South Carolina Pioneers

History & Genealogy


The Great Hoax: A Kingdom of Paradise for Cherokee Indians

It seems that scam artists have always been around. Here is one who promised a land of paradise to the Cherokees, under his superb guidance, of course. "One of the greatest, most artful, and most successful intriguers the French ever sent amongst the Cherokees was a man named Christian Priber, a German Jesuit in the service of France." and "although a man of great learning and intelligence; a Hebrew, Greek, and Latin scholar, yet he made himself, to all intents and purposes, an Indian." He selected the town of Coosawattee to be the capitol of his kingdom and when Priber referred to the town in a conversion with a reporter who signed his work Americus, he claimed that Coosawattee or Cussetta, the war capitol of the Creeks had previously been in Cherokee hands. Priber was married to an Indian woman and advertised that his kingdom of paradise was also open to Creeks and that women could frequently marry different men, however, her children would be heirs of the state. His proposals caused great concern to the officials in Georgia and the Carolinas. What concerned them most was that he was willing to allow the French and black slaves to live freely in his Paradise. Oglethorpe believed he had already been in contact with Spanish. Priber, however, won the confidence of the natives and impressed them with feelings of hatred and contempt for the English. Also, the use of rum degraded their manhood and they were plagued with small-pox which was prevalent when a pack-horse train carried goods to Charlestown. Meanwhile, he was stirring up such troubles between the natives and settlers that Charlestown offered 402 Pounds to Colonel Joseph Fox to find Priber among the Cherokee and return him to the city. The reward was to be paid by the English Board of Trade. About 1741, Priber went to Mobile which was a French town at that time near the navigation on the Tallapoosa. The English traders among the Creeks suspecting the object of his journey, went in a body to the town of Tookahatchka where he was lodging and arrested him. They then carried him to Frederica and delivered him to General Oglethorpe who put him in prison, where he soon afterwards died. Priber was known to have written a Cherokee dictionary, but this work did not survive. Priber was fluent in Cherokee, Creek, and possibly other Indian languages and variations of the "trading language." According to Oglethorpe he spoke fluent German, French and Latin, but broken English. Source: History of Edgefield County, South Carolina by John A. Chapman, A. M. (1897). South Carolina County Records and Histories

Fort Prince George
By Jeannette Holland Austin

Fort Prince GeorgePictured is the excavation of Fort Prince George showing post molds outlining a structure within the fort. During 1966 the staff from the South Carolina Institute of Anthropology and Archaeology with the cooperation and support of Duke Power, commenced an archaeological salvage of the area purported to be the site of the old fort. This excavation continued until May of 1968 when it was covered by the rising water of Lake Keowee. As early as 1734, the importance of a fort had been recognized in Charlestown, however, its construction was postponed. The colonists, instead of building the fort themselves, petitioned the Parliament of Great Britain to build it. After years of delay the province was compelled to do the work at its own expense with the Council directing that land be purchased from the Indians and that the fort be erected as near as possible to the Indian town of Keowee. Finally, during the fall of 1753, Governor Glen visited the country of the Lower Cherokees and purchased the land from them upon which to build the fort. This purchase presumably included the districts of Abbeville, Edgefield, Laurens, Union, Spartanburg, Newberry, Chester, Fairfield, Richland and York. The fort was called Fort Prince George but only held the peace for a short while before massacres began again and the savages were as restless as before. The South Carolina governor again invited the Chiefs to meet him in conference in Charlestown, but they refused, lending the excuse that they feared contracting the fatal sickness of smallpox. They did, however, meet at Saluda Old Town, which was between the Nation and Charlestown. The purpose was to settle upon a stronger peace than earlier versions.

Willington Academy
By Jeannette Holland Austin

Willington Academy During 1801 a famous school for boys was built along the banks of the Savannah River, on the Carolina side, about forty-five miles from Augusta and six miles from Willington. This was a time when the Broad River joined the Savannah on the Georgia side and a wagon trail led off into South Carolina. It was called the Willington School, named by his founder, Dr. Moses Waddel. Dr. Waddel was a Presbyterian minister who later became the president of the University of Georgia. This was a time when the basic studies were taught in the field schools.

Valley Forge

Valley Forge Charles Lavender was a resident of Amherst County, Virginia when he enlisted in the American Revolutionary War. He fought under General George Washington and was at Valley Forge in 1777. He was man six foot three inches tall who had 22 children by two wives. However, at the time of his death in Edgefield District at the age of 99 years, only three of his children were living.

The Trial of Bolleltor Thurmond
By Jeannette Holland Austin

"Columbia, S. C., August 3. The trial of Bolleltor Thurmond for killing Will Harris on March 24th last was begun in Edgefield today. The jury was selected without trouble. The deense put in the plea of self-defense. The Attorney General is conducting the prosecution in person, assisted by General M. C. Butler. Only once in decades has the attorney-general conducted a murder trial - that of the Englefield lynchers in 1886 (field Green, Egham, Middlesex)." Source: Tallapoosa Inquirer, August 4, 1897; Remarkable Rogues, by Charles Kingston concerning The Careers of Some Notable Criminals of Europe and America; Second Edition.

