A Family Legend and a Legendary Family

Mr. Workman Speculates on the Poole’s of Laurens County in 1914

Part One

In my search thus far, I’ve found two historical accounts of how my Pool family came to reside in Laurens County, SC. The most well known, and complete, is that of Bessie Poole Lamb and Mary Mack Poole Ezell from 1931. I’ve written about this book in The Arrival of the Scuffletown Pool Family in Laurens County, South Carolina and at the Pettypool Family in America website.

A second account was published in The Laurens Advertiser on May 20, 1914, when the paper reprinted an article that T. M. Workman had published earlier in The Thornwell Messenger. The context of the article was early corn mills in Laurens County, and Mr. Workman opens his article with the assertion that:

The first corn mill ever put up in the bounds of the present county of Laurens, S. C., might have been the mill on Enoree river owned by Edward Musgrove. But there was another one higher up on a little stream called Buckhead that flows into Enoree river that had some claim of being one of the first corn mills of Laurens county. Continue reading “A Family Legend and a Legendary Family”

Peacetime Neighbors and Wartime Comrades

Fair Forest, SC

In the spring of 1772, Peter Pettypool purchased 202 acres of land in what he- as a recent resident of Granville County, North Carolina- believed to be Tryon County, North Carolina. South Carolina considered it to be part of the Ninety Six District, in an area referred to as Fair Forest.

It is unclear how far Peter progressed toward settling this land, and the process was interrupted, and ultimately terminated, by the Revolutionary War. Peter chose to side with those loyal to the Crown. While settling in Fair Forest and serving in the wartime militia, Peter would have encountered persons both interesting and colorful, some of whom, as Loyalists, are not commonly found in traditional accounts. Here are brief notes on some of them. Continue reading “Peacetime Neighbors and Wartime Comrades”

Where the Buffello roamed…

Backcountry South Carolina in the Year 1722

I have spent a great deal of time trying to understand exactly how and when my Laurens County South Carolina Pettypool family arrived in South Carolina. The time-line is still somewhat vague and uncertain, but the probable first attempt to permanently settle occurred in the early 1770’s, in the Fair Forest region of the Ninety Six district, in present day Union County. Once that was established, the question arose: how did that region appear to my 4th great grandfather Peter Pettypool almost 2 ½ centuries ago? Fortunately, there are some brief descriptions of the region from an English naturalist, who traveled through the area about 50 years earlier.

In 1722 an English naturalist named Mark Catesby made a journey to South Carolina to collect plant and animal specimens on the behalf of the Royal Society. The work resulted in publication of The Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands in London. Although he spent a great deal of his time in Charleston and the Lowcountry, Catesby did make expeditions into western South Carolina, penetrating as far as the Appalachian mountains. Continue reading “Where the Buffello roamed…”

… dismissed without costs…

Love Gone Wrong… Laurens County, SC

1884- 1885

Beginning in the fall of 1884 and extending into 1885, a case wound its way through the Court of Common Pleas in Laurens Court House:

Martha E Burdett Pltff  )
against                           ) Complaint for Breach of Marriage Promise
William H. Pool Deft     )

An article published in the Atlanta Constitution1 on August 23, 1884 provides some details on the origin of the lawsuit. Miss Burdett, “a comely young woman”, had given birth to a child and claimed that the father was William H. Pool who, she insisted, had “made a most positive promise of marriage” to her. Mr. Pool denied both being the father and having made any such promise,  and the lawsuit was filed. Continue reading “… dismissed without costs…”

“…in a buggy behind a fast horse…”

Love and Marriage in Union County, SC


On the afternoon of Wednesday, January 20, 1886, Mr. Graham received a visitor bearing one of those messages that every father of a teenage daughter hopes never to hear- your daughter just left town “… in a buggy behind a fast horse…” with a man 14 years older than her, “…route not known”. The Laurens Advertiser issue of January 27, 1886 reprinted an article from the Union Times summarizing the events: Continue reading ““…in a buggy behind a fast horse…””

Elihu Borrows a Mule

Crime & Punishment in Laurens County, SC


One day in November of 1887, in the Scuffletown Township of Laurens County, SC, Elihu Pool approached B. F. Malone with a request to borrow his mule “to go to the bottoms of Mr. Cooley to get some corn”. Mr. Malone complied with this request, and Elihu rode off.

Some time later, he “came back with about one & half bushels” of corn. Mr. Malone “did not ask him any questions about the corn”, and Elihu “carried the corn to his house”.

A problem arose when Mr. Cooley found that one and half bushels of his corn, growing in a field he rented from Mrs. Byrd, was missing. His discovery that Elihu Pool had removed the corn resulted in a lawsuit : The State vs Elihu Pool, Larceny, in the February 1888 Term of the Court of General Sessions, documented in Roll 304.1 Continue reading “Elihu Borrows a Mule”

How to talk like you are from 19th century South Carolina?

