce frontier society, it was not unusual for nails to serve as coins. A ten-penny nail was worth just that--ten cents. But Davis had more iron and nails than most and Col. "Billy" Hill, the Ironmaster, owed him rather than vice versa. No blacksmith tools are mentioned. Did Davis trade tobacco to Hill for iron?

Erwin Family Research Errors

by Louise Pettus

Numerous York County family history researchers, many of whom did not care for history while in school, are now busily "uncovering" their ancestors. Most are fascinated by the process of discovery. Unfortunately, the newcomers to genealogy frequently accept, without question, whatever they find. Among other things, newcomers to research need to be aware that, variant spellings of early names and places were common; the records are usually incomplete at best and never all in one place; and, that records may be filed (or misfiled) in unexpected locations.

A good case example is that of the Erwin/Irwin; Ervin/Irvin; Erving/Irving, Earwin, etc., family of York County. The variant spellings may mean that Arthur Erwin and Arthur Irvin are the same person. Arthur, himself, may have spelled his name differently on different occasions. Before the 1830s, when Noah Webster helped standardize spelling, people didn't seem to attach much importance to how a name was spelled. In the case of the Erwin family, Irwin seems to have been the most frequent early spelling with a shift to Erwin in the third generation. Genealogists who ignore all but the current spelling of the name are making a big mistake.

Most of the Erwin family histories state that the first Erwin in York County was Nathaniel Erwin, supposedly born in 1713, son of Mathew Erwin, and then give a listing of Nathaniel Erwin's children. The list of children is headed by "son" William (1735-1814). Someone must have assumed that Nathaniel, born about 1743, was the father of William Erwin (1735-1814). In reality, William, born 1735, was Nathaniel's eldest brother, not his son. The error may have happened because Nathaniel had a son named William.

The assumption that Nathaniel was the forefather of all of the York County Erwins was published at least as early as 1918 in a book, History of the McDowells, Erwins, Irwins and Connections by Hon. John Hugh McDowell, published in Memphis, Tenn. McDowell's book was a compilation and cited Lawrence S. Holt, Jr. as the source of information for York County Erwins. Holt's misconstrued information was copied and has subsequently appeared in many other books.

How has the error been corrected? Nathaniel's will was probated in 1814 and included his son, William. Recently, an Erwin descendant accidentally stumbled upon the guardianship record of two minor sons of Nathaniel in the York County Courthouse. The paper had been misfiled in a wrong folder. The misfiled document was dated February 13, 1796 and shows that Jonathan Sutton, a cousin by marriage, was appointed the guardian of William Erwin, minor. Arthur Erwin, a cousin, was made the guardian of James Erwin, minor, the brother of William Erwin, minor. It certainly seems unlikely that a man supposedly born in 1713 had children who werestill minors at the dawn of the 19th century.

Recently, it was found, too, that one of the York County first-generation Erwin brothers was simply omitted by the earlier genealogists. Why James Irwin/Erwin (ca. 1737-1761) was not considered to be of that family is not known for sure, but it might be because his marriage to Margaret Chesnut (of the Camden Chesnuts) is recorded in Anson County (N.C.) Courthouse, a considerable distance from York County.

Apparently, James Irwin's family tree was dismissed as "meaningless" or "unconnected" by Erwin researchers until the descendant pursued the matter after noting that James Irwin's daughter married Capt. Jonathan Sutton of York County, who, it turned out, was the same Jonathan Sutton who served as guardian to William Erwin, the minor. Such a discovery will often open up new avenues of research.

Unfortunately, the errors are not only in books. Some are in stone. Out-of-state descendants, some years ago, decided to honor their Erwin ancestor with a monument placed in York County's Bethesda Presbyterian Church cemetery (the original tombstone at the church's first site having been appropriated as a building foundation stone). The descendants, using the old books as their sources, placed incorrect information on the monument. Again, error is perpetuated.

Early Methodism in York District

by Louise Pettus

While it is true that Scotch-Irish Presbyterians were the dominant group in early York District, the Presbyterian dominance was diminished by the effects of the revival movement known as the Great Awakening which was at its height in 1800-1802.

The older well-established churches found some of their members joining many who had never known the "benefit of clergy," in open-air week-long marathon meetings There is no record of such a revival in York District but no doubt many people from York attended the large revival at Old Waxhaw in Lancaster County and took part in the protracted meetings in neighboring counties in North Carolina.

