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COLUMBIA, S. C, 1425 Main St. 





A narrative of reminiscences, in which a partial picture 
of the customs and habits of the people of old Williamsburg 
District in South Carolina, as they were fifty, sixty, and sev- 
enty years ago, of their Churches, Sunday Schools, Day 
Schools, Singing Schools, Quiltings, Play, Games, Dances, 
and other amusements, have been attempted to be written 
and drawn by one of their number, who had a place in that 
picture, and was an actor in these scenes, yet distinctly 
marked by him as their narrator. 

Also many historical facts relating to the old Revolution- 
ary War, as they have been transmitted to the generation of 
children of these warriors; our great political division had 
in 1832, as are remembered; and items of our late war, as 
were recorded in a diary made at the time of their occur- 
rence; and descending to events happening in late dates, 
all of which their Author asks a consideration for the orig- 
inality of the plan, the conception of the thoughts, and the 
novelty and peculiarity in the modes of their expressions. 
The various descriptions, as made in this narrative, are only 
intended to embrace those of our people who resided at and 
around Kingstree, ludiantown. Black Mingo, and Muddy 
Creek, in this county, with whom this writer has been inti- 
mately associated during some periods of his life, now gra- 
ciously extended six years beyond man's allotted time on 
earth, and with whom he yet lives in hallowed remem- 
brance of such connections. 


Dedication, 1 

Apologies, 3 

Letter to the Kind Reader, - - - - 7 

Chapter I. 
The Big Storm in 1822— Its casualties, &c., - - 9 

Chapter II. 

The Long Gown and Privileged Period of a Boy's 
Life; Description of an Old Time Wedding in 
1626, 11 

Chapter III. 

Old Time Schools; Discipline of the Teachers; 12 
O'clock Games; Amusements, &c.; Sunday 
and Sacraments, ------ 19 

Chapter IV. 

Indiantown Academy in 1832; Latin Lessons; Nulli- 
fication Excitement; Public Dinners; Fisti- 
cuff Fights; Wagon Trip to Charleston, in 
1833; Plow Boy, &c., ----- 59 

Chapter V. 

1834; Bethany Academy, N. C; Scenes, Adventures, 

&c., 84 

Chapter VI. 
1835; Edgehill Academy, S. C; Scenes, Incidents, &c., 97 



' Chapter VII. 

1836; Yorkville Academy, S. C; Scenes, Incidents, 

&c., --'------ 103 

Chapter VIII. 

1836; A Lonely Trip to Yorkville in October; Trials 

on the Road, - - - - - - 113 

Chapter IX. 

1837; Florida War Excitement; Alt. Zion Academy, 

S. C, - - - - - - - - 124 

Chapter X. 

1838; At Home; School Master; Singing Schools; A 

Grammar School; Oniltings,Plays,Dances, &c., 130 

Chapter XL 

1839-40; A Medical Student, South Carolina Medi- 
cal College; Scenes on the Street; Theatres, 
&c.; The Green Room, 145 

Chapter XII. 

1841; A Doctor, and His Cases and Doings, at Black 

Mingo and Johnsonville; His Charges, &c., - 160 

Chapter XIII. 

14 March, 1844; Marriage, and Three Years Honey- 
moon, -------- 176 

Chapter XIV. 

A Permanent School Master, 1847; List of Scholars; 
Anecdotes and Special Notices of Them; Re- 
creation; Mrs. McGill's Heroism in Drowning 
Water, - 185 


Chapter XV. 

1861; War Items as Recorded in Diary; A Captain 

and List of Officers and Privates, - - - 204 

Chapter XVI. 

1881; Public Schools; Public Expenditures; Lists of 

Teachers and Amounts Paid, - - - 226 

Chapter XVII. 
Kingstree as of Yore, ------ 240 

Chapter XVIII. 
Again, or a Regression, ------ 251 

Chapter XIX. 

Historical Sketches, xActual and Traditional; Lost 
Names; The McGill Families; A Dance in 
Kingstree, 1805; Marriage of Samuel McGill 
and Mary Ann Sanders; The Groom and Bride's 
Horseback Trip to Brunswick, Ga.; $500 in 
Cash, and two ^African Slaves and their Child- 
ren; In 1819, Gavin James dies and bequeaths 
his property to his niece, Mrs. Mary Ann Mc- 
Gill; The negroes, Carolina and Lucy, and 
their children, Cain Scott and Gus McGothy, 
claimants; In 1848, Carolina, then an old man, 
lives with his young master, gives an account 
of his Revolutionary record with his old mas- 
ter, and how he got Lucy for his wife; Con- 
clusion: Recent visit to the Indiantown Pres- 
byterian grave yard, and reflections thereon; 
The Author's Jerusalem as his native home, - 275 

Appendix, 1805, ------- 289 

Tributes to His Wife, 300 


This narrative of the reminiscences of events as distinctly 
marked from September, 1822, to March, 1845, is respectfully 
dedicated to the Old Men of Williamsburg District, who have 
arrived at and passed their three score years and ten, and who 
are yet with us in their persons and minds. The representa- 
tion of the affairs as happening in our time is given in a man- 
ner less compendious than their historical facts seem to have 
demanded, but, being unaided in the composition of the work 
of this narrative, and wholly relying on his memory in trans- 
cribing these facts, the author has done the best he could 
under the circumstances. He begs indulgence for the omis- 
sion of many items of general interest which others might 
have supplied, but which will be available at no distant time, if 
hoary-headed time will agree to the proposition, and will sus- 
pend further serious encroachments on our physiques. 

Old gentlemen, here are your names and dates of births: 

W.James Haselden, 8th December, 181 1; Samuel A. 
Burgess, 7th February, 1812; N. Myers Graham, i8th May, 
1813; William G. Cantley, i8th August, 1814; J. Leonard Gist, 
25th December, 1814; Robert W. Fukon, 20th March, 1813; 
Wiley J. McClam, 28th March, 1815; John A. Salters, 27th 
July, 181 5; Samuel A. Haselden, 181 5; Rufus B. Singletary, 
19th September, 181 8; Rev. David E. Frierson; Samuel C. 
McCutchen, 1819; G. Winfield Scott, 1819; John E. Scott, ist 
June, 1820; Shederick R. Rodgers, 30th July, i82o;''Joseph A. 
Thompson, 20th August, 1820; John J. M. Graham; Samuel 
J. Strong, 13th January, 1823; William McClam, ist May, 
1816; Dr. D. Edward Wilson, 14th March, 1819. 

In beliclf of these dearer old men of past three score and 
ten, as judgc^l by their records, it is just to declare, that their 
sorrows do not balance the sweet and innocent pleasures of 
their lives, and the address lO each of them could not better 
express their social and religious positions than "Oh Fortun- 
ate Senex," for thus they are and thus they feel. 

Trulv and affectionately, 
' SAM.'L D. McGILL, 

One of You. 
Kingstree. S. C., A. D. 1894. 

2 Reminiscences of 

A mental pressure has become so fixed that it refuses to 
be removed unless these dedication pages be made to include 
all the old men of South Carolina, pointedly those living in the 
surrounding lower counties, who, like us, got their early edu- 
cation from "Old Webster," which succeeded our fathers' Old 
Dilworth. Most likely these old men endured the teacher's 
rigid discipline in the old field school house, enforced by the 
use of the switch over our shoulders on our backs, and their 
loud threats to make dust rise from our clothes if we miss a 
word in that lesson. And it is imagined they too made com- 
plaints of their drubbing at school to their parents in violation 
of the established order to tell no tales oufof school, and re- 
ceived no consolation from them only advising us to be kind 
to the teacher and attentive to our studies. At a certain age of 
our lives when we began to consult a looking-glass and roach 
our hair we exhibited much stupidity in the heedlessness of 
the admonitions of older and wiser heads given for our good, 
but just let an old man tell something funny, however uncom- 
mendable, and it is retained. 

At a Christmas holiday dinner at an old gentleman's 
house, a sentiment was given by him at the head of the table 
in the form of a grace, while a half dozen or more young 
gents with bowed heads, received the grace in much laughter 
at or before its conclusion. The words of it are given for what 
they are worth: 

"May the Lord be praised when women's pleased. 

For that's but now and then, 
We'll eat our diet in peace and quiet 

In the name of God, Amen." 

Williamsburg County. 


The idea of an boy reared among her people fifty and 
sixty years ago, even attempting to write a book, would have 
incited a pitiful smile, if it did not evoke jeering remarks of 
the presumption. Yet the undertaking has been attempted 
and the author pleads his simplicity of words and sentences in 
the following instances as occurring in the distant days 
already referred to. 

Many families residing in Sumter district, who had 
moved away from Williamsburg, occasionally came down to 
their native places on visits and business affairs. With these 
there was a common remark that old Williamsburg district 
was fifty years behind in farming and general progress. But 
old Mr. James McFaddin, who was possessed of remarkable 
social endowments and who was an acute observer of things 
in general and a money lender, by way of rebutting their 
opinion of us, thus replied: "Yet you Sumter people come 
down to Williamsburg to borrow money. Ha! Ha!! Ha!!!" 

One of our school boys who is so often spoken of in this 
narrative, wrote to his old father, while a student in the South 
Carolina College in 1838, stating that he was in "pecuniary 
indigence.'' The old man was unable to understand these 
words, and had to go to a magistrate residing a short dis- 
tance over the "Crick" (Lynches), who, together with his offi- 
cial brethren, was considered above the mediocrity, cjuickly 
interpreted the meaning of the two words much to the discom- 
fiture of the father. 

Or this other case happening about the same time and in 
the section of country situated about half way between Kings- 
tree and Indiantown. A school master in his school house, 
was complaining of the illiteracy of his school class in which 
were several boys of man's age and statue, and spoke to them 
of it in these words: "Heng my cats, (his favorite expression) 
if I believe you boys know what district you live in." Then 
turning towards one of them, the oldest and largest boy in the 
school he said, "Jim Bo, what district do you live in?" who 
instantly replied: "In Cedar Swamp district, or at least, I 
have always heard it called by that name." Not yet satisfied, 

4 Reminiscences of 

the teacher inquired of another boy, saying: "Bill Br — , can 
you tell what district you live in?" who as readily answered: 
"Morass district, if it ain't Cedar Swamp district." The Mo- 
rass alluded to was once widely known and celebrated in that 
section of country for its extent, its impenetrability and dens 
of wild beasts, snakes and vermins. 

An apology for the diction and commonplace language in 
the construction of sentences in the following narrative will be 
found in an incident which occurred in the Williamsburg 
Presbyterian Church yard at Kingstree a few years antece- 
dent to those in which this narrative has its date. It illustrates, 
to some extent, the mode of speech used in those good old 
times, and which has been said to be peculiar in this old his- 
toric county, on account of its inland situation and its non- 
intercourse with other countries, in the absence of passengers' 
coaches, and its distance overland from Charleston and Co- 
lumbia, then the centres of our greatness in wealth, elegance, 
and intelligence. The circumstances of the incident are thus: 
It was Sunday morning; the congregation (church people) 
were collecting, and a group of Sunday school boys, with 
their "Sunday-go-to-meeting-clothes" on, and their home- 
made shoes well greased, were standing at the church door, 
ready with their lessons. Presently they saw another Sunday 
school boy coming into the church yard with bright, shiney, 
crying shoes on his feet, and running up to him, they made 
repeated inquiries of him, as "who made them pretty shoes," 
when he said with some pride and great satisfaction to himself, 
"Thev ain't meek, thev buv." ''^ '^ 

A circumstance occurrmg at the hospitable home of the 
pleasant Rev. J. E. Dunlop, present pastor of the Indiantown 
church and other Presbyterian churches in this county, in 
which Dr. Wilson, Dr. McGill and Capt. Scott, being specially 
invited guests to dinner in October, 1892, did exercise one of 
them to undertake this narrative. During the day. Dr. McGill 
did most of the talking, and aware of this, and to make some 
excuse for his garrulity and the taciturnity of his friends, he in 
his usual mood of pleasantry, when about to leave, said: 
"Gentlemen, I've done most of the talking to-day, because I 
have the happy capacity of being able to tell all I know." 
Whereupon Scott, in his usual way of passing jests, kindly re- 


marked: "Yes, and McGill can tell a little more than he does 
know." The preacher smiled and Wilson chuckled. Yet, not- 
withstanding, this narrative fails, by a long shot, to present all 
he does know, and in compiling the facts he comes across 
many things impressed and imposed in his mental survey, de- 
lighted to have them in retrospection, full of interest to himself 
but which may not be to others, and hence lies the difficulty 
in culling them. 

Possessed of a fear that the few latin phrases which have 
so insidiously crept into this narrative, may give rise to the 
opinion that it holds up too much of a pedantic spirit, it is 
becoming and proper to obviate that opinion by declaring that 
such inconsiderate latin uses and idioms have been introduced 
with the hope and belief that these will amuse the old men, 
and younger old men too, who can remember the pleasure 
they had in learnmg and reciting latin lessons, which were of 
easy pronunciation and of instructive tendencies when they 
were at school in the ante-bellum days. Up to this time a 
knowledge of the classics was considered a "sine qua non" in 
the learned professions, but now in this day and time it is 
slowly yielding to object teaching, and to the fast educational 
progress of our cheap, yet expansive method of teaching the 
young how to think, which in our raising we had to learn to 
think unaided by books or our school masters. 

Besides, there may be some criticisms evoked in the dis- 
position of certain words in the composition of many sen- 
tences, as to where the adverbs should have been placed ; what 
prepositions would have better expressed the relations of 
words to each other according to the modern understanding 
of them; and in the choice of certain verbs which would have 
more correctly defined a decided action suited to the idea they 
were intended to convey. To such the plea is made, that in 
our grammar of fifty and sixty years ago there was no nice 
discrimination of the uses of the nine sorts; of words, called 
parts of speech, except as found in notes in small print, in- 
tended for the use of advanced scholars, while the school chil- 
dren learned the big print, and consequently, they did not see 
nor cared to know the difiference between the verbs, set and 
sit, lie and lay, expect and think, but get and got were our 

The blushes in the soft faces of the girls at our old time 
schools were sometimes connived at, tho' so delicatelv and 

6 Reminiscences of 

innocently hinted, that it was sometimes a pleasure to witness 
and call attention to their blushing countenance. To those 
readers of modern literature, taught in logic and refined 
speech, there is this to say in extenuation of some sentences 
contained in this narrative, that in old times boys and girls 
played together, and of course there were many accidental ex- 
pressions in violation of good breeding used before the girls, 
and for which they chased the rude boy with switches and 
brambles around the play ground, who-, when cornered by 
them, received no bruises, showing the good and unrufBed 
humor of us all. This assertion is ventured; now if those dear 
boys and girls were here, they would delight to read every 
word in this narrative, and when they would come to any 
common inelegance used in their schools, they would chase 
this author with switches and brambles, while he too would 
lead in the chase, clap his hands and pursue another as the 
offender, and at the end of the race they would come together 
again, and, adopting the old adage in the way of consolation, 
they recognize "a little fun now and then, is relished by the 
best of men," and exclaim, well, I declare, Sam hasn't changed 
a bit from the time he was a fat, mischievous school boy. Bear 
in mind that Part No. i of this nairative is addressed to the 
old men, who no doubt will appreciate the sentiments and 
mode of expiessing them as therein declared, and that the 
apclogies and explanations are given that the young people 
may form some idea of how we lived and moved and had our 
being in the second and third decades of the present century, 
when we were in our infancy in which blessed state the author 
has not outgrown up to this writing. 

With a promise that other parts of the narrative now in 
preparation, will be written in a spirit of reconciliation, and 
with the assurance that we have tried to keep in line as older 
we grow with the present grandeur, refinement and intellec- 
tual culture, we subscribe ourself. 

Yours truly. 

WiivUAMSBURG County. 


A careful revision of the mss. of the pages of the narrative 
discovers many sentences of crude and obscure expressions of 
them. At school in early boyhood days, Aesop's Fables were 
extensively used and quoted. His advice to the boys having 
bows and arrows has ever been the one which tliis writer 
chose and practiced all through his days. He has ever kept 
his bow relaxed after an hour's strain at any one time, by 
which he has seemingly retained whatever powers he now pos- 
sesses. A speech or sermon exceeding an hour's time in deliv- 
ery, loses its force upon this hearer. It may be possible that 
these obscurely expressed sentences were written at a time 
before the bow had regained its elasticity from the strain made 
in more positive and better constructions over those wanting 
of roundness of periods. Besides the long hand system of 
writing fails to keep up with the flight of thought, and ere the 
pen reaches the point of sublimity, the thought has descended. 
If efforts were made to correct these ill-meaning sentences 
they might effect the flight and force of better meaning ones, 
and thus make them appear as of stifif and studied inventions. 
With this explanation, a bow is made to the reader who is now 
informed that every sentence herein expressed was made by 
his best efforts, whether in the strained or relaxed condition 
of the bow, at the time of its diction. 



On the night of September 28, 1822, occurred the great- 
est era in the history of WilHamsburg district, as events hap- 
pening just before and after its advent are ascertained from 
that night, in the absence of family records of births and 
deaths among our older people, especially those of our colored 
ones, as many of them reckon their present ages by referring 
to that epoch, or to what their parents told them of their ages 
at the time or a few years after the occurrence of the big 
storm. The hurricance came from an eastern direction, con- 
tinuing a few hours and then there was a calm, but before the 
people could kindle up a fire, it returned from the west with 
greater violence and destruction. There are but three remin- 
iscences which have ever been distinctly marked on Sam's 
mind, then a boy of 3 years, 7 months and 16 days of age; he 
remembers that during the storm all the children were hud- 
dled together on and around their parents' knees in one corner 
of the big room, sheltered and covered with blankets, quilts, 
etc., to keep out the drenching rain and boisterous wind; the 
next morning the little white and colored children played hog 
in the gable end of a house which had been blown off, by 
roasting potatoes and throwing them in to us, bacon hogs; 
and third, the skinning of cattle in the cow-pen with trees 
across them, for at that time cow hides were as much esteemed 
as the flesh, salted and dried, and then tanned in a framer at or 
on a tar-kiln pot for shoe purposes, or nicely preserved and 
put over the cords of bedsteads tO' prevent abrasions of the 
skin from the ropes. His father used to tell of the two first 
weeks' employment after the storm, in gathering up corn on 
the ground in the fields, cutting trees ofif the fences and 
righting them up, and of the following two weeks in clearing 
the roads, and that between Col. Cooper's place and Indian- 
town church, less than two miles distance, there were four 
hundred (other numbers forgotten) trees across the road. His 
father had moved oflf from the swamp on account of sickness, 
a few years previous, and had settled in a thick pine forest for 
health, and the next morning very few, if any, of the trees of 
that forest were standing, and his place had a diflferent appear- 
ance. His mother used to say, it looked to her next morning 

10 Reminiscences of 

as if she had been blown away and dropped in another coun- 
try. The storm logs, with their upturned roots, once every- 
where, are yet spoken of, and in Sam's hunting rabbit times 
he felt sure of his rabbit when his dog treed in a harricane, as 
those old red and yellow banks, of earth at the root of logs 
were known by that name, the effect taking the name of the 
cause tho' in a corrupt form. 

Of the disasters of that horrible night there are two at 
command as told in after years. One was the case of old Mr. 
Saul Parsons, on his return from Kingstree to his home on 
Muddy Creek, who, when last seen that evening on the road, 
was in a warm condition as were his habits. His escape from 
death was miraculous. On horseback that night he met the 
hurricane at the McCrea old place, where Mr. L. P. McCul- 
lough now resides, and took refuge under a large oak tree, 
and there sheltered himself and horse as best he could in the 
first gale, and as soon as the calm in the storm came, he ven- 
tured forth, but had not proceeded far over prostrate houses, 
trees and fences before the returning hurricane came, and, 
hurrying back to his good tree he found it already flat on the 
grourd. Nothing more is known for the next two miles, as 
to how or in what manner Mr. Parsons made the trip, but to 
picture his situation amid thousands of falling trees, in a 
howling tempest of wind and rain to an unprecedented extent, 
when, at the very first opportunity to open a door and look 
out or the waste and destruction everywhere expected, old 
Mr. Alexander McCrea found Mr. Parsons safe and sound 
crouched up under a bench in his piazza, and his horse stand- 
ing at the door steps, who it seems had defied the storms, tho' 
they did their level best or mightiest on the man and his horse. 

The other was a case of more serious meaning. Old Mr. 
James McDowel, a Scotchman by birth and rice planter, was 
on North Island, residing at the time in his summer house, to- 
gether with other planters, this island being then the favorite 
health resort in Georgetown district. That night his house 
was washed away, and to his horror, he saw his wife and chil- 
dren for the last time, struggling in the surging billows of the 
waters of North Inlet, now mingled in one body with the 
mighty Atlantic Ocean, while he escaped death by being 
dashed upon the bank of the mainland. A few years after- 
wards, Mr. McDowel married Miss Katie McCrea, of the In- 
diantown community of Williamsburg district, whose father 

Williamsburg County. 11 

and mother were of much notoriety among us as to style, and 
having- the credit of riding in the first elegant carriage ever 
comirg to the Indiantown church, and hence for higher rea- 
sons, old Mr. Thomas McCrea and his wife and children were 
esteemed as "quality folks." From the above marriage is the 
present Presbyteripn minister. Rev. James McDowel, 
esteemed and beloved for his gentle manners, his affectionate 
address and the Christian interest he has in his churches. 

A good story was told on old Mr. Thomas McCrea, re- 
nowned for his temperate deeds and words, residing where 
Capt. W. H. Kennedy now lives. His family belonged to the 
higher social circles and were complimented by visits made to 
them by prominent people from abroad. In 1854, a public 
vendue of the effects of the estate cf Mr. Thomas McCrea was 
made at his late residence, conducted by Dr. Ben Wither- 
spoon, of Sumterville, who had mariied one of the daughters 
of his family. On the day of sale, when the mahogany side- 
board was offered, the Doctor remarked that this piece of fur- 
niture has a little history, and Judge Earle was one of the ac- 
tors during a visit to the family. Mr. McCrea, appreciating 
the call, drew his fine old brandy on the Judge, who had a 
good time by himself till bed time. The next morning before 
breakfast he wanted to wet his whistle, but Mr. McCrea had 
no idea he was in need of a morning dram, and did not heed 
such hints as hacking coughs, or complaint of cob-web in his 
throat, but when the Judge, as a last resort, walked up to the 
side-board, and gently tapping its door, saying: "Knock and 
it shall be opened unto you," he became aware of the insinua- 




The period of a boy's life before he arrives at school age 
is one he remembers with mingled joy and some discom- 
fitures. When can I go to school, is his constant query, as 
then he dofifs his long gown and puts on britches with home- 
made galluses of homespun cloth, with two or more button 
holes to suit the length of them. He is interesting to the 

12 Reminiscences of 

members of the household, as he plays and romps about in 
their sigh; , with his stick horse, made ctreaked and spotted by 
his dog knife ci a one-bla.ded seven pence one, and, with a 
long cotton stiing tied to it for his bridle, he canters all day 
around the house yaid, through the horse lot and up and 
down the avenue, fixing his long gown under him as a pad, 
or, ?s he termed it, his saddle. When hungry, yet never tired, 
he hitches his horse in the fence, or chimney corner, and feeds 
him before going into the house to his mah for ai cold corn 
biscuit and a cup of butter milk, with his face, hands, feet and 
legs hardly recognizable as those of a white boy. In bee- 
swarming time he is ready to beat tin pans and old bells with 
other people to drown the cluck of the queen bee, and thus 
force the bees to settle on some limb of a tree, from which they 
are taken into a hive, by the only person on the place who 
carries a bee charm, and doesn't receive a sting, and he alone 
can take a bee scab for its honey. He pleases his mah as he 
watches for the hawk and pursues him into the woods, and 
sometimes recovers the stolen chicken, and he is as happy as 
the days are long, except when he stumps his foot, knocks a 
toe nail ofif, bruises his shins or rips his gown up to the shoul- 
ders, and, perhaps is forced to endure equal pain in the wash- 
ing of them before going to bed, as in addition to the soreness, 
they are so chapped that the home-made lye soap used on 
them with very coarse foot towels, always brought out more 
or less crying, before the house boy finishes his required work 
in lubbing and scrubbing till they are passable and can bear 

When company comes and he is cut off from getting into 
the house to wash and to shift his dirty clothes, he hides under 
the house, dodges behind its pillars and peeps around at them 
as they enter the yard and house. In due time he comes in 
among them, having undergone preparations before putting 
on clean clothes and his britches. He is quite an interesting 
little fellow with the children of the company, exhibiting some 
little pranks befoie the girls to show his activity, and all things 
are pleasant to him till dinner is on the table, and he is told to 
wait for t'le second table. While the company is eating, he 
watches them through the cracks of the doors from the next 
room with a relish increasing as the turkey and ham are re- 
moved and pan cakes and malaga wine are served, or a large 
apple dumpling, resembling a fat pig previously cleaned and 

WiLUAMSBURG County. 13 

ready for the brick oven, served with sugar and butter and 
sifted nutmeg in a large bowl. His impatience leads him to 
wonder, if they are going to eat up everything on the table, 
if it takes till sun down, and maybe he indulges in his mind 
some unkindness about their slowness at the table. 

"Company coming today," of neighbors to our house was 
generally expected to be made as it suited them that day, but 
that cf those who were not in the immediate circle of friends 
and relatives was spoken of in advance, and preparations made 
for their special entertainment. There were two such families 
in particular, residing two and five miles respectively, above 
Indiantown church, whose visits to their "Cousin Sam and 
Cousin Mary Ann McGill," were always those of joyous ex- 
citement, as they were seen in their splendid equipages, com- 
ing down the avenue to our house. Sam's parents loved "the 
Coopers" of that time, and having known them in their in- 
fancy they were ever on intimate terms. Col. William Cooper 
and Mr. George Cooper were much concerned in his father's 
behalf, when he was summoned to trial in the church session 
house for dancing and giving dancing parties in his house. 
They too, belonged to that class who had music in their souls 
and joy at the sound of the fiddle, and there is an instance of 
that fact before his eyes. Mr. George Cooper married Miss 
Thormutas Montgomery in 1825, and gave, after the event at 
his house, an infair of double proportions. Sam's two elder sis- 
ters attended and carried their big budder (Sam) with them. 
There was dancing in the hall below stairs and in a large 
room above stairs at the same time, so great was the crowd 
present to do honor to the distinguished and newly married 
couple. During the night this little fellow fell asleep on a large 
trunk or chiss, in an adjoining room up stairs, and on awaken- 
ing he could not find his little hat of which he was proud. He 
cried, and his sisters were too busy thi^u in fhe da'.... to help 
hunt it. While in tliis tearful condition, Capt. A-"a Brown, 
seeing his distress, hunted the hat for him. 

Afterwards, and during Mr. Brown's life, his early yoiilh 
ful friend never failed to show his attachment and to support 
him in his candidacy for the sherifif's office made in 1845, con- 
trary to the expectancy of friends of later favors. There were 
three other candidates in the field, John Lequiex, called Jack 
by his friends and neighbors; Solomon Coward, for re-elec- 
tion, called King Solomon, who, like all other sheriffs in those 

14 Reminicensces of 

days, was called King by those he was forced to oppress; and 
W. J. Carter, on the "crick," who never failed to say the deuce 
at any thing funny, was also dubbed the Deuce by his friends 
and neighbors. When the election was had, and its results 
showed Carter's election, old Capt. Asa Brown, called Ace 
for short, of known wit and humor characteristic of that family 
of Browns, exclaimed in a loud, gleeful tone of voice in the 
court house at Kingstree: "Gentlemen, gentlemen, this is the 
first time in my life I've ever known the deuce to beat the 
ace, king and the jack." The crowd whooped, and were so 
pleased with his originality and humor with which he took his 
defeat, that they contended that he should be treated the bal- 
ance of the day, but Capt. Brown stood up under all the cour- 
tesies of his numerous friends but never lived to enter a sec- 
ond race. In the days of long ago, "seven-up" was the only 
game of cards played, excepting "smut" and "old maid" with 
ladies, and hence Brown's allusion to that game enjoyed in 
private circles and at public places mostly for sport or treats. 

About the eighth year of our lives a new era in early boy- 
hood is opening, and he is known no more as a shirt tail boy, 
but assumes a place among his people. He is noticed and 
much cared for as he accompanies the older children to 
school, held as a reserved force in case of sickness or accidents, 
as a body-guard for his sisters he provides himself with a stick, 
which he claims will be used if the wolves invade his path, as 
the wolves did yet at times make havoc among the sheep, 
and when very hungry would attack little boys, it was said, 
and to show his boasted heroism, a snake story will suffice. 
Snakes were so numerous that children imagined them every- 
where, and were in constant dread of them. The whip snake 
was held in greatest horror, for it was told they would whip 
you to death with their long tapered tails, and that being on 
horseback was no protection, as they would outstrip the horse 
at his best speed, fasten their fangs into his legs and whip 
the rider to death. One evening on our return from school, 
and in sight of our home, one of his sisters suddenly screamed 
out: "Ohe! Ohe! Snake bite me!" We ran with all our 
might, bellowing the dreadful news to our parents and others 
who came running to meet us. Such a bellowing was heard 
all around that even the lamentations of cattle over the blood 

Williamsburg County. 15 

of one of their mates fail to express our heart-rendering- cries, 
caused by the dreaded snake bite, which upon examination, 
proved to be quite sHght, and brought out the fact, that the 
snake seen by one of the sisters, was a Httle longer than Jane's 
lingers, the supposed victim to the fury of a venomous reptile. 

As a protector, Sam occasionally went with his sisters 
to a school located on the brow of the hill on the eastern side 
of Indiantown swamp bridges, taught by a Mr. North, and be- 
ing a privileged scholar, he said one or two lessons a day if 
he felt disposed. One day the teacher confined him to the 
school room and put the ABC book in his hand to study the 
lesson. This was more than he had been accustomed to en- 
dure, and, after dinner when the school was called in, he did 
not respond, but lay in the road at the foot of the hill, playing 
in the sand. After a while his sisters came and begged their 
brother to go into the school house, which failing, they of- 
fered to pay him, but with like results. Mr. North sent one 
of the boys to entice him to come in, but he went back as he 
came, and then the teacher, fearing that the boy would attempt 
to run away and get lost, came down the hill and kindly asked 
Sam to go back with him, but when he told the teacher, "I 
have the belly ache," he left and perhaps pitied his agony 
without the means at hand to ease it. There is a probability 
of the truth in this case when it is asserted that boys, like him, 
could not be kept from eating raw turnips, potatoes and pin- 
ders. Mr. North, an Englishman, was said to possess much 
gentility and educational advantages, and acquired some noto- 
riety when Willtown was at its zenith. He married a Miss 
Morris at Black Mingo, and died in early manhood. A few 
years after his death, and while the widow and her children 
were in a destitute condition, their circumstances and place of 
residence being told to the great and wealthy Mr. William 
Burrows, who remembered Mr. North as his teacher in boy- 
hood years, built a place for them on his plantation on Turkey 
Creek, and thus they were placed in a good condition and 
near the widow's brother, old Mr. Robert Morris, of known 
piety and devoutness. One of her sons, J. Wesley North, was 
educated by Mr. Burrows, and this boy, thus strengthened and 
encouraged, made some distinction before our war as a Meth- 
odist minister. 

There was one other school of like pretensions, taught by 
Mr. John Hanna in a school house above the Indiantown 

16 Reminiscences of 

church on the Paisley road. This house, like Mr. North's, was 
small, built of poles, with clay floor and one door, one or two 
cracks between the poles left undaubed with clay served as 
windows to give light and ventilation to the scholars; the 
teacher usually sat at the door. One incident happening at 
Mr. Hanna's school is fully remembered, and it was in this 
manner: All the children were in the school house studying 
their lessons, and here too Sam, wild, fat and lively, was a 
privileged scholar, and standing in the door near the teacher 
looking out into the woods, a hawk suddenly passed in view, 
and he as suddenly exclaimed: '"Looker the hawk! Looker 
the hawk!" and helloing and clapping his hands in pursuit, 
not stopping till he had him clean out of sight. Mr. Hanna 
was a young man of much promise and died a short time after 
his engagement with the above school. He was a son of old 
Mr. Hugh Hanna, of Revolutionary fame, coming down 
South with Gen. Green's army, joining Gen. Marion's brigade, 
and was wounded in one of the battles by a bullet from the 
enemy, which, having been extracted, has been preserved and 
cherished by the family, and probably it can yet be shown by 
some member of the Hanna family, and the curious are re- 
spectfully referred to our esteemed auditor, H. Z. Hanna, and 
his brother, W. J. Hanna, survivors of the grandsons of the 
old Revolutionary character, old Mr. Hugh Hanna. 

Here ends Sam's free and easy manners and hencefor- 
ward lie is known as a school boy, as Col. D. D. Wilson and 
old Mr. Samuel McGill united in a school and engaged the 
services of a Mr. McGuire to teach for them in Col. David 
Gordon's old residence, situated about half way between them. 
Col. Gordon is of great Revolutionary fame under Marion, 
and his son, Mr. John Gordon, settled near his father's old 
place, and his other son, William, either dying early or mov- 
ing away, is not in the author's memory, but his son, the late 
John A. Gordon, residing over Black River near the Lower 
Bridge, across Black River, ever neat and elegant at home 
and abroad, stands prominently before us, his virtues reflected 
in his family as in extended prominence and usefulness is his 
son, our fellow citizen, Mr. D. E. Gordon, of Lane's. The old 
place of Col. Gordon was afterwards owned by Mr. Samuel 
Scott, who married one of his family, and sold by him to Mr. 
Wilson Rodgers whose son, Melvin Rodgers, owns the place. 
Now. as a resumption of the school with which this paragraph 

Williamsburg County. 17 

began it only remains to be told that so remiss in his duty as 
a school master was Mr. McGuire, that at or before the end 
of his engagement he was discharged. But even here in this 
short time there was a glory, for between D. E. Wilson and 
L. D. McGill, the only boys at that school, an endearment 
arose which has lasted now seventy-five years. Ned Wilson's 
elder brother, R. Harvey Wilson, could not attend this school 
on account of an abscess in his side, which was lanced by Dr. 
Bradley, residing at Kingstree. A large scar between his 
lower ribs remained, which when shown to the school boys a 
short time after the healing, created a horrified sensation and 
a wonder at the heroism of Harvey in having the nerve to un- 
dergo the awful operation. 

The week or ten days innnediately preceding Thursday, 
26th April, 1826, were made the scenes of unusual bustle and 
activity in and around the McGill homestead at Indiantown, 
second only to the birth of the first born of that family, now 
to be given away in the bonds of holy wedlock. The house 
was scoured from top to bottom, and the house, yard and 
outside the front gate raked and swept. The wood yard filled 
with all manner of dry wood, and great piles of oak and light- 
wood heaped up outside the gate for the accommodation of 
servants, boys and gentlemen, too, to be used during the ex- 
pected wedding night. The old brick oven was hardly al- 
lowed to cool day or night, in roasting turkies and pigs 
(barbecuing w^as unknown then) and in baking pies and cakes, 
chief of which was the great cake steeple to decorate the sup- 
per table centre. Cake for the bride, groom and parson was 
placed at the head and foot of their respective places, and 
cakes cut in slices, placed on a large waiter and glasses of 
wine in another waiter, to be carried around by negro women 
servants, neatly dressed, and served forth to the parson, bride 
and groom and their waiters, and the guests soon after con- 
gratulation services. One large cake and a bottle of wine are 
set aside for a special purpose. While this baking and icing of 
cakes are going on, the little children of the family and those 
of neighbors called to assist in the wedding preparations, there 
is a great effort made by our "old maumer," provided with a 
long switch to keep them away from the cakes and out of 
the way of the workers, as they are in all manner of mischief. 

