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…”

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”

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”

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.)