As the Presbyterians wrangled over whether to allow only psalm-singing or not, the more open churches gained numbers. In York District, the Baptists were major gainers. It would be a quarter of a century before Methodism would make any inroads in the District.

Yorkville's first Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1824 by Rev. William Gassaway and Rev. Joseph Holmes, according to church history. The first congregation consisted of nine members: James Jeffries, Mrs. Elizabeth H. Jeffries, Col. Thomas W. Williams, Dr. John E. Jennings, John Chambers, Mrs. Margaret Chambers, Mrs. Sarah Beaty, and Mrs. Tabitha Wilkerson.

The first church building was erected on College Street in Yorkville in 1826. It was described as a plain wooden structure. Until 1852, there were only three church buildings in York District.

Even the official histories of the Methodist Church are uncertain about a precise date for the establishment of Methodism in the District outside of the village of Yorkville. The date 1828 is most often mentioned because the minutes of the Lincolnton, North Carolina circuit listed Joseph Holmes as the minister in charge of York District. For many years most of York District was served out of North Carolina and most of the Methodist activity centered on the area from Yorkville to Kings Mountain.

Rev. A. M. Chreitzberg, author of Early Methodism in the Carolinas, seems to support an earlier date--around 1824--based on statements made by an early minister who believed that his father-in-law, John Chambers, was preaching in the Philadelphia community at that time. .

By 1831 there were 15 "preaching places" listed in the Quarterly Conference minutes. These were: Yorkville, Zion, Bethel, Walnut Grove, Schoolhouse, Unity, Siloam, Sardis, Prospect, Mrs. Howell's, Captain Jameson's, Ed Feamster's, Cove Spring, Mount Hebron, and Cross Roads. All of these were in the circuit ministered to by Joseph Holmes.

Joseph Holmes, and other Methodist preachers like him, rode their large circuits on horseback, carrying their sermons, bibles, and a change of clothes in their saddlebags. They were housed and fed by the Methodist brotherhood who lived along the circuit.

The Methodist minister's stipend was not known as a salary but was divided into traveling expenses, family expenses, and quarterage. As Dr. Chreitzberg described the three phases of the stipend: "the first seen at once, the second far off, and the third only in rarest instances seen at all." When Holmes' successor, James J. Richardson, 28 years of age, died in his first year of his ministry, his widow received $10.62.

Money was scarce. Early Methodists were generally characterized as poor in worldly goods. The same could be said for their meeting houses. The land was generally donated and the first buildings were small and drafty, often with no way to heat them. More often than not, the services were held in homes or in the open.

Few records survive to document the pre-Civil War history of York District Methodists. We cannot know, for instance, how many blacks in York District were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church Across the state of South Carolina, the black membership outnumbered the white but York had a smaller proportion of blacks than lowcountry counties. It can be assumed that blacks attended the Methodist services with the whites just as they did at Flint Hill Baptist Church.

The largest number of Methodists recorded in York District during the pre-Civil War period was 408 in 1844.

Early York County Will

by Louise Pettus

The early York County estate records have been preserved on microfilm. Legal papers such as wills, estate inventories (records of those who did not devise wills) and sheriff's auction records make interesting reading, especially those papers recorded in the early years of the county.

Most of the writers of wills were husbands and fathers. They recorded the wills in order that their estates be distributed in the manner that they wished them to be but, no matter what the wishes were, if their were debts, the estate assets would be auctioned at a public sale and the proceeds would be applied against the debts with the remainder going to the nearest of kin.

As a general rule, in any family where there was a widow and adult children, the adult sons received the land. The "mansion house" would be reserved for the widow as long as she lived--if she remained in a "state of widowhood."

The furniture, tools, animals, and personal possessions were often distributed among the daughters and younger sons.

In 1788 Matthew Bigger, who apparently had no children, left all of his property to his widow except that at her death or remarriage all of the estate to go to "James Bigger my brother Moses' son."