AlDOUt sundown of this day the little boys and girls are 
waiting at the gate in expectation of the coming of the two 

18 Reminiscences of 

heralds who are to announce the readiness of the groom and 
his party yet out of sight, and to carry back to them the bottle 
of wine and the cake, the former of which is claimed and given 
to the winner in the horse race just made, and the cake to the 
otlier rider, in accordance with a long established custom. 
"Diamond," a splendid black horse, belonging to Italy Wilson, 
of Kingstree, won the bottle. At early twilight the house was 
lighted with tallow candles placed in candlesticks and the great 
log heaps outside the gate were set on fire, and the groom and 
party are at the gate, and many negro boys and men offering 
their services to hold the horses, expecting to be paid, while 
the groom's horse is carried round to the stable. Quickly the 
bridal party are together, and appear in the hall before the par- 
son, and as quickly, John Thomas Scott and Elizabeth Amelia 
McGill are married by the Rev. Mr. Cousar. Supper being 
over and the parson with his cake, affectionately bidding 
good-bye, dancing commenced and continued till morning 
light. The next day looked like Sunday and was a general 
breaking up, as chairs, dishes, plates, knives, forks, cups, sau- 
cers and spoons were sent back to the neighbors from whom 
they had been borrowed. 

Before the lapse of six weeks there was another wedding 
at our house, tho' of less magnitude, as on the 6th Jiine, 1826, 
Samuel John Snowden and Jennet Louisa McGill were mar- 
ried. The loss of their tvi^o first daughters gained two kind 
loving and dutiful sons-in-law to their parents, who were ever 
pleased to recognize their "Pah and Mah" as of distinct rela- 
tionship in giving aid and comfort, not alone to their parents, 
but to their brothers and sisters whom they called "Brother 
Tom and Brother John." In the family Bible the following 
records are there: "Elizabeth Amelia McGill was born 12th 
August, 1807. Married J. L. Scott, 27th April, 1826. -They 
moved to Arkansas i860. Mr. Scott died on the w^ay." This 
dear old sister, now in her 87th year last year, wrote 
a kind letter to the writer in her own hand writing, after the 
old style. Three of her children are yet with her and her 
youngest son, Brad. Scott, is of marked prominence in wealth 
and personal charms. "Jennet Louisa McGill was born 17th 
January, 1810. Married S. J. Snowden 6th June, 1826, and 
died in child-bed on 5th March, 1827. Buried in the Indian- 
town church yard." Mr. Snowden afterwards manied Miss 
Jane Barr, who, dying, he married Eliza Paisley, and they two, 

Williamsburg County. 19 

in compliment to his first wives, called their first born Mary 
Louisa Jane, who is now the degant and accomplished Mrs. 
Mary Durant, whose children, men and women now, by her 
first husband, Mr. Samuel Italy Wilson, son of Col. David D. 
Wilson, and brother of Dr. David Edward Wilson, are of 
marked ability, highly and gladly entertained among us, not 
alone for their own intrinsic, moral and intellectual worth, but 
that class of citizens whom WiUiamsburg county ever rejoiced 
to claim and honor. The Wilson family was highest in beauty 
of person and modesty of behavior, and this writer delighted 
to be seen in this company. 



o'clock games — AMUSEMENTS, &C. SUNDAY AND 


Parts of the following narrative were read to the white 
and colored Teachers' Institute lately held in Kingstree and is 
here reproduced: 

Old age is honorable, is a maxim. In the days of ancient 
Rome, during the period of her brightest, intellectual and 
moral culture, old age was so greatly characterized and re- 
ceived such marked and respectful attention that it was said 
to be a pleasure to grow old in Sparta. 

In our modern day, amid the hurry of life, old age is yet 
honorable, and its fortunate possessor is expected to be able 
to instruct the youths in the paths of wisdom both by his ex- 
ample and knowledge of the history of his immediate country, 
and his reminiscences of the past events of his own life 
worthy of recital. 

This latter requirement of the old is what is now desired 
to be done, by first introducing you to our old-fashioned 
school houses, to the teacher and to the schools taught fifty 
and sixty-five years ago, recording some amusing and instruc- 
tive incidents connected therewith, including the mode of 
teaching employed, the rigid discipline found necessary to en- 
gage attention to study, the coercive system as the prerogative 
of the teacher and the quiet, submissive acceptance of the 

20 Reminiscences of 

scholar as a matter of course, because their fathers expected 
it and had undergone the same sufferance before them. Also 
the author's experience and trials during the years of his early 
school life in learning the a b c lesson, the many spelling les- 
sons as were contained in Webster's spelling book, known as 
the Old Blue Back, together with some incidents of that 
period, such as anecdotes, 12 o'clock amusements in games, 
the kindness of the dear little girls, the pecuHarities, eccentrici- 
ties and inelegance of the boys, all constituting the old field 
schools of long ago years. 

It was in January, 1829, the employers of the Indiantown 
school (the term patrons was unknown then) engaged the ser- 
vices of an old gentleman from Georgetown to take charge of 
their school for a term of twelve calendar months; there was 
no vacation of the school granted to teacher, except perhaps a 
4th July celebration day, then so common, and a few days only 
at Christmas and all other days were at the teacher's expense. 
Hence arose the bar out plan among the school children, by 
which the teacher was made to give two weeks Christmas holi- 
days, peacefully if he will, forcibly if we must. This latter 
alternative was seldom made necessary, as the teacher, fearing 
a duckni in the nearest pond, gracefully yielded to the require- 
ments of a petition signed by the whole school, tho' with a 
faint protest, it seeming to be his duty to make some show of 
resistance to the invaders of his domain. 

In those days the teacher's work began at early morn and 
closed at late noon each day, barely giving the children time 
to get home by sun down. At 12 o'clock there was a recess 
for dinner and play. The general appearance of this old gen- 
tleman, tall in stature, neat in dress, his linen ruffles, then 
a mark of gentility, when not protruding carefully laid back 
over his breast under his vest, his long gray hairs smoothly 
combed on his neck, his graceful manner as he walked up and 
down the school house in his long, flowing gown in summer, 
it being considered indecorous to be seen in shirt sleeves in so- 
ciety, are indelibly imprinted on the school boy's brain. Such 
was Mr. Levi Durand, of Georgetown. For two succeeding 
years he was employed in the same school, which gave • the 
children the advantage of three consecutive years of tuition 
under one teacher. 

Old Mr. Durand was a disciplinarian in the school room 
surely belonging to the "most straightest sect" of teachers. 

Williamsburg County. 21 

was a wonderful believer in the application of the switch 
across our knees, but more usually over our shoulders on our 
backs. Acting under a necessity, as it was considered, his 
use of the chinquepin twig, then abounding in the woods and 
fence corners, was liberal and even dexterous, and he spared 
not, particularly on the boys, who, when the supply of switches 
placed vertically in a certain corner in easy reach of the teacher, 
was exhausted, were sent out to cut others, and who did some 
times ring them round with a thin, sharp bladed knife, by 
which they would easily snap in two to the annoyance of the 
teacher and to the joy of the school. Diligent inquiry by the 
teacher frequently failed to find out him who had cut the 
switches, as only the sharpest boys with the sharpest knives, 
as were the Gordon boys, Jim and Dave, would dare to do such 
hazardour tricks, and make a success. 

The Indiantown Presbyterian session house was our 
school room, in which were twenty-five or thirty children 
seated. Its location was at the west end of the Indiantown 
graveyard and in full view of that old and venerable historic 
burying spot, with its graves and tomb-stones. This constant 
exposition of the memorials of the dead before our eyes may 
have moulded our youthful minds into the belief of the visita- 
tions of ghosts on earth and the realization of ghost stories, 
heightened by keeping company with the negro boys at home, 
who were so superstitious, made so' by their parents, that their 
lives were chastened by the stories of the dead in their 
communication with them as seen at graveyards or in the dead 
hours of the night. 

There was one window at the end of the house, from 
which was extended our long pine board writing desk, reach- 
ing half the length of the room. Thus obstructed, we were cut 
ofif from the outside world, and during school hours we were 
a nation of ourselves, but we contrived a way to look out 
through the chinks of the weather boards made larger by 
knives, thus afifording one peep at people passing by when the 
teacher was otherwise engaged. 

The boys and girls were allotted on opposite sides, facing 
each other, not only at our writing stand, but during the 
hours of study. Seated on hard, high pitched benches we 
would swing our feet and legs underneath them, thus giving 
circulation to our almost senseless limbs, caused by long sit- 
ting in one place. This deadened condition of our feet and 

22 Reminiscences of 

limbs were known as "gone to sleep," which was made sensi- 
ble and visible as we rise from the benches and start to walk. 

There was penalty if the boys intruded on the girl's side 
of the school room, and no interview with them was admissi- 
ble. This injunction was very trying to some of the boys and 
perhaps unkind to the dear little girls, who may have desired 
to consult with us respecting our lessons. Yet our eyes met 
and their afifectionate meeting did mollify, in some measure, 
the hard fate of all. 

No talking, whispering or laughing were allowed in 
school. When anything funny occiUTcd, we smothered the 
laugh by placing the palms of our hands over our mouths and 
holding our noses with the thumb and forefinger. In some in- 
stances, a mischievous boy sitting by would suddenly jerk our 
hands away, and thus uncover the pent up risible ebullition, 
the noise of wdiich we try to make resemble a cough, and, 
when imnoticed by the teacher that mischievous boy went un- 
challenged, but it not, he had to account for his damaging 
trick at 12 o'clock. The eyes of the teacher were fixed on us, 
and for the least looking away from books he was ever shout- 
ing to some one in a peremptory tone of voice, "Get your les- 
son." The position of our books held up in front of the face 
did afford some respite, by which we watched the teacher from 
its sides or peeped over its top at him. 

Our home-made ink, in broken wine glasses, was fixed in 
the centre of our writing stand along its entire length. Our 
pens were goose cjvull and the school master employed his 12 
o'clocks in making new pens and mending old ones put on his 
table, with a pen knife. There was a set time for waiting dur- 
ing which the wdiole school was thus engaged, the teacher 
standing over us, directing and even guiding our pens. It 
must have been amusing and a test of his patience to hear our 
complaints of the defection of our pens when handed to him 
to mend; such as "it is too hard and won't let out the ink," or, 
"it is too soft and lets out too much ink," or, "it splatters the 
ink over the paper." 

Our copy books were made the length of fools cap paper 
which the teacher ruled, being two parallel lines for big hand 
and one for little hand and we wrote as much of one as of the 
other. Our copies w-ere on little strips of paper written by the 
teacher, and we were required to keep them over every pre- 
ceding line of ours, imitating the teacher's own hand \vriting 

Williamsburg County. 23 

alone. We were made to copy letter by letter, making them 
round and full with directions to make "down strokes heavy, 
up strokes light," and to keep our copy books neat and clean, 
and woe to us if we blotch them or make fancy touches of the 
letters. We all wrote a similar hand, somewhat corresponding 
to the plain and elegant chirography of the master. 

Our slate pencils, fastened to the slate by a string, were 
mostly cut from the old broken slates our fathers had used, be- 
ing frameless, large and thick and consequently weighty, pre- 
ferring those to bought ones, which were irregular in shape, 
being more flattened than oval and generally too hard, 
scratching the slate and making our flesh crawl. Our lead 
pencils were made from melted buck shot or rifle bullets, ham- 
mered round and fixed in cane stems, and so too, were the 
slate pencils. 

We were all in Old Webster, and at first each one in a 
class alone. After many days of restlessness, perplexity and 
distress in the confines of a school room, we master the a b c's 
for we can read them up and down and skip about. Learning 
the alphabet in those days was an up hill business ; its acquisi- 
tion, unaided by parents, who claimed they had turned you 
over to the school master, was a source of much gladness and 
boasting as tho' we knew we had a world of letters at our com- 
mand. We now turn over a new leaf, and it is well to do so, 
for the a b c page is so defaced and worn that these characters 
are hardly distinguishable. 

We chime through the ba"s, bla's, bra's, spla's, 
spra's with a chanting voice, giving a cadence at the 
end of each, and by the time we become familiar 
with the long sound of such syllables and tiirn a new 
leaf we encounter another difficulty in learning the short 
sound of vowels, as ab, et, ib, ob, ub; and after so long time, 
attended with great labor, we turn many leaves and are almost 
in sight of Baker, and we tell our friends whether asked or no, 
that one leaf more will carry us to Baker, which in our time 
was ever hailed as the height of a little boy's ambition. By 
this time the pages over which we have gone are torn and 
blackened and only with care can be kept in their right places. 
They present a picture of hard usage, their corners crisped 
and turned up, and we called them "dog ears" from their fan- 
cied resemblance to that canine appendage. 

Our left thumbs, tisfhtlv holding: the lower and centre 

24 Reminiscences of 

part of the preceding pages, moistened by the perspiration 
produced by such hard work, have worn through the leaves of 
the book even to the binders. Before we are done with the 
Baker lesson we have learned to spell and combine syllables 
to form a word, which we found equally, if not more, difficult 
than in any former lesson. But master it, and henceforward 
begin to take pleasure in our book, and have more regard for 
its appearance. We have passed the Rubicon and better times 
are in view as we spell the crucifix and; other three syllable 
lessons with some ease and much satisfaction. 

Now, we are good climbers and arrive at Aerial, this be- 
ing the first word in the lesson of four syllables. Aerial! Well 
do I remember that word. I missed it and was whipped ; still 
standing by the side of the teacher, I missed it at the second 
trial, and again at the third, and was whipped each time. Tears 
blinded my eyes, and if confusion worse confounded was ever 
exemplified in a quiet and innocent way my condition, exhib- 
ited to the whole school, was a case of it. Many other trials 
to spell the words by syllables and connect each, produced the 
same results. Yet even then and there I made a discovery 
that tear drops are magnifiers of greatest capacity, reflecting 
all the colors of a prism, as each letter of the six composing 
the word Aerial looked, if not as long and large as a finger, 
really too large to be recognizable, while their edges were 
variegated with all the colors of a rainbow. I survived the 
dilemma, assured that if any unkind feeling was engendered, 
it was not long entertained. May not this particular circum- 
stance on that day in the school house account for the school 
boy's aerial voyages through life. If air castle-builders are 
aerial voyagers, then this query can be answered in the affirm- 
ative. A few days later, after the aerial trip, we met with the 
word Memorandum in another spelling lesson. Memorandum! 
Yes, well was that word impressed, because the same scenes 
were re-enacted as those in aerial. May not this circumstance 
account for the keeping of a memorandum book or diary be- 
ginning in 1836 and continuing till the last few years? One 
other whipping received, and that ends this chapter. In writ- 
ing one of our copies as "Sin and sorrow are inseparable com- 
panions," Sam, contrary to orders, made the tail of the capital 
S resemble that of a snake in his kwile on the way down, and 
refusing to be reprimanded for it, was forced to accept both, 
and the same aerial and memorandum scenes were re-enacted. 

Williamsburg County. 25 

May not this circumstance account for the plain, yet elegant 
writing for which Sam has ever been commended? In this 
last whip, Sam, who had cut up quite a caper around its opera- 
tor during its application, while yet loudly and deeply sobbing 
on his seat, hurled back the epithet given in the teeth of the 
teacher at the command of his temper: "You is as much of a 
puppy as I is." By way of an interlude to excuse the digres- 
sion these two friends, after a total absence of the teacher from 
among us during ten subsequent years, met amid many con- 
gratulations, mingled with tears of joy, so great was our pleas- 
ure to be placed face to face again in this world. 

Our spelling lessons, as we advance, are hailed with al- 
most boundless joy, as we enter the extensive plain of "tions 
and sions," and the prospect delighted us. A charm is attached 
to them; these suffixes are more numerous than the others, 
increasing in importance and strength along with educational 
and intellectual progress of the day. The words monetization 
and demonetizations are examples of their extension and 
usage. These syllables are popular without derivation or mean- 
ing, but being euphoneous, please the ear and mark the sub- 
ject or object of sentences with few exceptions used in the 
affirmation of them. 

A professor in the Medical College of South Carolina, in 
Charleston, in 1839 and 1840, whose branch of instruction was 
physiology, where there are so many words ending in "tions," 
such as, dentition, mastication, deglutition, etc., gave addi- 
tional charms to them, not only by his deep, full tone of voice, 
but in the peculiarity of his pronunciation of them, making 
them rhyme with "John" or as if spelt "shon," as he said to his 
class: "Sensation is the perception of an impression made 
upon some organ," sounding the last word almost a "shon." 

Still advancing by slow and anxious steps we reach and 
pass the lessons containing five and six syllables, giving the 
proper accent to their syllables as taught, and commanded to 
do. On we go, and arriving at immateriality, perpendicularity 
and a dozen or more words of seven syllables, which, with two 
words ol eight syllables, incomprehensibility, unintelligibility,we 
spell with ease and a degree of self-complacency and boyish 
pomposity. Mentally holding these at our fingers' end, we 
safely and joyously overtake the long expected lesson, near 
the end of our old Webster, called by us the "Briar Patch," 
where the letters have not the sounds we have been accus- 

26 Reminiscences of 

tomed to give them, such as any, batteau, busy, business, col- 
onel and so on, the last being chevaux defrise. These afford" 
some fun as testing- the capacity of our minds in the compre- 
hension of the spelling- of these words, familiar to usage — and 
the retention of them in our memories. 

A few lessons more and we are among the pictures, seven 
of them, which held up before our eyes with their moral les- 
sons w^ere of more value than if seven silver dollars, then 
almost as scarce as hen's teeth, lay at our feet. What! Well, 
form your own conclusions. These pictures we read and re- 
read, we memorize them and find pleasure in reciting them to 
anybody who will deign to accept our importunities and listen 
to us. The girls were more pleased with the fable of the boy 
that stole apples, and for any unkindness to them they would 
taunt us with the epithets applied to the rude boy, such as 
'■youngster, young sauce box, young chap," while the boys 
with a show of retaliation, would tease the girls by citing a 
portion of the fable of the country maid and her milk pail, 
who with her new green dress, expected to toss away in disdain 
at the next May party from the young fellows who had 
slighted her on a previous occasion. There were no pictures 
in the books of this period, excepting the seven in Webster, 
and in the school edition of Aesop's Tables, just introduced, 
and those large and beautiful ones in the family Bible 
which the children sadly defaced in looking at them on Sun- 
day evenings. 

Before the expiration of three years' continuous study 
we have, to some extent, mastered our dear old Webster, for 
we are good spellers and fluent readers. To this broad asser- 
tion there is one exception which should be made. Sam sur- 
vived the cocrsive system of the teachers of those times with 
a glimmering hope of its utility in after life, but he cannot say 
the same of one other scholar of our school. Tho' not bodily 
corrected, being the largest and oldest boy among us, he was 
made to read over and over half dozen times Aesop's 
Fable of the Mountain and Mouse at one standing. He be- 
came more and more confused in the recitation of it, and could 
not clearly enunciate the difference between "out crept a 
mouse and out crept the mouse," sometimes changing them 
to out crept the mice and out crept a mice. The repetition of 
that fable and the impressiveness of that scholar with the 
teacher bending over him, are present in the mind as the 


writer repeats. "The mountains were said to be in labor and 
uttered most dreadful groans. The people came together 
far and near to see wdiat birth would be produced, and after 
they had waited a considerable time in expectation out crept 
a mouse." 

Old Mr. William McFadden, than whom none was more 
modest, innocent and peaceful, used to say that his son John 
was as bright a child as he had, but that old Mr. Durant had 
injured his mind. 

About the time we supposed our knowledge was com- 
plete in the last lessons of Webster's Spelling Book, where 
many words are pronounced alike, but spelt differently, having 
their definitions affixed, we received for the exercise of our 
literary advancement a written example of two of these words, 
leaving eight blanks to be supplied by them in a sentence of 
fifteen words when completed. In its operation, for once in 
our mutual affection and interest we were selfish, as we hide 
our slates from our neighbors in our anxiety to test each 
other's power of understanding. When our slates w'ere ready 
for inspection there was quite a merriment at the expense 
of the unthinking in the absence of instructions to confine 
ourselves to the biblical account of the slaughter of Abel by 
his brother Cain, and to always begin proper names with a 
capital. As well as remembered the sentence was thus given 
to us on separate sheets of paper and presented in this wise : 

"Abel, a man's name. Able, strong, powerful. 
Cain, a man's name. Cane, a shrub or staf¥. 

If was to why was not to 


Anything and everything were eagerly sought to disen- 
gage our minds during the recess hours from the five hours 
labors and restrictions in the school room. 

In Arithmetic we have learned, after many weeks of labor, 
the Multiplication Table, getting at first one line each night, 
but they had to be well gotten. Sums in addition, multipli- 
cation, subtraction and division were made on our slates by 
the teacher, and when obtained and presented to him, if the 
answers were correct, new^ ones were given; but otherwise he 
would say "wrong," and one would have to go over the work. 
A sum in long division, with its divisor in the millions, and 
its dividend extending thence lengthwise of the slate, and its 

28 Reminiscences of 

quotient when obtained placed down along the margin, did 
occupy two weeks of our time, and every few days the figures 
had to be remarked by us to increase legibility. 

Then we were given "Pike's Arithmetic," who must have 
been an Englishman, as most of his sums were in that cur- 
rency, with a scattering in of "Federal money," and after 
some sort of manner we skim right along with our heads just 
above water till we arithmetically drown in the sea of inverse 
proportions both in the "Single and Double Rule of Three." 
When the answer to the question was made we were expected 
to hand in our work to the teacher, and he would say, "Got 
the answer? Go to the next sum." There was much to be 
troubled about in the rule called "Practice," in taking parts of 
the shillings, pence and farthings, and were it not for one of 
the boys, William Paisley, having a mathematical turn of 
mind, from whose slate we other boys copied, we would have 
been found in the vocative — wanting, as in Latin cases of 
nouns. Here we are threatened with a rule just ahead, as we 
are told, "Tare and Tret will make you sweat." Somewhere 
along here were the Fractions, which we did not understand, 
and cared less, as they were considered a somewhat useless 
possession, as only the fractions one-fourth, one-half and 
three-fourths were the ones used in our business transactions, 
such as 6 1-4, 12 1-2, 183-4 cents. 

In Geography we knew the grand divisions of the globe, 
learned the names of the natural divisions of land and water 
and to define them, could bound countries and States, tell 
their capitols, largest towns and lakes, longest rivers and 
highest mountains, and this was about all we were required 
to do. We were perfect as far as we were taught and had 
them at the tip of our tongues. We were pleased with the 
sweet sounds of many names in South America, which were 
increased by their soft pronunciation by the girls, such as Rio 
de Janeiro, Santiago, Valparaiso, Orinoco, Pernambuco and 
Parimaribo, also Bonos Ayres and Venezuela. The spelling 
of Constantinople, given by syllables, created much fun at the 
expense of the uninitiated, where the "no" comes in. We 
boasted of our ability to spell Michilimacinack (nack pro- 
nounced naw) and Chickamacomico; the one has been volved 
into Mackinaw Bay, while the other has disappeared from our 
modern literature. 

In Grammar we knew all the large print in Murray and 

Williamsburg County. 29 

memorized it. At the beginning we met the first difficulty, as 
the language employed to describe the four parts intO' which 
grammar is divided was too elevated for our comprehension. 
We easily learned the nme sorts of words and could define 
them, and as Murray's Grammar has nearly become extinct 
and entirely ruled out of our schools, it may be profitable to 
present some of his definitions. Hear him: "A substantive 
or noun is the name of anything that exists or of which we 
have any notion. An adjective is a word added to a substan- 
tive to express its quality or some circumstance respecting it. 
A verb is a word which signifies to be, to do or to suffer." The 
term now called noun was unused and we parsed it a substan- 
tive — for instance, we said "man is a common substantive." 
The declension of the verbs in their various voices, moods, 
tenses, numbers and persons seems to have been our fort, for 
all the class are equally prepared, and it may be the choice of 
the verb "'to love" had an impetus on our affections. Most 
of the Rules were sufficiently intelligible, and their applica- 
tions in parsing promptly and correctly made; but a few were 
not, and yet we knew them in words, and when prompted to 
apply them they were repeated as tho' we were running a race 
to get clear of them, such as Rule XIV, "Two negatives in 
English destroy one another, and are equivalent to an affirma- 
tive; as, did they not perveive him, that is, they did perceive 
him." The query is, had we ever seen or heard of negative 
and affirmative outside of our spelling book? There are 
doubts. Rule XIX. In the use of words and phrases which in 
point of time relate to each other a due regard to that relation 
should be observed; as, instead of saying, "The Lord hath given 
and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the 
Lord," we should say, "The Lord gave and the Lord hath 
taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord." Such lan- 
guage may seem of easy construction, and perhaps is to the 
present generation of children, but in our day and time it was 
beyond the depth of our untutored minds, where the power 
of memory alone was our reliance and pride. 

Kept under great surveillance from the time we are called 
in to "Books" in the morning on the arrival of the school 
master to noon, we are tired and hungry, and having no 
watches in the school but the teacher's, whose face he pur- 
posely held away from us, it is no wonder our eyes were ever 
on the twelve o'clock mark at the door, which, if observed by 

30 Reminiscences of 

the master, we got the reminder from him, "Get your lessons." 
There was a joy when he announced "12 o'clock," as was 
demonstrated by the whole school, leaving our books on the 
benches, jumping and running for our hats and dinner buck- 
ets, and leaping out of the school house. Confined five or six 
hours without intermission, save going out with "the stick" 
one at a time, which rested at the door, we watcli for the re- 
turn of the boy with the stick and snatch for it. One going 
out in the morning and another at evening were all that were 
allowed us, and if oftener a permit from the teacher had to be 
obtained, but there were frequent violations of these rules by 
the bolder and more cunning of us in a stealthy way. Eating 
the cold dinner of cold fried bacon or chicken with "flitters," 
fried potatoes and cold rice, with any quantity of corn bread, 
with a relish, was a jolly time, as was shown by the heavy 
knocks on our backs necessary to dislodge the choke by a 
half dozen or more of the boys, and however hard the knocks, 
they were accepted in fun, and as a rightful method in the 
absence of water. Dinner being dispatched with greasy hands 
and lips, the smell these fries left on the well bucket with 
grease floating on its water, was anything but a joy, but of 
general remark, as we wash our hands and faces with water 
poured from the bucket, and sometimes without soap, and dry 
them on pocket liandkerchiefs, which, when furnished, was 
through the providence of the girls. 

After dinner the twelve o'clock recess was given to sports, 
and in most of our games the boys and the girls played to- 
gether. In playing "Hail Over" rhe house the girls dashed 
around to the other side equal to the boys, and in "baseball" 
they used their aprons to catch the flying ball, and it was 
amusing to see them scattered around on the play ground, 
running about with stretched aprons to catch the ball, and 
when caught to pitch or roll it to the nearest boy. on their side, 
being good catchers but no slingers. In the game of "Steal 
Clothes" we divided into two companies chosen by the cap- 
tains, who, drawing a long line on the ground, claim their 
respective sides of it as their possession, while the clothes, 
consisting of the boys' round jackets and the girls' aprons 
were placed thirty or forty yards in the rear of each company. 
Any one caught in the act of stealing or pulled over the line 
was neither paroled nor exchanged, but put into active service 
on the opposite side to which he first belonged. When all are 

Williamsburg County. 31 

ready along the line he game begins by ofifering to shake 
hands or "huddy" across the line, by which banter the 
stronger expected to pull the weaker over to his side. Soon 
two engage, and calling for help, both sides instantly rush to 
assist in the pull, each one forming in the rear, clinching the 
dress or hugging the waist, when a powerful pulling succeeds 
by which the two first engaged, unable longer to hold, become 
forcibly disengaged, and down go to the ground both lines, 
falling upon each other. In the meantime a set of skirmishers 
alone: the line, watching the opportunity, succeeds, if not run 
back, in carrying oR one piece, and after this planner the 
game continues till one or the other side loses his company 
and his clothes. 

Another game was played in two companies, each having 
a base called home. The game was called "Fox and Geese," 
as both shout to each other in this manner as the foxes thus 
begin, "Goosey, goosey gander." The geese replies, "Fox in 
the manger." "How many geese you got?" "More than you can 
catch at one haul." Then all simultaneously shout and banter; 
the last touch oi home gives the preference to catch, by which 
all are soon engaged and long races ensue. 

On a windy or drizzly day, all being out on the play 
grounds, we extend our arms to their full lengths and turn 
round and round, saying, "Rain come wet me, sun come dry 
me," till dizziness prostrates us, saying as we fall to the 
ground, "Oh, I am drunk," thinking m our innocence there 
was fun in getting drunk. Or, at otlifcr times, two of us would 
hook our fingers together with our toes touching and with our 
heads and bodies swinging backwards, prance round and 
round with our pattering feet in a circle till drunkenness suc- 
ceeds, throwing us in different directions. 

Baseball was played with paddles, having a half dozen or 
more base stretches, and using a game ball such as was played 
against a house. In another school this game was called 
"Town Ball," played with round sticks and a solid India 
rubber ball, which some of the boys could send high up in 
the air, falling to the ground a hundred yards or more from 
the home base. In one of these games Sam was running 
around, and Davy Frierson, being out in the field and a great 
thrower, threw the ball at him, which, striking him on the 
temple, felled him to the ground, and before he could rise 

32 Reminiscences of 

Davy came running up and saying in a sorrowful way, "Oh, 
Cousin Sam, I didn't go to do it." 

The game "Bull Pen'' was very exciting, not only to see 
the bulls drop flat on the ground to dodge the ball, but to see 
the last one on the line run the lines and through the pen 
to get a near shot from any part of the lines of the pen. 

In "Roley Holey," in which each had a hole dug in the 
ground, we stand around them, as a player rolls the ball con- 
fined between two poles, and before it settles in any hole the 
more excitable boys dash away, and being called to, return 
only to find*the ball in their hole, and the other players beyond 
the reach of his ball as he throws. For every out a chip is put 
in his hole, three outs putting you out the game. The last in 
the game being the winner, has a ten step throw at the open 
hand of each player, resting on the wall of the house. If Jie 
strikes any other place than the open hand he must expose 
his hand to the throws of those who received the ball outside 
their open hands. 

In another play two of the tallest boys would lock hands 
and hold them up to form an arched gate. A line of the 
scholars formed, and catching on to each other's dresses, they 
advance through the gate, saying, 

"Hold up the gate as high as the sky. 
To let King George and his army pass by," 

through which entry the gate keepers try to get the hindmost. 
Tliis may have been to personify the devil's claim to the lag- 
gards, or the play had in derision, as history records the patri- 
otism and devotion to the cause of American Independence of 
every man in that section of country, under the leadership of 
Gen. Marion, aided by Maj. James, Capt. John James and 
Capt. McCottry, and the daring deeds of the four other broth- 
ers of the James' on Lynch's Lake, who were Marion's right- 
hand men and his scouts. 

"Hull gull. Hand full. How many?" was played with 
chinquepins, being very abundant at that time, and also the 
game "Even or Odd," in closed hands. These games may have 
been a species of childish gambling, tho' none of our crowd 
ever indulged in it to any extent, yet one of them had an 
innate itching in that direction, in imitation of his grand uncle, 
Gavin James, of recorded Revolutionary daring deeds, who, 
it was said, delighted to see his celebrated racer, "Doll," on 

Williamsburg County. .'58 

the race stretch, and could never control a passion to back 
his judgment and join in the sport of an uncertainty as is in a 
hap in a hazard or rough at a venture. 

Boys played "Mumble the Peg" with the open blade of a 
knife, which when thrown up from the hand must stick ui 
the ground straight up or nearly so, the throws open hand, 
back hand, closed hands, mouthums, teethums, share pate, 
mark the pig in both ears, break the gander's neck, run the 
gray mare and slap jack heels over head being repeated by 
each player. The player out was required to mumble up a 
peg, driven in the ground by one stroke of the back of the 
knife by each player. 

The boys jumped the hammers, being quarter, half and 
whole, and one or three jumps on a level, leaped over sticks 
resting on two crutches, in which Robert J. McFadden, one 
of our boys, easily bounded over one four feet high, and for 
which he was applauded by the girls, who witnessed our 
games of activity when not playing by themselves. In the 
game "Hop Scott" the boys and girls played together. 

The most interesting, exciting and amusing game was 
marbles, in which we sometimes came near, if not wholly, to 
the striking point, but we did so without casting damns at 
each other, only using such execrations as "confound you;" 
or "blast your ugly picture." Some boys would claim slip- 
pance and there was none, violating the orders "knuckle down 
and fire hard," no fudging, no clearance nor roundance and 
no extension of the span towards the ring or a man. When 
we hit a man, our marble representing our names, we would 
say with great non-chalence and marked satisfaction. "You 
are dead and out of the way." We bet marbles and swapped 
knives and pencils, in which the Gordon boys, Jim and Dave, 
were the most skilled, and by their extraordinary powers of 
ingenuity in making little wind and water mills and other 
original designs with their knives, owned many of our play 
things for a short time, but they would barter them away for 
assistance in their difificult lessons. 

The boys played "Deer." One of the fleetest would be 
the deer and go into the near woods and hide ; another as the 
driver with a stick for his gun, and the other boys as dogs. 
All being ready, the hunter puts out his dogs with a whoop, 
who dash away to scour the woods, barking on the track of 
the deer as seen when he left. Presently he is started from his 


34 Reminiscences of 

covert, and instantly the whole pack of dogs join in the chase, 
redoubling the bow-wow of the hound. The hunter urges his 
pack with louder and continuous whoops, and watching the 
run of the deer, and getting there before his approach, he fires 
off two barrels, which fells the deer, provided he is tired. The 
dogs, hearing the gun, are quickly there, and the hunter, with 
switches and brambles, finds some difficulty in keeping his 
dogs from tearing the hide of his buck or injuring his venison. 

The girls played "Old Witch" by themselves. One of 
them, getting into a ditch or old clay hole, would act an old 
witch by stirring up the dirt in imitation of stirring a hominy 
pot, while the other girls would caper around, inquiring of 
her, "What o'clock, old witch?" who, after repeated answers 
to them of the various hours of the morning, would announce 
twelve o'clock and dinner time. Then she would ask, "How 
many chicks you got," and when told, "None for your pot," 
she says, "I will have a chick," and when told "you shan't 
have a chick," being repeated by both in a prancing and 
chanting manner through and around the clay hole and along 
its brink, the old witch, yet unable to get one, leaps out and 
the scramble begins with increased "I will have a chick;" 
"You shan't have a chick," and as the old hen and her brood 
swing around, vigorously defending themselves, suddenly 
some part of their dress gives away, and thus separated and 
alone, the old witch seizes one of the brood and runs away 
with a chick for her dinner. 

During the heat of summer days the girls played "Jacks" 
with peach kernels, with edges ground smooth by the boys, 
who watched the girls catch the jacks on the back of their 
soft hands, so delicate and pliable as to bend their fingers 
backward and make a hollow thereon for the jacks to huddle. 
They put pigs in the pen, drive sheep over the bridge, and pen 
cattle, plying their nimble and tapered fingers to successfully 
perform these feats with an ease and grace truly captivating to 
the boys. After they are through with "skipums and hookums," 
then come "inchimis and touchums," requiring art and prac- 
tice. The jack must be thrown quite high that the other four 
jacks on the floor may be taken up singly, and then their eyes 
quickly turned up to find the flying jack and intercept it_ in 
the hand before it gets to the floor, and at which the boys gaze 
in admiration of their betwitching and anxious eyes turned up 

Williamsburg County. 35 

to heaven as they place themselves in front of the girls to wit- 
ness their performance. 