How to talk like you are from 19th century South Carolina?…Let Mr. Edward Hooker be your guide.

When Edward Hooker wrote his diary of his time in South Carolina (1805- 1808)1 , he included a commentary on the “great many peculiarities of phrase… some of them vulgarisms and some …proper enough, and convey an idea with force” which he encountered during his stay. So, to assist you in understanding how your early 19th century Carolina ancestors probably expressed themselves, here is Mr. Hooker’s guide, edited for presentation:

All but is a favorite expression for all most Eg. We all but turned over.

Cabin is used for a log house or any poor mansion.”

Carry a horse to water is vulgarly used for lead him to water.”

Clever for likely, learned, able, excellent.”

Cotch for caught is very common.”

Crap for crop. Even sensible men speak of their crap of cotton…” Continue reading “How to talk like you are from 19th century South Carolina?”

Mr. Hooker Goes to Cambridge

Edward Hooker was born in Farmington, Connecticut on April 27, 1785. After graduating from Yale College in 1805 he traveled to South Carolina, planning to settle in the relatively new capitol city of Columbia and work as a lawyer. From his arrival in 1805 until 1808 he kept a diary, recording his views on the people he encountered and their social and political life. Extracts from his diary were published in 1896, edited by J. Franklin Jameson.1

As editor, Jameson notes in his introduction that he “… felt obliged, with much regret, to omit almost entirely the highly interesting portions which exhibit, in minute detail and apparently with much fidelity the social life of South Carolina…”, and “… the diarist’s description of Charleston and Beaufort [were] omitted…”, so that “[i]n the main, the extracts relate to days passed at Columbia.” Given this approach, much that is of potential interest to genealogists and family historians with connections to early 19th century South Carolina is not readily available.

However, in the extracts presented, Hooker writes in some detail about the new town of Columbia2, the lively debates in the State legislature, lawyers and judges in the courts, and the new “… college buildings which are erecting on a pleasant rise of ground about ¼ 0f a mile southeast of the State House”- now the University of South Carolina. If you have ancestry in the Midlands of South Carolina this diary can help you to understand the world they lived in. Continue reading “Mr. Hooker Goes to Cambridge”

“Bring no Dogs with you…”- Charles Woodmason in the South Carolina Backcountry

Bring no Dogs with you- they are very troublesome- and I shall fine inform the Magistrate of those who do it, for it is an Affront to the Divine Presence which We invoke…”[1]

Perhaps if you have ancestors who lived in the backcountry of South Carolina during the colonial era, you will find the journal and sermons of the Reverend Charles Woodmason interesting. Charles Woodmason was an Englishman who arrived in Charles Town South Carolina about 1752 with the intention of establishing himself, and to then to have his wife and son join him. Woodmason held a variety of positions in colonial SC, establishing himself first as a planter and country store owner, followed by a number of political, military and governmental appointments. However, when he accepted an appointment as agent for the Stamp Act of 1765, he found himself in a swift fall from grace: “… the Americans being very fond at present of all who declar’d … against the Stamp Act. As I was intended for a Distributor, I thereby lost their Affections, and shall never more regain them”.[2] Continue reading ““Bring no Dogs with you…”- Charles Woodmason in the South Carolina Backcountry”

A Loyalist in the Fork Between the Broad and Saluda Rivers

But this is not all. Vigorous measures are absolutely necessary. If a dozen persons [Loyalists] are allowed to be at large, our progress has been in vain, and we shall be involved in a civil war in spite of our teeth. In giving you this information, I tell a melancholy truth, but I do my duty. Report to the S. C. Council of Safety by William Henry Drayton, from Lawson’s Fork, 21 August 1775.

GENTLEMEN: — Being on my return from the frontiers of South Carolina, where the Honorable Mr. Drayton and myself were sent by the Council of Safety of our Province, I think it my duty to acquaint you that there exists in those parts a most dangerous conspiracy against the lives and liberties of these Colonies. William Tennent, Report to the S.C. Council of Safety, from St. Mathew’s Parish, 10 September 1775.[1]

The “melancholy” predictions of Drayton and Tennent of a “dangerous conspiracy” and “civil war” in the South Carolina backcountry were prophetic. The inability of the Continental Army under Nathanial Greene to defeat Sir Henry Clinton in South Carolina resulted in the Patriot cause being carried forward by various militia groups, at times augmented by militia from North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia. When Clinton returned to the northern colonies leaving a much reduced force of British Regulars under Cornwallis to secure their gains in South Carolina, Cornwallis was forced to make use of militia recruited from Loyalists in the colony. The result was that much of the fighting in SC was between fellow colonists. The effect was to make the Revolutionary War the first civil war in South Carolina. Continue reading “A Loyalist in the Fork Between the Broad and Saluda Rivers”