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

Part Two

Part 1 of this article began a discussion of an account of the early Poole family in Laurens County SC which was published in The Laurens Advertiser on May 20, 1914. It was a reprint of an article that T. M. Workman published earlier in The Thornwell Messenger.

In those days more than one hundred years ago a man named Poole, I think it was William Poole, settled on this little stream. He had married a Miss Petty, I suppose for I find at Laurens in old papers written more than a hundred years ago that his sons were named William Petty Poole, Seth Petty Poole, George Petty Poole, and so on down. It was the fashion of that time to give a boy his mother’s maiden name for a second name.

Mr. Workman thus plunges bravely into one of the more obscure times in the Laurens County Pettypool family, and along the way falls into a common trap for unwary genealogists.

The arrival of Peter Pettypool from VA through NC is reasonably well documented.1 But the “fog of war” quickly descends as the Revolutionary War begins, and a backcounty civil war erupts. And nothing really clears until 1785 when Seth Petty Pool buys land from his putative father-in-law, George Berry, on Warrior creek in Laurens County.2

The pitfall into which Mr. Workman tumbles is uncritical acceptance of the genealogical generalization, commonplace even today, that “ (i)t was the fashion of that time to give a boy his mother’s maiden name for a second name”. Using this generalization leads him into fruitless speculation about “Miss Petty”, and causes him to fail to make the connection of “Seth Petty Pool” to “Seth Pettypool”, an oversight that was repeated by his successor historian Bessie Poole Lamb in 1931.3

Mr. Workman relegates Seth Petty Pool to being a son of “William Poole”, whereas modern scholarship places him in the family of Peter and Elizabeth Journey Pettypool.4 And Bessie Poole Lamb flips the paternity, making “William Poole” a son of Seth Petty Pool, unfortunately without revealing how she arrived at that conclusion.

William is a very common name in the Pettypool family, and untangling sons, fathers, cousins, uncles, etc. is never easy and occasionally impossible. The situation is further clouded in Laurens County by the presence of James Poole and family, who are not believed to be in the Pettypool line by modern researchers. James, a contemporary of Seth Petty Pool, had a son named William.5

So, who is “William Poole”? The most likely candidate I’ve found so far is the William Pool whose Probate papers are Box 56, Pkg. 9, Laurens County Ordinary/Probate Judge Index to Estate Papers 1800-1939.

No Census records have been found that can be positively identified as being William. Lamb & Ezell state that “… William married a Terry, his first cousin. He died Oct. 15, 1842.” 6 However, the 1822 Probate papers for William Petty Pool in the Laurens Probate Court7 appear to be those of William, and I believe that the Lamb account contains a typographical error.

William died intestate, and Elizabeth Pool was appointed his administratrix. Examining the accounts of those purchasing items at the estate sale, the following Pool names appear:

Nancy Pool      one Negro Hannah      401

Seth Pool Sr      one Mare      60

Peter Pool      one cow and calf      14 621/2

Berry Pool      Wauful Irons      1 62 1/2

John Pool      one Clock      31

Rebeca Pool      Lot of half rounds      12 18 3/4

Seth Pool      one Candle Stand      2 37 1/2

Martin Pool      one Saddle      4 06 1/4.

The strong presence of people known or presumed to be associated with Seth Petty Pool provides circumstantial evidence that this William may be related.

Unfortunately, not much else can be concluded. If the Lamb account is correct, then Berry Pool Jr. is a child of William, and his birth year is c. 1812 (based on Census and his gravestone at Langston Baptist Church, Laurens County, SC). If it is assumed that Berry Jr. is one of the earlier born children, and that William began his family in his 20’s, then his birth year would be 1792 or earlier. It is known that Seth Petty Pool was producing children as late as circa 18088, so William could be a child. But, it is of course equally possible to make a case that William is a contemporary of Seth.

There is a Probate for Elizabeth Pool (Laurens County, Box 110, Pkg, 15, 1850, Berry Pool, Administrator). However, a search of the 1840 Census implies a birth year of 1801- 1810, making her more likely to be a contemporary of Berry Jr., not his mother.

In summary, “William Poole” is one of the early Laurens county Pettypools who remains elusive. Seth Petty Pool named only three of his children in his will, leaving his descendants to determine who “all the Ballance of my Children or there Legal Representatiefs9 might be. And until some hitherto unknown family Bible or legal paper surfaces naming names, confusion reigns.

If you have any information on a “William Poole” of Laurens County, SC in the Colonial and/or post Revolutionary era, I would welcome your input.  And if you can definitely rule James Poole in or out of the Pettypool line, please contact me.


1.  See Peter Pettypool (son of Seth and Martha Pettypool) of Virginia and the Carolinas, by Carolyn Hartsough, available at

2.  “Berry, George to Pool, Seth Petty; land on Warriors Creek…” from: Laurens County RMC (Deeds): District Index to Deeds 1774- 1903.

3.  A Genealogical History of the Poole, Langston, Mason Families and Kindred Lines of Upper South Carolina by Bessie Poole Lamb & Mary-Mack Poole Ezell, 1931.

4.  See The William Pettypool Family of Southside Virginia: Lineage Reconstruction Based on Current Review of Evidence by Carolyn S. Hartsough, Ph. D, available at

5.  James Poole’s Probate is Box 60, Package 4, William Poole, Executor, Laurens County, 1839. His application for a pension for service in the Revolutionary War also enumerates his family. The assertion that this family is not in the Pettypool line comes from DNA testing reported at locations on the Web. I have not seen any primary evidence supporting or refuting this assertion.

6.  A Genealogical History of the Poole, Langston, Mason Families and Kindred Lines of Upper South Carolina by Bessie Poole Lamb & Mary-Mack Poole Ezell, 1931, p. 6.

7.  Bundle 56, Package 9.

8.  Martin Pool, one of the positively enumerated children of Seth, was born in 1805, based upon Census records.

9.  Laurens County Probate Court, “Laurens County Ordinary/Probate Judge Index to Estate Papers 1800-1939” Box 58 Pkg 4.