One 12 o'clock the boys were rudely playing with an old 
ram goat belonging to the estate of McCutchen, around our 
well, which stood in the fork of the roads called Col. Cooper's 
and William Burrows' roads, and the girls were playing on 
the ditch bank between us and the session house where the 
teacher was standing. We had never seen or heard of a 
dough-face or any pictured thing of uncommon hideous ap- 
pearance. The old teacher had one of these faces which he 
had lately brought up from Georgetown, where his wife and 
only daughter resided, and fixed up a plan with White Mc- 
Cutchen, the largest boy among us, to give us a fright, who, 
obtaining a sheet from his home, where he got dinner each 
day, and wrapping it around him and putting- on the dough- 
face behind the church from us, suddenly and unobservedly 
appeared among the graves coming toward us. The scream- 
ing girls ran to the teacher, except Julina McCuthen, White's 
only sister, who by accident ran to us. Here we went pell 
mell in a compact body, the slowest of foot equal to the fleetest, 
screaming to old Maum Philis, who was washing clothes 
at the McCutchen well, and, while telling the stor\' and all 
talking at the same time with highly excited breath, of the 
appearance of the ghost, giving highly exaggerated descrip- 
tions, the ghost was seen coming up the hill on the path to 
where we stood around old maumer. The boys again dashed 
away and got into the dwelling house, securing its doors and 
windows and feeling somewhat safe from murderous attacks, 
till one of the boys said, ghosts can come through cracks, and 
as this house of refuge was made of poles with many cracks, 
then it was our hearts failed, some praying on their knees, oth- 
ers hiding far back under the beds. The assumed ghost, see- 
ing his sister with his good old maumer, threw aside his 
disguise and they became pacified, but not before the old col- 
ored woman had called aloud for her good old husband, Uncle 
George, to run to them, and it was with great effort on the 
part of the ghost, now at our door, to undeceive us, before he 
could make us believe the supposed ghost was only White 
McCutchen, and chief among the unbelievers was his brother, 
Thomas, then a little boy. 

The impropriety of thus frightening the school was freely 
spoken of by the community, and so too with us in talking to 

36 Reminiscences of 

each other about our fright, as some of the boys were sore 
and of seeming increduHty in the ludicrous and cowardly 
scenes enacted, and the confused and incoherent expressions 
of words used on that occasion. This school boy has ever ac- 
cepted his situation in the matter as a blessing, kindly affect- 
ing his nerves and producing a sentiment by which he fears 
the darkness of night, and entertains a solemnity in passing 
old graveyards in the twilight, when and where ghosts are 
supposed to appear on this earth. 

With all of Mr. Durand's control over us in the school 
house he had none when we were not under his eye during 
the two hours, 12 o'clock recess and play time, and we were 
as jolly and mischievous a set of scholars as if we had not been 
Hogged that day. The greatest drawback, was when one of 
us was stabled in the school house for bad night lessons. Such 
a boy was called a "horse i'U the stable," where he had to re- 
main without dinner till that lesson was learned and recited, 
which, however, a few minutes sufficed to do, as he had stolen 
some time during the morning studies to prepare that lesson. 

In the summer months we romped a mile or more from 
the school house to the McColtry old place, at the end of a 
long reach of road for apples, where there were many of the 
horse varieties, and continuing our rvm a few hundred yards 
we are at the McColtry bridge, where, after plunging and 
splashing in the turbid and heated waters of its lake, we 
amuse ourselves with the swamp owl, at one time, as he 
perches from tree to tree, snapping his jaws in defense of the 
owlets, or at another time, who yet sleepy and moping, twists 
his neck round to watch us with his large, glaring eyes, and 
occasionally answers his mate at a little distance with a terrific 
hoot, as if to say: "You cook to-day, and I'll cook to-mor- 
row." We boys bemeaned him for his lazy habits and mean- 
ness to impose on others in his procrastination to do to-mor- 
row what he could do to-day. as an honest and thrifty citizen. 

Or, during another 12 o'clock recess, we prepare to go to 
the George White old place, just across the Indiantown 
Branch, to get June apples and strawberries for the girls, who, 
having washed their dinner buckets, send us for these delica- 
cies. Nice strawberries were abundant along the eastern bluff 
of that branch, even down to its junction with the Big Swamp. 
Here we hunted partridges and their eggs, and with sticks, 
some of the boys were not only experts in a throw at the 

Williamsburg County. 37 

partridges, but could call them up by imitating their whistle, 
while many of us, having no imitative powers whatever, were 
satisfied to return their call m the words: "George White; 
peas ripe; not quite." 

The smaller boys and all the girls hunted lizards and 
chased them along the fence rails, demanding of them in pe- 
remptory tones: "Show me your money?" They were very 
energetic in heading the lizards and then getting a sight of 
their money, which they carried under the throat, partly con- 
tracted, yet subject to extension, at its will, in the shape of a 
semi-globule of red color. At this remote day, with none of 
those boys and girls to aid, it is hoped they did not kill the lit- 
tle insect if it refused to show its money in opposition to the 
fashionable term: "Your money or your life." 

The boys often strayed down to the foot of the branch 
where the site of Cieorge White's water mill was and got 
"Fuller's Earth" for the girls, which we all used to make 
marks on our slates and pictures on the walls of houses, in- 
stead of chalk, besides eating a little of it just for fun. 

One 12 o'clock play time, the two friends, little Ned Wil- 
son and fat Sam McGill, went to Mr. John Douglas', living at 
the McColtry old place, on some business for Ned's father. 
We rode the Wilson children's roan pony, a tricky fellow, and 
going down the avenue to the house, which is yet visible by 
the marks of its old ditches, the pony, in crossing a little 
bridge saw. or thought he did, a boober under the bridge, and 
dodging to one side, he landed the two friends on the hard 
ground. Ned was cjuickly on his feet, calling on his friend: 
"Catch the pony, Sam! Catch the pony, Sam," who, miused to 
such hard treatment, was still lying on the ground, grunting 
as tho' half dead, and yet his groans were without a single 
bruise to warrant them. 

The foundation of the new Indiantown Presbyterian 
Church being ready to be laid, a small eastern portion of the 
old church was pulled down for the position of the western 
portion of the new church, and upon which it now stands. In 
this condition, with only a small part of the old church taken 
down, it did not hinder divine services in it, protected by the 
frame of the new church on the exposed side, and was used till 
the new church was completed and received. The old church 
being thus exposed, the school children had free access to it, 
if not in their plays, it was open to their observation and reflec- 

38 Reminiscences of 

tion, as they found an old bullet hole through the back of the 
high frame of the pulpit. This hole was about the height of 
the location of the heart of a man sitting on his bench within 
the pulpit, and we were horrified, while looking at this demon- 
stration of a murderous passion of a bad heart. The perpetra- 
tor of this desecration of the house of God was never 
authoritatively established, tho' rumor was busy in locating 
him, and for whom the bullet was intended to alarm. What! 
a bullet hole! We may have heard of a man shot to death 
witli a bullet in the far ofif countries, and thought that such 
murders only occurred in the new countries in the West 
among the savage Indians. Oh, the present horror! We had 
never seen a pocket pistol and did not know that such deadly 
weapons were made. 

The building of our new church, offered to the lowest 
bidder, was awarded to Col. D. D. Wilson and Mr. Samuel 
McGill, at $1,700, which proved to be a tedious and unprofita- 
ble investment, as all the lumber for the church could not be 
gotten nearer than Lawren's water mill, on Lynche's Creek, 
ten miles above the present town of Scranton. These two 
contractors put all the material necessary for the completion 
of the church on the yard, and employed Mr. Doney, of Upper 
Pudding Swamp, to erect and complete the building. Many 
of the sills and other pieces were placed on the school chil- 
dren's former play ground, awaiting the broad axe upon its 
rough surfaces, and the children played on them. One 12 
o'clock, while running up and down on them, the school boy 
ran a big lightwood splinter into his foot, somewhere between 
the tarsal and metatarsals bones, and so deep that neither the 
boys nor teacher were able to extract all of it, and limping 
painfully, he hobbled home as the teacher directed. His kind 
mother was terrified, but his father, in his usual rough way, 
with his old worn out pocket knife, kept only to cut up to- 
bacco to fill his pipe, having a cane stem, splintered and 
chawed at one end, did gouge out parts of the splinter. In a 
short time the sore was healed, and the boy returned to school, 
yet limping. A year or two afterwards, a pimple arose on the 
top of his foot, and upon examination, proved to be the sharp 
point of something, which, in being opened and prized, out 
came a splinter half an inch or more in length and of smooth 
edges, if it had any. This is a tough story, but a true one. 

Of the value .we placed on our dinner buckets, some idea 

Williamsburg County. 39 

may be formed by citing an incident which will illustrate them 
and as reflecting the sentiment of the whole school, taught 
under old Mr. Levi Durand, in i829-'30 and '31. There were 
two children, William and Eliza Paisley, whose parents re- 
sided three miles from the school house, and with them came 
Joseph A. Thompson. They were driven daily to school in 
one of our old-fashioned chairs by a negro boy larger and 
older than they, who remained all day tO' drive them back in 
the evening. We all cared for Toney, who played with us dur- 
ing recess, rendering such services to the children as asked to 
do, and amusing us with a peculiar tune uttered through his 
puckered lips. One morning, just as they arrived at the junc- 
tion of the Cooper and Burrows roads at the church, their 
horse became frightened at a gun fired near the roadside, and, 
suddenly jumping, broke both shafts of the chair, emptying 
the occupants on the ground. Immediately the boys are up 
and in pursuit of the horse, while Liza, a little girl, still being 
on the ground and apparently unable to rise, was crying. A 
few of us being near the scene of accident, hearing the cries 
of lamentation of our dear school mate, ran to her relief, ex- 
claiming: "Oh, Liza, are you hurt? Do please tell us," who 
turning and looking at us, with tears streaming, said in a 
sorrowing manner: "I loss my dinner," and sure enough, 
there lay the school bucket upturned, its lid some distance 
away, and its contents scattered in the sand. Of these two 
children, William was our dependence in arithmetic, as we, in 
his class, contended for seats on his right and left in the school 
by which to copy his work from his slate, for we were not al- 
lowed to talk above our breath. In 1836, Liza married Capt. 
S. J. Snowden, a thrifty, energetic. Christian gentleman, resid- 
ing below Indiantown church in an elegant mansion where his 
youngest son, Percy D. Snowden, now lives, and, in a highly 
commendable style, they raised many children of marked 
ability and prominence, and fine representatives of the Snow- 
den and Paisley family name, the latter of which became ex- 
tinct in this county at the death of William Paisley, occurring 
in 1842. 

Of Liza's offspring, there are two men in high and honor- 
able position in our State; her eldest son, Capt. S. J. Snowden, 
was a gallant officer in our war, and now a worthy and effi- 
cient School Commissioner of our county, and the other, her 
eldest grandson, John Snowden Wilson, a young, intelligent, 

40 Reminiscencf;s of 

temperate, amiable, promising District Solicitor, with a 
broader field opening before him, by which he will enlarge his 
legal usefulness, if it is his privilege to do so. 

By the expiration of our two hours recess, we are tired of 
our plays, and watch for the beckoning from the master, and 
his calling: "Books! Books!" which being done, we hasten 
to wash our hands and faces, and are qviickly at our seats. 
Much of the evening exercises are on our slates, closing them 
with spelling one lesson off by heart, which we await with 
great anxiety, being, perhaps, the most enjoyable work of the 
day, as we run over the house for our spelling books and spell 
our lessons before being called up, in an audible whispering 
tone, these hissings resounding through the house. The man- 
ner of getting these spelling lessons even now evokes a smile, 
and marks the unintelligibility of the old time master's idea 
as compared with the modern method used in teaching a child 
to think, and iiere is the way we prepared our lessons: First 
by spelling the word half a dozen times on the book, and, hid- 
ing it under the forefinger, it undergoes the same spelling in 
the same number of times with equal rattling of the tongue 
and motion of the lips, and thus was the whole lesson pre- 

The "turn down" system in spelling was very popular, 
and with varying success with the more ambitious to spell 
"head," and one at the bottom of the line to spell "foot," caus- 
ing the class to chuckle over it. Jimmie Gordon, the genius 
in the school, without a desire for "book learning," was almost 
invariably made to spell "foot," when one evening he changed 
it into "feet," saying it must be that word, as he was there all 
the time, and plural means more than one. 

There was no abatement of the hours of our daily studies, 
except when one of the patrons, Mr. Samuel McGill, would 
call in. and beg us out, and for which we all loved him. This* 
practice, he claimed, was in imitation of his father, Roger 
McGill, who used to come to their schools on Friday, and 
begged them out. These benevolent acts continued till one 
day in riding by the school house, while the school master 
was in one of his tantrum ways, he called to him, in his usual 
jovial way: "Heigh, old man, you scold worse than an old 
woman," and upon which the teacher said to the school: 
"You hear that; look out for squalls, now, Fll do less talking 
and more whipping;" he kept his word. 


Williamsburg County. 41 

When the school was dismissed for the day, there was 
no disturbance going home, no loitering or playing, but with 
quickened steps we hurried on homewards to get the dinner 
our good mothers had kept for us in the cupboard ; first meet- 
ing the little negroes, we hand over our schood buckets to 
them, who had run to meet us on the road to get "de school 
chil'en dinner bucket." 

Among the many pleasing reminiscences of our early 
boyhood days, the scenes after school is out present a happy, 
affectionate and social disposition for each other as they say: 
"Come go home with me, I went home with you last," pressed 
to make the visits even, in that we were punctilious in going 
twice to the other's once. There were coaxing, pulling and" 
hauling, which, proving inefifectual, the tigging of each other 
was made, sometimes requiring a long race to efifect this sweet 

"A visit returned," as narrated, was made during the 
bombardment of F'ort Sumter by the Confederate soldiers in 
April, 1861. A cannon ball, from the enemy, fell into Fort 
Moultrie on Sullivan's Island without doing any serious dam- 
age. It was taken up, and after scratching upon it, "A visit 
returned," was rammed down one of our cannon, and dis- 
charged, sending the ball whizzing through the air into Fort 
Sumter. Its efifects are unknown, but its fright to that gar- 
rison fads in comparison with a "visit returned" by the school 
boy to one of his class and playmates, as one evening after 
school, he w^ent home with William and Liza Paisley, riding in 
their old chair with them. They had an elder half brother, 
named Stephen Britton, who was fond of a little fun. We three 
slept together in the same shed room, but in different beds. 
At day-light the next morning, Stephen was up to feed horses 
and attend to other plantation duties, as manager of the place. 
Returning to the house, and finding breakfast ready and on 
the table, and William and Sam yet asleep, he procured needle 
and thread and sewed us up in the sheet. Sam was the first 
to awake, and seeing the white cloth and sensible of his con- 
finement, tlie belief dead, buried, winding sheet filled him 
with horror, and with screams, fighting and kicking, he again 
freely breathed the open air, and disengaged the sheet with 
the mental assurance that when good old Mrs. Paisley counted 
her sheets again she would be minus one of them. 

In one other "visit returned," though of less consequen- 

42 Reminiscences of 

lial damage to a sheet, yet it expresses a modesty which the 
school boy did not know he possessed, till after the occurrence 
of an accident, happening at a neighbor's house. The re- 
turned visit was made to D. Flavel Wilson, school and class 
mate, who boarded with a relative and his family, consisting 
of two grown, intelligent and interesting sisters, and residing 
three miles from the school house, on the Lynche's Creek 
road. It was mid-summer, and the evening intensely hot and 
enervating. After taking the "books," a term then in use for 
family prayers, and before going to bed, the gentleman cut 
some fine watermelons, and as they were cool and refreshing, 
the school boy never mincing nor doing things by halves, ate 
one-half of a large one, even scraping its rind. Thus filled 
with sweet waters, and feeling good all over, he slept soundly 
through the night, and on awaking next morning he found — 
no matter what he found — ^it was of sufficient discredit to him, 
a boy of eleven or twelve years of age, to cause him to shun 
meeting every member of that household, and his bashful 
mind was much relieved when they moved away to Darlington 

Visits to Col. William Cooper by a number of us school 
boys in the evening were held in joyous anticipation. This 
elegant old gentleman was a batchelor, and delighted to have 
the boys come to see him. He was jolly, "ruddy, fat and fair," 
and rotund in figure, and had fun with us as we danced to his 
fiddling and cut up pranks. These pleasant visits in after life 
were often referred to by us and described to friends of later 

Col. Cooper was a planter, and resided on his plantation 
in an old-fashioned two-story house, surrounded by magnifi- 
cent oaks, which his father had built before him. Possessed of 
meansandaffability.he was popular with all and dispensed hos- 
pitality without any distinction as to the social position of his 
numerous visitors. His unaffected politeness was proverbial. 
Of much intelligence and great powers of observation and 
memory, he would interest by telling anecdotes on different 
characters of his extensive acquaintances, enlarged in his pub- 
lic life as our State Representative in Columbia, and the do- 
ings and sayings of revolutionary patriots, obtained in his 
early life by associations with the McColtrys and the James of 
the Indiantown country. 

In the school house as the hours of Fridays .->lowlv 

Williamsburg County. 43 

passed along, we ever had our minds fixed on our expected 
doings on Saturday, and of whicli we talked at every chance. 
The naise, bustle and haste after dismissal of school were far 
in advance of the other evenings of the week. 

Our glorious Saturday morning has come, and we are 
prepared with fishing canes, cut in the branches, with horse 
hair lines, pulled from the horse's tail, feather corks and pin 
hooks. Sam joins the little negro boy, and, calling his dog, 
bent on catching pike and chub fishes, which abounded in 
every hole of water of two or three feet deepness, and catch- 
ing rabbits screwed down and out of a hollow tree in which 
they had taken refuge from the dog. Amid our sports was 
ever the mortal fear of ghosts,, wild cattle, and run away ne- 
groes, and as we were told ghosts only travel at night, and 
appear to only one person at a time, we easily avoided an en- 
counter with them by getting some one to go out wath us in 
the dark. Possum and coon hunting at night by white people 
was never heard of. The woods abounded in wild cattle, and 
care was taken to go around the green pastures of the open 
woods, and as to runaway negroes, we were constantly on the 
lookout for them, and at the least suspicious black object 
ahead, our dog was quickly called to our side. A spotted 
hound called Hiuiter was our usual defender, and the follow- 
ing adventure will demonstrate our dependence on him: 

It was early Saturday morning, and the school boy in fine 
glee with all necessary piscatory apparatus, with a group of 
half dozen little negro boys, clad in their long gowns, entered 
the Big Swamp, head waters of Black Mingo- Creek, with pur- 
pose to fish in those small lakes above its junction with Indian- 
town Swamp, the west bank of which was said to have been a 
settlement of Indians, as was marked even then by a growth 
of China trees and other indications of a settlement. Our dog 
Hunter struck a fresh track of something, and quickly notified 
us that he had it up a tree, or in other words he had "treed," 
as was noted by the dog's quick ferocious bark. We hastened 
to him through bushes and muddy sloughs, and when near the 
designated tree, we distinctly saw the black hairy things up 
along the body of a tree in a line. Seeing us, they turned 
their round, hairy faces towards us, and while we watched 
them, wondering what they were, some one screamed "little 
runaway niggers," and that was enough; enough to make 
bogs unheeded and brambles and briars torn through as we 

44 ReminiscencEvS of 

ran to our homes, and arriving with excited breath, we told 
the awful tale with, perhaps, some coloring added, A few 
mornings afterwards, a dead raccoon, caught in the corn field, 
was brought to our yard by a field hand, and throwing it down 
there lay the mother of the little runaway negroes before our 
astonished eyes. 

In those years of long ago, wild "varmon," especially 
coons and possums, were numerous and destructive. When 
coons were caught in fields in mutton corn time, the hunter of 
them expected some consideration from the white family, 
given from their breakfast or dinner table; when a possum, the 
quarters were baked in the hunters' houses, and sent up to the 
buckra house for the white children, while the rabbits were all 
for themselves. Thus was the relation between the white and 
black races when the school boy, hearing that coons were very 
savory, if stufifed witii mutton corn, and so were rabbits 
stuffed with garden peas, made the trial and finding them only 
a rarity and not a delicacy, he ever afterwards relinquished his 
right to the rabbits he caught, handing them, as the coons, to 
the colored boys as their rightful property. 

The doings of another Saturday in the school boy's early 
life, and yet fresh in memory, and here they are: It was not 
an unusual thing to see decanters of whiskey on the side- 
board in the hall, surrounded by a row of tumblers. The de- 
canter had small pieces of orange peeling in it, with which 
the whiskey was flavored. One whole barrel of the article was 
the yearly allowance for the plantation, used in the family for 
snake bites, sick horses, for bitters and camphor solution, 
Christmas egg-nogs, and a dram all round to the negroes on 
Christmas morning and New Year's day as they flocked into 
the yard, and at the door steps, giving and receiving the good 
wishes of us all. In the latter part of his father's life, his barrel 
did not last longer than the fall of the year, and as Mr. Belin, 
at Black Mingo, was the nearest place where whiskey could be 
bought, he sent "Big Caesar," considered the most faithful 
servant, with a big jug for it. Now, it turned out that Big 
Caesar was inordinately fond of the article himself, and was 
accused of taking some of it out on the road, and replacing it 
with water. The next time he sent his jug for whiskey, he 
sent his son Sam along to guard it, and to prevent the water- 
ing of it. Therefore, early one Saturday morning, the little 
school boy and Big Caesar, in our family chair, with a large 

Williamsburg County. 45 

jug in a basket, started on our journey of twelve miles to Black 
Mingo, The whiskey was bought, and in lifting the jug into 
the chair. Big Caesar accidently struck it against the tire of 
the wheel, breaking the jug and emptying its contents. We 
started home and arriving in sight of the house, along our 
long avenue, Sam saw his father walking up and down his 
piazza, awaiting our coming. Before he could meet us at the 
gate, Sam, with tears in his eyes, told him of our accident, 
when he so kindly said: "Why, blame the good for nothing 
fellow, why didn't he fill another jug and send it; get a fresh 
liorse and go right back;" but mother objected to our going 
till we had something to eat. The second trip was made in 
(]uick and handsome style, but it has been said by those well 
acquainted with the party that the handsome part of the trip 
would scarcely have been made eight or ten years further on 
in the life of the school boy, as the good old gentleman might 
have received the same quality of his liquor but not the same 

The custom of those good old days was the making of a 
tumbler full of a sweetened dram for the mother's first sip, and 
to every child or member of the family afterwards, called our 
morning dram. It was amusing to hear the little fellows say- 
ing: 'T speak for the sugar at the bottom," or for the tumbler 
to add a little water and get all that was left in the tumbler. 
These drams were given to keep down worms in the children 
and to prevent fever and chills and ague fits, then so prevalent 
each year in August and September, and known everywhere 
as the months of the doctors' harvest. These toddies were now 
substituted for Pride America root tea. boiled down quite 
thick, and given to both white and colored children before 
eating in the morning, which the writer was dosed with in his 
earliest years as a prophylactic, and which vermifuge must 
have been quite an improvement in elegance, if not in remedy, 
on Cow Pen tea, used however before his time, yet neverthe- 
less true. People very generally drank freely of liquors, both 
at home and in company, yet it was a rare thing to see a 
drunken man, even at public places, and never in the pres- 
ence of ladies. 

Old Mr. James McFaddin, residing on his large and well 
stocked plantation of negroes, horses, cattle, and all the com- 
mon necessaries of this life, and than whom no one was more 
sagacious, prudent, observant, and jovial, was a member of 

46 Reminiscences of 

the Indiantown church, a regular attendant thereof, and whose 
word was gospel, full of wisdom, and quaint expression of 
words in the old style. Quite old, yet he pleased and was well 
pleased with his life, as he told incidents happening in his 
early days, and as they really occurred, to his admiring young 
friend and constant visitor. He told of weddings, where danc- 
ing was freely joined in by the old and young, and of the offi- 
ciating parson, tho' not engaging in the dance, yet a quiet ob- 
server of it. Willing or unwilling, when the darkness of the 
night, or the inclemency of the weather, prevented his leaving 
the wedding house after supper, he remained all night, seated 
back in a corner, as there was no room in the house in which' 
to place him, as the big room and little side room were filled 
with mothers and babies, and the hall shed room, already occu- 
pied by the groom and bride, and, with a significant wink and' 
chuckle, he added, "and you know it wouldn't do to put him 
there." Occasionally during the night, one of the more mis- 
chievous and considerate fellows, having a regard for his com- 
fort, would make a sweetened dram for him, which helped him 
to tell funny, yet innocent anecdotes, to those still hugging his 

\j Old Mr. McFaddin was beloved by the McGill families of 
'the long, long ago, and was much concerned in their interests, 
and in those of the Indiantown Presbyterian Church in con- 
nection with the "Williamsburg Presbyterian Church," at 
Kingstree, then under one pastoral charge. He feared the 
puritanism and spirit of reform on the part of the Indiantown 
congregation would cause a schirm in the two churches. The 
Rev. J. M. Erwin, from North Carolina, was our pastor, who, 
tall and slim of figure, and of cold and repulsive address, con- 
demned from the pulpit the practice of dancing, which being 
approved by a part of the church members, steps were taken 
to interpose. Hence was the trial of old Mr. Samuel McGill 
for allowingdancing parties in his house who, in imitation of his 
father's, and impressed with a sense that they were good enough 
in their moral course of life, and in the performance of their 
religious obligations, did enjoy that innocent and graceful 
move in dancing in opposition to the uncomely plays of young 
folks, as practiced at that time, and which were not permitted 
in his house. Besides, he possessed the light and agile step, 
as did also his children and kindred families, which perhaps 
was raised to a higher and more fashionable plane by one of 

Williamsburg County. 47 

his sons in the elegant figures of the. cotilions just brought in 
our family dances, and which has been higher raised of later 
days by his granddaughter, Miss Ellen Davis, who is so ad- 
mired on the floor, whether in private circles or in crowded 
dancing halls of the hotels. Her powers of imitation in other's 
dancing, whether in graceful or clumsy steps, cannot well be 
surpassed, and for which she is quite entertaining. 

A church committee, composed of the elders of the 
church, was appointed to wait on Mr. Samuel McGill to sum- 
mon him to trial, to be held in the session house. When the 
day came those two men were seen approaching his house and 
as their errand was known, it can be imagined in the manner 
his soft blue eyes sparkled with indignation, overshadowing 
his otherwise handsome features. He did not meet them, but 
the wife did at the gate, and it was said their business was 
hurriedly dispatched amid her clamors, made stinging by her 
nimble and then irritated tongue, telling them, among other 
things, of Mr. McGill's claim to that church which his father 
had founded, nor did she desist in the denunciation of them 
till they were out of her hearing, and going at a brisker pace 
than they had come. 

Mr. McGill's trial in the church on the occasion may have 
resulted in an expulsion or suspension, but not before his case 
was argued in the Williamsburg church, at Kingstree, where 
he had many friends who were openly in his favor. Among 
them was old Mr. John McClay, of Revolution fame, and el- 
der of that church, who declared that if he had to go to In- 
diantown and pick out a good man, Sam McGill would be his 
pick. At any rate, the expulsion or suspension did not long 
debar old Mr. McGill from the privileges of the Communion 
Table in that church, as judging- the father by the son he was 
not a long while to "fess," and thus became reinstated. There 
were no more dancing parties given in his house during the 
remainder of his life, closed ist November, 1840, being near 
the 60th year of his earthly pilgrimage, and buried in the In- 
diantown graveyard by the side of his father and mother, en- 
tombed by him in the last years of the last century. 

Before the close of 1831, of the three continuous years of 
Mr. Durand's services as our teacher, there were new pros- 
pects to enlarge our educational advantages by opening a lar- 
ger field, through which a classical education could be ob- 
tained, and hence was the erection of the Indiantown Acad- 


emy. Mr. Durand's reputation as a good English teacher was 
known beyond the Hmits of our neighborhood, having taught 
school for Capt. John Dozier, residing on Dry Swamp in the 
China Grove section of country, where he built a magnificent 
residence, and other spacious buildings where Dr. Hemming- 
w^ay now resides, and near by is the present Rome and its 
postofBce, being many years previous to his engagement with" 
us, and who was so pleased with this grand old gentleman, 
that he sent his daughter, Susan A. Dozier, all the time, and 
his son, Richard Dozier, part of the time to his teaching at 
Indiantown, boarding them in the neighborhood. Miss Susan 
married Mr. Lee, of Sumterville, and from them are the Lees 
of that town. Hon. Richard Dozier, our pleasant "Dick," 
married and settled in Georgetown, and his native district has 
ever delighted to do honor to him as their attorney at law, 
holding a legal name as high as our State, and a social ad- 
dress of ease and grace so recognized and acceptable 
to us. Mr. Durand had also taught in the Pudding 
Swamp country among the Burgesses, and to this school Capt. 
Dozier sent his elder son, Leonard Dozier, and boarded him 
with Mrs. Jennie Burgess, who had a most charming daughter 
attending the same school. A sentiment kind and a love di- 
vine was soon engendered, and in a few years the elegant Mr. 
Leonard Dozier and the beautiful Miss Martha Burgess were 
at the hy menial altar, and when they made their bridal appear- 
ance at the Lidiantown church, there was a sensation, as the 
handsome groom and pretty bride became the attractive fea- 
ture of that Sunday, as we gazed in wonder at their grandeur 
and style. 

In justice to the old Blue Back Spelling Book, and before 
dismissing the influences of Old Webster, who was so useful 
in his day, we should understand the mode he employed to 
educate the youthful mind. In spelling and memorizing the 
thousands of words of unknown meaning to us, and of seem- 
ingly useless significance, he was training our ears to the 
sound of letters, strengthening our memories, and making 
nimble our tongues. To accomplish these results, required 
three or more years of hard work in a school house, earnest 
application of our minds to our studies, and submissive or 
forced obedience to the cold and rigid discipline of an old- 
fashioned school master, who claimed the right to beat knowl- 
edge into your head, rather than fail in his duty. 

Williamsburg County. 40 

It would be indeed strange, that if, after spelling so many 
words of like sounds in the chiming of them, such as asperity, 
austerity, dexterity, &c., there should be no chimers among 
us. But we did have them, as in every accidental bit at rhyme 
in our plays, we used to sing out, "I'm a poet and you know 
it." Those chimes remembered will be inserted, tho' some of 
them are outside of our Indiantown school, yet they show 
the chiming aptitude of the school boys of those times in other 
communities, who too, received the "Old Webster's" impres- 

It was a custom at our school to "make dinner" as we 
called it (the term pic nic was unknown then), by placing all' 
the dinner buckets together, under the supervision of the girls, 
who displayed them to the best advantage, and while all the 
better parts of the contents of the buckets did rapidly disap- 
pear, there would ever remain on the board the cold, dry 
chunks of the corn loaf, and cold, hard slices of the johnny- 
cakes. On seeing these renmants, day by day, and perhaps 
desiring to rebuke the inelegance of the boys, one of the girls, 
more facetioiIS than the otlier'; nnd ennnllv beaiitifnl mpdp a 
chime, which became the slang phrase of the school, as fol- 
lows "Corn bread is rough, corn bread is tough. But glory 
l)e to — . We've corn bread enough." The words were new to 
us, and it is to be hoped they taught us better manners ever 

Another. It was in the days of the great and vmprece- 
dented political excitement among our people, occasioned by 
the teachings of the doctrines of Nullification. This section of 
country held intense Union sentiments, which the Nullifiers or 
Disunionists in derision, called Submissionists or Cowards, 
and we boys, being all L^nionists, had a horror of the Nulli- 
fiers. One day at the school house, while at play we saw the dep- 
uty sheriff passing along on the road wnfh a cockade on hi'; bat, 
this being the insignia of the Nullifiers. The sight of his cock- 
ade aroused us, and we ran towards him, tho' stopping at a 
safe distance, and all began to spell in our loudest voices, 
c-o-c-k— a-d-e, cockade, continuously. The deputy sheriff 
dashed his horse at us as we dodged behind the trees. Unable 
to do anything with us, and the spelling of cockade increasing 
in volume and rapidity, he galloped off, saying he would report 
us to the school master, and hrve us whipped for interrupting 
an officer on the high road» whereupon one of the Gordon 

50 Reminiscp:nces of 

boys, peeping from behind his tree, halloed to him as loud as 
he could, "Deputy Sheriff, Esquire, hog thief and liar, and a 
confounded Nullifier." We all sent Gordon's epithets after 
him, till the woods resounded with the echo of our voices, and 
the officer was glad to get far awav. 

The occasion for our absence from school each day was 
rare, but from Sunday school at the church on the Sabbath 
day was rarer still. On a certain Sunday, our Jimmie Gordon 
was an absentee, and on the following Monday morning, see- 
ing him coming up the hill to school, we ran to meet him to 
find his reason for staying away, as was our habit to get some- 
thing new and fresh from him, when he told the following 
story. He said, he long had wanted to hear a niggar sermon, 
and as Esau, their sawyer, was going to preach at their mill, 
he stole away from his parents, and went to hear him, and to 
his surprise he handled his subject well. He took his text in 
Deuteroniomy, where a great deal is said about Moses and 
Aaron, and stuck to the words of his text, these forming the 
greater part of his sermon, and listening very attentively to the 
words of his text, he caught every one of them. They were 
these: "Moses and Aaron went out to reap grass, Moses let 
his reap hook slip and cut Aaron — "; but our pleasant Jimmie, 
being one of our chimers, put Aaron in the possessive case, 
followed by the noun he possessed by right of entailment. 

When and how the following catch problem got among 
us at school, its facts are not tangible at this day, as it afiforded 
a recreation in the amount of fun we had over it, it is here 
given with the hope that it will cause a smile at our expense, 
while we were in a quandary: "As I was going to St. Ives, I 
met seven wives, every wife had seven sacks, every sack had 
seven cats, every cat had seven kits; kits, cats, sacks and 
wives, liow many were going to St. Ives?" Now, as the seven 
line in the multiplication table was ever considered the hard- 
est, we, multiplying by seven three times, brought up different 
answers, and disputing among ourselves as to the correctness 
of each other's figures, and ascertaining where the errors were, 
we were told the answer was one, which being explained to us, 
we accepted the catch as we laugh and say: "Sure enough,'* 
with all the grace at our command, as we pictured all the kits, 
cats, sacks and wives coming out of St. Ives which the man 
met provided he had the hardhood to confront 2,751 combus- 
tibles on the road. 

Williamsburg County. 51 

Now comes the Barnwell youth who was another of our 
chimers. We were classified in the Mount Zion school in 
1837, and he too, not unlike many boys of the tender age, 
imagined he possessed a poetic vein. He told of the verses he 
had written in a young lady's album the previous year, and 
was now so disgusted with them, that he intended to follow 
the young lady even to Mississippi, whither she had removed, 
for no other purpose than to tear that leaf of his out of her 
album. For many years all the lines of his verses were pres- 
ent, but now only the two first lines remain and b}' which all 
the others can be learned. Here they are: 

"A place in your album I am asked to write, 
Which I shall do with all my might." 

Years revolving we find this friend acting in the counsels 
of our State and in the Congress of our late Southern Con- 

And that Columbia youth, who said he once courted the 
favor of the Muses, and they satisfied him that he was not 
born a poet, as he stepped down to the planes below, but he 
claimed to have verified what he had heard others say, that 
there is but one step between the sublime and the ridiculous. 
Hear him and accept his conclusions: 

"I love to see the mowing grass. 

Before the mower mows it; 
I love to see an old gray horse, 

For when he goes, he goes it." 

This friend was a son of a professor of South Carolina 
College, and afterwards its president, was learned and highly 
esteemed, but died in early manhood. 

