South Carolina Pioneers

Chester County


downtown Chester

Chester County and its county seat, the town of Chester, were named for Chester County, Pennsylvania. The county was formed in 1785 as part of the larger Camden District but was later transferred to Pinckney District (1791-1800); it became a separate district in 1800. Scotch-Irish settlers from Pennsylvania and Virginia moved into this upstate region beginning about 1755. During the Revolutionary War, American forces under General Thomas Sumter were defeated here at the battle of Fishing Creek in August 1780; the Americans were victorious at Fishdam Ford in November of the same year. The Landsford Canal was built in 1823 to allow boats and barges to bypass rapids on the Catawba River; this canal is now open as a state park. In later years the availability of hydroelectric power encouraged the establishment of textile mills in the area. South Carolina governor, United States senator, and judge Donald S. Russell (1906-1998) lived in Chester as a boy.

Early settlers: Price, Akin, Hamilton, Love, Boyd, Featherstone, Griffin, Love, Cherry, Harbison, Dugan, Bell, OBrient, Grisholm, Head, Roden, Hatfield, McLonen, Jordan, Owens, McDaniel, McCannon, McDonald, Harper and Cabean, William Bell.

Chester County Records Available for Members of South Carolina Pioneers

How the Scotch-Irish Settled in Chester, South Carolina
By Jeannette Holland Austin
Jeannette Holland Austin
During the Royal Period, there was a great migration of Scottish and Irish persons into South Carolina. They through the Charleston Port, as well as that in Philadelphia, laying over in Bucks County. But the Indian raids along the Pennsylvania frontier presented problems, and many Scots-Irish took to the Great Wagon Road from Pennsylvania through the Shenandoah valley, down to North Carolina and South Carolina. The Scotch-Irish virtually settled the back country of South Carolina before the Revolutionary War. The greater portion of the were Protestant. The Irish in Northern Ireland came down a little later. Here is an example of a plain Irish family migrating from Ireland into Pennsylvania an finally to Chester, South Carolina. According to his pension, William Boyd was born in Ireland and brought to Charleston, South Carolina by his father when he was five years old. He was just fifteen years old when he enlisted as a substitute for his father in the Revolutionary War and served four months, then three months as a private in the South Carolina Troops under Lt. Archibald Gill, Colonel Lacy, Colonel Thomas Taylor and Colonel Bratton. Although he appears to have only substituted in the war, his widow applied for a pension.

Purity Presbyterian Church
Ol Purity Presbyterian Church ca 1787 (now Catholic) has burials dating back to the Revolutionary War.

church marker

Apparently there were a fair number of Scotch-Irish settlements near Chester, since those persons in the region today appear to be descendants. Ultimately, most of these families were involved in the Revolutionary War.

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