Journals of the County and Intermediate Court 1786- 1790, Laurens County, SC

The South Carolina Department of Archives and History has a microfilm of the Journals of the County and Intermediate Court 1786- 1790  for  Laurens county.  “The County Court Act of 1785 established county courts… ‘to hear and determine all causes at the common law’… where the debt or damages did not exceed fifty pounds… all personal actions where the damages did not exceed twenty pounds… and to hear criminal cases where judgment would not call for the loss of life or corporal punishment”.1

The journal is interesting reading, providing insight into how our ancestors sought to govern themselves at the dawning of America as a nation.  The Treaty of Paris had formally ended English claims on America just three years before this journal opens.  The court cases have a very “English” cast, reflecting a society in transition.

An important item on the court’s agenda for 17 March 1786  was regulating “Publick Taverns”.2 Continue reading “Journals of the County and Intermediate Court 1786- 1790, Laurens County, SC”

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”

… 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…”

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”

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.