Ever pleased to receive many of the associations of early 
boyhood life, and rehearse them to friends of latter days, in- 
dulgence is asked to prevent yet another friend, tho' of some- 
what dissimilar affections to the others spoken of. This friend 
was studious, temperate in all his habits, possessing a mind 
truly intelligent, was classified in the Yorkville school in the 
same studies, and we two were friends in the true and full ac- 
ceptation of the word. In July, 1836, there was a rebellion of 
our class, rightful in its causes, and an altercation with the 
teacher occurred in the recitation room, and of which my 
friend bore a prominent part. He left the school in disgust, 

52 Reminicensces of 

followed by his unflinching friends, as we moved into the 
country, and entered a school in the Brattonville section, be- 
tween Yorkville and Chesterville, where our friendship in- 
creased, if such was possible. He was a poetic author of no 
ordinary pretensions as did appear in the lines written by him 
in a diary kept by his friend, during our isolated condition in 
a strange country, lines indicative of the emotions of the feel- 
ings with which they were transcribed. Hear: 

"Oh. Ale, the trials we have passed 

Are but the preludes to still worse, 
As is the first uneven blast. 

That marks the stern, huge tempest course. 
But never let its shocks destroy 

The works of friendship we've reared. 
Let not such be the light wind's toy, 

A word forgot as soon as heard. 
Let mem'ry o'er these moments hang 

In some remote, some distant day, 
Like summer clouds o'er setting sun 

When gilded by his parting ray. 

To my friend. S. D. McGill: On our having suffered 
many of the trials of life, and some even severer than those in- 
cident to boyhood, and on our having been thrown amongst 
strangers where the strictest friendship must and did exist. 


The "some remote, some distant day" have revolved 
along in the years covering fifty-seven periods of time, and 
W'hile many of their scenes are indistinctly marked by the old 
man, who in reviewing them can hardly realize that he is that 
person, there is one amt^np; a tlK^nsnud. which seems as of 
yesterday in the now "some remote and distant day." when the 
two friends were seated in their room at their table with piles 
of books, including Ainsworth's Latin Dictionary and Dona- 
gan's Greek Lexicon between them, the one heeding the kind 
admonitions and yielding to the superior judgment and intel- 
lect of the other. This association has ever been awakened 
as the setting sun gilds the western clouds, on which Sam rests 
his eyes in admiration of the beauty spread along the horizon 
before him. in that they bring up anew the sentiments of the 


verses already cited, and his pleasurable connection at school 
with the Honorable Leonidas W. Spratt. 

In the Indiantown country, and perhaps through the 
length and breadth of old Williamsburg district, Sundays were 
conceived in our minds as days of grandeur, and a solemnity, 
heightened by tlie examples of parents, and their admonitions 
to keep the Sabbath day holy, as they had been taught. No 
strolling about, playing, loud laughing, nor talking about 
worldly things or avocations were admissible ; no looking over 
the crops, no visiting, except to the sick, nor unnecessary 
cooking, were indulged in on that day. It was said that old 
Mrs. Elizabeth McGill, grandmother of the writer, whose 
tomb made in 1787, in the Indiantown graveyard, and the old- 
est established grave in that venerable burying ground, never 
allowed fire to be kindled in her kitchen on Sundays. Her 
piety has been transmitted to her posterity all along the line 
of her descendants, notabl}- in the pastoral charge of Rev. 
William J. Wilson, her grandson, whose divine services are 
engraved on his tomb-stone, placed in the Williamsburg 
Presbyterian church yard in 1826; and in the present pastoral 
services in Arkansas of two brothers. Rev. C. Craig Williams 
and Rev. John C. Williams, sons of her great granddaughter, 
Mrs. J. Drucilla Williams, of known piety and of widespread 
Christian professions and usefulness, even in her girlhood. 

Continuing in the line of this inestimable old Mrs. Eliza- 
beth McGill, there is a grandson, now in his sixty-seventh 
year, that in early manhood he exhibited such Christian traits 
of character as made him a mark in the Presbyterian Churches 
in this district. He was one of the founders of a new Presby- 
terian Church at White Oak, being eight miles below Kings- 
tree, built in 1852. and at its organization he became one of its 
elders, which church, being unable to survive the ravages of 
our war, fell to rise no more. In his Christian duties he was 
aided and comforted by his good wife, Mrs. Sarah Elizabeth 
McGill, the daughter of old Mr. William Mcintosh, of Lower 
Salem, of widespread Christian profession and practices. He 
moved to Arkansas in November, 1857, and there became a 
prosperous planter. Surviving the war, he felt his inability to 
support his large family on his now prostrate farm, and moved 
into the city of Camden, Ark., where he permanently settled. 
All accounts from him by letters, and notices in the press, fix 
his reputation as a patriot and Christian, energetic and active, 

54 ReminiscencEvS of 

in the Presbyterian Churches, in Sunday schools and at public 
political meetings. Being ready of speech and fluent in de- 
livery he is ever on hand when called on to address Siniday 
school children, to offer prayers in church, and to give elo- 
quent talks to his fellow Democrats. Appreciated as a work- 
ing elder in his church, he was sent as a delegate from his 
Presbytery to the General Assembly of Presbyterians, con- 
vening at Charleston S. C, in May, 1880. After the adjourn- 
ment of Assembly, he visited his native county, and received 
much attention from Brother Sam, wife and children, from 
his loving relatives and numerous friends. The many demon- 
strations of love, and tender associations connected with his 
early life among us, after twenty-three years' absence, were 
made in the ovations at every house, where he and his old 
brother, Sam, were expected each day and night in several of 
them. Among the many wonderful and impressive words with 
which he interested us was in the advice which he said he had 
given to his four sons, Clarence, Minto, Erwin and Sam, 
which was this: "Never forsake your family, never forsake 
the Presbyterian Church and never forsake the Democratic 
party." Such is Minto Witherspoon McGill, born at Indian- 
town, Williamsburg County, S. C, on February 24th, 1828, 
who was the son of Samuel McGill, who was the son of Roger/ 
McGill, who was the son of Hugh McGill, who was married/ 
to Sarah Gordon, loth [une, 1732. as recorded in old family 

Late inquiry has established the fact that the Rev. Benja- 
min F. Wilson, president of Converse Female College, of 
widespread reputation, located at Spartanbtirg Court House, 
of this State, is a great-grandson of this pious old lady, of the 
old McGill stock of people, making four Presbyterian minis- 
ters productive of her body. (See the epitaph on Mrs. Eliza- 
beth McGill's tomb at the end of this book or near its end.) 

Of this pious old mother's people, whose maiden name 
was Westbttry. chere was a sister who married a Mr. Mcin- 
tosh, by which old Mr. William Mcintosh, residing in Lower 
Salem, and others, were born to them. It is just to conclude 
that the Westbury piety was also transmitted to this Mcintosh 
family in their various branches as is in the reverend and ven- 
erable David E. Frierson, D. D., and his two younger broth- 
ers. Rev. E. O. Frierson and Rev. Luther M. Frierson, all of 
marked ability and Christian prominence in the Presbyterian 


Churches of our State and as is, at our home, the good, in- 
domitable and irreproachable Christian gentleman. Mr. Wil- 
ham M. Kinder, of Kingstree, an elder of the Williamsburg 
Presbyterian Church, the oldest established church in our 

To-day is Sunday, and as soon as possible in the morning 
we begin the study of our Sunday school lessons, in which 
we memorize "the Shorter Catechism," many hymns, and 
verses in the New Testament. Many of these have remained 
with us in our old age, and none more so than "Christ's Ser- 
mon on the Mount," which we easily understood, and afford- 
ing us pleasure and implanting a desire for future reward at 
the resurrection. In due time our lessons reach the "Con- 
fession of Faith" and tho' difficult we master them in the defi- 
nitions of "What is Sin? of the commandments, what doth it 
teach? what doth it require, and what is forbidden in each of 
the ten; and of justification, sanctification and adoption," which 
not now at our tongue's end, yet by a revision of them, it is 
believed they would reinstate their rights in our minds where 
their doctrines seriously belong, and their sentiments joy- 
ously entertained. 

By the time our Sunday school lessons are gotten, and 
the hour has arrived to get ready for church, we are called 
to the back steps of the "big room" by the servant boy to un- 
dergo the washing and scrubbing operations, made with a 
coarse osnaburg towel and home-made lye soap, and our 
heads washed and rubbed also, with closed eyes, now smart- 
ing, with orders to comb, rake, dislodge, and destroy that* 
pest in our heads, which, with thanks, disappeared with the 
abolition of slavery. Now, we put on ovir "meetin' clothes," 
which have been made at home, cut in the same old-fashion, 
with a view to its future usefulness and in a size to which we 
were expected to grow. Of all these clothes our long, white 
linen shirts remain steadfast in the mind, and unchanging in 
the washing of them, not exceeding half dozen times in a year, 
and as we had but one such shirt, it, together with all the other 
"meetin' clothes," had to be taken ofif on our return from 
church before eating dinner or washing our hands and face. 

At the church, before Sunday school hour, the Sunday 
school children did not segregate, but remained seated with 
the grown people on benches provided for that purpose, fixed 
outside and near the church. Our teachers were the elders of 

56 Reminiscp:nces of 

the church, Col. David D. Wilson, Mr. WilHam David, Mr. 
George McCutchen, Mr. George Barr and Mr. William E. 
James and Mrs. Eliza Montgomery, Mrs. Thermutis Cooper 
and Miss Lavina James. Blessed are their memories and 
pleasurable are the recitals of their usefulness and their reli- 
gious impressions made on our youthful hearts. There were 
no awards given, but we felt rewarded when our recitations of 
lessons and good behavior were commended by the teachers, 
which we prized of greater value than gold. 

The occasion which carried the Sunday school boy to get 
up before day one Sunday morning, and await its first light to 
study his Sunday school lesson, must have been of uncom- 
mon importance to him, as he had been taught that the ear- 
liest hours of the morning in study were more suscepti- 
ble of impressions on the memory. Before it was day he was 
up and dressed, and calling one of the house boys to accom- 
pany him, he seated himself outside the house yard on the 
back blocks, used to mount the yard fence, and anxiously 
watched for the coming peep of day, by which light he ex- 
pected to get his Sunday school lesson. The old moon was 
several hours above the horizon, and low, swift flying clouds 
occasionally passed over her face. Then it was apparent, or so 
imagined, the moon was running away from the clouds to rid 
herself of the obstructions to give light to the good Sunday 
school boy, and to mollify his horrors of the darkness of night. 
This sight had never been observed before and tho' accepting 
this wondrous phenomenon acting in his favor, he returned 
into the house to get his Sunday school lessons, thus leaving 
his friend skimming through the sky, but ever afterwards his 
wonder and admiration in the purpose of her creation to give 
light by night in her dominion of it. 

These large lightwood blocks were ver\- generally used, 
with or without swinging gates, for passing in and out of the 
house yard, and were of regular gradations in their heights, 
and also used for mounting into the saddle and dismounting 
therefrom. Similar blocks were placed around our church 
yards, mostly for the accommodation of old men and young 
ladies who came to church on horseback. Active young ladies 
refusing such assistance should well adjust their dresses 
around them before leaping from their side saddles, as the 
neglect of such precaution did on more than one occasion, 
exhibit a display of their agility not at all to their liking. 

Williamsburg County. 57 

The Indiantown postoffice was kept by Mr. George 
McCutchen in his house, three miles above the church, on the 
Kingstree road. We had a weekly mail, carried in a mail bag 
on horseback by a post boy, whom we accounted of much re- 
gard, and was never molested on the road. The line of mail 
extended from Sumterville to China Grove, where it inter- 
sected with the stage line running from Cheraw to George- 
town. The sending to the postoffice for our mail was seldom, 
if ever, made; they were brought by the postmaster to the 
church on Sundays for distribution, and placed on his seat in 
the church in the care of his family, and given out when called 
for, and indeed so indifferent were many families about their 
mail that frequently the postmaster had to htmt up the owners 
to deliver or carry them back to his home. A few religious 
and political newspapers, and a few letters yearly from distant 
relatives, constituted our expected mail. Mr. George Mc- 
Cuthen lived on the old McCuthen homestead, now the prop- 
erty of the Barrs, was a man of strict adherence to his duties 
as a Christian, a Sunday school teacher, and elder of the In- 
diantown Presbyterian Chtirch. He and his family moved 
away in 1835 into the Mount Zion neighborhood, in Sumter 
district, by which we were the loser of one of our best citizens. 
After his removal, Mr. Robert Dick opened the postoffice at 
his house, on the west side of 'Paisley Swamp bridges, which 
crossing had formerly been a deep, long, dangerous ford, and 
into which waters Sam, then on his mother's lap, or around 
her knee, during their crossing, by some accident, fell over- 
board out of the old chair in wdiich they were riding and be- 
came thoroughly baptized. His mother was on a visit to her 
dear cousin, Mrs Nancy McCutchen, dear by their girlhood 
associations and their McCothy relationship, who at that time 
resided in front of Mr. John Dick's place, and afterwards on 
her plantation at the church, where she died in 1830, leaving 
one daughter named Julina, who married Mr. J. Milton Ful- 
ton, of Kingstree, and who moved away just after our war 
mto Missouri, and three sons, the eldest of whom, the Rev. 
Robert G. McCutchen, moved to Indiana, and after whose fol- 
lowing was the youngest son, Thomas McCutchen, settling in 
Illinois, and also her son, J. White McCutchen, who dying at 
his Indiantown home at the close of the war, his widow and 
children moved to Tennessee. 

The Holy Sacraments in our church were administered 

58 Reminiscences of 

in tlie spring and fall season of every year, and these occasions 
were of unusual excitement and interest, and preparations for 
visitors from Midway, Brick Church, and Hopewell Churches 
were carefully made and anxiously expected. Elders of these 
churches, with their wives and children, and other members 
of them, made the time of these sacraments convenient to visit 
their friends and relatives down here, in which and from 
whom they were former members and descendents, being 
plants from the Indiantown church and the Williamsburg 
church, the common parent of all of them. The days of the 
Sacraments included Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 
which brought in to them many persons from neighboring lo- 
calities, and more so of the young men and ladies, these being 
about the only public opportunity they had of seeing and 
meeting each other. These new faces were a delightful phase 
in our otherwise monotonous -life, and a stranger coming in 
our midst was observed with more than ordinary interest, and 
treated to the best we had, as it was a rare thing to see one at 
our homes or travelling along on the public road. 

An old member of the Indiantown Church, in which he 
was educated, observed the Sacramental week with such earn- 
est and devout aiTection, that each of those days appeared like 
Sunday to the members of his household. His habit of having 
morning and evening devotions of every returning Sabbath 
around his family altar was extended to those of Sacramental' 
week with apparent renewed life, in anticipation of the ap- 
proaching administration of the Lord's Supper. Indeed, and 
in the view of the Holy Communion, a like state of feeling 
seemed to have pervaded the entire community, and too the 
school children, who tried to be more respectful and obedient 
to their teacher, and from whom they expected kinder treat- 

The old time fashion of pulpits in our churches were so 
picturesque above the other furniture of the house, that its 
quaint appearance is yet a thing of the present in the eye of 
those who observed its structure sixty and seventy years ago. 
The pulpit was high, and its back frame nearly reached the 
upper ceiling of the house, all of panel frame of workmanship, 
painted a dull, red color, and fringed with black, and raised 
high above the flooring of the church proper, it was conspicu- 
ous. Its enclosure w-as small, barely suflficient to seat two per- 
sons at a time on its hard and uncushioned bench, and was 

Williamsburg County. 59 

reached by a narrow flight of half a dozen or more steps, sup- 
ported by a hand raihng to its swinging door, which the 
preacher closed behind him upon his entrance with a slam, 
who, when seated, only his head was visible, and when stand- 
ing, only the head and breast. Beneath the pulpit, and in full 
view, was another frame of an enclosure, in which the two 
"clarks" of the church were placed, whose business was to 
pitch or raise the hymns, whom being thus elevated as to place 
and importance, the congregation easily followed in the sing- 
ing of their leaders. Mr. Benjamin Gordon, of Cedar Swamp, 
a singing school master, assisted by Mr. Samuel Wilson, of 
Muddy Creek, was the foremen in the tenor, while Mrs. Mary 
Ann McGill from her seat lead the female voices in the part of 
music, then known as the "tribble." Being educated in music 
in her girl days, and having learned to sing by the round 
notes, and possessing a voice of unsurpassing sweetness and 
volume, Mrs. McGill's church singing was the dehght of the 
church, and inducing many persons from abroad to attend the 
church and to hear her sweet voice ringing in accord with the 
sentiments of the verses of the hymn. Her voice went out like 
that of a sweet and clear sounding bell, with a similar cadence, 
as w^as testified by the Hon. Joseph Scott who, in his early 
life, residing with his brother, Mr. Samuel Scott, on the old 
George Whites place, across the Indiantown Church branch, 
a half mile from the church, could distinguish her voice above 
the other singers on a Sunday, when it was not convenient 
to him to go out to the preaching. 




Before the close of the year 1831, the employers of our 
school concluded to build an academy, that a higher education 
might be given to their boys than that obtainable in what was 
then known as an old field school. This spirit originated with 
our pastor, who was a Latin and Greek scholar, sanctioned by 

60 Reminiscences of 

Col. D. D. Wilson, ever solicitous of the interest of the rising 
generation, and urged by others who equally enjoyed the be- 
lief that a knowledge of the "classics" was indispensable before 
the appellation, "he is a good scholar" could be applied. Such 
a distinguishing feature in our society at that time carried 
great weight in the people's favor, and a consideration of re- 
spectful attention among the ladies, and this state of prefer- 
ment occupied the school boy's mind and stimulated his am- 

The Indiantown Academy, built of long cypress poles, 
and holding the proud distinction as the first of the kind, was 
placed at the head of Mr. Samuel McGill's avenue, and was 
ready for the services of a teacher. Mr. McCamy Morgan, 
from North Carolina, brother to the wafe of Mr. Erwin, our 
pastor, was engaged, and he assumed his duties the first of 
January, 1832. Mrs. Erwin was also sister to the great and 
renowned preacher, the Rev. Morgan ; was of amiable and so- 
cial qualities, residing in the Indiantown parsonage house, in 
full view of Mrs. McGill's house, by a wide avenue of half mile 
length. These two ladies were on most intimate terms as were 
shown by hoisting a white table cloth from their windows, 
meaning an invitation to a dinner then in preparation. When 
the Rev. Mr. Erwin moved away, and the Rev. A. G. Peden 
became our pastor, the same courtesies were interchanged 
with Mrs. Peden, who, together with her husband, was a fa- 
vorite with all of the lower congregation of the church. 

A Latin class of six boys was formed, consisting of David 
E. Frierson, of Klapp Swamp; S. Jackson Singletary. of the 
Lake; D. Flavel Wilson, D. Edward Wilson, Edwin Erwin, 
and Samuel D. McGill of Indiantown, Rudiman's Latin gram- 
mar, with parallel questions and answers in English and Latin, 
was placed in our hands. Oh! it was such a delightful privi- 
lege granted to the Latin boys to stvidy their lessons outside the 
confines of a crowded and bustling school room, and they en- 
joyed it prodigiously, if not profitably, as they walk up and 
down the roads, memorizing their Latin lessons, at other times 
basking in the sunshine, or reclining on the ground beneath 
the spreading branches of umbrageous oaks. Everything be- 
ing new and inviting and an incitement to excel, we get our 
lessons with a vim, and afterwards when we better under- 
stood Latin pronunciation with a relish, and thus concluding 
that Latin was not so hard after all that had been told to us, 

Williamsburg County. 61 

the expressed opinion of others to the contrary, notwithstand- 

With all our joy there was a sadness mingled with it, 
found in the absence of many of the scholars from our new 
school, who, for three long years, had endured with us the 
rigid discipline of old Mr. Durand in the session house. 
Among these were the step-children of old Mr. Robert Morris, 
viz., John G. and William E. Howard, and their two sisters, 
Rebecca and Maggie, whose 'Visits returned" were often 
made and highly agreeable. They were the grand-children of 
Capt. Jack Graham, of Black Mingo, whose usefulness in this 
district will be found elsewhere. Also Mr. George McCutch- 
en's children, young George, Patsie and Jennet McCutchen, 
and their cousin, Mary Scott Barr, who, after the death of her 
mother, was with them, and a special little favorite in our 
school and beloved by us all. She and Patsie McCutchen died 
in early womanhood, to the great sorrow of Sam, with whom 
there were many pleasing associations mutually implanted in 
our breasts. Also, the late Capt. John F. D. Britton, whose 
superior height and corresponding strength were soon ac- 
knowledged in the school, causing a reluctant submission to 
them, and primarily among them was the pugnaciously in- 
clined school boy. John used to tell of his fight with William 
Paisley in which Sam had contrived to get him whipped, and 
had promised to assist William in it. Aware of this agree- 
ment to "double" team him, and just before the fight began, 
during our 12 o'clock recess, he called on a tobacco wagoner, 
then camping at the church to come and witness the fight, and 
see him get fair play. He promised to do so, saying he would 
wear his whip out on the first boy who interfered in the fight, 
and during the fight, good as his word, he stood over the com- 
batants with his drawn, long wagon whip, while Sam capered 
around worse than an old turkey gobbler, and fearing the 
horse whip, which was being shaken at him, he was forced to 
see his friend on the ground and on his back and to hear him 
bleat out, "Take him off." After this affair, a friendship of 
grand proportions between John and Sam was made, lasting 
to the end of the life of John Francis Durant Britton, occur- 
ring in 189. . , than whom none was braver to defend his rights 
and those of others, and more constant in his attachments and 
sincere in his religious professions of the doctrines of the 
Methodist Church. 

62 Reminiscences of 

Of course the Latin scholars were delighted, as they mem- 
orized the six Latin cases and apply then to "penna," a pen, 
and to "Penelope," the name of a woman, which even at |irst 
sight was pronounced in three syllables. The declension of 
the first example in adjectives, being "bonus, bona, bonum" 
good, was found not so easily fixed in our minds, combining 
the terminations of the three genders in the first and second 
declensions of nouns. We go right along with the pronouns 
and relatives, and with some difficulty we conjugate the irreg- 
ular verb, "sum, esse, fui, to be," but as an amendment to that 
task it was pleasant to decline "amo, to love," through its va- 
rious moods, tenses, numbers and persons. The ease, fluency 
and pomp with which we repeated these as we walked along 
the road or perched on the branches of an oak tree by the road 
side to everyone passing us, did so familiarize the other schol- 
ars, boys and girls with their terminations of the number and 
persons as they did say: 

Pres. o, as, at, amus, atis, ant. 
Imp. bam, bas, bamus, batis, bant. 
Plu. ram, ras, rat, ramus, ratis, rant. 

That most delightful to the school boy in its repetition 
with its proper rythmical accentuation, as he was perched 
upon the highest branches of our "Latin oak" tree, was the 
poetry by which rule all the tenses of verbs were formed, 
namely: "O" of the pres. indicative, i of the perf, "re" of the 
infinitive and "um" of the supine thus: From "O" we formed 
am and em, 

i, ram, rim ro, sse and ssern, 

u, us and rus are formed from um, 

All other parts from re do come." 

As soon as we have gone through the Latin rules we are 
told we were prepared to begin to "read Latin," and the first 
book given to beginners was "Historia Sacra," having an easy 
and comprehensive Glossary at the end of the book. There is 
no doubt that the manner of our rendering the Latin sentences 
into English was murder of the King's English, which, how- 
ever, in part and time was improved by the superior education 
of Davy Frierson at home, who obtained that distinction from 
his elder brother, Henry Frierson, who had been sent ofif to 
school in another district. In a few years afterwards, Henry 

Williamsburg County. 63 

Frierson graduated in medicine, was noted for the elegance 
and affability of his expressions of words, and of such enter- 
taining and intelligent address that his death in early manhood 
at the beginning of his medical practice and usefulness was 
everywhere lamented throughout the scope of his accjuaint- 
ances. Even up to the present time the older inhabitants of 
Pudding Swamp speak of his intelligence as so distinctive that 
they express their belief in it by declaring, Dr. James Henry 
Frierson was the smartest young man Williamsburg district 
ever raised. 

During the year we had read through "Historia Sacra," 
but without that proficiency to which we had hoped to have 
attained, and as a sample of our manner of reading the first 
sentence in it is given, and was thus rendered: Deus God' 
creavit created coelum the heaven et and terram the earth 
intra within sex six dies days. "Vivi Romae" was the next reg- 
ular book, and placed in our hands, but as we did not fully un- 
derstand the proper construction of sentences there was a diffi- 
culty in it which we did not surmount and here is the manner 
of our translation of its first sentence: Proca Proca vex the 
King Albanorum of the Albians, habuit had duos two filios 
sons Numaterem Numator et and Amulium Amulius. All the 
English branches were neglected and Latin was the only study 
and was believed and asserted to be the one thing needful. 
We did, however, memorize speeches out of the "Columbian 
Orator," and were required to speak them in school every Fri- 
day evening, and to which many neighbors came to hear our 
speeches and see our oratory. To assist us in our declamation 
of these orations, single or double pencil lines were drawn un- 
der certain words or sentences by the teacher, by which we 
knew when to gesture with one or both hands. 

Our speeches, grand in conception, were beyond our 
comprehension, as even in boy's speech, which said : "And if 
1 fall below Demosthenes or Cicero," we erased those two dis- 
tinguished names, unknown in our common reading, and sub- 
stituted: "Do ketch me before I hit the floor." Some boys 
do try to show their smartness, others only to have a little fun, 
as was the case of Jimmie Gordon in his report of a negro 
preacher's sermon already given. 

A public examination and an exhibition of our oratorical 
powers were held in the old church. On the appointed day, 
the teacher marched us two by two from the Academy to the 

64 Reminiscences of 

church where a large assemblage of spectators was already 
seated. Arriving, all the scholars with the teacher leading en- 
tered the church, leaving the boy outside who had been se- 
lected to open the ceremonies, by entering unexpectedly at a 
back door of the church, make his bow and ring out in his 
accustomed style: "Guided by reason man has travelled 
through the abstruse regions of the philosophical world." At 
the beginning he spoke in a quick, sharp, fearless tone of 
voice, but in a short time his voice dwindled down to a piping 
strain and ere its end was reached was scarcely audible. 

Such was the want of discernment of character by the 
teacher, as most of our boys would have been a better selec- 
tion to first confront the vast assemblage of people present 
with their eyes fixed on the speaker, especially the courageous 
William Paisley of deep, sonorous voice, who could and did 
thunder forth his speech: "Born, sir, in a land of liberty" and 
commanded attention and conmiendation. The defection of 
the selection of the teacher on this occasion can only be ex- 
cusable and perhaps can be found in the vain assumption of 
t1-i<^ r>nmn crlorv ?■>'>(] forwardness of the school boy, the 
shadows of which he has cast before him all the days of his 
life. Be these a happy or unfortunate quality of mind, it has 
])een his to possess many afifectionate traits of character, yet 
if an imposing address and if erring ways ever succeeded by 
penitential tears believing a "fess" is good for the soul. 

With our transit from the church into the new and com- 
modious Academy, whose clay chimney fire place occupied 
two-thirds of its width and its cracks daubed with clay, we 
were promoted from Enghsh to Latin as a reward for our 
hard earned reputation as smart boys, which enthused our 
souls and stimulated our ambition. New games and sports 
were introduced, and as we are now a free and easy sort of fel- 
lovrs outside t^-ie school house, we left "free jack" behind us, a 
word of confession and exemption from pinches and cufTs. 
We climbed the tall pine saplings and other trees and bending 
them down, we made riding horses for the girls, or bending 
them to other trees we change from tree to tree, and thus go a 
good distance without touching the ground, or getting up into 
high branching oaks and crawling out to the end of the limbs, 
we descend by bending down the higher limbs to the next 
lower ones till the ground is reached. These exploits fre- 
quently required two or more boys to assist in the bend, and 

Williamsburg County. 65 

sometimes they were followed by heavy falls; two of the latter 
are noticed, one being serious, the other comical. One day 
Davy Frierson and Davy Gordon, in attempting to bend down 
a pine sapling, snapped it off and fell ten or twelve feet to the 
ground, seriously injuring the latter and causing his absence 
from school several weeks. These bendings of trees and their 
limbs were not enough display of activity in the estimation of 
one of the boys as he declared he could jump from limb to 
limb as scjuirrels do. Announcing the time of the expected 
feat, the other boys assembled to witness a new and wonderful 
leap of this rattle brain boy. He did perform the feat, but be- 
ing unable to clinch his finger nails into the liml) on which he 
had alighted he fell on his back a distance of about twelve feet 
to the ground. Then it was he saw a flash of lightning and 
stars in broad day time, and, springing to his feet, he ran 
away from the tree ten or fifteen paces before he caught his 
breath, upon which he exclaimed: "Thank God." 

There was an evident fact seen and freely expressed be- 
fore the close of this memorable year, A. D. 1832. that the 
Academy had not fulfilled the expectations of the employers, 
and it fell to rise no more at this place. Let this be as it may, 
we boys had a tolerably good smattering of Latin, as the 
school boy would occasionally throw out a Latin sentence or 
two and more so perhaps to those who did not understand a 
word of it. Besides, we learned to swim in the deep C3^press 
ponds, but more so in the waters of Indiantown Swamp at its 
bridge, whither we would go as soon as the school was dis- 
missed, often running its distance of a mile in our haste to 
undress on the bridge and to leap headforemost from it into 
its waters belov^-, where we "splunge" and splash till weary of 
water, and ascending we find a headache awaits us for our im- 
prudence, as slowly we homeward go. 

Thus our Latin class was dissolved; David E. Frierson 
joined a school in his neighborhood and S. Jackson Singel- 
tary joined Robert and White McCuthen in the Bethany 
school in Iredell county, N. C., and the other four remained 
at home. In the second, third and fourth years following, 
most of this class was again together, tho' in different classes 
and in different schools, with the exception of one from whom 
we parted and never again had the pleasure to salute him as 
A. F. fellow of an academy. Edwin Erwin, the son of our pas- 
tor, Rev. J. M. Erwin, represented much of the aptness of our 

66 Reminiscences of 

class, and placing Davy Frierson out of the race, he had a bet- 
ter knowledge of the uses of a Latin education and so de- 
scribed them to us. He had two interesting sisters attending 
our school, and removing to North CaroHna with their father 
in 3835, ^^'^ have never seen each other since. 

Amid the great political and social disturbances in our 
Stale and district the new Indiantown Church was completed, 
and, after painting, was ready for its occupancy. The seats 
being numbered the members were solicitous in the choice of 
them. Two or more of the more wealthy and liberal in the 
support of the church favored the monied assessment plan, 
but this was soon silenced by the magnanimity of all the mem- 
bers, and a drawing for the seats was agreed upon. Mr. 
George Cooper was given the first choice, by reason of a do- 
nation in money left by his deceased father for the benefit of 
the Indiantown Church, and it became a question where he 
would make the selection, which being done, showed the judg- 
ment of this excellent citizen and Christian gentleman. When 
the drawing took place, the two gentlemen favoring assess- 
ment were allotted the back seats, but the congregation, with 
•its usual benignity, permitted them to select other seats v^^hich 
had not been taken up in the drawing. A somewhat strange 
coincident was in the case of three of the old families in the al- 
lottment of their present seats. In the old church Mr. Samuel 
McGill's seat was between Mr. William McFaddin and Mrs. 
Jennie McCrea's seats, and in the new church the case was 
made, only that they were in a line. This arrangement, how- 
ever, did not give the children of these families a chance to 
tease each other during divine services, as it did in the old 
church, but with all their parents' eyes of frowning aspects, 
there were shy looks with mischievous, yet loving behavior, 
mutually indulged in by the little boys and girls of contiguous 
and convenient seats. Becoming thus kindly associated they 
could not be debarred from giving many affectionate signs as 
they peep around and recognize each other at a distance. 
Where is he so dull that a recall of those blessed and innocent 
moments in the church in his earliest life does not excite a tear 
and a wonder as lie asks of himself, where are those little boys 
c/.J girls to-day? Where are they of school boy days? In 
one way, the grave answers, and in the other eternity will. 

The first sermons preached in the new Indiantown 
Church, as Sam has ever been and is yet impressed with, were 

Williamsburg County. 67 

delivered by Rev. Mr. — Morgan, of North Carolina, already 
spoken of. These sermons may have been in the dedication of 
the church or on a sacramental occasion directly afterwards, 
and were very efifective in their delivery. The school boy, 
seated together with other Sunday school boys, on the first 
and second left hand pews of the church, was impressed to 
such depth of his soul that he remembers the words of his 
texts of both sermons, the floods of tears, created by the pas- 
sionate eloquence and tearful impressiveness of Mr. Morgan's 
picture of the love of a crucified Saviour, that his memory is 
revered and that occasion endDalmed, as moulding in part 
Sam's profession and faith in the redeeming blood of our Lord 
and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Mr. Morgan's face was sufifused 
with tears, and his voice in its pathetic illustrations, seem yet 
to reecho in the spacious dome of the church, even after the 
lapse of more than three score years, whenever the old man 
enters within its sacred walls as he repeats his texts, "Go out 
into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in 
that my house may be filled." And, "Simon Peter, son of Jo- 
nas, lovest thou me? Lord, thou knowest I love thee. Feed 
my lambs." The second inquiry and answer were similar. 
The third time he said unto him: "Simon Peter, son of Jonas, 
lovest thou me? Yea, Lord, thou knowest all things, thou 
knowest that I love thee. Feed my sheep." 

The nullification excitement which had disturbed the peo- 
ple of South Carolina for many years, reached its culmination 
in 1832. Many of our public statesmen declared the tariff du- 
ties imposed on the Southern States by Congress as being un- 
constitutional, and measures were discussed and resolutions 
adopted to nullify their operations, in that they were in a ma- 
jority, while the minority vigorously opposed separate State 
action and the sovereignty of a State. In Williamsburg district 
we were about equally divided in opinions and sentiments, 
being bold to express and defend their respective rights, and 
hence hostile dispositions were engendered. Passion overrul- 
ing each faction, known as Nullifiers and Unionists, there 
were many bloody scenes enacted by the fists at the court 
house, at public dinners and on public highways. 

A fisticuff battle was fought on the bank of McCottry 
Lake, between Mr. G. Henry Chandler, Nullifier, and Mr. 
William J. Cooper, Unionist, the one depending on his pluck, 
ambition and manly powers, the other trusting to his strength 

68 Reminiscences of 

and powers of endurance. These two young men of fine pro- 
portions, were believed to be the best in the whole Indiantown 
country, and hence their expected engagement to test the man 
created an interest and much speculation by the respective 
parties they represented. They meet, shake hands, strip and 
are placed in the ring by their seconds, surrounded by friends 
of the two combatants. They engage, Chandler leading and 
following up his opponent, who was parrying and giving back, 
when he said: "Cooper, dont run." After many rounds. 
Cooper leading and following up his opponent, who was giv- 
ing back to catch breath, when he said: "Chandler, don't 
run." The fighters, falling to the ground, first one and then 
the other on top, without any decided advantage to either, 
their friends interfered, and declared the fight a drawn battle. 
Chandler ever afterwards claimed that he would have whipped 
Cooper but by reason of Cooper's previous preparation in 
having his hair closely cut and his body greased, by which he 
could not hold him. 

The greatest fisticuff fight within the memory of the old- 
est citizens, occurred at the Indiantown muster field just be- 
fore the nullification excitement between James Cooper and 
young Hugh Hanna. both residents of the Lake section. 
Cooper having cursed old Mr. Hugh Hanna, it was resented 
by his eldest son, who declared he would not allow an old man 
to be cursed. These two young men were of equally large 
statue and of proportionate limbs and strength. They met, 
stripped and entered the ring and soon they were at their best, 
first one and then the other on the ground, made so by heavy 
blows. During this bloody fight. Col. David D. Wilson, then 
captain of the Indiantown militia, walked away several times 
and returned to ask the bystanders to part them. The fight 
still continuing, he again came up, and in piteous tones, he 
begged: "Do men, for God sake, part them." When last the 
combatants were on the ground. Hanna was alone able to 
crawl upon Cooper, who said: "Take him of¥," in a whisper 
so low that his second had to put his ear to Cooper's mouth 
to catch his words. 

