South Carolina Pioneers

Laurens County Probate Records

Laurens County SC Court House Laurens County Governor's Mansion Laurens County Governor's Mansion Laurens County SC octagon houseLaurens County was established in 1785 as part of the Ninety Six District. It was named for Revolutionary War leader Henry Laurens (1724-1792). Settlers were Scotch-Irish and English immigrants who came in the early eighteenth century. When Revolutionary War battles such as the battle of Musgroves Mill on August 18 of 1780 were fought in the county, it was discovered that many of its residents were loyalists.

Early Settlers: McCain, Drew, Kellett, Miller, Millwee, Hellans, Allison, Prather, McNight, Logan, Cunningham, Ferguson, Adair, Baugh, Lewis, Starnes, Musgrove, Fowler, Arnall, Armstrong, Walker, Akins, Fowler, Garner, Dunlap, Simmons, Bailey, Griffin, Montgomery, Mahaffy, Coker, McCrary, Green, East, Crage, Stevens, Johnson, Goodman, Pollock, Garrot, Holcomb, Day and Middleton.

Wills and Estates Available to Members of South Carolina Pioneers

Abstracts of Last Wills and Testaments Digital Images of Wills, Book E, 1836-1839

Names of Testators: Allen, Sally ; Anderson, David ; Beal, Even ; Bell, David ; Blakely, James ; Calhoun, John ; Cheek, Ellis ; Cole, Mary ; Cummings, John ; Dunlap, Matthew ; Goodwin, William ; Hamilton, Jane ; Jones, Edward ; Leek, Bryant ; Leeman, Hugh ; McClintock, Martha ; McCoy, John ; McMeese, Robert ; Middlesperger, Abraham ; Pool, James ; Poole, Seth ; Potts, William ; Reece, William ; Robeson, Bennet ; Simpson, Sarah; Swan, Rebecca ; Wait, John ; Watson, Elijah

Misc. Laurens County, South Carolina Wills and Estates (images and transcripts) Maps Military

James Dunklin House

James Dunklin HouseThe James Dunklin House was built ca 1812 as a two-story. five bay, upcountry frame house with Federal elements. It features informally spaced columns and two pipe-stem chimneys. A wing was removed in 1845 to make modern structural improvements.

The Scotch Settlement of Duncan Creek Presbyterian Church

Duncan Creek Church About 1758 John Duncan of Aberdeen, Scotland, going first to Pennsylvania, then removing to the fork of the Saluda and Broad Rivers, settled in South Carolina on the Enoree River. His nearest neighbor at the time was Jacob Pennington who lived below him on the Enoree River. About 1764 several families viz: Joseph Adair, Thomas Erving, William Hannah, Andrew McCrory and his brothers, built a house of worship and became elders of the church. These first settlers were known to be primitive, as they wore hunting shirts, leggins and moccasins. The hair was clubbed and tied up in a little deerskin or silk bag. Trade was carried on in skins and furs because deer and beaver skins were a lawful tender in payment of debts. A marble tablet was placed by the DAR on the front inside wall of the Duncan Creek Presbyterian Church of those who served during the Revolutionary War, namely: Joseh Adair, Sr., Joseph Adair Jr, James Adair Sr. Leonard Beasley, J. Bell, John Copeland, John Craig, James Craig, Robert Hanna, Thomas Holland, Robert Long Thomas Logan, Thomas McCrary Joseph Ramage, William Underwood and George Young Sr.

The Revenge of "Bloody Bill" Cunningham at Duncans Creek
By Jeannette Holland Austin Jeannette Holland Austin(Profile)

After Lord Cornwallis surrendered in Virginia, Major William "Bloody Bill" Cunningham and a large force of Loyalist militia attacked a group of patriot militia that were resting in the home of their commander, Colonel Joseph Hayes. The Tories torched the home and the Patriots surrendered. However, "Bloody Bill" continued on, personally killing every prisoner in cold blood. Joseph Hayes owned a tavern adjacent to Edgehill Station, which was a stop along the local stage coach line. As he and his men sat down to a meal, Captain John Owens rode up and informed the men that smoke was coming out of the nearby plantation house of the widow of the late Brigadier General James Williams. Colonel Hayes promptly followed Owens out of the tavern and up a small hill to meet at an old Cherokee War Block House. From that vantage, they had a view of the home of the widow. But they found themselves surrounded by "Bloody Bill" and about 300 Loyalists. Colonel Hayes and his men ran into the small block house, but it was soon torched, so they threw down their arms and surrendered. But "Bloody Bill" forced them back inside the block house where their hands were tied behind them and attached to a long rope. However, as soon as the last man was attached to the long rope, Cunningham started hanging them, and then his men dismembered fourteen of them. Cunningham then rode off, leaving scattered body parts.

James Tinsley had fought with Captain Hayes and General Sumter in 1780 and fought at Blackstocks and Ninety-Six. Originally, he volunteered in behalf of another soldier, but as the war wore on, was more active in soldiering. He was with Captain Hayes in November of 1781 at Edgehill Station (or Hayes Station) where he was taken prisoner. That evening, before the massacre, he managed to escape and went on an expedition into Cherokee country. His brother was killed in the conflict, and Tinsley was promoted to captain.

After the massacre at Hayes Station "Bloody Bill" Cunningham rode to the southern portion of what is now Union County to the house of John Boyce who had just returned home after ensuring the battles of King's Mountain, Cowpens and Eutaw Springs. As Boyce sat down to dinner he heard the approach of horses and rushed to the door and recognized "Bloody Bill" and his gang. Boyce knew that he had to escape, so running towards the Loyalists waved his hat to cause the horses to shy away. And he kept on running. "Bloody Bill" pursued the chase, getting near enough to strike at Boyce with his sword, but Boyce warded off the blow with his hand, almost severing three fingers. Then, running into the thick woods where Cunningham could not follow on horseback, observed Cunningham and his men ride off. Afterwards, Boyce mounted his horse and rode to the house of his militia commander, Capt. Christopher Casey who rounded up fifteen men to ride after the Loyalists. They intercepted Cunningham at Duncan Creek on the Enoree River and captured a few stragglers. Capt. Casey took them to the intersection of Charlestown Road and Ninety-Six Road and hanged them from a hickory tree. The Loyalists were buried at the foot of the tree. "Bloody Bill" Cunningham, however, continued his reign of terror and rode to the house of Lieutenant-Governor James Wood on Lawsons Fork of the Pacolet River. Wood was a prominent Patriot and the Commissioner of Sequestered Property. Major Cunningham dragged Woods out of his house and shot him. As he lay there wounded his wife begged for the life of Wood. In response Cunningham and his men hanged Woods from a dogwood tree.

The pension records are replete with interesting stories and tales. Actually, the pensions, combined with research from census and county records, assembles great stories to be passed down throughout the ages and remembered.

Hayes Station

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