Oliver Wallace, Jr. was more generous. In his 1789 will he stipulated: "I give and bequeath to my wife Judith Wallace my oldest Bay Mare, with a woman's Saddle & Bridle also a Feather Bed and Furniture with all her wearing apparel, and equal part with my 3 daughters in my household furniture, which I allow to be her use and disposal forever." The son, Oliver Barry Wallace, received the 100 acre plantation but Wallace stated that he wished his wife to "have as comfortable and Genteel a living off of the Plantation I now live on as the same will admit of together with service of by Negro Boy Snow...."

James Ferguson's will written in January 1793 clearly intended to allow his widow to have use of the land only if she did not remarry: "My beloved wife Arnaretta full possession of the dwelling house I now live in, with what household plenishing she thinks proper to keep, with two Cows & Calves with one Plough and two pairs of Gears and Tacklings with two work Horses, and my Negro man Sandy, and my Negro wench Rachel, with full power to use the above articles to Till what of the Land she shall need for her sustenance during her Natural Life (if she remain a Widow) and at her death or marriage, whatever of the above articles is then in being...[to be distributed to the children]."

Nathaniel Henderson's wife Ellanah (Eleanor) had been married previously and brought property into the marriage. Nathaniel stated in his will that Ellenah was to keep those items she brought into the marriage. He listed these as: "a bright bay mare, sorrel horse colt, a grown cow, bed & bedstead and furniture compleat, household and kitchen furniture" and then added that she was to have the services of two servants "until her Death or Change of Station."

Nathaniel Henderson continued, "I allow my said wife as Comfortable and Plentiful a living off of the Plantation I now live on as the same will admit for four years after my decease and the use of one Barr shear [a type of plow] and one shovel plough with common trimmings... and if it is amicably agreed on between my Sd. wife and my family connections, whom it may immediately concern for her my Sd. wife to continue to carry on the Plantation business in conjunction with my sons Nathaniel and Robert, it would be agreeable to my Desire, but if the same is objected against...the survey of the land I now live on being by Estimation 640 acres is to [be] divided among my sons Nathaniel, Daniel, James, Robert, Samuel & Thomas."

Stephen Miller "lent" his estate to his wife Hannah until their children were 21 years or age or married. His son James Miller was to get the Catawba Indian Land plantation after the death of his mother.

It is interesting that a majority of the deceased did not leave wills. There were far more estate inventories recorded than there were wills recorded.

"Beautiful Mary" of Ebenezer

by Louise Pettus

The story of "Beautiful Mary" of Ebenezer is a favorite one of this area. Her full name was Mary America Avery Toland and she was said to be the most beautiful woman in South Carolina.

Born ca. 1818, she was one of seven children of Col. Edward and Mary Elizabeth Vaughn Avery, residents of the small village of Ebenezerville, now a part of Rock Hill.

Colonel Avery, a Virginia native, was well-to-do and could afford the best for his lovely daughter. The breathtaking beauty made her debut in 1849 at the annual State House Ball held at the governor's mansion. It was the social event of the year.

At the ball, Mary's dark blue eyes and long black lashes set in a perfectly shaped oval face attracted the attention of Dr. Huger H. Toland, a wealthy and prominent citizen of Columbia. Dr. Toland told a friend that she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen and that he intended to marry her.

They were married after a short courtship. Apparently Mary had some health problems. Dr. Toland, decided that she needed a change of climate and that they would go to California. The recent discovery of gold had brought California much attention as the "land of milk and honey."

Dr. Toland outfitted a caravan for the long, overland trip. Mary's mother was frightened at the prospect of her delicate daughter making such an arduous journey. Toland promised her that if anything should happen to Mary that he would bring her back to Ebenezer cemetery.

Dr. Edward T. Avery, Mary's brother, accompanied the Tolands on the long trip through unsettled country. It took six months to reach the west coast. They camped on the outskirts of San Francisco.

The first night in the camp Mary contracted cholera. She died three days later, September 22, 1852.

Dr. Toland took Mary's body into San Francisco and had her embalmed. Then he ordered the construction of a vault for her body. Some old accounts say that Toland kept her casket in his office; others say it was kept in his home. In any case, it is certain that the body was not interred while in California.

For 25 years Toland built a thriving medical practice. He founded San Francisco's Toland University. He also remarried and had a son, Arthur Toland, who became a famous actor.

In 1877, 25 years after the death of Mary, Dr. Toland decided to keep the promise he had made to Mary's mother to return her body to Ebenezer. By that time both of her parents were dead; the mother died in 1862 and the father a year later.