Mr. Hugh Hanna, Jr., died shortly after his marriage, 
leaving only two children, Harvey H. and James J. B. Mr. 
Harvey Hanna married Miss Hortenza Gamble, of the Turkey 
Creek section, moved away into Arkansas before the war and 
is now a useful, highly esteemed citizen in his adopted State. 

Williamsburg County. 69 

James Hanna remarried with us and died a few years ago, 
leaving" a widow of known beauty, and a small family of chil- 

Another fight occurred between Mr. W. G. Gamble and' 
Col. William Cooper, in front of the Corner Store in Kings- 
tree. These two gentlemen were political opponents and of 
highest prominence in their respective parties. Meeting at 
this place, Gamble demanded of Cooper an explanation of 
some remarks he had made. Cooper explained, but not to 
the satisfaction of Gamble, who replied: "To say the least of 
it you have equivocated," Cooper instantly striking with his 
whip, whicli he held, and receiving in turn a heavy blow from 
Gamble's fist, fell to the ground, and told the bystanders he 
had enough. The combatants were parted. 

And this one: Dr. James Bradley, the Union leader and 
speaker, was returning from a fishing hunt with his cane 
across his shoulders on the public road four miles above 
Kingstree. He was in a deep study with his eyes closed as 

was his practice. He met young Cockfield, of strongest 

Nullification doctrines, with a party of gentlemen, returning 
from Kingstree, who, observing the Doctor's fishing cane, in- 
sultingly said: 'Ts that your submission pole?" Dr. Bradley 
resented the insult by striking Mr. Cockfield, but before either 
got hurt tlieir friends parted them. 

About this time at a hotel in Charleston, known as "Sign 
of the Buck," there occurred an instance of uncommon hero- 
ism and of such philosophical reasoning under a trying cir- 
cumstance, that its record is here ventured as a source of mer- 
riment. A South Carolina medical doctor, a native of Sumter 
district, at tlie hotel dinner table was discussing State politics 
with a double-fisted, raw-boned Kentucky horse drover, hold- 
ing dififerent opinions, and both being ardent advocates of 
their principles, soon hot words were interchanged, and our 
doctor called the other a d— m liar. Instantly the Kentuck- 
ian jumped from his chair, leaped over the dining table, and 
seizing our doctor by the throat, pushed him violently up 
against the wall. Our friend with his tongue lolling out of his 
mouth, and unable to extricate himself from the iron-grip, 
drew his knife and opened it, and thus consulted with himself: 
"Shall I stab him, or shall I not," and I concluded, "Shall I 
not stab him." The boarders at the hotel interfered and pulled 
them apart. Explanations being made and accepted, they re- 

70 Reminiscences of 

paired to the "bar" and thus became friends durinj;^ the re- 
mainder of their stay, notwithstanding the great rage at the 
time, as the doctor used to tell us he never was so mad in his 
life. Hurrah for our good and benevolent "Old Hall," as he 
was familiarly called in Williamsburg, where he lived the last 
thirty years of his life and died about the beginning of our 
war. His conclusion, "shall I not stab him," became a note, 
and was highly commended in those days, and the sentiment 
in these days ought to be in humane adoption as in beautiful 
contradistinction to the hip pocket murderer drawn only to 
kill you, and for what? 

Dr. Henry Dubose was a physician of established reputa- 
tion, and few, if any, excelled him. For many years he was a 
fixed feature in the town of Kingstree, where he lived. His 
pluck in defense of his rights have often been exhibited, and 
his benevolence and liberality to the poor have ever been ac- 

Here is another instance of philosophical conclusion, oc- 
curring in Columbia. A strong svtpporter of State right doc- 
trines in the adoption of Nullification acts was arguing with 
one of the professors of the South Carolina College, a Yankee, 
who, differing in opinions, gave strong reasons against such 
rights and their supporters. The State right man arose and 
called the other "a d — m liar." The professor still keeping his 
seat, replied: "You must prove by twelve of my peers that I 
have lied, or you have lied." 

Throughout the State these fights happened in almost 
every instance by reproaches made from one party to the 
other, the Nullifiers denouncing the Unionists as submission- 
ists or cowards, and tlic Unionists taunting the Nullifiers as 
"all smoke and no fire." These Nullifiers adopted an insignia 
called a cockade, made of blue and white ribbons, representing 
the palmetto tree in its centre and fixed on the side of their 
hats. These cockades were construed as exhibiting a warlike 
disposition, and if not olTensive they caused ridicule. With the 
exception of a few members of the Indiantown Church, resid- 
ing over the "Big Swamp," the entire church and community 
were Union people. One Sunday one of these boastful mem- 
bers wore his cockade hat to the church. The boys, headed by 
White McCutchen, hastil}' constructed an imitation cockade 
and pinned it around "Nep's" neck, a privileged fice dog, and 
regular attendant at church, which, with his insignia, strolled 

Williamsburg County. 71 

about and through the church duruig services, upsetting 
mothers' baskets in search of bread, as was his custom. Visi- 
ble was the subdued chuckle of the congregation, and notable 
was the children's curiosity as they pointed at Nep's necklace, 
all to the mortification of the cockade gentleman. These peo- 
ple held intensely Union sentiments and unequivocally refused 
to join any act, tending to weaken the laws of the United 
States. In maintaining these Union sentiments, they were 
guided by such devoted patriots as Col. David D. Wilson and 
Col. William Cooper, members of our Legislature, obtained 
through much strife and hostile opposition ; aided also by Con- 
gixssman Thomas R. Mitchel, of Charleston; Hon. R. F. W. 
Allston and E. Waterman, of Georgetown, Gen. Wade Hamp- 
ton, of Columbia, and Richardson and Manning, of Sumter. 
By our leading statesmen and Sam's parents, his conservative 
sentiments were engrafted in his youthful mind and there they 
have been nurtured up to the present time. 

These deep rooted feelings of conserved patriotism were 
made demonstrable in our first secession movement in 1851, 
as in his vote for State delegates, recorded in his diary; in his 
reluctance to endorse our secession ordinance made in 
Charleston in i860, still having faith in a returning sense of 
justice among our Northern friends, strengthened by the clos- 
ing paragraph of President Lincoln's first inaugural, but to be 
overshadowed in the bombardment of Fort Sumter, and the 
Yankees invasion upon the soil of South Carolina at Beaufort, 
but to be revivified in 1890. 

Our Union cause found strenuous advocates in every vot- 
ing precinct in Williamsburg district, and in many of them 
there were divisions of sentiments even in families, as were 
those among the Grahams, Mouzons, McClavys, Hannas and 
others of Revolutionary stock, and indeed the Nullifiers 
claimed to be representatives of that spirit of their forefathers 
m resisting oppression as they had done. The State leaders of 
both parties are of national record, but those of this district are 
not. and they are written in this narrative as they are now re- 
membered. These may be of interest to those who remember 
those exciting times as actors, or as accidental hearers, and 
who, no doubt, can recall many other prominent men and 
stirring incidents worthy of record. 

In Kingstree precinct, the L^nionists were under the lead- 
ership of Dr. James Bradley, Fultons, Witherspoon and 

72 RkminIvScence;s of 

Scotts; the Nullifiers under the Singletons, Peter Gourdin, 
Nelsons, Salters and Gambles. Dr. T. D. Singleton, Sr., was 
a candidate for Congress against the Hon. Thomas R. Mitch- 
ell, whom he defeated but died on his way to Washington. On 
Santee, Dr. Buford and Maj. Sabb were unable to contend 
with such strong and ardent Nullifiers as the Gourdins, Keds 
and McDonalds. At Anderson, the Union cause prevailed, 
and Matthew L. Martin had everything his own way, being a 
host within himself, and Anderson section would lose its high 
standard for unanimity were there no Martin there, but for- 
tunately old Mr. Martin's social, political and intellectual po- 
sition among us was bequeathed to his only son, the present 
Daniel Z. Martin. At Black Mingo, the Doziers and Capt. 
Jack Graham were barely able to hold a hand in the Union 
cause with the Nesmiths and Brockintons of extensive and 
influential family connections. At Muddy Creek, the Union 
cause was largely in the ascendancy, and the Nullifiers had no 
showing with Capt. Williams Johnson, the Haseldens and the 
Coxes. The Lake voting precinct of large territory and popu- 
lation, was overwhelming in the strength of the Nullifiers; the 
upper and middle portions by far the most populous were con- 
trolled by the leaders, A. F. Graham and Samuel E. Graham, 
Cockfields, McAlisters. Mathews, Rodgers and Sauls; while 
the lower and eastern portion was controlled by such Union 
men as Mr. James Graham, Singletarys and Browns; and 
along Lynche's Creek by Stones, Eaddys and Carters. The 
upper Lake section was the bone of contention and great ex- 
ertions were made by the Union party to break into the ranks 
of the Nullifiers, but its people were determined and remained 
steadfast in their adherence to the doctrines of Calhoun, 
Hayne, McDuf^e and others. 

Public dinners were given by both parties and frequently 
on the same day and at the same place. Such dinners were 
given at Kingstree, one at Fluitt's Hotel by the Union party, 
and was addressed by Dr. James Bradley, the Union candi- 
date for the Legislature; the other at Staggers' Hotel by the 
Nullifiers, and Dr. Thomas D. Singleton was the speaker and 
candidate for the State Senate against Col. David D. Wilson, 
candidate on the Pinion side. This election was held and re- 
sulted in a "tie." Young Dr. Singleton was said to be a 
speaker and orator and was ready at all times to mount the 
rostrum and discuss the political issues of the day. Being well 

Williamsburg County. 73 

educated, he had the reputation of being a first rate physician, 
afifable and elegant, his address was ahtiost irresistible. His 
early death created a feeling of sorrow among his friends and 
political enemies, leaving a widow and three little daughters, 
who, in a few years, were the pride of our people, wonderful in 
intelligence, refinement and the lofty bearing of the distin- 
guished of our State. The many virtues and excellencies of the 
late Mrs. Louisa Singleton will long remain fixed and hal- 
lowed in the memories of the people of Williamsburg. 

A great gathering of the two contending parties was 
made in the Lake country at the concurrence of the public 
roads, leading from the Anderson and Laurens bridges, where 
the town of Scranton is now situated. Each party had their 
dinner on the opposite side of the Laurens branch of the 
forked roads, and were in speaking distance to each other, 
and it was a common talk of the" probable scenes of that day 
and of its speculative results for many days prior to the ex- 
pected meeting. The school boy was given permission to at- 
tend this dinner, and placing himself in the care of a neighbor, 
named John Morton, esteemed a bully and one of the ac- 
knowledged fighters on the Union side, he felt safe, as bullies 
in those turbulent days were highly thought of and their 
friendship desired. At early morn of the appointed day we 
set out on horseback for the place of the big meeting, it being 
eighteen or twenty miles from our homes, at which arrival we 
found an immense concourse of people already on the ground, 
consisting of every size and condition. 

Before dinner there was much talking and joking between 
the two factions on the public road, and for a while everything 
was in a very pleasant and enjoyable way. 

After dinner, the all-absorbing topic became more of an 
irritating character, and as soon as the epithet, "Submission- 
ist," was given, either to himself or a L'^nion friend, Robert 
W. Fulton, of Kingstree, peeled away with his fist at John F. 
Graham, the insulting Nullifier, and by the time they are in 
full fight, and Fulton in the lead, the friends of the engaging 
parties rush in to their assistance, and many of them too be- 
came engaged. Among these combatants were N. M. Gra- 
ham, L'nionist, and C. W. Cade, Nullifier, and many other 
fights occurring, a general fight was imminent, as men pulled 
off their coats, threw their banters and shook their fists af 
each other. Our old friend of the morning, ran in among the 

74 Reminiscences of 

Nullifiers, pulled aside his shirt bosom, exposed liis naked 
breast to them, and begged them to "make a dig," but they 
failed, so great was the size of his frame, and arms and fist in 
fine proportions. There were cursing, swearing and ranting 
on all sides, amidst which the school boy, having lost his tu- 
tillary companion in the great hubbub, accidentally found a 
boy from Kingstree, the late E. J. C. Mathews, a relative, and 
holding on to each other for self-protection, mounted up into 
a cart standing by the roadside. 

Raised above the crowd we felt more secure, but the 
noises, banters and fights increasing, and seeming to have 
centred around our cart, the frightened school boy leaped out 
over the wheels into the road just in time to be in the way of 
Capt. Ebenezer Singeltary, who was then charging down the 
road through the crowd on his large, gray, blind horse, and 
to receive a knock-down and a slight bruise on his foot. On, 
on, came the horse and man, leaping up into the air and 
bounding over the crowd, striking right and left with his stick, 
exclanning aloud: "Get out the way, you d — ns sons of 
bitches." Men were run over and wounded, some got out of 
his way, others attempted to seize his reins and jerk the rider 
off. This charge through and over a crowd of men of several 
hundreds yards' compactness, was a benevolent success, in 
that he had cleared the road and stopped the fighting. This 
feat accomplished, as designed, Capt. Singeltary dashed down 
the road beyond the reach of friend and foe, where, wheeling 
his horse around, he complacently reviewed the scene he had 
just enacted. By this time, Robert D. Ijlakeley, of Kingstree, 
a bullying Xullifier who had been wounded in the charge, 
mounted his horse to pursue the charger, who fearlessly ob- 
serving his approach, warded off Blakeley's stick with his own 
and gave several severe blows on Blakeley's head. In the 
meantime, while this fray was going on, which viewed from 
the crowd had the appearance of a desperate encounter be- 
tween brave, youthful, dashing Bob. Blakeley and the old 
man, Capt. Ebb Singeltary, whose anxious friends loudly 
screamed: "Do run yonder, Blakeley is killing Old Ebb." 
The surprise of the condition of these two single combatants 
may be guessed when Blakeley slowdy returning, was seen to 
be bloody, in a measure, from head to foot, while the friends 
of Capt. Singeltary, who had flocked to his rescue after his 
fight, reported him as being all right with scarcely a scratch 

Williamsburg County. 75 

on his person. Then, and ever afterwards during his hfe, 
Capt. Ebb Singehary claimed he had made a better charge 
than Gen. Washington had ever done. 

The fighting thus unexpectedly ended, with bloody faces 
everywhere visibile, and the great wrangling dying away, and 
A'Ir. Morton having found his protege, we join the long caval- 
cade at twilight and go home with old Mr. James Graham, ten 
miles distant, and remained with him that night, together with 
a large company of Union friends. Old Mr. Jimmie Graham 
was a host in the Union ranks, beloved and respected by all, 
whose moral, patriotic and Christian qualities are now delin- 
eated in his descendants of to-day. The greater part of this 
night was consumed in the recital and review of the scenes of 
that bloody day, which, when fully written, will convey the 
spirit of the rising tempest of the excitement of our suscepti- 
ble people. And for what? but to pave the way for the last 
and supreme act of a chivalrous and once proud generation, 
as declared and accepted in i860. 

One other meeting of the people was called, yet in mem- 
ory, composed entirely of Union men, to hear a speech from 
the Hon. Thomas R. Mitchel, then candidate for re-election to 
Congress. We congregated at the Witherspoon place, one 
mile below Kingstree, and the whole district of Union men 
seemed to be present, anxious to hear Mr. Mitchel and others 
who might desire to give more light on the pending political 
crisis. Tv/elve o'clock of that day came, but no Mr. Mitchell 
arrived, and shortly afterwards a messenger from Georgetown 
arrived to say that Mr. Mitchel had been suddenly taken ill the 
night before and could not be with us. We were sorely dis- 
appointed, and while the committee of arrangements and oth- 
ers were anxiously looking for some one to address us, in the 
absence of Dr. James Bradley, it was publicly announced that 
Capt. Jack Graham, old and infirm as he was, would under- 
take to speak. Capt. Graham coming to the front, said he 
could not well undergo the fatigues of a speech, but he had an 
article written which we were welcome to, if we would get 
some one to read it. At this the cry was made for Squire 
Blakeley, who coming up in response, with a smiling face, and 
turning to the old gentleman, said: "Capt. Graham, is the ar- 
ticle in your own hand writing?" This being affirmed, and 
looking upon the crowd, he said: "Gentlemen, I beg to be 
excused." Here Capt. Jack, as he was familiarly called, being 

76 Reminiscences of 

a little disconcerted, said: "I'll read it myself," and adjusting 
his old brass frame spectacles over his nose, and leisurely un- 
folding the rolls of his paper speech, he proceeded to read 
page after page, occupying several minutes, and hearing no 
applause and noticing squads of people around him leaving, 
he suddenly discovering his mistake, and as suddenly stop- 
ping, said: "Poh! Poh! Poh! I brought the wrong paper 
from home." This proved to be an agricultural article pre- 
pared by Mr. Graham for publication. 

All efforts to get another speaker on the stand were in- 
effectual, and the truth was apparent, that tho' we had many 
men of great political information, born of Williamsburg, yet 
they could not, or would not, be induced to make an ofif hand 
speech. As was the case then of sixty years ago, so is it now 
with many of her sons. Truly we are a peculiar people and 
are recognized as such by neighboring counties, who presume 
to make allowances for our shortcomings, as they say: "He 
is from Williamsburg." 

There was no disturbance and this day aflforded much 
enjoyment. Late in the evening, one young man mounted his 
horse to go over to Kingstree village among the Nullifiers, 
where they, too, had a small dinner. Bemg alone, and his 
friends knowing his pluck, they were solicitous about his in- 
trusive visit. Sure enough, soon there came a dispatch from 
Kingstree, saying: "Tom Rose and Gadsden Gamble are 
fighting." Instantly mounting their horses, a hundred or more 
men dashed up into Kingstree. Finding the fight was over, 
being assured that their friend had had a fair fight, and that 
it ended as well for one as the other, they returned to their 
friends, and soon the crowd dispersed. 

Capt. Jack Graham was a man of distinguished character, 
who had faithfully served in the legislative halls in previous 
years. Many anecdotes were told on him, showing the pecu- 
liarities of the Williamsburg people. They persisted in calling 
him "Old Jack Grimes." He resided on Black Mingo on the 
place where now stands the fine residence of the McConnells. 
His old house was a resting place for travellers, it being about 
half way between Kingstree and Georgetown, especially for 
the judges and lawyers of our courts. In one sense, he was 
the most useful man of those times living on that line, as he 
kept a wood and blacksmith shop and vehicles and horses to 
let. Being a church-going man, and anxious to better connect 

Williamsburg County. 77 

himself with the Indiantown Church, he cut a way across 
Black Mingo Swamp to shorten the distance, which ford to 
this day bears his name. 

Capt. Jack Graham left two children, a son and daughter. 
Of his son's descendants are the families of John S. McCul- 
lough and John S. Graham, the latter of whom resides on the 
place of his great-grandfather. He has every promise of an 
equal usefulness with him in the affairs of our State. Of the 
descendants of the McCuUough branch is the present J. Gra- 
ham McCullough, who, just started out in life, is a young man 
of much hope in the church and on whom his friends have 
placed an interest in his future usefulness in our State. His 
daughter's descendants are John G. Howard's family, residing 
on Birch Creek, and WilUam E. Howard, who moved away, 
and the two Howard girls, Rebecca and Maggie. The former 
married W. G. Cawley, residing on Black River; Maggie mar- 
ried Capt. W. J. Grayson, leaving four sons, one of whom is 
W. Watson Grayson, our popular clerk of the court. At the 
death of Mr. Howard, his daughter married Mr. Robert Mor- 
ris, on Turkey Creek, from whence were Dr. Robert F. Mau- 
rice and Hon. Samuel W. Maurice. 

In front of Capt. Jack Graham's house in a large open 
field, was the Regimental Parade Ground, of the upper and 
lower battalions of Williamsburg and Georgetown districts, 
commanded by Col. WilHam Cooper with Capt. S. J. Snowden 
as his adjutant. At every annual parade the drum and the fife 
made such thrilling music that hundreds of boys and negroes 
followed in their marches. The cake cart, covered over with 
white sheeting, with its ginger cakes and pies, were next of 
interest, and old Aunt "Fillis Brown" from Georgetown, pock- 
eted many a four pence and seven pence. These parades were 
the delight of the old and young. The officers with their long, 
blue, swallow-tail coats, with double rows of brass buttons and 
long red sashes around their waists, were the lions of the day, 
and with their high military hats with feathers fluttering in the 
breeze, and heavy swords almost trailing the ground, they pre- 
sented a spectacle of warlike heroism. 

However, these swords and the general appearance of the 
officers did not compare with that story which Jimmie Gordon 
told to us at school. "Long ago, two boys ran away from 
home and went to the war. After many years' absence, one 
of the bovs returned on a furlough. His mother met him with 

78 Reminiscences of 

great joy, but was soon shocked, and hastening to call her 
husband, then out in the field at work, she shouted: "Old 
man! old man! what do you think?" "Why, old woman, I'm 
thinking about everything." "Our son Jinimie has come back 
from the war. I can't stay in the house with him. He's a 
cursing and a swearing till I can't hear my own ears. He has 
a long knife a hangin' to his belt and one 'em dregs the 

Wagon Trips to Charleston. 

A description of the long established custom of our far- 
mers' trips to Charleston with their wagons loaded with cotton 
once or twice a year, is supposed to be of interest. Two or 
more of them joined company for mutual protection along the 
road. These trips were generally made in November or early 
December, that the yearly allowance of groceries, clothes, 
blankets and wool hats for the negro men, blue checkered 
handkerchiefs and shawls for the women, including a barrel of 
apples for the children and one of whiskey for the plantation, 
would be on hand at Christmas and New Year's day. George- 
town was then considered a Yankee and Jew town, and was 
only used for convenience, until years later the Sampsons, 
Munroes and others opened large stores of merchandise, and 
the town assumed a place of importance. The people of Wil- 
liamsburg then traded their cotton here till the construction 
of the Northeastern Railroad, completed in 1857. Charleston 
in the meantime, was taking care of herself, rising to higher 
and grander proportions through the enterprise of her people, 
as shown in the construction of the Charleston and Augusta 
Railroad, and her lines of steamboats, plying the Peedee River 
and stopping at Georgetown for cotton, and the upper Santee 
down to Wright's Bluff, through the Santee canal mto Cooper 
River, and deposited the cotton on her wharfs. 

Sam's first trip to the great city was made late in No- 
vember, 1832, and high were his expectations of what things 
he would see, being told before leaving that he would be like 
the little boy who said "he couldn't see the town for the 
houses.'" These trips required six days going, and five on the 
return trip, exclusive of the three days in the city, making 
fourteen days, if not hindered by accident. As nothing eatable 
could be bought along the route, rations and feed were pre- 
pared for the long journey. Baked wheat and corn biscuits, 

Williamsburg County. 79 

beat rice, bags of sugar, coffee and salt, junks of home made 
soap, towels, side of bacon, etc., packed into a chest. Two 
bales of cotton, packed with a pestle at its four corners, stuffed 
with cotton seed, the whole weighing 300 to 350 pounds, were 
placed in the body of the wagon, filling their interstices with 
corn, while four similar bales were placed across, resting on 
the railing of the wagon body, and secured by two long poles 
lashed down. A bucket of fresh tar was suspended to the end 
of the coupling pole, and the feed trough suspended to the 
back of the wagon body, in which were placed pots, frying pan 
and a short forked pole, used to support the wagon tongue at 
nights and at feed time. Fodder, bedding and blankets were 
piled up on top under a homespun cloth, which served as a 
tent at night. Places were found for baskets of fowl, ducks 
and eggs, which were carried to town and sold. 

Thus equipped with four horses geared to his wagon, on 
Tuesday at daylight, the wagoner in clean clothes, and proud 
of his calling, mounts the wheel saddle horse, seizes his long 
"gee" line, pops his whip, and punching his off wheel horse 
with his foot, we are soon on the road for Charleston, not, 
how^ever, before an affectionate good-bye has been given 
mother, who, after various admonitions told of the "meetin' 
clothes" tied up in a bundle with father's in the wagon, which 
he must put on in Charleston to look like the city boys. We 
are soon overtaken by father on horseback. Slowly and stead- 
ily we drive along, and arriving at the old Scott place (now 
Thompson's) we are joined by Mr. Thomas Scott's wagon, 
himself on horseback, and by Wm. R. Scott, his brother, and 
John Rowlong, a school teacher, on a pleasure trip. We 
camped at the well of Williamsburg Presbyterian church, and 
after feeding our horses and eating the purleau of rice and 
chicken, we all settle ourselves around the campfire. The 
click of the trace chains and the restlessness of the horses 
somewhat disturbed our rest. We had a joyful surprise, as 
upon examining the necessary articles to be carried along on 
our journey, nothing was wanting. Col. D. D. Wilson, who 
seemed never tired of speaking of old Uncle John McGill, 
not only as a jolly companion, but as a great wagoner, making 
frequent trips to Charleston, said he used to drive off his 
loaded wagon the evening before the appointed day of start- 
ing, and camp a mile or two that night from his home, that 
he misrht be near the next morning to send back to his home 

80 Reminiscences of 

for any necessary article left behind. It was narrated that a 
widow lady of great push living near Kingstree used to ac- 
company her wagon on a Charleston trip at least one-half 
day, and thus ascertain if all preparations were properly made, 
and on one occasion it was discovered that the wagon trough 
had been left. She dispatched a negro man on horseback for 
it, who hitched the trough to the horse and dragged it along 
on the ground till he reached his wagon. 

At daylight the next morning we are moving on and at 
its close we are camped at Murray's ferry, Thursday morn- 
ing we drive into two ilats, and after three hours poling over 
the waters of the swamp, seven miles from bank to bank, we 
are safely landed, and passing through "Hog Crawl bottom" 
we enter a long straight reach of road. Passing by Mr. Ship- 
man s plantation and house of entertainment, we struck camp 
for the night. Friday morning, we crossed over the canal 
bridge, by Bigham's old church and Monk's Corner, and then 
we encountered the very bad roads through Broughton's 
swamp. The camp this night is forgotten, but it is probable 
we did not stop in Broughton's swamp, which had the repu- 
tation as the haunts of robbers and lawless runaways. On 
Saturday, we had a pleasant time, and turned into the great 
State road, running from Charleston to Columbia, eighteen 
or twenty miles above the city. What attracted most along 
our line was the "Live Oak avenue," the immense trees, grow- 
ing in straight double lines, with extended branches interlock- 
ing,formed an arched way up to an elegant white mansion, 
placed several hundred yards from the public road. Here at 
noon we feed, watering our horses at Goose creek. After a 
short rest we crossed over this tide-water creek on an arched 
bridge of beautiful construction, intending to camp at the 
Ten mile hill and spring that night. Here we heard, for the 
first time in our lives, the roar and rattle of the railroad cars, 
which a mile or two away resounded through the woods like 
a thunder storm. Jumping to our feet we listened with some 
fear, as the horses pricked their ears and became somewhat 
fractious. On Sunday morning, being only ten miles to our 
journey's end, we are in no hurry to get on the road but spend 
the early hours in washing ofif the smoke of camp fires and 
putting on clean clothes to make our debut into the great 
city. Starting, we soon reach the turnpike road, and coming 
to the Four Mile House, we imagined we were already in 

Williamsburg County. 81 

town. Many ladies and gentlemen came dashing by, mounted 
on fine horses, which added to the grandeur of the ladies' rid- 
ing dresses, heightened our ideas of the elegance of Charles- 
ton people. Added to our curiosity were the city negro 
women, dressed in fine style with baskets of cakes on their 
arms. Meeting us they walked along by the wagon, putting 
on winsome ways and courteous addresses to the negro men 
and offering to buy the poultry and eggs. The men, tho' de- 
lighted, would not make any bargains, nor could they be in- 
duced to go home with them, as they feared their tricky ways 
as had been practiced on others. Arriving in the upper part 
of town we drive our wagons into- Welch & McClary's public 
wagon yard, and properly arranging our business with oiir 
servants, and promising to be back the next morning, we 
walked down King street and put up at a hotel on the eastern 
side of King street. 

On Monday the wagons were driven down to East Bay and 
remained there the greater part of the day, giving Sam oppor- 
tunities to look at the ships and count the chimes in St. 
Michael's steeple. On Tuesday hundreds of wagons filled 
King street, and their passing and repassing each other were 
of much trouble, while they almost hindered pedestrians cross- 
ing over from one pavement to the other. The greatest won- 
der was where all these people came from and what was the 
matter that made them walk almost in a trot. Sam did not 
relish the hotel fare, when he saw the nice smoking sausages 
on the table, because he had heard older people say that town 
sausages were made of young puppies. The city drinking wa- 
ter and the heated, stified air in his bed room made him sick, 
and consequently prevented him from seeing much of the city. 
He longed for his mother's burnt whiskey and spice at home. 
Being thus indisposed, he was in his room in the hotel in bed 
part of his stay in the city. This ever being his way of acting 
and thinking, that when he is sick, he is sick, and when he is 
well he is well, leaving no intermediate or half way ground. 

On the evening of the third day the wagons with their 
load of supplies were ready to be driven out of the city, and 
.Sam being sick, his father arranged for him to lie over till next 
morning, take the train twelve miles up to Woodstock, walk 
out from there to the public road and meet the wagons at a 
designated place. He was placed under the charge of Mr. 
John Rowiong, and at daylight we two are on board the South 

82 Reminiscences of 


Carolina and Augusta Railroad, not yet completed, if rightly 
remembered. This ride with its velocity, its rockings, jump- 
ings and bumpings produced dizziness and increased his sick- 
ness, and, with difficulty, we two walked across to the State 
road, and arriving there before the wagons. • The boy had to 
lie flat on the ground while awaiting. Directly, Mr. Rowlong 
announced the approach of the wagons, and the boy was 
quickly and comfortably laid in the wagon. The free air of 
the country soon revived him. During the day we were over- 
taken by his father and Mr. Tom Scott, in company with halt 
dozen other gentlemen, who too were on their return, ana 
among them were Mr. Isaac Nelson, of Kingstree, in a sulkey, 
and Capt. John Smith, of Pudding Swamp, in a gig. Sani 
leaps out of the wagon as he gladly accepts the arrangement 
made for him to ride with Capt. Smith as far as Kingstree. 
That night we all stopped with Mr. Shipman, a tavern keeper, 
and at daylight of Friday morning we were pushing toward 
Murray's Ferry, a string of wagons ahead of us, and arriving 
there we found great numbers of wagons already there awau- 
ing transportation. It was ascertained that our turn to cross 
the river could not possibly arrive before Sunday. Without 
hesitating, we turned down into the Santee River road and 
crossed over Santee at Lenud's Ferry the same day, and 
stopped at the ferry house. Saturday morning we are again 
on the road for home, and arriving at Mr. H. D. Shaw's place, 
three miles below Kingstree, on the Lower Bridge road, we 
parted company, and Sam bidding good-bye to his friend, 
Capt. Smith, leaps behind Mr. Nelson's sulky, and in a short 
time we were at his house, three miles below Kingstree. 

On the arrivals of the wagons, Sam mounted one and ar- 
rived home as hearty as a buck, so great are his powers of 
recuperation, after a trip in the wagon of sixteen days' ab- 

Grayson's School and Plow Boy. 

In January, 1833, the school boy was sent to board with 
liis sister, Amelia Scott, wife of Mr. I. T. Scott, whose mar- 
riage was celebrated in 1826, and who is yet living in Arkan- 
sas in her eighty-seventh year. The object was to go with 
Scott to an English school taught by Mr. B. B. Grayson, on 
Cedar Swamp at the "Old Brush Stand," and review his Eng- 
lish studies, which had been neglected in the studv of Latin 
the previous year. The first three months' attendance under 

Williamsburg County. 83 

Mr. Grayson's tuition satisfied the mind of the school boy, 
that his former English lessons had not been forgotten, and 
thus expressed his belief with an egotism which, no doubt, ex- 
emplified our old copy for "V," being "Vanity and presump- 
tion ruin many a promising youth." 

During these three cold and wet winter months, John 
Scott and Sam IMcGill trudged along together from Mr. 
Scott's place, now Mr. Joseph A. Thompson's, through the 
lonely and sloppy bogs and pine forest to the school, and 
when in the little school house, one of them had an easy road 
to travel, while the other frequently received corrections in his 
open hands. The school master used the ferrule in preference 
to the switch. On our way to school John, ever fond of 
pranks, would loiter behind, Sam walking ahead on a narrow 
path, would throw a heavy pine knot against a tree just be- 
fore him. would disperse his friend's revery. On our return 
the two friends, now in no hurry, would hunt Calamus root on 
the "tussicks" growing in Holmes' Swamp. 

The three months' term of school under Mr. Grayson 
having expired, the school boy returned home to his father, 
who immediately put him to the plow, and as an inducement 
promised to give him a four year-old heifer cow. These were 
joyously accepted, because he would get horseback rides to 
and from the fields twice a day, and some of them more than 
a mile away. April, May and June found him in a highly con- 
tented condition, dexterously holding the plow handles and 
extending his "gee" and "haw" in commanding tones in con- 
sideration that he was now a master. Cheered with the 
thought of a continuous increase of his stock of cattle, this 
problem was made: "If every calf be a heifer calf, and each 
one to have a heifer calf at four years old annually, how many 
cows, heifers and calves will he have at the end of ten years." 
He got the heifer and called her "Full Pen," and when this 
boy married and settled in 1844, eleven years after, he had a 
small stock of cattle from historic Full Pen. Ever since, there 
has been one of her name in his stock, and now, after the lapse 
of sixty years, there is one "Full Pen" and heifer yearling 
feeding in his front yard pasture. 

After the three months' plowing, the balance of the year 
found the school boy at leisure, as he visited his cousins and 
neighbors around Indiantown. Most of these were his father's 
people, nephews and nieces, and their relations to each other 

84 Rkminiscknces of 

were so closely and tenderly observed that the interest of one 
was the interest of them all. They loved their Uncle Sam and 
family, and at the first information of sickness, their presence 
was Cjuickly made in the sick room. But most of his idle mo- 
ments were given to Jinimie and Davy Gordon, hunting with 
them with an old, single-barrel flint and steel gun, finding only 
nuich hindrance to his everlasting shooting in getting shot 
and powder and gun flints, as the latter had to be picked be- 
tween fires and the pan rubbed with pumice stone, and with- 
all these there were many "ka whap a snap" before the gun 
went ofif with a deafening explosion, and with a perceptible 
kick behind, yet doing some damage before her. We enlarged 
our fishing places as we go to McColtry and Wilson Lakes, 
and glide over their smooth surfaces in a canoe and bring up 
the big, blue bream from their bottom, or shoot the big gar 
fish as they lie near the surface of these waters. Or, he goes 
home with the Gordon boys and watches their skill as work- 
man in the making of fancy powder horns, fancy boxes, &c., 
with characters carved or painted on them. One such was 
made, written with pencil along in the inside, "D. P. Gordon, 
1833," ^"*^^ given to his friend Som, which was carried along' 
in the four years he was off at school, and which remained in 
his house all the days of his married life, as his wife's needle, 
thread and button holder. 




Weeks before the Christmas holidays of this year, a 
broader field than plowing, sporting with giui and dogs and 
fishing tackles was projected, in which to give the school boy 
a classical education, then only obtainable far away from 
home, as was the general belief. The conclusion was made 
in chief by the influence of Col. D. D. Wilson, who argued 
that Sam should be given a chance to get an education, he 
intended to do the same thing for his son Edward, they had 
already paid extra money for their Latin, and that he would 
be glad to have these two boys go ofT together to the Bethany 

Williamsburg County. 85 

Academy in Iredell county, N. C, a thrifty Presbyterian 
neighborhood. Accordingly, Sam's father yielded to the 
wishes of Col. Wilson, whom he greatly esteemed, and pre- 
parations were made for the departure of Ned Wilson and' 
Sam McGill first of January following, to go in company with 
William M. Scott, of Cedar Swamp, who was to return to that 
school, where he and Jackson Singeltary attended the pre- 
vious year. These two boys were to be placed under his care 
and direction in the long journey of two hundred miles, occu- 
pying not less than six days, and as William Scott was older, 
and of early piety, these parents gladly placed their sons under 
his charge. 

