Recovering From the War: a Story of Four Grandfathers

The Civil War and Reconstruction brought great social and economic stress to the citizens of South Carolina, and maintaining or starting a family after war’s end was challenging. Examining the 1880 Federal Agricultural Census Schedule gives an interesting snapshot of how well four of my grandfathers coped with the challenge. Continue reading “Recovering From the War: a Story of Four Grandfathers”

Arthur Russell Pool

Arthur Russell was born to George B. Pool and Mary Farrow on 29 December, 1870, their fourth child.  Nothing is known of his life until 1887, when a somber announcement appeared in the Laurens Advertiser:

On Saturday last, Russel Pool, a 15 year old son of Mr.  George Pool of this place, while handling a shot gun, accidentally let it fall and the contents of  both barrels were discharged into his right side and thigh. Fears are entertained for his recovery. Continue reading “Arthur Russell Pool”

George B. Pool… “a man of extraordinary energy and faithful to his friends…’’

On May 16, 1900, the Laurens Advertiser published the obituary of George Berry Poole (1838- 1900).

This good citizen died at his home in this city on the 8th instant after a protracted illness, aged sixty-one years. His remains were buried at Langston’s church, where he held his membership in the Baptist church. He leaves a widow and three sons and was a brother of Dr. Poole, of this city and Mr. M. B. Poole, of the Enoree. He was a veteran and after the war diligently pursued the arts of peace, a man of extraordinary energy and faithful to his friends.

“He was a veteran’’ …for a long time, I thought that this obituary was in error.  I had searched the Laurens County Veteran records and did not find his name.  And his name was missing from the occasional newspaper accounts of Laurens county veterans.

Continue reading “George B. Pool… “a man of extraordinary energy and faithful to his friends…’’”

A Mysterious Pettypool- Farrow (or Luke?) Pool


The 1880 Federal Census 1 enumerates the children of George B. and Frances Pool as:

1.  Harvey

2.  Thomas

3.  Mary L.

4.  Arthur R.

5.  Farrow

Farrow Pool is listed as a son, age 1, implying a birth year of 1879.

The loss of the 1890 Census limits the ability to follow Farrow, and I have not been able to find him in the 1900 Census, by which time he would have been about age 21, and reasonably could be in his own household. Both George B. and Frances are deceased by the time the 1900 Census was taken.2 Continue reading “A Mysterious Pettypool- Farrow (or Luke?) Pool”

…a past in which mules were central…

… many people do not know how different the South used to be. In the case of the South, there are things to be proudly held up for praise, and there are things that we wish could be hidden. Both are integral components of a past in which mules were central.Ellenburg, Mule South to Tractor South, p. 5.1

If you are tracing your family in the American South, you are almost certain to uncover some connection to the cotton economy. Regardless of how close or distant the ancestral connection may have been, the production of cotton fiber was so central to the economy and culture of the region that every family was touched in some way. And no other image is so closely related to cotton than that of the mule, with “its neck bobbing limber… lifeless ears and its half-closed eyes drowsing… apparently asleep with the monotony of its own motion.”2 Continue reading “…a past in which mules were central…”

Taxes & Moonshine- Paying for the Civil War

A Georgia blockader (moonshiner) told former attorney general Amos Akerman “he’d like to know what his grandfather ‘fit’ in the Revolution for if he was not to be allowed to make a little corn whiskey.” – Revenuers & Moonshiners, Wilbur R. Miller1

At the end of the Civil War, one of the many problems facing Congress was deciding how to pay for the war. It is no surprise that they turned to levying taxes: and equally unsurprising, the taxes were not popular.

Federal excise taxes were levied on a range of commodities and personal property. In 1865 and 1866 Mary Poole (second great grandmother), Elihu Poole (first cousin three times removed), Martin B. Poole (great granduncle), and Berry P. Poole (putative first cousin three times removed) were assessed tax on their buggies. In addition, Martin B. was taxed for a watch. And in 1865, great grandfather G. B. Poole, occupation “distiller”, was assessed $9.34 tax. 2 Continue reading “Taxes & Moonshine- Paying for the Civil War”

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”