In the 25 years since Mary Toland's departure in a covered wagon many changes had improved American transportation. Transcontinental railroad lines were in place. The body was shipped by train to Ebenezer, placed in "seven coffins." Dr. Toland and his second wife accompanied the body.

Dr. Toland said that Mary was "as beautiful as on the day she died." He composed the inscription for her tombstone:

"No one so beautiful as she,
Fairest of form and face,
A queenly mien with modesty,
Crowned every other grace."

In 1971, the late U. S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, a relative of Toland, came to Ebenezer and visited the grave of the "most beautiful woman in South Carolina."

Buster Boyd Bridge

by Louise Pettus

On January 9, 1923, Buster Boyd bridge, named for W. M. Boyd, a Mecklenburg County farmer who owned the access land, was open to automobile traffic between York County, S. C. and Mecklenburg County, N. C. The bridge link across the Catawba River cut out about 35 miles formerly required to get from Rock Hill to Charlotte. Before Buster Boyd bridge was built, automobile traffic from Rock Hill to Charlotte had to go through Gastonia, N.C.

The bridge building was a joint project of the two counties. The original estimated cost was $120,000 with Mecklenburg agreeing to pay two-thirds of that amount. The engineering plans called for a bridge 1,378 ft. long in 10 spans.

The substructure was concrete supporting a two-lane plank flooring covered by asphalt. The estimated time for construction was six months.

The construction took much longer than planned. Delays were caused by bad weather and by unexpected quicksand. York County, when faced with the additional costs, refused to levy any more taxes.

Mecklenburg County hard-surfaced its side from the bridge into Charlotte. York County had originally planned to build a $35,000 sand-clay road from Rock Hill to the bridge. When the bridge was completed there were only three miles built. The rest of the road was in "fearful condition."

The fact that the road on the York County side was impassable did not keep Mecklenburg County from planning a big celebration for August 17, 1923. In July the general public was informed of the plans.

The governors of the two states, the two state highway commissioners, and various county officials were to participate. Community bands and scout bands would furnish the music. Local farmers were contributing free barbecue. Cold drink stands and picnic tables would be set up.

When the great day came there was an estimated 10,000 people present. Automobiles lined the road for more than two miles. Forty acres was cleared for a parking lot.

The orderly crowd covered a hillside that formed a natural amphitheater. The speaker's stand was situated on a dry creek bed. The North Carolina governor was Cameron Morrison, a native of the Charlotte area who had won the governorship on a platform calling for "good roads." Cam Morrison was followed by a succession of speakers who extolled good roads as the key to progress.

Farm to market roads were expected to benefit the farmer more than any other segment of the population but every traveler dreamed of being freed from decades of battling mud alternating with choking dust. The crowd, almost all of it having arrived by automobile, was truly appreciative.

Various dignitaries came with their individual versions of how and why the governor of North Carolina said to the governor of South Carolina, "Governor, it has been a long time between drinks."

The Pathe and International motion picture companies filmed the celebration for distribution throughout the nation.

Many people were on the bridge when the first airplane appeared. Two young men from Charlotte, P. R. Redfern and B. F. Withers, Jr., flying a Curtis plane, swooped beneath the bridge. The "trucks of the plane," according to eye-witnesses, "tossed up a spray of water as they touched the surface."

Contention Over the Estate of Eleanor Grier

by Louise Pettus

Sometime in the year 1791, Eleanor “Nelly” Mitchell landed at the port of Charleston accompanied by her brother, James Mitchell. Eleanor had separated from her husband, James Gault, in Larne, County Antrim, Ireland. Her son, James Gault, Jr., stayed with his father in Ireland.

Not long after arriving in South Carolina, Eleanor Mitchell married Robert Grier in York District. When Robert Grier died in 1818 or 1819, Eleanor inherited half of his estate. Grier’s nieces and nephews inherited the other half.

Eleanor Grier’s pleading letters to her son James in Ireland increased. Finally, James relented, sold his cottage, a dozen acres, two cows and a horse, and brought his wife, Betty Gingles, and their children to the United States.