In early January, 1834, all things being ready, including 
home-made winter and summer clothing- for eleven months' 
wear and tear, and receiving his mother's admonitions during 
many preceding days amid her prayers and our tears, the reas- 
sumed and newly dressed school boy bade adieu to his people. 

In the old family gig, resting on wooden standards, se- 
cured on the axle, and a new trunk lashed on the hind seat to 
balance the weight of its passengers on the shafts, the negro 
man, Ned, was seated along side of his young master to drive 
him to Bethany, and bring back the horse and gig. We soon 
join company with Scott and Ned with similar outfits, and ar- 
riving at Anderson Bridge we put up with old Mrs. Anderson 
for the night. On the second day we were in Society Hill, in 
the Douglas Hotel, and before the noon of the third day we 
were in Cheraw, stopping to have our horses shod. This be- 
ing a new sight to us we watched the manner of putting shoes 
on horses. Shortly, we are ofif for Wadesboro, but had not 
proceeded far before we were told that a certain creek just 
ahead was swimming, and that it would not be fordable for 
several hours. Returning to Cheraw, we put up in Moore's 
Hotel, being attracted by his large sign. After supper, while 
Scott was engaged m conversation with a strange gentleman. 
Sam proposed to Ned a walk out into the street. We had not 
gone far before a drunken man came staggering up to us in 
the dark, and muttering something, we betook to our heels, 
and was soon back in the hotel. In the up-stairs room of the 
hotel where we slept there were two beds. Scott and Ned oc- 
cupied one and Sam alone in the other, who scarcely was 
asleep before he was aroused by a crashing noise in the room, 
and fearing it was robbers, he instinctively covered up his 

86 Reminiscences of 

liead to await his fate in the dark. It proved to be the plaster- 
ing of the room falhng on our beds and the floor, but doing no 
damage to us except inflicting a sHght bruise on Ned's face. 

At the end of the fourth day's journey we w'ere in Wades- 
boro, N. C, and all along w'e wanted to know where the 
North Carolina line was. On the fifth day w-e crossed through 
Rocky River at a ford where there was a rock dam of a few 
feet height, and a small grits mill house, made also of rocks. 
This was the only river in our journey of 200 miles. ()n the 
sixth day we were among the hills and rocks and icy valleys, 
which sights verified what had been told us before leaving our 
homes, but which, at the time, we could not understand, that 
we would see hills high as a pine tree, rocks as big as a meet- 
ing house, and ice of thickness to hold up a horse. This day 
we arrived in Salisbury and put up with a Mr. Slaughter, and 
finding its streets all mud and red clay Sam, in descending the 
miserable roads over which he had passed, w^ote by Ned's 
return to his parents, that even in the streets of Salisbury our 
"old farmer" had to take a second pull in its mud and deep 

On the evening of the seventh day of our toilsome trip, 
we are at our journey's end, and are with Mr. W. A. Dunlap, 
our expected host for the next eleven months. He lodged us 
in a hewed log cabin in his yard. This place and the whole 
countr\- we had passed in our last day's journey and here 
around us, cast a gloom and a sadness, as the yard trees and 
forests of tall oaks and hickories presented a scene only to be 
seen in our cypress swamps in the dead of winter. There w-as 
not a vestige of green upon which to rest the eye, as the pines 
with their ever green tops had entirely disappeared in enter- 
ing Iredell county, situated on both sides of the South Yadkin 
River, and the only alleviation to our distressed minds and dis- 
appointed imagination, was a distant view of the l^rushy 
Mountains, beyond the Yadkin. 

In a few days after our arrival, D. hlavil Wilson joined 
us, and as S. Jackson Singeltary was already here, we Sotith 
Carolina boys were almost inseparable. There were no negro 
servants and we found it a job to cut ofT the big oak logs for 
our fires, and shoulder them into our cabin and to kindle up 
the fire without lightwood. Mr. Dunlap had but tw^o negroes 
on his place, old Maum Rose, a 200 pounder, and Ceasar, an 
awkward and broad visaged boy, who, in spite of us, would 


associate with us without giving any assistance, and call us by 
our names, so strange to our senses, and for which and other 
familiarities, he suffered by Jack's wit, tricks and slaps. 

We entered the Bethany Academy under the tutorship of 
i\Ir. Hugh R. Hall, a native, of middle age, cold, unimpas- 
sioned and unobtrusive. These traits of character were those 
of his general neighbors and of the young generation with 
which were united sober dispositions, rather desiring the pro- 
fession and practice of Christian virtues and the cultivation of 
the intellect to the total neglect of elegance of manners and a 
seeming disregard for personal charms. The men wore long 
broad tail dress coats of darkened gray color and pants and 
vests to match, all of domestic fabrics, the change in their 
Sunday clothes being that of a finer texture of the wool. 
Inured to labor, they were a hearty set of people, and accus- 
tomed to the severity of their climate, they could be seen in 
bitter,- cold, freezing weather in their shirt sleeves, with axes 
on their shoulders, doing all the work on their farms. 

Our boarding place was a mile from Bethany Academy 
and Bethany Church, and our foot path thither wended 
through a platteau of forest of magnificent trees without an 
undergrowth to obstruct the view. The lands, comparatively 
level with many little hills and dales with gushing springs of 
water, were productive of grain and their meadows of hay. and 
divided into little farms, the eye could take in at a sight a doz- 
en or more of them. The dwelling houses were comfortably 
made, some were of two-story heights and many were of large 
hewed oak logs, with chimneys of rocks, made smooth inside, 
leaving" the outside edges rough and irregular. The old 
church, large and commodious, was a plain frame building, 
ceiled with soft yellow pine, with a gallery in which the scat- 
tered negroes and school boys were allotted, and judging 
from the number of names with dates carved in the soft wood, 
it had been the boys' privileged possession for several decades. 
The South Carolina boys were not long in following suit, but 
accidentally observing in an obscure corner of the gallery two 
lines carved in poetic measure among other writings, they too 
late repented of their folly: 

"He is a fool allowed by all 

Who carves his name upon a wall." 

Just behind the church yard, enclosed by slate colored 

(SS Rp:miniscp:nces of 

rocks, and in sight of the academy, was the residence of the 
pastor, Rev. Mr. Frontice. a Frenchman. With his wife, as an 
assistant, he taught a female school. 

The first three months of our domiciliary in Bethany 
found us in a very disconcerted state of mind, caused by our 
circumstances; our book studies could only be made in the 
house around the hearth in a heated and stifled room, by the 
light of tallow candles, snibbed by our moistened fingers with 
our spittle, directly opposite to our former mode at home; 
everything was new in dress, in diet and in manners, and there 
was no outside recreation save that Sam found along the long 
and narrow valley of the Academy Springs, the waters of 
which dashed over pebbles and small rocks, enclosed by high 
hills and the bare protrusions of their rock beds. Here for 
the first time we saw the little ground squirrel of brown color 
with white streaks along its body. They were so watchful, as 
they lay basking in the sun shine at the mouths of their bur- 
rows in the crevices of the rocks, that only one hasty sight of 
rocky homes. 

In our discomfitures we pined for a walk on the sandy 
roads and the pleasant days of our winters in South Carolina, 
as here many of the days were snowy and sleety, and when 
bright and cloudless the heavy freezes at night would crisp the 
ground, which, when thawed by the sun during the day, the 
roads were all slosh. 

We learned a few useful trades in the mending of rents 
made in our clothes, and the darning and patching of them. 
In the blacking of our shoes with bought blacking in tin 
boxes (unheard of before), we became experts equal to the 
shine claimed by the shoe blacks of our cities, which polish we 
considered to be a great improvement over the lard and tallow 
grease used by the negro boys at our homes. Yet. w^ith all 
our philosophy to make the best of a bad bargain, these cold 
wintry days were the saddest Sam had ever experienced, as 
the whole country had the habilaments of death around it, and 
there were neither songs nor smiles outside our own society. 

Mr..Dunlap, our host, kept the postoffice, whose mail ar- 
rived on Friday of each week. Our letters from home were 
two weeks on the road, and if delayed on their route, they 
would not come to hand till the following mail day. and fre- 
quently our letters would be three weeks date previous to their 
reception. The postage on our letters was written i8 3-4 cts.. 

Williamsburg County. <S9 

the payment of which was kept in account and paid quarterly 
or annually, or at the end of that current year. Mail days 
were of great interest to us, as we hastened to our house in 
the evening- with the hope of hearing from home, and when 
none was handed over to us our disappointment was almost 
beyond control. Sam got more letters than the others, and 
they were of more interest, whose mother's ease and fluency 
in writing filled two first pages of our long foolscap paper 
with the health of the family and with neighborhood news, 
condition of crops, &c., and devoting the third page in prayers 
and admonitions to her son, who, in opening these letters, 
would withdraw from the crowd and thus avoid an exposure 
of iiis shallow tears. In one of these letters she told of the in- 
tended marriages of his two sisters, Mary McCottry and Jane 
Caroline, to be solemnized 26th April following, and similar 
letters were from other members of the family. Well, ot 
course, the Gordon boys wrote, and such letters as they were: 
"I drop you a few lines. I got no news. I must close," and 
that was about all, but in after years they became noted as 
writers of "bulletins." One letter received from a friend and 
relative, J. W. M., telling among many other things, the mar- 
riages of his two sisters, and Miss Sarah Ann James' mar- 
riage and the probable marriages of some others, was ad- 
dressed in most elegant composition, one sentence of which 
yet remains, viz.: "Marriages, and giving in marriage, have 
become as much the order of the day as in those days imme- 
diately preceding the entrance of Noah and his household into 
the floating temple, the ark." 

The long wished vernal days arriving, the buds appear 
and as quickly unfolded mto leaves. The sweet carol of birds 
and the green freshness of the earth in the valleys and along 
the roadside, produced an exhilaration of spirits. Here sum- 
mer seemed to succeed spring so readily that there is no va- 
riableness of weather from hot to cold and vice versa. All are 
in their sunmier attire. Just here an unforeseen difficulty pre- 
sented itself to the Williamsburgers in the change of their 
dresses, as our summer clothes were cut and made at home 
before we left in the view of our expected growth. The cal- 
culation was beyond the mark, as we did not fill up the al- 
lotted space. Now we are at our wit's end, but our ingenious 
Flavel soon remedied our sad cases by procuring additional 
needles and thread, and in a short time we were all right. 

90 Reminiscences of 

About this time "tights" came into fashion and pants were 
cut, made and used to fit the skin, more so by those on whom 
"tights" developed the formation of a well formed leg. Jack 
remodeled a pair which necessitated a leap into them, and over 
the logs or a sideway step in walking, and in getting into 
them, Sam would assist and smooth out the creases and push 
them over the calves of his legs. The style of our dress coats 
was very unlike that of the Bethany boys, who, with all their 
assumed distance from us and cold demonstration of afifection, 
did good-humoredly signalize our coats as swallow-tails, 
which we accepted in good faith, but not when they reflected 
on our intelligence as will appear in the following scene in our 
debating society. 

The South Carolina boys formed a society, had a com- 
mon interest and desired to be in each other's company, and 
were unanimous when an occasion arose. In our debating 
society, which met every Friday night in the academy, we 
were frequently put on the affirmative and negative side of a 
question and in opposition. At our last meeting Scott had 
been chosen to open the debate in the affirmative, and 
another student to reply in the negative. These two chose 
the l)alance of us alternately. Friday night came and Scott 
was prepared. Repeating his argument to us beforehand, we 
pronounced it first rate. He spoke greatly to our satisfaction, 
but when his opponent arose we listened with interest, as he 
rebutted every argument, dissecting them by pieces with 
fluency and eloquence. This speaker did not stop at this, and 
by way of his glorification of his acquired debating powers 
and assumed superiority, he spoke of the extreme simplicity 
of the argument of the gentleman from South Carolina, and 
declaring, if this was a specimen of the intelligence of that 
State "may (iod help her." Before he finished with his reflec- 
tions on us, the other four South Carolina boys had moved 
over to Scott's side of the house and were seated there, while 
Scott, under much excitement, made ineffectual efforts to 

After the debate was over, one of our boys approached 
the olTensive speaker out in the yard, and throwing ofi his 
coat, said: "You can out talk us, but Fll be dern if I can't 
whip you." The young man very graciously appeased our ire 
by an apology, and saying it was only a little pleasantry, and 
too, after the manner of lawvers in- the court house when 

Williamsburg County. 91 

they have a bad case, and politicians when they freely apolo- 
gize to get clear of a drubbing. After this exposition of pre- 
sumptuous heroism there was no similar occasion to exhibit 
it. In the latter years of Jack's life when he and Sam lived 
as neighbors in the same section of this county, the scene in 
the debating society of that night at Bethany was ever a source 
of great merriment. 

Our recreation on many Saturdays consisted in our seven 
miles walk to Statesville in early morn, and return at late noon 
along the now hard and smooth road. The sights in the 
town, its magnificent court house, and the many town and 
country people greatly delighted us. In our trips we crossed 
many creeks, known l)y numbers, and on which were many 
rock dams and mill seats. The greatest concern in these trips 
was the preservation of our shoes, which, by reason of sharp 
rocks along our path, hardly sufiticed for a month's wear, and 
the only expense incurred was the half soling of our shoes. 
There was one mill of large proportions, called the Allison 
mill, the proprietor of which owned many slaves, and not far 
off on another road was the residence and plantation of Col. 
Simonton, a man of prominence in the county and owner of 
many slaves, who was a State Senator. 

The appearance of a dozen or more of the Bethany school 
girls, whose homes and boarding house less than a mile from 
our home, and whose path to school intersected ours half the 
distance, and who so charmed the Williamsburgers, that op- 
portunities were concocted to put ourselves in their way to 
and from school. The girls, too, seemed curious to find out 
what sort of fellows we were, and were not very backward in 
taunting us, loitering around the division of our paths and 
tripping lightly away before our approach. This state of af- 
fairs could not long be endured, as the sprightly boy under- 
took to break the ice, by introducing himself to a group of 
the girls, he was soon initiated in their good graces. Oft' re- 
peated '"pleasure of your company" increased the fervor of 
our attachment, and the memory of sweetly smiling Selina 
Allison and the dignified and handsome Cecelia Simonton is 
as fresh as that of later acquaintances. A description of his 
interview with the girls, given to his friends on his return to 
them, so captivated Scott and Jack that they requested an in- 
troduction, and Sam, after first getting permission from the 
girls, presented his two friends. 

92 Reminiscences of 

In the various excursions with the girls, we roam 
through the open woods and find many varieties of plums, 
grapes and patches of delicious strawberries along the bluff of 
the creeks, and hearmg of a strawberry valley over the Yad- 
kin river in a rugged and unsettled section we conclude to go 
over there. It was early Saturday morning and a number of 
us were at the designated place of meeting. There was a cer- 
tain place where the river banks are almost perpendicular on 
both sides, and arriving there along narrow paths, winding 
around the hills, we found a large tree felled across the stream 
resting on the opposite bank. Here the river is quite narrow, 
confined by hills of forty or fifty feet above the bed of the 
water, whose current below was swift, lashing its waters 
against the rocks and making splashing noises. Well, here 
we are and the fear of the rotten condition of our log held us 
in check for a short time, but throwing and heaving heavy 
rocks as best we could against it and resting our own weight 
at its end. we conclude to venture on it. One by one we cross 
over, except a little girl whose heart had failed in every at- 
tempt to venture on the log, and standing alone she was cry- 
ing. Jack and Sam returned for her, and she consented to 
cross with us if each would hold a hand. She was told not to 
look down, and as we three are on the log with locked hands, 
the girls kept repeating, "Do pray look up," and in a few 
seconds more we all are safe over that awful chasm. In our 
valley we found the strawberries literally covering the ground, 
so much so that we dare not sit or kneel, lest they imprint 
fast colors on our clothes. Regaling ourselves to our hearts' 
content we are again on our homeward trip, and go a good 
distance up the river to avoid our log, reaching home in 

The boys and girls grew- in affection, and when we 
failed to meet at the division of our path in the mornings and 
evenings we would deposit some token on a stump at its con- 
fluence, which we all denominated "our stumpy love." Of 
these tokens, there were bunches of flowers with love kisses 
verses concealed, bearing the addresses, also grapes, pound 
cakes and melons with names scratched on them. There were 
other girls whose names have not passed away who have 
claims on our memory in their connection wath the pleasant 
associations of that year. Yet with becoming deference to the 
ladies, there was one of lisping tongue, with whom Scott was 

Williamsburg County. 93 

a favorite, who afforded some silent merriment in our crowd 
in the pronunciation of his name, rendered by her as "Mr. 

Several of these girls invited us to join a French class 
under Rev. Mr. Frontice, which they had just formed, and 
we gladly accepted. Now we were together in the same 
school room an hour or so of each day for one or two months, 
and the more advanced scholars laughed at our clumsy 
tongues in French pronunciation of words. The girls did 
learn, but we did not, only to say in French many familiar ex- 
pressions. Sam, however, learned one useful sentence of the ' 
hundreds he had written in French as were contained in his 
French reader, which has been of lasting benefit, and which 
for many subsequent years he knew the French thereof, re- 
citing to hundreds of friends, trying to enforce the benefits of 
such a sentiment as, "The forgetfulness of religion soon leads 
to the forgetfulness of all the duties- of man." 

In the year 1834 members to the legislature and senate 
were to be elected. Of course we were in favor of the re-elec- 
tion of Colonel Simonton, Cecelia's father to the senate. On 
all public occasions at the Court House, speechifying was the 
order of the day, and the candidates, a dozen or more, vied 
with each other to mount the rostrum. One of these was of 
great interest to us and it was his first appearance before the 
public as a candidate for the Lower House. Mr. Lowdenmilk 
was tall and heavy of frame, and was quite gifted and humor- 
ous. We South Carolina boys were attracted' to him, whose 
jollity reminded us of our pleasant Colonel Cooper at our 
home, and of Colonel Wilson in his enjoyment of funny in- 
cidents, both being our representative men of Williamsburg, 
South CaroHna, and hence was our preference for Mr. Low- 
dermilk, whom we followed through the crowd to listen to 
his anecdotes, and our laughing attracted his attention. On 
the stump, he spoke of his new and untried position before 
his fellow citizens. Politics, he said, was new to him; he well 
knew dogticks, yerlinticks and sudticks, and in time he will 
know politics, as he conceived them to be by derivation more 
ticks than all the rest of ticks put together in their annoy- 
ances. At this there was some hissing, but, also, great cheer- 
ing, and the hurras from the South Carolina boys were no- 
ticeable. When the speaker came down from the stand he 
requested an introduction to us. 

94 Reminiscences of 

When the day of election came, and we being concerned, 
Scott, Jack and Sam obtained permission to go down to 
Statesville on foot and there await the result of the election, 
and bring back the news to Cecelia. Night fovind us with an 
immense crowd of anxious people in the Court House, await- 
ing the arrival of couriers from the various voting precincts. 
Hour after hour passed and many returns of the votes cast 
had been brought in by the couriers whose yells could be 
heard all over the town as with foaming steeds they dashed up 
to the Court House. By this time the enthusiasm of the 
South Carolina boys was on the wane, as it became evident 
from repeated enquiries of the canvassers of the returns that 
Colonel Simonton had been defeated. They went over to the 
hotel, eat supper and returning to the Court House, fatigue 
overpowered them, and reclining on the benches, they are 
soon asleep. Awakening at the peep of day, we are soon on 
our homeward trip, Scott" leading. Ascending the high hills 
and looking down upon his two friends, he gave a whoop to 
them as they are still clambering up. And all these hard- 
ships were only to make Cecelia cry, as she heard of her 
father's defeat. 

"Every sweet has its bitter" is acknowledged in a trial 
made by the schoolboy during a two weeks' vacation of school 
in June. Our vacant time was given to trips on foot to 
Statesville, in fishing in the numerous mill ponds within easy 
reach of our homes and in swimming- in the Yadkin river. 

All of us were in the highest glee on a certain morning, 
as we were seen on our way to call on Thadeus Crawford, 
whose father was a brewer of wines from grapes on an ex- 
tensive scale. Thadeus Crawdford was a schoolmate and was 
glad to see us coming up to his house. He entertained us 
well, and led us down to his father's large store of wines, 
some of which were many years old. He drew wines from 
kegs and barrels for our sampling, and while the other boys 
merely sip them, Sam, who doing nothing by halves, drank 
glass after glass. These wines were new to the boy. He 
had tasted no other but the old Malaga used by his mother at 
home on pancakes.. Many days succeeding this found Sam 
in a very unusual condition of mind as phantoms holding up 
his words and acts seemed to puruse him, as the eyes of well 
executed pictures hanging on the wall follow* you up whither- 
soever you go in the room. Looking up to heaven he used 

Williamsburg County. 95 

then and afterwards the prayer of the "Publican" standing afar 
ofif and smiting upon his breast, "God be merciful to me a 
sinner," which cry has ever been a sweet solace, carrying 
with it the assurance ot acceptance by reason of the sincerity 
of the heart which induced its utterance. The trial of subse- 
quence was thus marked in his i6th year. 

A confession and perhaps a palliation are made in the 
lirst six lines of a temperance address, out of forty-eight lines 
read in the Hall of Sons of Temperance at Cedar Swamp in 

Intemperance is a social evil, 

A device suggested by the devil 

To ensnare the just, the good and the wise. 

Men worthy of imitation otherwise ; 

But yielding, they yielded their estate, 

And fell a sad victim to their fate. 

In the many visits to Statesville on Saturdays we formed 
acquaintance with Frank Machett, of this town, a lad of about 
our size and age, but was in advance of us in general intelli- 
gence and refinement. His father had been the town school 
master and hence his superior qualifications. Frank took a 
liking to us, and in his many efforts to amuse us he asked us 
to go around with him and he wotild introduce us to the girls 
at the town boarding school. Jack and Sam accepted the invi- 
tation, and the girls kindly entertained us. There was a piano 
in the parlor and the girls gave us sweet music. Now, we had 
never seen a piano before, and Sam was wondering where 
such music was enchained, and observing one of the girls 
turning up and down a double looking wine glass, and seeing 
shining particles pass from one glass to the other, he con- 
cluded that had something to do in producing the music and 
made inquiry concerning it. The young lady graciously ex- 
plained the uses of the hour glass, as such it was. On our 
way home Jack was surly, and thus gave vent to his wounded 
feelings: "Sam, you are the biggest fool I ever saw, because 
you exposed us before those beautiful girls. I too was won- 
dering what that glass had to do with the music, but I had 
sense enough to keep my tongue and not expose my igno- 

Before the end of the autumnal months of tliat year, the 
health of Scott declined, and he was forced to return home. 

96 Remixiscences of 

Thus for five or six weeks we were without out shepherd. In 
the meantime a letter was received from home advising Sam 
of an expected change of school in the next year, located in 
Sumter district, being only one day's drive from Mr. James 
G. Burgess, his brother-in-law, residing on Pudding Swamp. 
In early December, our four old gigs drove up to Mr. Dun- 
lap's to carry us back home. We stopped in Salisbury, Rocky 
River Hotel, at Wadesboro and Cheraw. thence to our homes, 
making the entire trip in six days. 

The separation from the Bethany boys in 1835, was in this 
wise: Ned and Flavel Wilson returned to Bethany, the latter 
of whom moved away with his father during this year into 
Tennessee. When last heard from just before the war, he was 
very rich. Jack Singcltary entered the Chapel Hill College, 
remaining there till November, 1836, when he entered the 
South Carolina College. William Scott, with his mother, his 
elder brother, Joseph, and his sister Mary moved away. 

The fifth boy enjoyed the advantages of a good education 
supposed to be only derivable m being sent off to school far 
away from home. And what had he learned from books might 
be untrue, if answered entirely in the negative form, yet he did 
learn much of general things by the powers of observation, 
which might have been more extended and useful had he 
been a better listener and not possessive of so much gab. The 
absence of these qualities has been conspicuous throughout his 
days, and at times has rendered him uncomfortable, causing" 
a sigh, and a wish he had listened more and talked less. The 
many memories of this year's life, slumbering in the mind for 
fifty years, have been easily revived at his bidding in his at- 
tempt to transcribe them in this narrative. Bringing along 
with them no serious regrets and presenting many pleasurable 
scenes, it is wonderful that they have not been oftener revis- 
ited in the fabrics of his dreams, in which state of blessed som- 
nolency fvill one-half of his life has been occupied, and his way 
of thinking is, it would have been in the interest here and 
yonder had one-eighth more been added to his inactivity. A 
dear friend of early boyhood days, when the general election 
of 1880 was made and its results declared in favor of the 
school boy as county School Commissioner, hastened to his 
home in Kingstree to announce his own election and that of 
his friend, and remarked in his joy the office will help Sam. 
Immediatelv his wife, ever a dear friend and relative, when 

Williamsburg County. i>7 

told by inquiry the amount of his salary, exclaimed: "What 
is $600 to Cousin Sam, he could spend half a milHon." While 
her friend is deeply afitected, he begs to dififer in her ideas of 
her cousin's free-handedness, when he declares that one-half 
of her calculation, say 100,000 annually, would, in a great 
measure, satisfy that supposed extravagance. 




Early in January, 1835, the school boy took his departure 
for his new school, without those agonizing feelings as those 
of the last year, understanding that he would return to his 
home during the summer vacation and that he would be 
placed under the guardianship of David E. Frierson, a rela- 
tive and one of the class at the Indiantown Academy, in 1832. 
Jn due time Dave and Sam. conducted by Dave's father, after 
a day's ride together, arrived at Edgehill Academy, near 
Stateburg. in Sumter district, for the year. This arrangement 
proved to be one of the countless blessings of Sam's life. He 
has been ever pleased to recall his connection with the people 
of that old historic burgh, and their wealth, refinement and in- 

Old j\Ir. Frierson placed us under the care of Mrs. Louisa 
Murrell, as hostess, and Mr. Willard Richardson, as our pre- 
ceptor, boarding with us. Our landlady was a grand-daughter 
to Old General Sumter, the game cock of the Revolutionary 
war, was quite intelhgent and held very decided opinions fa- 
voring nullification doctrines, yet being discussed in that sec- 
tion of country. The students of this school were nullifiers of 
the most violent sort, as were their fathers, and here Sam lis- 
tened to the arguments between Mrs. Murrell and Mr. Rich- 
ardson and learned from them, if nothing else, the respect due 
our leading statesmen, when speaking of them, to put "Mr." 
before their names, and thus it was, Mr. Calhoun, Mr. McDuf- 
fie, Mr. Hayne and so on. These did not much interest, but 
when they spoke of Gens. Hampton and Manning and Mr. 
Richardson, the l^nion school bov was all aglow with admira- 

98 Reminiscences of 

tion at the sound of their names, so dearly remembered at his 
home the three years previous. 

The Academy was situated on an elevated plane and its 
surrounding hills were gentle and of mild declivity, and in 
some places deep sand was a hinderance to the comfort of 
pedestrians. Mrs. Murrell's house was in sight and near the 
spring. From its anticjue and dilapidated condition, large 
and commodious, resting on pillars eight or ten feet above 
the ground, we called it "the old castle." There was one large 
room upstairs in 'which eight or ten boys were placed, with 
single and double cots, and a division in it where four other 
boys had their lodging. As soon as supper was over all were 
required to come down into the large dining hall and each 
provided with little brass lamps. We had to study our les- 
sons under the immediate supervision of the teacher, who 
kindly gave us instructions whenever asked to do so. He re- 
mained with us till the hour of nine o'clock arrived for our 
retirement. At the end of the lo-months' term, the schoolboy 
could read at ease the first six books of "Virgil's Aeniad," and 
such was his proficiency in them that he wrote, during his 
leisure moments, a literal translation of the first, second and 
sixth books, and which were used the next year by the class 
below him. During this year he had reviewed some of the 
English branches as one day of each week English lessons had 
to be recited. 

The winter of '34-'35, during the month of February, was 
of extreme severity, and we boys up stairs suffered much in 
the cold, caused by the many broken panes of glass in the 
windows of the old castle, which we tried to fill with our 
clothes. It has been said that many of the trees in the city of 
Charleston were killed by the cold and biting winds of this 
remarkable Saturday in February of that year. 

Among the boys, there was great levity and noise up- 
stairs after the hours of study, but there was one boy who 
did not participate in any of the rude tricks, but was ever a 
quiet element in our society. On retiring to his double cot, in 
which Sam was his bedfellow, he would kneel beside it, heed- 
less of heartless remarks made in fun, but Galleo-like, "he 
cared for none of these things." David E. Frierson was de- 
vout and constant in his religious duties, earnest and affec- 
tionate in his tender regard for the temporal and spiritual in- 
terest of his Cousin Sam, obedient and respectful to his 


teacher, untiring in his studies and a strict observer of the 
Sabbath, he was the embodiment of all good. Continuing 
through his collegiate course in the South Carolina College, 
and our Theological Seminary, there is no wonder now that 
he is at the head of the Synod of the Presbyterian Church of 
South Carolina. 

In this school of 50 or 60 boys there were G. Wash 
White, from the fork of Black river, facetiously called "Fork," 
Hugh S. Fraser from Georgetown and Thomas Monk of 
Sumter, who for weeks after their initiation into the school, 
joined the school boy in declaring and maintaining their 
Union sentiments, but soon they learned by rough experience 
to knock under and let the nullifying boys have everything 
their own way. And yet among them are those of sacred 
remembrance, as the Andersons, Sanders, Lenoirs, Murrays, 
Bradleys and Maletts, and a pleasurable emotion arises as they 
are recalled. A student of the South Carolina College desir- 
ing to improve on certain branches of his studies during the 
summer vacation, attended our school two or three days of 
the week, boarding at home but dining at Mrs. Murrell's. 
His name was John N. Frierson, whose father was at his sum- 
mer seat, a little distance below Stateburg. They were im- 
mensely rich people, yet kind and sociable. On one or two of 
his returns home on Friday evenings, the school boy accom- 
panied him and remained till Monday morning, but visiting 
Sumterville on Saturdays. While at their house he met Mr. 
Garden, a young Sumterville lawyer, and listening to their 
conversation, he heard them recite quotations from Shakes- 
peare, a name he had never heard before. Their quotations 
were of charming significance, and when he retired they were 
ringing in his ears, but he could not think of the name of 
the book, which they frequently consulted that night, and he 
was not slow the next morning in handling the magnificent 
volume, and inscribing the name thereof in his diary, that he 
might refer to it if memory failed. It was also Sam's pleasure 
to go home with Tom Monk, living a few miles from Sumter- 
ville, on Fridays, and go with him to the village on Saturdays,' 
where he heard the following joke on his would-be friend, 
John Peter Richardson. At that time there was an old mer- 
chant in Sumterville of Jewish birth, who formerly kept a 
store in Kingstree, and he was a friend and admirer of Mr. 
Richardson, who, when in town calling on the merchant, was 


Forget thee? 

100 Reminiscences of 

shown a sample of his champagne, which, when tasted and 
pronounced fine and directly consenting to treat by request, 
the old man would step out into the street and proclaim, at the 
top of his voice. "Gentlemen, gentlemen, come, come this 
way, John Peter Richardson's treat." and this friend was lucky 
if his friend's supply of champagne did not become exhausted. 
In one of the visits made to Thomas Monk's house, Sam met 
a Mr. Dupre, a Baptist minister, who. residing there, showed 
him an album, belonging to one of the ladies of the house, and 
which he had never seen or heard of before. This albimi con- 
tained many pieces in poetry, and two stanzas of these are 
yet with him in memory's page, and which 'he thought, at the 
time, to be the grandest sentiment ever conceived of or ex- 
pressed on paper — as follows: 

"Forget thee? 

Yes. when yonder sun 

Shall cease his course to run. 

Yes, when yonder sky 

Shall wither, droop and die." 

Among the many boys of the Academy commanding 
more than ordinary recommendations to our favor was Sebas- 
tian D. Simiter. who. when a child, accompanied his father. 
Col. Sitmter, sent as a minister to Brazil. "Seb." as we called 
him. was a special favorite and he was pleasant and entertain- 
ing. On the 4th of July a public dinner was given at the 
Academy Spring, and it was called a pic nic dinner, which 
name pic nic had never before been heard of. The oration 
was made by Mr. Frank Sumter, a young man of much prom- 
ise, of pleasing address and popular with all. After dinner the 
company repaired to the academy and engaged in the dance. 
The figures in the dance, the grand dresses of the ladies and 
the attention given to them by the gentlemen were objects of 
great admiration, as the school boys perched up on l^enches 
outside and peeped through the windows. 

About the first of December the school closed for the 
year and the school boy returned home, to return no more. 
Mr. Willard Richardson was from the North and was called 
a Yankee, but the school boy is indebted to him for what he 
is in the classics and tlie moulding of his mind, and for which 


favors he has never been loud in the denunciation of the Yan- 
kee family. Such was the assumed rigid discipline of Mr. 
Richardson in the school room, his distant manners and awk- 
ward carriage of his heavy frame, that we all called him "Old 
Bull." Yet, he was kind, respectful and attentive, and even 
compromising to the inelegant practices of the boys during 
school hours in the absence of girls, where it was not expected 
to apologize for such misdemeanors in a school room, and for 
which a Roman Senator in antiquities was expelled from the 

CHRISTMAS Holidays, 1835. 

The three weeks vacation in December were passed at 
home with the Gordon boys and Ned Wilson, who too had re- 
turned from his school. A short time before Christmas, and 
while on a visit to his sister, the marriage of Mr. Samuel A. 
Burgess and Miss Eliza Epps was solemnized at the house of 
the bride's mother, and Sam accompanied his brother and sis- 
ter to the wedding and witnessed the ceremony thereof. 
Leavmg after supper m company with Samuel M. Mathews, 
Sam accepted an invitation from James L. and W. Covert 
Mouzon to go home with them to their father's, Hon. Samuel 
R. Mouzon. The magnificent residence of Mr. Mouzon was 
not yet completed but in course of completion, and we boys 
slept in an outhouse. In the afternoon of the next day, a 
crowd of boys crossed over the river at the Mouzon bridge, 
on their way to a dance at old Mr. James Gamble's, and stop- 
ping at old Mr. Peter Mouzon's. who was full of Christmas 
and jokes, we were kindly entertained by him. Upon arriving 
at tlie gate it was remarked by the boys at the house that Sam 
McGill, the college boy, was in the crowd. Entering the house 
we were met by the old gentleman, who, after meeting the 
other boys, came u]) to the stranger and grasping his hand, 
said: "I'll be d — m if this isn't old Sam McGill's son." These 
two "old Jessys," as we wild chaps called them, cruelly chang- 
ing it to "Old Coggers," had been friends in their early days, 
and hence they were on intimate terms. Mr. Mouzon was de- 
lighted at meeting the son of his old friend, who too was glad. 

We were given a dram all round. At twilight a dozen or 
more young gents including Sam, John and his brother, Ed- 
ward Plowden Montgomery, were seen dashing up to the 
house. Alightinof and encountering negro men and bovs, we 

102 Reminiscences of 

put our horses in their charge, expecting from us a quarter 
next morning for their services, and soon the piazza floor is 
crowded with us, peeping in at the dancers already on the 
floor. Among the dancers, Sam recognized David M. Duke, 
whom he had met before, dancing with a young lady of ex- 
quisite beauty of face and of figure, and being the centre of 
attraction, all seemed to know Miss Adelaid Dick Gamble. At 
this party the school boy formed acquaintances with the Gam- 
bles, the Mouzons, the McGills and the Montgomeries, which 
extending into intimacy with every memeber of their families 
they were ever interested friends. 

