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”

Stepney Parish- the Vestry Minutes

If you are able to trace your ancestry back to England, it’s likely that you will encounter a Parish Register of some form. Instructions to each parish to record births, marriages and deaths were issued as early as the reign of Henry VIII, but many locations failed to conform, and it was not until the reign of Elizabeth I that most locations started recording vital records. The Vestry Minutes of Stepney Parish record the efforts of one East London parish to implement Elizabeth’s instructions1.

“The Xth day of ffebruary 1598 at an assembly of the vestry men…

2 Item, that three new bookes of parchment be forthwth bought to register all marriages Christeninges & burialls that have bin wthin the said pish since the first yere of hir mata raigne…”2

Unfortunately for the genealogist of today, that instruction was not entirely followed: the earliest records in the Stepney register are from 1568. Continue reading “Stepney Parish- the Vestry Minutes”

  1. Published 1890- 1891, edited by George William Hill & Walter Howard Frere as Memorials of Stepney Parish: That is to Say the Vestry Minutes From 1579 to 1662, Guilford: Printed for the subscribers by Billing & Sons; online copies and reprints are available from various sources.
  2. All quotations from this article are taken from a reprint of the Hill & Frere book..

The Arrival of the Scuffletown Pool Family in Laurens County, South Carolina

History vs. Family Legend

Shortly after I began my research into the Pool family of Laurens County, South Carolina, I encountered a book published in 1931 by Bessie Poole Lamb and Mary- Mack Poole Ezell entitled A Genealogical History of the Poole, Langston, Mason Families and Kindred Lines of Upper South Carolina. Their account of the origins of the Poole family in Laurens County is as follows:

Migrating from Westmoreland County, England about 1784 three Poole brothers: (I) Seth Petty, (I) William, and (I) John, came to America. William Poole settled in Maryland, and called his place Pooleville. (This is probably the present Pooleville, Md.) Seth and John Poole settled near Orange Court House, Virginia. Later they moved to South Carolina. John settled two miles north of Mountain Shoals (now Enoree, SC.) He married there, then moved near Duncan, S. C., on Middle Tiger River. Later he migrated to Mississippi. He had one son, Thomas, who was a physician.

These three brothers had two sisters one of whom, Elizabeth, married a Terry and lived between Enoree and Woodruff at the old Terry place… The second sister married and lived in Chester County, South Carolina. She had no descendants. (Page 1)

By the time I found this account, I was aware that the Scuffletown1 Pool’s were really Pettypool’s, and that by 1784 the family had been in North America for about 130 years. And the point of departure from England was the Tower Hamlets of London’s East End, not Westmoreland county in the far north-east of England.2  In addition, those with some experience in genealogy and family history will recognize the “three brothers myth” so prevalent in early 20th century genealogy.3   So, I dismissed Bessie Lamb’s account of the origins, and just used her information about the later family as a guide to my own research. Continue reading “The Arrival of the Scuffletown Pool Family in Laurens County, South Carolina”

  1. Scuffletown P.O. is shown on the 1825 Mill’s Atlas of SC.  It became the name of one of the historical townships of Laurens County SC.
  2. See The William Pettypool Family of Southside Virginia: Lineage Reconstruction Based on Current Review of Evidence by Carolyn S. Hartsough, available from The Pettypool Family in America website,
  3. A web search with the phrase “three brothers genealogy myth” will find several articles on the myth  (as well as a few respondents who insist that their family really did have three brothers.)

…of cabbages and grandmothers…

The time has come,” the Walrus said,
To talk of many things:
Of shoes- and ships- and sealing-wax-
Of cabbages- and kings grandmothers1

Raises Fine Cabbage  Mr. T. P. Poole of Tylersville brought to The Advertiser office a few days ago a very fine 13 1-2 pound cabbage which was raised by Mrs. W. P. Poole from plants produced by Mrs. T.P. Poole.  The Laurens Advertiser, July 27, 1910 at the Library of Congress

Prize Winning Cabbage  The Advertiser force was presented yesterday with a champion all-cabbage-and-a-yard wide cabbage that is undoubtedly the biggest and heaviest that has been shown hereabouts for a long time: in fact ever shown before. It weighs 14¼ pounds and was raised by Mrs. T. P. Poole of Tylersville. She has had wonderful success in raising this particular variety and is selling the plants.  The Laurens Advertiser, June 12, 1912 at the Library of Congress

‘Mrs T. P. Poole’ is Jemmie Alexander Poole, my grandmother. ‘Mrs. W. P. Poole’, who raised the champion plant in 1910, is presumed to be Ella Malone, the second wife of William Perry Poole (1867- 1947). William Perry, the son of Berry P. Poole (1812- 1897)2  is my second cousin twice removed (up). Continue reading “…of cabbages and grandmothers…”

  1. With apologies to Lewis Caroll, The Walrus and the Carpenter.
  2. Berry P. Poole is not to be confused with his uncle, Berry Pool (1792- 1847)

“Thos. P. Poole, the big cotton planter of Tylersville”

The August 25th, 1909 edition of the Laurens Advertiser printed a rambling article called “Going to Mill” by R. O. H. It provides a brief glimpse of how the Scuffletown area of Laurens County looked at the dawn of the 20th century.

R. O. H. is describing a wagon ride from his home to Yarborough’s Mill, carrying wheat to be ground into flour. This reminds him of an anecdote from his childhood about “going to mill”, carrying farm grown grain by horseback to be ground into meal or flour. There was a mishap- his “turn” 1 of grain fell off the horse, and he had to be rescued by a reluctant miller.

He then turns to reminiscences about the rapidly disappearing stone mills and the distinctive flour they produce. He is appreciative that Yarborough’s is still “a grand old time water-mill”, producing flour “…not as white as the patent, store bought flour, but it makes mighty good, wholesome bread”. Continue reading ““Thos. P. Poole, the big cotton planter of Tylersville””

  1. “Turn” is a obsolete word meaning a large load. In my childhood, I can remember older persons occasionally reverting to old speech patterns and referring to “a turn of groceries”, for example.

A Family Tragedy

On Sunday morning Mrs. George POOL, of this place, met with a fatal accident from using kerosene oil in kindling a fire. It seems that after breakfast Mrs. Pool, desiring to start a fire in the stove and thinking the coals left from the morning had entirely died out, placed wood in the stove and poured kerosene oil upon it, when the can exploded and the burning oil was scattered in every direction. With the assistance of her daughter and a few neighbors, who happened to see the explosion, she escaped with severe burns on the face, arms and other parts of the body. Medical assistance was immediately called to her aid, but the skill of the physician was baffled, and she died Monday afternoon about 4 o’clock. The physician thinks that she breathed the flames. She was a consistent member of the Baptist Church and leaves a sorrow stricken family, her husband, four sons and one daughter.

The Laurens Advertiser., September 02, 1885

Mrs. George Pool was Mary Frances Farrow, born to Thomas and Sophia Farrow on Monday, August 22, 1836. She married George B. Pool and they lived in the Tylersville area of Laurens County, South Carolina. Continue reading “A Family Tragedy”