James and Betty Gingles Gault brought with them a married daughter, Barbara, and her husband, William Wham, as well as their younger children — John, James, Joseph, and Elinor Gault. They arrived at Baltimore in 1820 and were met by a Mr. Bell of Chester District, who drove a wagon to Baltimore. Mrs. Grier had hired Bell for $130. She gave Bell $30 to start the trip and $100 when he returned with her family.

Bell found the family but before they got out of Baltimore, James Gault, Jr. died. In 1824, his widow, Betty Gingles, died. This left the children in the care of their grandmother Grier. In 1831 Eleanor Grier died without leaving a will. A grandson of Eleanor’s brother, “Capt. Jimmy” Mitchell, James M. Love, was made administrator of Eleanor Grier’s estate.

Love decided that the Gault children were not legitimate heirs to Mrs. Grier’s estate. He contended that Eleanor Mitchell had never married James Gault, Sr. This denial of the Gault children’s claim prompted the suit “William Wham and Barbara his wife, et al, vs. James M. Love, et al” in the York District Equity Court.

Love’s case rested on the hope that the marriage of Eleanor Mitchell and James Gault, Sr. could not be proved. Love also charged that the complainants were foreigners and aliens — a point that got little attention.

The Whams were able to assemble a number of witnesses who had known the Gaults and Eleanor Mitchell in Ireland.

John Gault, Sr’s younger sister, Nancy Woodside, of Greenville District, was too “aged and infirm” to travel to Yorkville but dictated a statement that her family in Ireland considered John Gault, Jr. to be legitimate — that he inherited “in exclusion of all other kindred a large property” from his grandfather Gault. Fourteen citizens vouched for Nancy Woodside’s “virtue, discretion and veracity.”

Witness after witness testified that “females in my time always were called by their maiden names.” For Eleanor to be known as Mitchell while married to Gault, they each said was common. They also knew Eleanor in Ireland as either Nelly or Ellen.

All witnesses for the Gaults agreed that Eleanor left John Gault, Sr. because of differences with Gault’s mother. Some witnessed that many lawful marriages were never recorded in the parish books.

Samuel Snoddy testified that he was present the day the earth bank of a quarry caved in on John Gault, Sr. Snoddy visited Eleanor Grier soon after he arrived in America and informed her of her former husband’s untimely death. Snoddy testified that Eleanor wept.

The testimony given by witnesses Mary McNinch, James Ford, Henrietta Hemingway, William W. Coker, James Alexander, Robert Meek and William Wilson allows the reader of the court records to piece together the evidence. It is revealed that Eleanor had an earlier husband than Gault, named only as “Mr. Knox.” And, her second husband, John Gault, Sr., lived with Jane McCracken after Eleanor came to America.

The witnesses traveled great distances. William Wilson traveled 474 miles round trip and spent 23 days in Yorkville. Robert Meek traveled 192 miles and spent 17 days. Each witness received a dollar a day, and three cents a mile for his trouble.

October 13, 1836, Judge John B. O’Neall endorsed the decision of the jury that the Gault children were the rightful heirs of Eleanor Grier.

And so ended five years of contention over whether of not Eleanor Mitchell was legally the mother of James Gault, Jr.

Gold Mining in York County

by Louise Pettus

Since the 1830s there have been, at various times, at least 48 gold mines in operation in York County. Perhaps as many as 30 of the mines cluster around the Smyrna area. The second most productive group have been around Kings Mountain.

M. Tuomey, geologist, made the first report on South Carolina gold mining in 1848. Tuomey found that York County (or York District as it called before the Civil War) had two distinct, but parallel, ranges where gold was likely.

Tuomey referred to one of the gold ranges as the King's Mountain to Fair Forest. In that range the gold was associated with iron and limestone The other range extended through Chesterfield County and Lancaster County with one extremity ending in York District near the Catawba River and is associated with granite. The last crossed the Catawba River near Turkey Point, the old site of the Catawba Indian's chief village on the Lancaster County side of the river. According to Tuomey, this range only extended a few miles into the southeast corner of York District on the plantation of a man named Sitgreaves.

Tuomey began his investigation in Yorkville and described the neighboring mines as "highly interesting." On King's Creek, the first mine of the King's Mountain range he visited, he found gold mixed with iron ore and quartz in a vein about three feet thick.