Duel at Fort Charlotte
By Jeannette Holland Austin

Site of Fort Charlotte William H. Crawford was kin to the Crawfords of from Virginia of Scottish descent who settled in the backcountry in 1643, then came down into South Carolina and Georgia. They followed the back trail and crossed the Savannah River into Georgia. William had his early education in the Old Field Schools, and later taught in one of those schools not far from Augusta. Ultimately he arose to the office of Senator, then Secretary of War and Secretary of the Treasury. He was also the chosen candidate to run for president of the United States, however, suffered a paralyzing stroke of apoplexy. Thus, John Quincey Adams won the election in 1824. Crawford had political differences over a land scheme with Peter Lawrence Van Allen with whom he fought a duel. Von Allen was shot dead. Later on, there was a case in the Supreme Court of Worchester vs. Georgia concerning the land scheme The affair took place at the famous dueling ground along the Savannah River, which was the site of old Fort Charlotte, about twelve miles below Petersburg on the Carolina side. The fort (now in McCormick County) was built of granite stones quarried from across the Savannah River. The northern portion of the fort was in Oconee County across the river from Stephens County, Georgia.

The Fort became a popular spot for gentlemen to settle their differences. Several texts have referred to Fort Charlotte and there is evidence that about ten duels occurred there after the Revolutionary War. The map depicts the site as well as the old Cherokee Indian trails.

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More South Carolina Databases

Edgefield County Wills, Estates, Deeds

1890 EdgefieldEdgefield, South Carolina ca 1890 The county was formed in 1785 as part of Ninety Six District; parts of Edgefield later went to form Aiken (1871), Saluda (1895), Greenwood (1897), and McCormick (1916) counties. The county seat is the town of Edgefield. The northern part of the Ninety Six was previously inhabited by Cherokee Indians. The southern part adjoined the Savannah River and was used as hunting grounds by the Creeks, Savannahs and other tribes. Edgefield country was trafficked by white men who created a lucrative trade with the Indians for their buffalo and beaver skins and who exported as many as two hundred and fifty thousand skins a year from the state. It was not until 1748 that permanent settlements were made along the Savannah River. Families trickled in from England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Germany, Holland and France as well as from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina. Others, forbidden to deal in slavery, fled from Georgia to make their plantations along the Savannah River. The first Scotch families settled on the Saluda side of Edgefield south of Chappells Ferry. The site was located near a hill where large chestnut trees grew. Later, the Baptist Church of Chestnut Hill was later organized and built. They called the settlement Scotland. Among the first Scots was Joseph Culbreath, born near Plymouth Scotland in 1747, who was brought to Edgefield by his father, Edward Culbreath in 1756. The father died a year later, leaving his sons, Joseph, John, Daniel and Edward. The sons all lived to be over the ages of 70. The family of Harry Hazel came with the Culbreaths to the new country. In 1770 a ferry was established over the Saluda River on the land of Robert Cunningham and another one over the Savannah River, opposite to Augusta in Georgia. Edgefield was the site of several Revolutionary War skirmishes and was defended by those who had settled from North Carolina and Virginia. One such family was that of William Abney who had settled about a mile or so from Scotland in 1772. Nathaniel Abney served as a captain of a militia company under Major Andrew Williamson at Ninety Six. Opposing the patriots was the Stewart family whose homestead was located on Tosty Creek on the Saluda.

Early settlers: Peter Finson, Francis W. Pickens, Benjamin Tilman, General Martin Witherspoon Cary, Allen Bailey, Nathan Melton, William Daniel, William Tobler, Spencer Hawes, George Miller, Jeremiah Lamar, Robert Gardner, David Pitts, Arthur Watson, Nathaniel Abney, Jesse Griffin, George Bender, Michael Burkhalter, Thomas Spraggins, Mathew Devore, Allen Burton, George Kyser, Nathaniel Bacon, Wright Nicholson, Joseph McGinnis, John Oliphant, John Blalock, Benjamin Buzbie, Robert Jennings, Jessy Rountree, Amos Richardson, Hezekiah Gentry, Benjamin Hightower, Thomas turk, Stephen Garrett and others.

Edgefield county Records Available to Members of South Carolina Pioneers
  • Edgefield County Wills, Bks A, B and C, 1775-1835 (abstracts)
  • Index to Edgefield County Will Book D, 1836-1853
  • 1817 Map of Edgefield County
Miscellaneous Edgefield County Wills, Deeds, etc. (Images and Transcripts)
  • Adams, John (LWT) 1823
  • Adams, John Deed to William McDaniel (1816)
  • Adams, John Deed to Joel McLemore (1819)
  • Adams, John Deed to Henry Anderson
  • Adams, John Deed to John Hinson(1824)
  • Ballentine, Hugh, 1809 Promise
  • Bolger, Elizabeth
  • Bush, Isaac
  • Cary, William
  • Ferguson, William
  • Garrett, Edward
  • Hagens, William
  • Hamilton, William
  • Hammond, Charles Sr.
  • Mims, Beheatherland
  • Mock, George Sr., LWT (1790)
  • Morgan, Evan
  • Neyle, Daniel, 1750 Land Grant
  • Ramage, James
  • Richardson, Jefferson
  • Savage, John Land Grant, originally the Land Grant of Benjamin Harris
  • Self, Daniel
  • Strum, Henry Bond to Jeremiah Burnet of Liberty County, Georgia
  • Sullivan, Pressly
  • Swearington, Van
  • Tate, Henry
  • Williams, Roger
  • Youngblood, Mary