Earlv Christmas mornins: Sam hastened down to Kings- 
tree to spend the holidays with his sister, wife of William R. 
Scott, the sheriff, then living in the jail. Here he met Mr. 
Isaac Nelson, his old Charleston friend of three years ago, 
who with his family had just moved from his plantation into 
the village. As he and Mrs. Nelson were friends of 
the McGill family, Sam received many marks of affection as 
he partook of their hospitality in the Fluitt Hotel, to which 
Mrs. Nelson had attained by inheritance from her father. 

It was this Chrip^^mas which initiated the school boy into 
the graces of all the citizens in Kingstree, and of which there 
has never been any abatement, as has been demonstrable in 
latter years as he and his friends all over this countv count on 
the Kingstree poll. It was this visit which engendered a 
irien.dship wan James L. Mouzon and his cousin, Peter B. 
Mouzon, who were ever specially interested at all times and 
under all circumstances in the advancement of Sam with pri- 
vate means at their command and free, open declaration of 
their sentiment in his favcr. 

It was this Christmas, wliile lying awake just before day, 
he was delighted with the crowing of fowls all over town, and 
in listening, he tried to count the various crows and fix the 
number of roosters. Ever afterwards a joy would arise to be 
awake at a similar hour, not only to experience a like sensa- 
tion, but holding a wish to meet another new ciay with a bright 
and happy face. Does the following incident account for this 
preference of the hour of a day? On the night of the nth of 
February, 1819, the mother of the writer of this compendium 
of these recorded facts, as often told by her to her loving son, 
had travailed all night, and to her boundless joy at 4 o'clock 
of the morning of the 12th she was delivered of a big, fat. 

Williamsburg County. 103 

bouncing son, and when placed in the bed, she has often said, 
she never felt so happy and thankful in her Hfe, that the crow- 
ing of the fowls for day was such sweet music to her ears, and 
so also were the lusty cries of a boy child, who had succeeded 
her six daughters already in the family. 

As this boy advanced in years he was petted by the family, 
as his eldest sister, who did much of the nursing, used to tell 
him that he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He 
had his choice of whatever things were placed on the dinner 
table, and the breast of chickens had to be reserved for him. 
Old Mrs. James, a neighbor and friend, used to say to the fam- 
ily this bov is a spoilt one and no good will ever be made of 
him, which prophecy has come to pass if his dash and harum 
scarum sort of a life make up the history of one's life, tho' 
equipoised by his benevolence for mankind perhaps by natu- 
rally conjoined principals. 



Before leaving the Edgehill Academy, Mr. Daniel Frier- 
son informed his son, David, and this school boy that arrange- 
ments had been made to send them the next year to the York- 
ville school, then in high favor under the tutorship of the fa- 
mous Mr. Edmunds. In early January, 1836, the school boy 
was off for the Yorkville Academy in a private conveyance 
under charge of Ned Snowden, colored, to bring back horse 
and chair from Camden, where the schol boy expected to take 
stage via Columbia on to Yorkville. The trip from Camden 
to Columbia over the deep sands and high hills was so labor- 
ious to the stage horses, and so slow in progress that the 
school boy frequently dismounted from the stage and footed 
it, more for recreation than sympathy for the jaded horses. In 
Columbia we were driven up to Hunt's Hotel, located near our 
State Capitol. Those passengers who were expected to take 
the Yorkville line were lodged together in a large hall with 
movable screens of white homespun between them. Aroused 
before day and breakfast being served, the stage at the steps 

l(J4 Reminiscences of 

ol tile hotel with our trunks in a covered cabouse attached be- 
hind and the stage driver tooting his horn with loud and vary- 
ing blasts, we are off from Columbia. About noon we are 
in Winnsboro, and the school boy, first ascertaining the length 
of the relay, hastened up to Mount Zion campus, and upon 
inquiry he is soon in company with D. Edward Wilson, who 
was then a student under j. W. Hudson, teacher of that re- 
nowned preparatory school for the South Carolina College. 
The hour's rest to the pasengers and the relay having been 
made, the stage driver again notified us of his readiness to 
proceed, and accommodating him, we in early night are in a 
hotel at Chesterville for the night. In that evening's travel the 
school boy's face looked gloomy; as he saw the red clay roads 
of deep and mviddy ruts, he was reminded of the condition of 
the country in Iredell county, X. C., the two preceding years. 
In the early morn of our third day's staging we are 
aroused and fixed up in the stage coach. As soon as the day 
had advanced a few hours, the school boy, partly moved by 
the cramped situation in the stage, but more so to look at the 
beautiful country, presenting neat farms on fertile plains, with 
handsome and comfortable residences, leaps away from the 
stage and mounts up with the driver on the outside, and soon 
is pleasantly entertained by him, as he permits the use of his 
stage horn in the varied and prolonged sounds which were 
thrown round and round, and in serpentine contortions, much 
to the amusement of the driver, if not to the passengers. TYom 
Mr. Casheon, the stage driver, he learned the following facts: 
he lived in Yorkville, kept boarding house for the students 
of the Academy, and that half dozen or more were with him. 
Now several of the Williamsburg boys had preceded the 
school boy, traveling by private means, and he learned that 
Edward P. Montgomery and W. Covert Mouzon were with 
Mr. Casheon, and that David E. Erierson and his brother, 
William, John E. Brockinton and W. Erierson Rodgers 
boarded across the street from him with Mr. Jeffreys, who was 
known as Mr. Edmunds' right-hand bower, as his spy and in- 
formant. It was a pleasant idea to board with Casheon, whose 
house was next door to a large hotel, where people were con- 
stantly coming and going. Casheon kept public entertain- 
ment during court week and jDublic days, and on these occa- 
sions the town was crowded with people from the country. 
Desirable place for boys to board was not a primary consider- 

Williamsburg County. lOo 

ation, at least for the tirst few months, and we were advised 
to move our board, which we did. 

A boy's hfe in a gay and fashionable town with money 
and credit at his command, and a boarding school for girls in 
full view of the male academy, were not conducive to ex- 
tend that educational progression which their absence the 
year before at isolated Edgehill Academy had created. Mr. 
Edmunds was a Scotchman by birth, now old, fat and gouty, 
with an assumed display of school discipline not commanding 
the respect of his pupils; was versed in the classics, and dur- 
ing recitations he leaned back with closed eyes in his easy 
chair, with feet resting on a bench, so familiar was he with the 
texts and marginal notes of the Uelphini Edition. All through 
the classic language these extravagances are of frequent de- 
lineations, such as in Virgil's description of a storm on sea, 
where the waves lashed the stars and disclose the sand at the 
bottom of the sea, or in Horace's dialogue with Lydea, where 
she accuses him of being lighter than cork, and more irascible 
than the Adriatic sea, yet she declares: "Tecum vivere amern, 
tecum obeam libens." At these and similar sentences the old 
gentleman would exclaim: "Hyperbole! hyperbole! Soars too 
high or creeps too low. ( )f things wonderful to show." He 
had his favorites in school and did not conceal his prejudices, 
and one instance is here cited. He took up an idea that the 
school boy was smart, and if he was tardy at the morn- 
ing recitation hour, or for any presumed or real additional fa- 
cial sunbeams on his ever ruddy, fat and fair cheeks, he vvoukl 
exclaim to him and to the school: "Oh, Domine, Domine 
McGill, ne cedas blanditias voluptatis," and so frequent was 
this declaration given, that the school boy received the soubri- 
quet "Domine" in the school. 

The months of January and l^^bruary, 1836, were very 
cold, and a mill pond a few miles to the west of Yorkville was 
frozen over to a depth of ice as to make skating over its sur- 
face safe and delightful to those who had already learned the 
art. Among these were a dozen or more from the North, and 
it was a grand sight to see them skim along" with ease and 
grace. Sometimes a lady would join a gentleman, and they 
would imitatively run the long Virginia reel, or when the pond 
was clear of obstructions, they would indent their initials. This 
was new and rare sport to the boys of the low country, and 
they essayed to trust themselves on skates, only to have their 

106 Reminiscences of 

heels where their heads ought to be. The school girls were 
there and so were the school boys, and these would unite in a 
slide from the bank upon the ice, and assist those who had fall- 
en, amid much merriment, in their attempts to get upon their 
feet. The girls were inclined to be alone in their amusement 
and the boys did not intrude on their modesty, and these 
sports were of several days continuance as evening recreations 
after school hours. 

On one of the cross streets leading from the court house, 
Mr. Allston and family resided. He was assistant teacher in 
the academy of English and Alathematics. With him we 
Casheon boys were placed to board. Here was the most de- 
lightful part of the town, and at the end of this street the 
Hon. I. D. Witherspoon and family resided. His father, Mr. 
Harvey Witherspoon, then of Lancaster Court House, was a 
native of Williamsburg. We boys received some attention 
from him ; more, perhaps, to the school boy as of connecting 
blood. The cool and refresliing winds coming from the Spar- 
tan heights during the sunmier were often such as to cause 
the closing of our shutters. 

A subscription of two dollars and our attendance at a big 
ball given in a hotel in June, at which were many of the school 
girls, was of such consequence to the boys of the low country, 
dressed m cassimere buff pants, as to fix their reputation as 
good dancers and graceful and gallant fellows, and effective 
of subsequent visits to the ladies in the town, and kind tokens 
of recognition as we passed by the female school on our way 
to the academy. Foremost in preference among our crowd 
by the young ladies was Bill Prowden. who, sharing with us 
the cjualities we had achieved in the ball room, had an addi- 
tional charm of a beautiful face, making him a favorite. 

A fine rifie was raffled of¥ at a hotel at a dollar a chance. 
I'he school boy's number was among the first numbers, who, 
on throwing, was otifered five dollars for that throw by some 
one in the crowd. "Out with your money and take it," was 
the reply. Not doing this, and all the throws being made, 
Sam's throw was the winner of the rifle, and the man claimed 
it as his, at the same time handing in his five dollars, which 
being rejected, a row ensued. Mouzon seized the rifle, and 
running through the crowd with it. helloed to us: 'T've got 
the rifle, you boys do the fighting." With much loud talking 
by Sam and courageous acts of Montgomery, who was the 

Williamsburg County. 107 

pluck among us, we received no injury. The rifle became 
public property in the school, and the only trouble was to keep 
her supplied with powder, bullets and flints. 

In the school there was a little flint and steel pocket pis- 
tol and a little Lapine watch, both of which have a history. 
The watch was obtained by the swap of a blue broadcloth 
coat, with a double row of brass buttons, bought in Charleston 
tlie preceding winter by Sam for twenty dollars, which was 
imposed on him because it did not fit. For this reason he 
would not wear it, and made inefi^ectual efforts to get it off 
liis hands. A clever young lawyer of the town was frequently 
in our room, and we were as often in his office. The lawyer 
tried on this coat and it fitted him to a notch. He offered to 
trade the little lady's watch of most exc}uisite designs on its 
face and back, for the coat, saying the watch cost him thirty- 
two dollars, and claimed the difference. It was not running, 
and the lawyer, receiving twelve dollars, withdrew. The 
watchmaker in town was consulted, and guess Sam's surprise 
and his indignation when informeci it can't run, never was in- 
tended to run, baskets full of such watches could be bought 
in New York at two dollars and a half a piece, and that the 
silver was genuine and was worth a dollar. The lawyer kept 
away from the school boys for a time. It was sold among the 
students, first for $20 cash, next $15, then $10, and last for $5, 
when she was carried to the Florida vv'ar in 1837, and when 
last heard of she was among the soldiers at their camps as a 
ready dollar passing around the table dozens of times during 
a single night in the hap and hazard games. 

Of the pistol's importance, it was beyond the shadow of 
a doubt that its tragic use was not available. On a Friday 
night many of the school boys were at a party three or four 
miles out in the country. Their assumed superior intelligence 
and elegance of dress and manners soon became offensive to 
the sturdy young yeomanry of that neighborhood, and a row 
ensued. On the following Friday two of the boys who had 
been informed of another party expected to be had near by 
the former one, would go, and loading the little pistol to its 
muzzle, tiiey v»'ent, bent on mischief. They were soon recog- 
nized as students of the week before, and they were set upon 
and were forced to beat a hasty retreat. The boy with the 
pistol in his pocket outran the other across the field and over 
corn beds, when the boy with less speed received kick after 

108 Reminiscences of 

kick, helloed to his friend, "Why don't you shoot? Shoot, 
man, shoot," and he got in return to his anxious cries for help 
only as the other helloed back, "No time for shooting-." Early 
in the night, when Sam was hardly asleep, his chum came in, 
and upon inquiry he said "they had a grand time;" but all 
day Saturday and Sunday Sam was called to apply ointments 
to his chum's wounds; thus the tale was unfolded. 

On one or two occasions some students and young men 
of the town paraded the streets in the silence of midnight 
hours, removing sign boards, singing songs and beating tin 
pans, much to the annoyance and complaint of the quiet citi- 
zens. A second invitation to do so was rejected by several 
of the students, and for which one of them was called a coward 
by one of the town men m a lawyer's office the evening after 
a second raid. This he accepted, but when he spoke of a 
certain young lady in the town in very abusive language, who 
had been heard to say that boys engaged in such riotous and 
disgraceful doings ought not to be respected or received in 
company, the school boy rising from his chair, threatened to 
knock him down, but was hindered by company mterfering. 
This was followed by a spar between us, and culminated in 

the school boy giving the lie to the other, who instantly 

returned it, and an encounter being again prevented, Sam 
asked him to meet him at the hotel the next morning at ten 
o'clock, and we will prove who has told the lie. After Mon- 
day morning's recitation lesson Sam and Ned jNIontgomery 
secretly stole away from the school. Some of the boys wanted 
to go down and see the fight, but the two friends thought it 
best to keep them away for fear of a riot. As they walked 
tlown the street on to the appointed place, it was evident that 
the town was aware of the expected affair. Arriving, they 
found his opponent and a dozen or more of his friends com- 
placently seated in the piazza of the hotel awaiting our coming 
up, and the silence was broken by Sam saying to his man, 
"The — lie passed between us yesterday evening; step out 
and we will prove who told it," when he so kindly replied, 
"Why, Mc, you gave it first;" "It makes no difiference, you 
returned it. and 1 won't lie under a lie;" "Well," says he, "if 
I've got to fight, I'm going to do it well," at the same time di- 
vesting himself of coat and vest. They encounter on the pave- 
ment. Sam's first lick brought him dov/n flat, his second got 
him to his knees, who, rising, they strike at the same time, Sam 

Williamsburg County. 109 

receiving a lieavy blow on his nose by the heavy and hardy 
fist of the blacksmith by trade. Fighting in a blind and bloody 
condition, and the fingers of his opponent securely grasping 
his new stock, Sam was getting the worst of it, when Ned, 
seeing his friend's disadvantage, dashed through the crowd 
regardless of opposition and cut oflf the stock, by which Sam 
had been knocked down time and again. But soon Sam's 
long hair gave the other great advantage, and he was about to 
be whipped, as he often fell at his opponent's feet, but hearing 
Ned's voice above all the loud talking, he said, "Don't intei- 
fere, Ned, I'll whip him before I stop," and hearing hurrahs 
from the outsiders, the fight was renewed with desperate 
efiforts, and luckily seizing the other by the throat with his 
fingers, clinching as a deadly grip and dealing a few licks 
under the short ribs, Sam became master of the situation, still 
crowding and pressing back his opponent, they both fall from 
the high pavement, Sam falling on his face among the rocks 
and losing his hold. Slowly they are on their feet in an ex- 
hausted state, when their friends interposed, saying, "Boys, 
you are both whipped," the one readily accepted, while Sam 
took the arm of his friend without saying a word and they 
were soon in a room in the hotel, washing away the blood and 
a young doctor plastering the gashes and bruised places made 
on his face. The result of this fight has ever been held as one 
of the great blessings of the school boy's life, teaching him a 
useful lesson, that nimbleness of foot and a moderate degree 
of pluck do not constitute a fighter, and that it is safer and 
more honorable to be a good talker in emergencies than to 
resent a little insult. 

A spirit of patriotism pervading the bosoms of a half 
dozen boys of the school, and Kings Mountain being in easy 
reach, they determined to visit this historic battleground. In 
the early morning of a Saturday they are mounted up into an 
old stage coach with two in hand of the horses. The day was 
hot, and by ten o'clock the horses gave signs of weary limbs, 
and in an acconmiodating spirit the boys halt at a spring of 
cool water near the edge of the road that their horses might 
blow a little and cool off. These recline upon the green grass, 
they talk and refresh themselves, almost forgetful of their 
journey's end; now they are undecided in the continuance 
of it, till one of the boys proposed, "Let us drink up the dry 
goods and quit the drive." Agreed to. The next morning 

110 Reminiscences of 

after their return, other students, anxious about their late 
arrival, called around at our rooms to hear the news and to 
get a description of our sights and sentiments, but they were 
reticent and gave nothing of interest. In a few days their 
adventures of that day leaked out, and a communication ludi- 
crously describing them, was gotten up for publication in the 
"Yorkville Miscellany," published by old Mr. Melton, but the 
article being intercepted, it never saw the light of printer's ink. 
It ran somewhat in this manner: A squad of would-be sol- 
diers, under command of Corporal Dominie, while bivouacing 
in the Kings Mountain section of country, was surrounded 
by a dozen Domestic Catawbas and two black fellows with 
red eyes, who, being more than two to one, fell into them and 
there was not a single one left of the soldiers to tell the tale. 
In extenuation of their assumption of heroic deeds in under- 
taking to demolish twice their number, their friends claim they 
fell early in the battle, yet receiving no outward bruises. 

A cadet company of the students was formed and or- 
ganized by the election of Sam McWhorter as captain and 
Ned Chambers and Fred Dinkins, lieutenants. Saturdays 
were our drill days, and we made quite a display in our blue 
denims jackets and white linen pants. The parade we had on 
Fourth of July morning is memorable. The company was or- 
dered out at three o'clock to form and march down the main 
street to its southern extremity, where another company 
would join us and fire off salutes with our old-fashioned mus- 
kets with blank cartridges, with which we were well provided, 
succeeding the booms of an old cannon stationed there for 
the occasion. We obeyed orders and assembled. Awaiting 
the coming of day, our officers marched us into a grog shop, 
now lighted up and expectant. We took dram after dram in 
honor of the glorious Fourth, and when the order was given 
to fall into line a few literally complied with it, yet we arrived 
all safe, giving loud and repeated huzzas along the street. The 
cannon boomed and the muskets fired most from along the 
line trying to obey orders. It was not yet day when an old 
negro man, passing along the public road, was intercepted by 
two or three of the boys and shot with blank cartridges. 
Hearing the screams of the old man, the school boy said to 
them, "It was a mean trick," when his chum said, "If you re- 
peat it I'll shoot you." It was repeated, and a part of his pants 
legs and boot were torn off, making only a slight bruise on the 

Williamsburg County. Ill 

calf of his leg. As soon as his chum fired he attempted to 
dash away into the ranks, but received a deep wound, stagger- 
ing and falling to the ground. Sam was quick in raising him, 
and we two left the ground together to conceal the injury his 
friend had received, and with much difficulty we got back in 
our room. The profusion of blood was startling, and we soon 
had a doctor, who pronounced the wound not serious. 

After the June vacation in school Mr. Edmunds opened 
his second session. The school was divided into three lan- 
guage classes, and in the second class the school boy was 
numbered, and Leonidas W. Spratt of the "Old Indian Ford" 
section, gave it a prominence. The order of morning and 
evening recitations was changed by Mr. Edmunds, much to 
the detriment of the second class and to the advantage of the 
third, comprising J. F. Brockenton, E. P. Montgomery, W. C. 
Mouzon, VV. E. Plowden, who gave to it its prominence, and 
this was a class of fifteen or twenty students. Our second 
class of ten or twelve met in consultation, and chose Spratt as 
our spokesman to present our grievances to the teacher and 
promising to abide its results. On the following morning at 
our accustomed hour of recitation, we were on our seats with 
well prepared lessons. Spratt explained to the teacher the in- 
justice of a change of hours of recitation by which a sufficient 
time could not be given for the preparation of our Greek les- 
sons. Mr. Edmunds became confused and excited, saying 
"you shan't dictate duty to me ruling here," and heedless of 
our representation, he loudly called up class number three to 
recite. Whereupon Spratt arose and gathering up his books, 
said, "If I can't recite at my regular time I won't recite at all," 
and started to leave the room,which observing Mr. Edmunds, 
said: "Get out of my house, you little puppy." Spratt hurled 

back to him, "who do you curse, you old rascal," and 

throwing down his books and advancing he encountered the 
teacher also advancing towards him, and they fight. By this 
time the school boy was there and holding Mr. Edmunds' 
arms for Spratt to pound him well, he was caught by Davy 
Frierson, saying, "do, cousin Sam, don't hurt the old man," 
and other good inclined boys of the school interfering, the 
fight ceased. Our class again consulted and Spratt proposed 
to go in a body to the Brattonville school, being ten miles be- 
low. While preparations were being made to leave, Mr. Ed- 
munds offered an amnesty to all except tO' Spratt, which the 

112 Rkminiscences of 

school boy refused to accept, tho' Mr. Edmunds and himself 
had been on good terms. Spratt hastened down to engage 
board and tuition at Brattonsville for the two endeared friends, 
and soon they are under the tutorship of Rev. Cyrus Johnson, 
a Presbyterian preacher, and are boarders of good Mr. Moore. 
The many acquaintances and our connections in Yorkville ex- 
cite a pleasure, and a tear as oft, as they flit before his aston- 
ished vision. Among the students were Dixon Barns and B. 
C. Jones, inseparable friends from Lancaster, Baxter Springs 
and Halcott J. Pride, from Catawba river, the latter of whom 
was our wit and our humorist, and the town boys already men- 
tioned, not exclusive of one or two of the Melton boys, and 
among the ladies were Miss Jane Moore, Miss Hariot Cham- 
bers, Miss Gill from Lancaster and the Williams and the Pos- 
tell families. At Brattonsville during his three months' en- 
gagement the school boy formed many pleasant associates, 
and was a visitor in the families of Dr. Bratton, the Murphys, 
Chislms, Raineys, Williamsons and a host of Moores. 

Spratt, in delicate health and of a slender frame, was a 
close student, preparing to enter ;ne South Carolina College 
in November, and was solicitous in Sam's studies with him 
and anxious to carry him along. But Sam found more en- 
joyment, aside from Spratt's interest in him and words of wis- 
dom, in the company of Tim Williamson, whom he frequently 
met, who had just returned from the Florida Seminole War, 
and who gave such interesting descriptions of the soldiers' 
adventures in it as to fill Sam's soul with warlike enthusiasm, 
and he almost concluded to become a soldier. 

Our term of three months at Brattonsville expiring, the 
school boy left for his home to arrange the payment of his 
debts and make preparations for future developments in his 
country's cause. His return was made by stage to Columbia, 
and thence to Camden in company with William E. Plowden. 
At the latter place, our money being exhausted, we made our 
journey to Sumterville on foot in one day. At home, the 
school boy was concerned how to ask his father for several 
hundred dollars with which to pay his exorbitant York debts, 
and applying to his mother, the money was obtained in a man- 
ner not comparable to the magnitude of her son's extrava- 
gances of that year, which was even inconsiderable to those 
of the other boys from the low country, and in two instances 
approximating a thousand. It is said that the father of one of 

Williamsburg County. 113 

those boys, in looking over an itemized account and finding 
"pair of silver-motnited spurs" charged, exclaimed :n his usual 
words, known and repeated by his friends and neighbors, 
"I wish I may die if an English Nobleman could have spent 
more money," but he paid it. 



The many adventures of a school boy, far away from his 
home, do so intrude themselves upon our mental visions, some 
pleasing thus to behold, others sad in their retrospect, but 
so closely allied as to form a life-long copartnership, that a 
few of the pleasant ones will engage this time. It is of a trip 
from his home at Indiantown up to York in the latter part of 
November, 1836. He was alone, and driving an old farm 
horse of his father's, of heavy body, short and hairy legs, with 
fetlocks sweeping the sand, and a speed from twelve to sixteen 
minutes to tlie mile by the watch, he did well correspond with 
a home-made family gig or chair, whose rounded back con- 
cealed the passenger from back view, save only his head and 
neck, and whose stout and hickory shafts were by usage bent, 
and whose stirrups were scarcely a foot from the ground. 

Thus ec|uipped the school boy, tolerably well dressed foi 
a Williamsburg lad, with his flowing cloak of huge capacity 
and weight, made his first day's journey to Pudding Swamp 
section, and spent the night with Mrs. Jennie Burgess. Next 
morning when about to resimie the road her son, Samuel A. 
Burgess, who had not yet settled to himself, seeing the slender 
cord attached to the school boy's watch, an old time family 
piece, and suspended around his neck, said: "Ah, boy, that 
cord won't do; robbers won't regard it." Whereupon he cut 
a buckskin strap from a large dressed hide of that noble antler 
with which the woods then abounded, and fastening it to the 
watch and putting it around his neck, said: "Now you have 
a watch guard, and if the robber gets your watch your neck is 
got to go with it." Leaving our friends and joggling along 
at our ease we arrived at the Salem church, commonlv called 

114 Reminiscences of 

"Brick church," about noon of the day, and as it was broad 
daylight the school boy ventured to ramble through the grave 
yard. At sundown the village of Sumterville appeared, and 
in a short time the boy and his horse were comfortably 
lodged at the hotel. 

After supper Sam strolled but along the sandy streets, 
and was soon attracted by a lighted bar. Entering and being 
a stranger, it was very soon apparent that he was the object of 
regard and the subject of inquiry. Ere long he was ap- 
proached by one of the crowd, who was a handsome young 
man, with his long, black curly hair, his hazel eyes and his 
clear complexion. Coming up quite near, he kindly and cour- 
teously said: "Pardon me, sir, you so much resemble a dear 
friend of mine, who but lately was with me in the Florida war, 
that you must be a brother of his. Please tell me your name." 
The school boy did so, and asked of him the name of that 
friend he so much looked like, and upon his giving "Tim Wil- 
hamson of York," "Great heavens," exclaimed Sam. "What! 
Tim Williamson? He is a special friend of mine, and I have 
been with him all summer, more or less, ever since his return 
from the Florida Seminole War." About here there was a 
short pause, made in the interest and given to the health of 
our mutual friend. Afterwards Sam told of Tim and himself 
being at a grand ball at Chester Court House a few months 
ago, where Tim introduced his young friend to some young 
ladies as his brother, and also to his sister, who, learning our 
innocent game, addressed him during the night as Brother 
Sam, dancing the Virginia reels and other dancing figures 
as partners, and in the meantime introducing him to her affi- 
anced, who so generously humored the joke and joined the 
amiable imposition for a time made on those who were not 
familiar acquaintances of the families. The much conversa- 
tion had during this accident between these two newly made 
acquaintances elicited many amusing incidents and anecdotes 
narrated by us relative to the friend who had so unexpectedly 
brought us together. Thus the night was joyously spent, by 
which a friendship arose and which continued during the life 
of Dr. John Smithe Rich. 

On the morning of the third day, after a late breakfast, 
the school boy was again on the road for Camden, a distance 
of twenty-eight or thirty miles. During the delightful reveries 
of the preceding events, and mentally revolving the scenes 

Williamsburg County. 115 

of last night, smiling at their reminiscences, pleased with self 
and all the world, and almost reconciling the belief that he was 
a hero, the day wore away, and at twilight there were yet three 
or four miles in advance to Camden. Descending a hill of 
gradual declivity and coming to its foot, there was seen on the 
left of the road a morass, or bay of thick and low under- 
growth bordering its edg-es. When he came opposite, all on 
a sudden there was a crash among the bushes, and quickly 
looking in the direction of the noise, Sam distinctly saw a 
black object of the height of a negrO' man standing just out 
of the road and in the thicket just behind a clump of bushes 
less than ten paces off. Sam involuntarily dropped himself all 
in a heap upon the wide footboard of the chair, thus placing 
its wooden frame between him and the robber. His horse was 
quickly at his best speed, and urged to exceed even that, as 
the whip was used without stint or mercy, and with hair erect 
on we went and soon entered the river road. Still running for 
our lives we dashed down a hill, and entered the valley of a 
swamp or creek this side of Camden, and to our surprise its 
waters were running over the road and out intO' its valley. 
Now the schol boy had passed along here three or four times 
before, and the valley was dry each time except in the channel 
of the creek on the Camden side, which was spanned by a 
high bridge. Our speed being thus checked we plunged into 
the water, and going several hundred yards in the increasing 
depth of water, now running into the footboard of the chair 
in the darkness, and seeing nothing but water ahead and water 
and trees around, the school boy's heart began to fail. He 
halts, thus argued, if I retrace my steps the robber will kill me; 
if I proceed the waters may drown me and my good horse. 
Seizing the latter horn of my dilemma, I clucked tO' my 
horse, which, instead of advancing, actually looked back at 
me, and I not heeding his premonitions and his instinctive 
forebodings of ill, applied the whip, yet giving him loose reins 
to do all he could in our present danger. Now we are again 
moving with cautious steps and slow progress, for the water 
is fully up to the horse's breast and had forced Sam up into 
the seat. To add to his horror the clouds had snatched away 
the light of the stars, and were dispensing a light shower. 
Our gait was hardly perceptible across the current of water, 
and only by the light of the opening of the trees above us we 
were able to make out the road, when Old Farmer gave a long 

116 Reminiscences of 

groan indicating swimming water just ahead. We halt, and 
Sam remembering the several hundred dollars of his own and 
money entrusted to him either by Mr. Isaac Montgomery or 
the Hon. Samuel R. Mouzon or both, now forgotten, to deliver 
to their sons, E. P. Montgomery and W. C. Mouzon, students 
attending the Yorkville Academy, fixed it more securely 
around his waist and gloomily concluded to risk the accidents 
on land rather than the seeming certainty of death in the 
waters before. We turned around, and in doing so we got into 
a side ditch, but my good horse by a desperate bound safely 
arrived in what seemed to be our road. Slowly and anxiously 
we are again on dry land, and watchfully and noiselessly we 
are at the junction of the Sumterville and River Roads. (Jf 
course there was no consideration as to choice of roads, and 
passing the fork of the roads without the least sign of a cause 
to increase our fear, we are again at high speed down the 
River Road. There was an immense clearing and enclosure 
on our right, and after a mile or two along the road in great 
heat of horse, there was a dim light seen in the distance back 
of the field. Looking for an entrance to get to the light, we at 
length found a large swinging gate, through which we enter 
and rattle down a level, hard avenue, and with screaking and 
jingling noises, we arrived at an inner gate of like dimensions, 
from which is seen a large brick building of three stories 
height, and other tine buildings standing in the rear. After re- 
peating bailings, an answer is given by the man at the stables. 
a considerable distance from the residence, holding a lantern, 
whose light had been our beacon from its first appearance to 
us on the public road. Upon his coming up to the gate, this 
man very civilly accosted the school boy, and learning his late 
distress in the water, and his intention of going- on to Com- 
den, he said: "Yes, the creek is swimming, caused by the 
breaking of our mill dam five miles above," and oh! even at 
this late date the school boy is able to recall the joy of his 
heart when this man said: "Sir, if urgent necessity doesn't 
compel you to go to Camden to-night, you had better stop 
with us." He instantly leaped from the gig, and saying, as he 
leaped: "Thank you, sir, thank you, sir." The man kindly 
said: "Wait a few moments till I see master." Soon return- 
ing, this kind colored servant opened the gate and conducted 
the school boy up to the elegant mansion, with broad rock or 
marble steps, to the capacious ])iazza of like flooring material. 

Williamsburg County. 117 

supported by huge columns, where the master and son awaited 
his arrival. The young man descending the steps with a light 
in his hand, met the stranger, and assisting him up the steps, 
handed him over to his father and returned to the gig. Re- 
ceived with marked elegance and true Southern hospitality, 
the old gentleman conducting the stranger along an extended 
passage by a flight of stairs, with mahogany railings and 
grooved banisters, invited him into the sitting room to take a 
seat. Before fully recovering from frights of previous hours, 
and from the splendor of the furniture in the room, the school 
boy was asked concerning his night's trials in the water. In 
the meantime, the young man, who had gone with the servant 
and horse, came in and the old gentleman said: "Son, have 
you put up the young gentleman's horses and carriage?" At 
which inquiry Old Farmer and the old shattering and ricketty 
gig informally arose in the school boy's mind in comparison 
with the style of travehng equipage presumable to equal the 
impression created by his general appearance. "Tea" was 
brought in to him in large silver waiters, containing silver 
dishes of many varieties of delicacies, nut crackers, spoons and 
forks, all of silver, and the feat of eating on his lap, tho' new, 
was executed without an accident to disturb his returning 

In the room with us there was a gentleman from Colum- 
bia, who was addressed as Mr. Taylor, and the conversation 
was kept up between this visitor and the young gentleman in 
part. Among the subjects spoken of they mentioned the name 
of one great wag and wit, whom both had accidentally met 
in their travels abroad, and the young man related this inci- 
dent of this wag's drollery: "He was traveling by stage along 
a high and deep sandy road, and the speed of the horses being 
slow, a few of the passengers dismounted and walked for some 
distance. Among these were the young man and this un- 
known wag, and being utter strangers, but in pleasant conver- 
sation, when the latter inquired of him : 'Well, sir, what 
mought be your name?" 'My name is Chestnut,' I replied. 
Upon hearing it, and looking pleasantly in his face with a be- 
nignant smile lighting up his face, he said: 'Chestnut! Chest- 
nut! By G — , it is a wonder the hogs haven't eat you long be- 
fore this time.' " Thus the school boy found that he was among 
the Chestnuts, a name not unknown to him nor in the history 
of his State, and while he was an attentive and silent listener 

118 Reminiscences of 

he suddenly was attracted by a loud rumbling" noise behind 
him where he was seated, and folding doors being drawn aside 
we were invited into the ladies' parlor, and the splendor of the 
mirrors suspended all around, the glitter of large silver knobs 
of the doors, the gorgeous tapestry of the windows and the 
elegance and refinement of the ladies, created a feeling of be- 
wilderment as he wondered "where am 1 at," and to his credit 
it can be said, he made no grievous mistakes in the answers 
elicted from him. 

It was now bedtime, and this handsome young man, stu- 
dent of the South Carolina College, with a servant, led the 
way up to the third floor. Arrangements being made for a 
daylight start the next morning, the young Mr. Chestnut of- 
fered a guide to conduct the school boy around to Camden by 
their mill, being many miles out of the way, and the guide and 
my conveyance would be in readiness at day light. Being un- 
dressed by the servant, as part by part of them was dusted and 
hung up and boots delivered to another servant to be brushed, 
the school boy, turning to the young man, said: "I'll be off 
before you are up in the morning, let me settle m}- bill," when 
he, in a somewhat surprised manner, said: "I hope, sir. you 
didn't take us to be tavern keepers." "Xo, no, no," said the 
other, "I only thought it was politeness," and thus it was made 
worse. After bidding Mr. Chestnut good-bye, which he cor- 
dially returned, and added: "God bless you," the McGill boy 
stepped back to the further end of the room to take a running 
start to jump up into the bed, the highest he had ever seen, 
the servant drew out steps ascending, he was snugly and ten- 
derly covered, and the young man again smiling, left the 
room. We never met again, tho' we frequently heard of 
each other through Iley Coleman. Chestnut's chum in college 
and McGill's lawyer friend in Kingstree, and again during the 
latter year of our war. Gen. James Chestnut was in position at 
Columbia, and complimented his old friend by appointing him 
"assessor of the tax in kind." 