Tuomey did not report it but probably York District's largest and most productive mine was Martin Mine on Wolf's Creek near York. It was originally worked in 1836 by Daniel Smith and Dawkins. They had a 99-year lease from Martin. The lease changed hands many times. The largest recorded nugget found weighted 17 ounces. A 9 and 1/2 ounce nugget was also found at the same location. Nuggets the size of a pin head were said to be common. The site was being worked as late as 1952.

Oscar Lieber, state geologist, toured the area in 1858. Lieber reported on a number of mines, including Wylie's, Smith's, Wilson's, Sutton's, Martin's, Dover's, and Mary Mine.

Wylie's Mine was near T. G. Wylie's store at Hickory Grove. There, Lieber witnessed three or four hands separating gold with a "rocker and little drag mill." Crystalline quartz yielded 10 to 15 pennyweights of gold a day.

Smith's mine, a mile and a half west of Wylie's mine had been dug to a depth of a hundred feet. It had a vein that had extended from two feet wide to nine feet, with an average width of seven feet. The promising vein was abandoned when the miners reached 20 feet below water level.

Lieber also reported the Clawson Mine, four miles northwest of Fort Mill where gold was "abundant" and associated with pyrite. A later geologist reported in 1908 that the same mine, then called the Sutton Mine, showed a vein outcrop for 1,200 feet He assayed the gold content at $27 a ton. The main shaft was 50 to 60 feet deep. This was the only mine operated in Fort Mill District.

There was a "Carolina Gold Rush" that lasted until the Civil War. A second period of activity began about 1880 and lasted until around 1910. The price of gold made it profitable to reopen the old mines and some new ones were discovered and put into production.

During the late Depression years, around 1935 until 1942, unemployed men dug for gold in the old shafts and panned the streams hoping for a bonanza.

Several mines were larger operations. Bob Ward of the Evening Herald wrote a story in 1938 about two mines he visited on "the old John Smith place" near Hickory Grove. The mines, called the Schlegel-Milch and the Dorothy, were shipping about 20 to 25 tons of ore daily. The best ore went to Perth Amboy, N. J. and the cheaper grades to Knoxville, Tenn.

Another mining outfit, Southern Gold, located about two miles from Smyrna, was the largest in operation during the Depression era. They closed down in 1940.

Unfortunately, today there is little hope that enough high grade gold ore can be found to make a profitable gold mining operation in York County.

Enoch Gilmer, King's Mountain Spy

by Louise Pettus

On October 5, 1780 a small band of Revolutionary patriots gathered at Cowpens to deliberate the course to follow in their pursuit of Colonel Patrick Ferguson of the King's 71st Regiment. Ferguson was believed to be somewhere between them and Lord Cornwallis to the east.

The first intelligence of Ferguson's location was gained on October 6 by Joseph Kerr, a crippled boy in Col. James Williams' company. Kerr found Ferguson's men camped at Peter Quinn's home about five or six miles from Kings Mountain. Kerr pretended to be a Loyalist and entered the camp where he estimated that Ferguson had about 1500 men. Then, hardly noticed, Kerr left to report to the patriot officers.

Next, Major Chronicle recommended a South Fork lad, Enoch Gilmer, to scout the enemy. About Gilmer it was later written: "Gilmer can assume any character that occasion may require; he could cry and laugh in the same breath, and all who saw it would believe he was in earnest; that he could act the part of a lunatic so well that no one could discover him; above all, he was a stranger to fear."

Gilmer planned to stop every few miles to see what the local people knew about Ferguson's movements. The first stop was at the home of a Tory where Gilmer posed as a sympathetic loyalist who needed to find Ferguson's headquarters. Gilmer got so much detail on Ferguson's plans and his communication with Cornwallis that he immediately returned to report to Gen. William Campbell who had assumed the role of chief officer.

Campbell had about ll00 troops --the estimates running at 666 North Carolinians, 200 from South Carolina, 200 from Virginia and 30 from Georgia.

Again, Enoch Gilmer was sent ahead to reconnoiter. The army crossed the Cherokee Ford on the Broad River. They became concerned when Gilmer did not return but soon across a valley they recognized the voice of Gilmer singing an old English tune, "Barney Linn." The song signaled that the way was clear. "Gilmer's heart was so glad that the chase was nearly over and the game almost in sight, that he had given vent to his soul in a mirthful song."

Beef found at Cowpens fed the troops at the site of an abandoned Tory camp.

The rain poured and the men took their blankets from their shoulders to wrap their guns and powder as they marched.

Again Gilmer went forward. At the home of a family named Beason he was informed that Ferguson's camp was nine miles away. As the troops left, a girl came out and told Col. Campbell that Ferguson and his men were on Kings Mountain.

Campbell went three miles more and stopped at another cabin. Inside he found Gilmer "partaking of the best of the house and hurrahing for King George." An old woman and her granddaughters had fed Gilmer well. Campbell could not resist having fun with Gilmer. He ordered a rope put around his neck and marched him out, presumably to be hung. The girls' cried and begged for Gilmer's life. Campbell told them he would hang Gilmer out of sight of their home so that they would not be upset.

As soon as the patriots were on the road again, Gilmer gave his latest intelligence to Campbell. Plans were laid for the impending battle.

Luck was with the patriot forces. Not only had they had the valuable information secured by Joseph Kerr, the crippled boy, and Enoch Gilmer, the consummate actor, but, in sight of the foot of the mountain, they captured a young Tory carrying a dispatch from Ferguson to Cornwallis. Col. Frederick Hambright had recognized John Ponder, a Tory in disguise.

Then, within a mile of Ferguson's camp, they found a Whig, Henry Watkins, just released by Ferguson, who gave them all of the information they needed for setting up their lines for battle. The battle of Kings Mountain lasted only 50 minutes but now is recognized as the patriot victory that "turned the tide" of the Revolution in favor of the Americans.

Richard Gillespie's Civil War Experiences

by Louise Pettus

Richard Gillespie had finished Ebenezer Academy and was planning to attend the University of Virginia when the Civil War broke out. He enlisted on April 9, 1865, three days before the firing on Fort Sumter.

As a member of Co. E, 5th SC Regiment under Gen. Micah Jenkins, one of the founders of the Kings Mountain Academy, he arrived in Virginia on July 4th. The first land battle of the Civil War, First Manassas, was just ending when Gillespie’s company arrived. He didn’t fire a gun but toured the battlefield.

Gillespie’s first battle was at Drainsville, about 15 miles from Washington. The battle was considered a draw. Shortly afterward, Gillespie witnessed his first execution. A Zouave from New Orleans cursed his officer, was tied to a stake and shot by his own company.

After the war, when Gillespie wrote his reminiscences for the S. D. Barron Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, he reported numerous battles. A typical short account told what happened at the battle of Seven Pines, “. . we surprised the Yankees preparing dinner. We put them to flight, ate the dinner and captured stores, shot up the whiskey barrels, and helped ourselves.”

He wrote of being on the sick list and going to Richmond to recuperate along with his cousin, Brown Garrison. Their landlady had a beautiful daughter and an equally beautiful niece. The boys had a “splendid time.”

Richard Gillespie had a body servant named Sandy Gillespie with him. At Franklin, Virginia the man disappeared and Richard never saw him again.

Two of the company deserted and went home. “They were ignorant men, and did not know the dangers of desertion.” The brigade commander found that the men had returned to their York county homes and sent a detail of soldiers to arrest them and take them back to Virginia.

A military court tried the deserters and condemned them to be shot. A short time later the brigade was marched into an open field and lined up. The condemned men were made to march up and down in front of their company while carrying their own coffins. They were tied to two stakes. A dozen men were selected. Half of them were handed guns with bullets; half without. No one knew who did the killing.

In the fall of 1863 the brigade was ordered to Chattanooga, Tennessee. At Look Out Mountain Gillespie received his only wound of the war. “A spent ball struck my ear and fell into my hands.”

In Tennessee, as in Virginia, when rations got scarce the boys went foraging for chickens, geese, fruit or anything that was handy. They never hesitated to take what they wanted from civilians.

At Fredericksburg Gillespie did picket duty along the river. Union and Confederate troops agreed not to fire at each other. The soldiers talked across the river and exchanged jokes. “Some of our boys would make little pine bark boats and send tobacco across and receive coffee in return.”

At Petersburg, Company E was given the task of building breastworks. A single shot was fired from some distance away. The shot hit and killed Gillespie’s mess mate. Gillespie said that in the battle of Seven Pines, the slain soldier had shot, in cold blood, a Yankee who had surrendered. Gillespie said it was no accident and , “I always felt that the stray bullet, apparently from out of space, was a judgment sent upon my friend.”

Gillespie was at Appomattox when Lee surrendered. The date was April 9, 1865, four years to the day from his enlistment.

Company E marched to Danville where Gillespie and Dr. Joe Miller, also of Ebenezer, climbed on top a freight car and rode to Charlotte. Relatives gave them a good dinner but their condition was such they declined to sleep in the offered beds and instead slept under a chinquapin bush on the outskirts of town. The next day they walked to Rock Hill.

Reverend Oliver Johnson

by Louise Pettus

In 1938 when Rev. Oliver Johnson, an A.R.P. minister, was asked how public opinion differed from that of 50 years before he replied that he saw the greatest change in the people’s attitude about public health. The S. C. legislature had just appropriated what was considered a large sum of money to establish the State Board of Health and money for county boards of health.

In 1888 there had been no board of health, towns did not have sewerage systems nor did they have a county medical officer. “It was regarded as an invasion of personal rights to even require vaccination of the children.” In 1938 county nurses came to the schools to vaccinate children against smallpox and typhoid fever. That would not have happened 50 years before.

Reverend Johnson continued, “Individual privies were generally constructed behind merchants’ stores in town, and hog pens were within the town limit.”

From 1894 to 1908 the minister served Neely’s Creek ARP church near Rock Hill. It was during that time period that Dr. Gill Wylie (for whom Lake Wylie is named) regularly visited Rock Hill and lectured the town fathers severely for their failure to develop a water system for the whole town. Dr. Wylie maintained that the open wells were the town’s main source of diphtheria and typhoid fever.

Reverend Johnson recalled that “grocery stores were unsavory places. The vendor had no regard for screens over meats, molasses and other food stuffs. Flies hummed over and lit on these commodities, but today, by a change of public opinion, rules of boards of health have been enacted, regulating the conduct of these places.”

Although Johnson’s father supported his family by farming, they had lived in the small college town of Due West. The attraction for living in town was that the Johnson children would be able to attend a primary school operated by Erskine College.

In 1871 a 28-year-old Civil War veteran, Dr. William Moffatt Grier was elected president of Erskine. He was vigorous and considered a great teacher of “mental and moral science.” Johnson recalled Dr. Grier as “gentle, firm, considerate, and just,” all characteristics that others were to see in Johnson himself.

While at Erskine College, Johnson won medals for being the best all around student of the preparatory school, another in oratory and, in his senior year, a medal for the best essay.

In his youth Reverend Johnson had taught school at Lewisville in Chester county. The school was supported by subscription by individual families. It was not a graded school. The students ranged in age from 6 to 22. Teacher pay was so low that in 1938 Johnson calculated that teachers were getting 100 times as much pay as had teachers 50 years before.

In 1891, Johnson left teaching to go to the Theological Seminary at Princeton, N. J. He stayed there 3 years and obtained the degree of doctor of divinity. In October 1894 he was installed as pastor at Neely’s Creek Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, just south of Rock Hill in the community of Lesslie. During his 14-year tenure, Johnson led a drive for the building a new church. He left Neely’s Creek in 1908 for a church in Winnsboro, where he pastored for 37 years.

Johnson had married Tirzah Christine Elliott in 1901. The people of Winnsboro, her home town, called her “Tiny” or “Miss Tiny.” The couple had 9 children, 5 girls and 4 boys.

Johnson remembered that a half century before the farmers could only think of growing cotton and more cotton. “There was no diversification and no thought was given to the conservation of the soil.” In spite of the efforts of the U. S. Department of Agriculture and colleges like Clemson, the farmer paid no attention. Farmers simply wore out the cotton lands and then cut down fine hardwood forests, selling the wood to townspeople for their fireplaces and planting more cotton between the stumps.

Johnson felt South Carolina farmers in 1938 were learning how to farm. He felt that farmers would get more for their crops when they diversified and the Increased income would result in improved housing.

When the interviewer asked Johnson about how young people differed over a 50-year period, Johnson said that human nature would always be basically the same, “Youth has more freedom now than then, but it is my firm belief that the boys and girls of today are just as good, maybe a little better, than they were in 1880. [But] I would not exchange the comradeship of parent and child of today for that of the parent toward the child of a half century ago.”

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