At dawn the next morning, the school boy was aroused 
by a servant, bringing in his boots and saying all things were 
ready and waiting at the gate; and ofif he goes, another ser- 
vant leading the way on a mule, around by the mill, and as the 
Camden town clock was striking the hour of nine, we are at a 
hotel. Giving his conductor a dram and a breakfast at the ho- 
tel, and after an hour's refreshment, Sam is on the road for 

Williamsburg County. 119 

Lancaster Court House, and lonely he trudged along on an 
unknown road without anything of note, till about sun down, 
he met a colored man who informed him that Lancaster C. H. 
was five miles ahead. In these old times one might travel a 
whole day without meeting anyone, because there was not 
many people except on plantations and they had little or no 
business out of it; colored husbands excepted, having wives 
on neighbor's places. Dreading the shadows of night, our 
gait is cjuickened, and going through a branch in which there 
seemed to be much quick sand, his horse pulling along with 
apparent heavy strain, the whip was applied to him, and jump- 
ing, he broke the leather strap which holds the single tree to 
the crossbar of the gig. Leaping out into the water, and as- 
certaining there was no way to secure it to its place, Sam, 
without revolving means, quickly bethought of dear Sam Bur- 
gess" buckskin strap, with which he had secured his watch 
around his neck, which was quickly untied and put in place 
of the old broken strap, and with a relieved heart he is again 
on his way. Darkness soon set in, and there was no appear- 
ance of the site of the court house, tho' expecting to see it at 
every turn of the road. Presently a mile post was seen in 
darkness at the edge of an old field. In an anxious mood, 
Sam was soon on the ground to^ find its figures, and after 
much fumbling over its face in the dark the figure V was made 
out by him. Here Sam was in an unknown place, yet with 
a resolution to reach his desired day's journey, because in 
those old times it was hardly considered a proper thing for 
a stranger to intrude on private families, as for the accommo- 
dation of travellers public stopping places of entertainment 
were generally located about half way between our court 
houses on the road, known as the country's highway. In the 
course of two hours from his mile post, the school boy suc- 
ceeded, amid the horrors pictured just ahead in his imagina- 
tion all along his solitary trip in darkness, in arriving at a 
hotel, where he found its inmates had retired and its streets as 
silent as death, but being safe in the hotel he was happy. 

On the 5th day Catawba river was crossed over in a flat, 
and from thence to Brattonsville the roads were sloppy, rocky 
and of reddish clay, and appeared to be of little accommoda- 
tion, judging from its imfrequented and unimproved condi- 
tion. Resting two days with Mr. Moore, our former home, 
and settling up board and tuition bills, we are, at the close 

120 Reminiscences of 

of the second day's rest, in Yorkville. Calling on old Mr. 
Edmunds, we had a pleasant conversation, but when the sub- 
ject of amount of tuition for the present session was brought 
up there w-as a slight unpleasantness, as the school boy offered 
two dollars for the three weeks in which he had attended, 
while Mr. Edmunds claimed twenty dollars in full for five 
months, and denying his right to have left his school. The 
school boy failed to see the justice of Mr. Edmunds' demands 
in connection with the Spratt affair, and left the old gentle- 
man, who notified him that his father would be written to if 
necessary, after waiting a reasonable time. All other business 
being finished, now came the duty to tell Adicks, Saddler, 
Latta, Hutchinson. Jennings, Casheon, Tomlinson, Postell, 
Williams, Witherspoon and others of their kindnesses to him, 
which proved to be the last opportunity, and to bid an affec- 
tionate good-bye to the many school boys, so pleasantly con- 
nected, for the last time, with the exception of Reuben Rice 
and B. C. Jones, as students of the Medical College in Charles- 
ton in '40 and '41. 

The lonely traveller and his horse are on their homeward 
trip on the road from Yorkville to Lancaster C. H., which 
latter place they enter at the end of their first day's journey. 
Nothing of importance occurred, as they leisurely go from 
thence on the Camden road, but watching out for the V mile 
post and the branch of quick sand, when we drank water, and 
the school boy smiled as he looked at Sam Burgess' buckskin 
strap yet securely acting its part in the equipage. Passing 
over a large fiat rock lying on the road and forming a part of 
it, the boy stopped to examine it. and what did he know about 
rocks, and the only engagement of his mind was the wonder 
how in the world it got there, and resuming the road we are 
in the subur1,)s of Camden, just as a school of children was dis- 
missed. There were many girls, and as they entered the public' 
road where Sam was leisurely driving, he leaped out of the 
chair to walk along with them. They screamed and affected 
to run from liim. but upon saying to them that they were 
school girls and he a school boy. they became appeased, and 
walked and talked along the road into town, where, bidding 
them good-bye and getting his horse, which had intuitively 
followed along. 

In the parlor of the hotel at Camden two gentlemen were 
engaged in conversation, and they being quite interesting Sam 

Williamsburg County. I'll 

was an attentive listener. He learned from them that an old 
dilapidated Iwo-storv house, standing a short distance from 
the public road m the eastern suburbs of this town, had been 
used by the British during the Revolutionary War as a hos- 
pital, and around it Colonel Tarlton had his headquarters, 
and that bullet holes could yet be seen through its frame, and 
by inquiry he found that this house was on the Sumterville 
road. He became anxious for the coming of the next morn- 
ing that he might visit the house, picture the agony of grand 
Uncle Sam McGill. who, according to family tradition, had 
been captured by Colonel l^arlton, carried to Camden aiid 
suffered the hardships of a prisoner for man\- months, and 
shed a tear for his condition and distresses, as he surveyed the 
expected doom of his country's cause, and held up before his 
eyes the weepings and lamentations of his wife and two little 
girls. In the early morning of the third day's trip the school 
bov descried this dilapidated old house, standing a little dis- 
tance from the road in an open field. He sprang to the ground 
and went directly towards the house. Before reaching it some- 
tliing whispered and he halted. Was it ghosts? At any rate 
the great desolation settled his mind in the conclusion as ex- 
actly fitting their supposed haunts, and he returned to his 
horse, hearing, as he thought, strange noises behind. \\'e arc 
off from there; we cross over the high bridge reaclring iicross 
the creek on which Chestnut's mill was placed, and we pass 
tlirough its valley, now dry, without being able to designate 
the place of his wise conclusion, so confused were his recollec- 
tions of the surrounding trees. We are soon at the fork of 
the River and Sumterville roads, where w'e get a view of the 
extensive fields of his friends, the Chestnuts. Now, we are 
approaching the place where the negro man was, and guess 
our surprise to see him still standing there by the roadside, 
being nothing more or less than a black and charred stump 
five or six feet high. Before sundown Sumterville was en- 
tered, and he was soon rejoined by John Rich, and presenting 
liis brother, N. G. Rich, Hugh Richardson and Tom Waities, 
we enjoved the evening. The occasions which brought us to- 
gether in the next year expanded our friendship. Hugh Rich- 
ardson, a tine specimen of the Richardson family, graduated 
at Charleston Medical College in the class of '40- '41, together 
with his friend Sam, and settling in his native town at the be- 
ginning of his fondly expected usefulness as a doctor. Thomas 

122 Reminiscences of 

Waities, son of judge Waities of Revolutionary fame, was a 
grea"t wit and a favorite in the circle of his friends. He re- 
moved to Kingstiee in early manhood, and engaging a school 
there, died. In the evenmg of the fourth day Kingstree was 
reached and a few stories told to his friends, at which they 
heartily laughed, and in the earl}- evening of the next dav 
Sam and Old Farmer are back home, accomplishing the trip of 
one hundred and sixty miles in fourteen days, ten ot wiiich 
were made on the road, and averaging thirty or thirty-five 
miles a day. The trials encountered in the trip and the escape 
made from drowning were told to his parents, when his father 
said: "T ought to have sent a boy along with you, but I was 
provoked with you, because you had spent two or three times 
more money than was necessary," while his mother, yet in 
tears, said: "My son, my prayers saved you." 

Christmas Holidays. 

Before the Christmas holidays of this year there were two 
marriages solenniized on the same night and in the same 
neighborhood, and to each of them the school boy received in- 
vitations, and at which he was present during the festivities of 
these occasions. Mr. Jos. White McCutchen, an old school- 
mate, relative and friend, married Miss Mary Ervin Mc- 
Cutchen, daughter of Mr. Hugh McCutchen. After witness- 
ing the marriage ceremony and partaking of the supper, he 
bade adieu to the bridal party, and in a short time, dashing 
along a dry and sandy road of four miles, he hastened to the 
other wedding, the hotise was crowded with nivited guests. 
Dancing couples were on the floor of the hall, and gracefully 
gliding through the dif^ferent figures. Seizing an opportimity 
the school boy led out a partner, and being expert in the art 
of dancing, he was soon at his ease, much to the pride of his 
mother, who, with her smaller children, was present. Mr. 
John A. Salters married Miss Caroline McCrea, daughter of 
Mrs. Jennie McCrea, relict of old Mr. Alexander AlcCrea, re- 
siding five miles above the Indiantown Church, where Dr. 
Joseph S. Cunningham now lives. 

In connection with the wedding of Captain Salters there 
is an item of interest, as it illustrates the spirit and amusement 
of our people. On the next morning, on a level and sandy 
stretch of woods below the house, there was a horse race, ar- 
ranged several days previously, between Samuel E. McCul- 

Williamsburg County. 123 

lough's fine bay saddle horse, backed by Samuel B. McClary, 
with a stake of $25, run by David M. Duke, and Capt. Wil- 
liam Brown's elegant bay horse, run by John W. Singletary. 
The distance being five hundred yards, both horses were put 
at their best from the jump, Brown's horse winning by double 
his length. 

Here at Captain Salters' wedding John and Sam became 
acquainted, and how that introduction has been extended and 
the friendship mutually interchanged are matters admitting of 
easy and positive constructions. In 1854 Captain John A. 
Salters was elected to the legislature, much to the gratification 
of his friend, who strenuously supported him in the campaign 
and made more demonstrable in latter years during the five 
canvasses made for the office of County School Commissioner 
in the years of the eighth decade of this century, as on the 
days of counting the votes cast for the offices at Kingstree by 
the managers of election precincts and it was "nick and tie" in 
the results. 'Twas then Sam's friends would boast: "You 
just wait till the Salters votes comes in." 

There was yet another wedding ceremony in 1836 on 
Cedar Swamp, and as weddings in those days were weddings 
indeed, in that the immediate neighbors anticipated their 
advents, and expected invitations to them, and to which they 
would surely go, rain or shine. Capt. B. B. Grayson, formerly 
from Colleton, and schoolmaster, married Miss Polly McCul- 
lough, of Cedar Swamp, and as the school boy received a 
special invitation, he was there in all his glory, being assigned 
the duty to entertain a "college girl," also^ present. It was 
during this year "Old W^illiamsburg Deestrict" had ofi at 
Barhamville Female School, near Columbia, Miss Louisa 
Shaw, Misses Anna and Sarah Wilson and Miss Sarah Ful- 
ton, who were ever received and entertained as "college girls," 
but who, nevertheless, modestly refused any preference when 
m the society of other girls. 

124 Reminicensces of 




The first days of January of this year there was an unusual 
excitement among our people, as soldiers were needed to go 
to Florida and subdue a warlike spirit again exhibited by the 
Seminole Indians of that State, and the 31st Regiment of 
South Carolina Militia, composed of the Upper and Lower 
Battalions, was required to furnish one company for that pur- 
pose, and was ordered to assemble at the Regimental Parade 
Ground (Black Mingo) to enlist volunteers and draft soldiers, 
if necessary. At the call of the fife and the drum, John F. D. 
Britton. Thomas R. Grier, J. L. Brown, W. G. Cantley, Win- 
field Scott and E. P. Montgomery stepped out to the front, 
and the school boy seeing those, his friends, moved with a 
patriotic sentiment and aroused by warlike music, forgetting 
his obligations to his parents, who had already put him in 
readiness for the Winnsboro School, joined the volunteers. 
His father, being present at the time, hastened home to tell 
his mother, and when the school boy arrived that night he 
heard the greatest lamentation, and after hours of supplicating 
entreaties, and yielding to his mother's tears and prayers, he 
promised to abandon the war idea. In a few days he was off 
to school, but not before writing to his friend, Ned Mont- 
gomery, giving his excuses, and even hinting to rejoin him if 
his backout was considered disgraceful. He was not called 
on again, and everything connected therewith turned out all 
right, except the loss of his pension, which now would greatly 
assist in getting tobacco, as friend Cantley, in his accustomed 
suavity of words and his happy manner of expressing them, 
has declared his pension from the government for his Florida 
war services keeps him m good tobacco, and he is quite liberal 
with it among his friends. 

A few days succeeding Ned Wilson and Sam McGill are on 
their trip to the Winnsboro school, in separate gigs, with two 
negro men to bring back their equipments, and thus the two 
old cronies are again together, after a separation of two years 
in different schools. 

The Mount Zion Academy was situated in the upper part 

Williamsburg County. 125 

of the town of Winnsboro, consisting of a large brick and 
double story building with surrounding cabins in the campus, 
and Air. J. W. Hudson and two assistants conducted the 
school. Here were many students from different parts of our 
State and a few from adjoining States, so popular an edu- 
cator was Mr. Hudson, who was sociable with his students 
and by whom he was called "Old J. W." Such differences 
from former teachers did not fail to impress the school boy, 
who in a few years, when he became a school master, adopted 
his mode of instruction. To the above qualities was added a 
familiarity with the scholars as he played and joked with them 
at battery ball, in which he was an expert, and the school boy 
being about equal to him in this game, was ever placed on 
opposite sides. While there were some boys of starched man- 
ners, proud of their purses and gold watches, yet there were 
Dunavants, Greggs, Kennedy, Pegues, Aiken, Buchanan and 
Ayer with whom the Williamsburg boys, Thomas McCutchen, 
Edward and Lawrens Wilson and Sam McGill were on most 
intimate terms. 

In the spring time of this year, a company of half dozen 
students of the South Carolina College came up in the stage 
to visit their friends at the Mount Zion Academy, and among 
them was Jack Singeltary, who had left Chapel Hill College 
and was now a student in the South Carolina College, whom 
Sam and Xed had not seen since they were at Bethany School 
in 1834. Jack was quite interesting in his usual droll manner 
of narrating facts of jolly scenes in a college life. He told of 
many students in Columbia whose names were of State fame, 
and when the name of young Wade Hampton was mentioned, 
the school boy expressed a desire to see him, and requested an 
introduction to him when he returned the appointed visit, as 
old General Wade Hampton had a place in his memory, as in 
reading his services in the old Revolutionary war, and in re- 
calling these accounts m the days of the Nullification excite- 
ment and their responsive feelings, Sam wished to demonstrate 
to the grandson and son of this illustrious name. The return 
visit to Jack at Columbia was made in the stage, and there was 
a disappointment in one way, as young Hampton had either 
graduated or was away in the country at his father's farm, 
where he was accustomed to go and carry with him some of 
his collegiates. 

But the novel sights in Columbia amply repaid Xed and 

126 Reminiscences of 

Sam, escorted by Jack. They walked up the broad steps of 
our capitol and from thence had a view along the wide busi- 
ness street of Columbia. Through the halls of the college and 
the Steward's Hall. It was an amusing sight, the rapacious- 
ness of some of the students at the dinner table as observed 
by a stranger. Next we walked out into the near country and 
visited the asylum, where from the top roof of its capacious 
building, we overlooked its back yard, and observed the ways 
of a few of the unfortunates. One man in the enclosure of the 
back yard made signs to us for tobacco, and having none we 
let drop a bunch of segars. In an adjoining yard in a separate 
enclosure, was a woman in greatest agony and of apparent 
mental aberration, wringing her hands and walking to and 
forth in a brisk pace, and thus she continued as long as we re- 
mained there. 

During our short stay in our Capital, we formed some 
new and pleasant acquaintances among the native Columbia 
students, who accompanied us around and thereby entertained 
by pointing out the handsome public buildings and private 
residences. While around a festive board in a back room, one 
of the students told among other anecdotes, how Horace's 
Ode, beginning, "Ode profanum vulgus, et arceo," had been 
once acted in a bar room, as a pompous collegiate turned his 
back on an apparently ignorant and unfortunate stranger, 
leaning on the counter quite near, saying: "Ode profanum 
vulgus." Whereupon the slighted and offended man under- 
standing his words and meaning, replied: "Et arceo," and ap- 
plying his heel to the posteriors of the arrogant collegiate, and 
not cease to kick him till he had him prostrate upon the pave- 
ment. Thus were fixed that "appearances are deceitful," and 
a sentiment was embalmed to respect our present company. 

The time for our departure from Columbia arriving, the two 
inseparable friends, Ned Wilson and Sam McGill, telling an 
aiTectionate good-bye to Jack Singeltary, mounted into the 
public stage at morn, and by midday they are back in Winns- 
boro. One of them at least was full of news and replete with 
description of the sights they had seen in Columbia and the 
doings and sayings of their new acquaintances made during 
their two days' absence from their school. 

Our class at the Mount Zion Preparatory College, con- 
sisting of twelve or fifteen students, was preparing our studies 
by which we expected to enter the "Freshman Class rising" in 

Williamsburg County. 127 

the South Carolina College in the following October. The 
school boy, qualified in English, Latin and Greek branches, 
was aware of his defection in Mathematics, and hence, it can 
be said to his credit, he did not wish to compromise Mr. Hud- 
son's influence by asking for a letter of introduction to the 
professors of our South Carolina College, then considered 
equal to an entrance into that time honored institution. This 
undecided state of mind was relieved by an affair which, to be 
somewhat excusable, gives place to another item of interest 
l)efore its record is made. A class of students, not content 
with the every day fare as served in the steward's hall, would 
engage suppers to be brough to their rooms. After lo o'clock 
lights are extinguished in our cabins and silence reigns su- 
preme in the campus. Old Maum Suckey was the caterer, and 
furnished chicken, bacon and rice cooked together, and kept 
her accounts with chalk marks made on the side ceiling of her 
cook-room. Prompt payment had to be made or an exposure 
was expected. It so happened that one of the students left the 
school, and this old woman's bill remained unpaid, and she 
was noisy about his treatment of her, and proceeded to his 
cabin to seize his trunk or any other property she could find, 
and finding nothing, she walked up and down through the 
campus and calHng his name, exclaimed: "He teef my money! 
He teef my money, and the debil will get him." 

In the latter part of June at the beginning of the second 
session, the school boy, with no regrets, left the school, and 
arrived at Pudding Swamp after four days' journey. The next 
day being 4th July, a great concourse of people, bound for 
Kingstree, was on their way thither to attend the dinner and 
hear a 4th July speech from Mr. Gustavus Rich, who had 
lately settled among us. Pie was a young lawyer of much 
promise, a graduate from the South Carolina College, and be- 
ing highly connected in Sumter, his native home, he was re- 
ceived with marked attention, and being amiable in disposition 
he was afifected by our open demonstrations. On that morn- 
ing no sooner had this writer arrived at the court house than 
he was approached by the committee of arrangements, and 
asked to read the Declaration of Independence before the de- 
livery of Mr. Rich's speech. He begged to be excused in that 
he had never read it, but this excuse was quickly overcome as 
James L. Mouzon, W. Gadson Gamble and others, including 
the orator of the day, accompanied Sam into Dr. Richard Jar- 

128 Reminiscences of 

rott's drug" store, opposite the court house, and he read the 
article over aloud. So Rich and Sam walked arm in arm 
along" the aisle of the court house amid the sweet strains of the 
fiddles made by William D. McClary, William R. Scott, T. 
Armstrong AlcCrea and G. Henry Cliandler, whose art as vio- 
linists has never been surpassed in Williamsburg district, and 
the effects of the music coming from the gallery was exciting 
as they played "Washington's March" and other patriotic 
tunes. After the speecli, all went over to the Nelson Hotel, 
and dancing immediately began by Mr. Joseph Burgess first 
leading out a partner and heading the long Virginia Reel, 
much to the joy of the bashful young men, who could not ven- 
ture among the young ladies in the hall till Mr. Burgess broke 
the ice for them. After dinner the regular toasts were given, 
and enthusiastically applauded. Among the toasts one was 
offered to the orator and reader of the day, the latter of whom 
when loudly called for, being in the large hall of the Xelson 
Hotel with the ladies in the dance, transferred the honor of 
reply to the orator, who it was said complimented the gifts of 
the reader and excused his absence as a fortunate and elegant 
possessor of the '"light fantastic toe." 

Arriving home and satisfying his parents, whose money 
Sam Davis had squandered, in the conclusions he had reached 
in abandoning further scholastic pursuits, he accepted the 
change from books to leisure with a light heart and joyotis 
anticipations of sport with gun and dogs and fishing apparatus 
in company with his neighbors, and with the Gordon boys, 
who had moved awa\' a few years before to the famous water 
mill in all that country, which their father, Mr. John Gordon, 
had purchased from Mr. Ballune. Here Jim and Dave built 
and painted a neat cottage for their parents, and a store house 
for themselves, in which they placed some groceries, includ- 
ing a "barrel," which proved to be a great annoyance to their 
neighbors and farmers, requiring additional watch over their 
corn houses and horse feed, and for which they suffered. This 
store was a new feature in our religious society, and while the 
colored boys and men tried to profit thereby, there were stren- 
uous efiforts by the law-abiding citizens to drive the traffic 
away. It was so pleasant to visit the Gordon boys in their 
new occupation, telling and hearing miraculous tales, and by 
way of palliation for his absence from home. Sam would carry 
back with him a wallet of trout and bream to his parents. In 

Williamsburg County. 12i> 

a year or so Jimmie turned his talents to painting, and became 
celebrated in his profession, doing mvich business in the town 
of Georgetown and the surrounding plantations of the wealthy 
rice planters, where he died during the war. Dave was a 
house carpenter and built several fine residences in the coun- 
try. He died directly after the war. 

In the unbounded enjoyment of his freedom, the fat boy 
would join his neighbors, Mr. William Hanna, Capt. William 
Brown, Capt. S. J. Snowden and Mr. Alex Knox in driving 
for deer, which sometimes consumed a whole day, and one 
such is in view. Deer were plentiful around our plantations, 
l)ut they were not easily taken, as when started they bound 
away to the Big Swamp or to Tyes Lake, and being often 
chased they are off and away at the first intimation of a run, 
as heard by the blowing of the huntsman's horn and the lottd 
echoes of responding hounds, as they howl for joy at the 
sound of the horn. Away off over the stage road, in the bays 
and thickets lying between it and Britton's ferry county line 
road, were this celebrated deer drives, known then as Brown's 
Uay and the Long and Short Cod "dreens," where deer were 
almost as plentiful as rabbits, and hither on an early Saturday 
morning our company were driving and here follows the man- 
ner and results of that day's drive. 

We had killed one deer, and while consulting together as 
to the next drive and surest stands, suddenly one of the dogs 
slipped away into a pond Cfuite near, and started four deer in 
a bunch, which came bounding seventy-five or one hundred 
yards, broadside of us, when we all fired double-barrel gims 
at them, and only one deer was felled. Now the hunters were 
claiming what particular number each had shot to establish 
their markmanship and ownership of the deer's hide, when 
they turned to the boy, who was silent up to this time, to 
find out what deer he had singled out to shoot, and in answer 
he replied, "I shot at them ranging." Returning home late in 
the evening with two deer tied behind our saddles, the tired 
dogs struck a deer track in a branch along which we were 
riding. The company slowly proceeded, while Sam dallied be- 
hind, keeping opposite the dogs, and out came a yearling deer, 
and as quickly Sam alighted from his horse and fired, and he 
saw the deer as it made a complete "summerset." He helloed 
to his friends, 'T'U be damned if I haven't killed this one," 
because he had been missing all dav, and his friends ever after- 

130 Reminiscences of 

wards told this curse as a good joke, and old Mr. Hanna used 
to say it was made without strain or a balk, and in vain Sam 
essayed he meant a mill dam. No sooner had the hunters 
come up when the gutting- process was begun, and this being 
Sam's first deer, he had to be capped with the deer's maw, 
and its contents emptied on his head, in commemoration of 
the long established usage of our fathers and a demonstration 
of good luck in deer hunting through life. 




In the latter months of the year 1837, Sam being fre- 
quently m Kingstree, accepted an offer from Lawyer N. G. 
Rich to do office work for him and to read law under him. 
He connnenced Blackstone, then the first and great book 
among the legal profession, but before Christmas he discov- 
ered that law was reason and matters of hard facts, without a 
margin for flights of imagination, and as his reasoning quali- 
ties rested on first impressions without balancing contrary 
things with contrary things, he soon left in disgust, and was in 
search of a school, for his father and neighbors, who instantly 
flocked to his call, and formed one for him. By the first of 
January, 1838, he occupied a school master's chair in the In- 
diantown Academy, where he had been a school boy six years 
previous. His school consisted of twelve scholars, and his 
services engaged for six months at three dollars per scholar 
per quarter, and when it was known that young Sam McGill 
was to teach, the children thought it was so funny to go to 
school to a school boy, chief of whom were Capt. William 
Brown's children, Frances and Abner, as Frances exclaimed: 
"What! go to school to Cousin Sam Davis! W^ho is afraid of 
Cousin Sam Davis? Now, won't we have a fine time in the 
school house." Alas, the delusion! In the first weeks they 
declared this teacher to be meaner than their former teachers, 
because he was tighter in the school house, but ere long they 
expressed their belief in his mode of teaching as being the best, 
as he introduced new rules and new words in the school, which 

Williamsburg County. 131 

Ihey had never heard of before, and it was very pleasant to 
hear the children repeat after him: "Recess, intermission, dis- 
charged for the day." At the expiration of his engagement, 
he disbanded that school. 

But a presumption which continuously marked his intel- 
lectual advancement in his own eyes, and strengthened by out- 
side compliments, induced him away in the abandonment of 
the then humble occupation of a pedagogue, to tempt literary 
fields of physics and medicines, as a benevolent and profitable 
investment, which proved to be the great mistake of his life 
in that he was cut out for a school teacher. 

In the spring time of this year, a stranger on horseback, 
appeared in our midst, claiming to be a grammar teacher, and 
promising to give a complete knowledge of English Grammar 
in twenty days, and asking five dollars per scholar. The 
young men of the neighborhood eagerly embraced the oppor- 
tunity to know grammar, and a class of ten or more was 
formed. To the expressed surprise of Mr. Withie, the gram- 
marian, the young school master did not engage with him, but 
did not obstruct his progress. A deputy sherifT, commonly 
known as "Tampa Bay," happening in the neighborhood at 
the time, ceased his riding and joined the class. After many 
lessons had been taught, the young school master, who' was in 
his own school house, made it convenient during his 12 o'clock 
intermission, to step up to the Indiantown Church, in which 
the grammar school was being held. Seeing and hearing the 
operations, he was satisfied of the incompetency of the teacher. 
A day or two before this school closed he was again there, and 
heard the grammarian ask Mr. S., one of his scholars, to ana- 
lyze this sentence: "He rose up," who, not responding, was 
again requested to analyze this sentence: "He rose up." Af- 
ter inwardly digesting an answer, the scholar very complac- 
ently and confidently said: "Well, I suppose he got up." 
W^hen the twenty days were up, Mr. Withie, without any 
ecjui vocation as to the justice of his full pay, forthwith de- 
manded the amount, and there being great dissatisfaction in 
the class, not alone in Mr. Withie's failure, but his retention 
of them for twenty days from their plantation duties, they re- 
tired to consult, asking Sam tO' be present with them. One 
young man proposed they pay one-half, while others were 
willing to pay his own board and that of his horse and let him 
slide, but William Paisley, ever bold and uncompromising, 

132 Reminiscences of 

said: "The school has turned out a possum skin, just as I 
said at the first, now, gentlemen, I propose we give him the 
cow-hide, and I will lead in the application." 

Before concluding upon the study of medicine many cir- 
cumstances of an agreeable kind were wont to keep the mind 
in its accumtomed laughable channel, and visits to his relatives 
and numerous friends only increased his vanity and prolonged 
his adapted idleness. The friend of his earliest days, having 
left the Mount Zion College the preceding year, was now giv- 
ing the study of medicine his time and attention. Ned Wilson, 
with all his studious and sober habits, would sometimes stop 
and join a recreative party. On a bright summer (la\- we were 
fishing in Wilson Lake, and on the return we passed through 
large cornfields, and made straight to some large shade trees 
about its centre, left for the acconmiodation of field hands 
during the heat of the day and for little negro babies and their 
nurses. These kind provisions for the comfort of the negroes 
were generally made on all large plantations. Under these 
shades Ned and our party took shelter from the oppressive 
heat of that day, but soon we are again on the path home, and 
on reaching the well of water in Col. Wilson's yard, he drew 
the water. After quenching our parched lips and washing our 
faces and hands, we sat down to cool and rest under the large 
spreading trees surrounding the well. The time of day being 
asked Ned, wlio always had some sort of a watch, even at 
school, he searched his vest pockets, then all his pockets, but 
no watch could he find. We retraced our steps, searched for 
his track, but without avail. When this well was cleaned out 
a few years afterwards, Ned's lost watch was drawn up along 
with the mud at its bottom. 

In the summer of 1838, a Singing School was formed and 
taught by Mr. Marion Timmons, from Marion district, and an- 
other school the following summer, by Mr. . These 

were new, profitable additions to our society. All the young 
people eagerly joined, and the old, if not scholars, gave their 
encouragement and frequently their attendance. The expecta- 
tions of all were raised to a height; to the old, in that their 
children would learn to sing by note and increase the volume 
of their church music. To the young, in that they would be able 
to sing in music books, and greater still, they would have an 
opportunity to be in each other's society. The school was to 
be taught every other Frida}' and Saturday for three months. 


engaged to give a certain number of days at a dollar a scholar. 
The Kentucky or Missouri Harmony succeeded Smith and 
Little, who had introduced four patent music characters — sol, 
la, me, fa — which were received at the time as a great im- 
provement, and capable of easy understanding. Our music 
was written on three staffs, the first or upper one was the 
"tribble" for ladies of fine voices, the second or middle staff 
was the tenor for gentlemen of finer voices and ladies, while 
the third or bottom staff was the bass for gentlemen of deep 
and sonorous voices to sound the lowest notes. We soon 
learned to sing by note, many of our old church tunes and 
manv new pieces of music, both of a solemn and serious con- 
struction, without understanding a syllable of its principles. 
(31d Mrs. McGill. happy as she led the tribble, assisting the 
others and giving aid to the singing master, when asked to do 
so, for she was an adept in music, and to whatever proficiency 
m music her children may have attained, are attributable to 
her. With all deference to the good old gentleman, one song 
of his made to his name-sake as a little fat boy riding on his 
knee and well shaking him up and down, was of such general 
usage in those times that it will bear an exposure in these 
times, pleading its antiquity in its defense: "Yankee Doodle 
went to town, to buy some molasses," &c., &c. 

The tenor class was usually led by the teacher, strongly 
supported Eli McFadden, Sidney McGill and a number of 

These two sessions two years engaged in singing schools, 
left the scholars well pleased with their musical attainments, 
and before they closed, when the scholars were in a happy and 
gleesome mode and in full blast as to voices in sweet accord, 
there was music in their singing, the like of which had never 
been heard in the Indiantown new church. Thus associated 
for these two summers and in stibsequent singing schools, 
there arose the tenderest and lasting attachments, and a num- 
ber of couples were married. 

In many of the songs there the bass generally led off at 
the beginning of the third line of the verses. While all these 
songs have passed away out of memory's reach, there are two 
which haunted the writer for several late days, or during this 
writing, till by diligence and perseverance in their recalling, 
he has succeeded in collecting their names, and part of their 
words and tune. There was one tune called "Ocean." in 

134 Reminiscences of 

which there was a fuge in the third hue of the verse, "At thy 
command the winds arise, and swell the towering waves." 
This tune was a great favorite, and when it was not conven- 
ient for Col. William Cooper to be present he would send 
word to the class to sing "Ocean" for him. The other tune 
recalled is "Newburg," and the memory of its invocation to 
the heavenly bodies, the sentmients with which it was clothed, 
and the joyful manner in which it was rendered, were such an 
excitant to the soul that day and night gave no rest till it was 
revivified. There is music in Heaven, and this song of ours 
and its spirit may have been in miniature of the celestial choir, 
with the hope that the comparison is not blasphemous or ir- 

About this period, there were great improvements in our 
outward styles, in dresses and in manners. The boys wore 
ready-made clothing, a high, velvet or silk stock buckled 
around their necks, and linen shams over the bosoms of their 
cotton shirts, to which could be attached paper collars, wide 
rim straw hats of palm leaves and higli heel boots. The girls 
were attired in white or colored cambrics or fine calicos, straw 
bonnets trinmied inside and outside with roses and laces, half 
incircling their faces. On the arms of their dresses there were 
great pufifs of feathers fixed on the upper arm, and great bus- 
tles of the same stufi" secured around their waists, giving in 
full the grecian bend, and their low quartered shoes were tied 
with broad, black silk straps or ribbons, on both sides of the 
shoe, and winding around upward they were tied in a double 
bow knot where they could not slide downwards. 

At the Singing School during the 12 o'clock recess, the 
matrons were busy in spreading out their dinners of bountiful 
preparations, and the boys and the girls are around the well, 
drinking water and along the roads in playful ways. 

The improvements in our outward style were the sights of 
elegant barouches around the cliurch yard, which in the last 
years have driven away the old chairs or gigs elsewhere de- 
scribed. Two of these fashionable barouches have a place 
which go to show what manner of people we were. Col. 
Cooper used to tell that he accompanied his cousin, Sam Mc- 
Gill, down to Charleston on iiorseback to bring home a ba- 
rouche, which the old gentleman expected to purchase there. 
The barouche was bought, and when they got to Lenud's 
Ferry on their homeward trip, where taking out their horses, 

Williamsburg County. 185 

the old man, in pvilling it down into the flat, the end of tongue- 
fell at the water's edge as the tongue slid out of its 
proper socket, when he who had been pushing from be- 
hind, seeing the expected accident, ran around to rescue his 
friend from drowning, who jumping up, said: "God preserve 
me, Billy, I have broke the thing." 

Mr. John B. Pressley used to tell this one: He and Mr. 
Hugh McCutchen went down to Georgetown on horseback 
to bring home a barouche, which Mr. McCutchen had bought 
in Charleston and had shipped to Georgetown. They hitched 
their horses to it, and when they got out into the street, as we 
imagine they could not guide their horses nor keep out of the 
way of drays and other carriages, when Mr. Tom Scott, of 
Kingstree, seeing their condition, kindly came to their relief, 
as he went to the horses' heads and crossed the inside lines for 

Singing schools were not our only pleasurable recreation, 
as "Ouiltings"' at neighbors' houses were of a seductive char- 
acter and collective of our youths. At quiltings, the girls were 
on hand at early morning, prepared tO' do a good day's work, 
and a few neighboring boys attended during the day to assist 
in striking ofif the lines, making thumb stalls, handing around 
thread, needles, glasses of drinking water, and rolling up that 
part of the frame already quilted. About the going down of 
the sun, the quilt, yet in its frame, is raised up on high to clear 
the hall of obstructions for the "plays" expected to be had dur- 
ing the night. These plays were enjoyed by the old and the 
young, and to none more sO' than the great, wise and good 
Col. Davy Wilson, who would mingle in the crowd of players, 
when at his house. As twilight of that quilting day comes on, 
the girls change their dresses to suit the occasion, and the 
young men are soon seen galloping up to the house, arrayed 
m their best clothes. In all communities there are conduc- 
tors of these plays, and being good singers and pleased to in- 
terest the company, they are the lions of the night. Eli Mc- 
Faddin and Sidney McGill had a notoriety for fine singing, 
and their readiness to begin and to keep up the amusement. 
All being in the hovise, the conductor announces we will be- 
gin by playing "Old Sister Fibby," at which the centre of the 
hall is cleared and all take seats. He leads out a partner and 
places another girl in a chair in the centre, and going round 
they sing: "Old Sister Fibby, how merry was she," etc. 

136 Reminiscences ok 

Whispering- a boy's name he advances, and a hat being given 
to him, they sing: "Put this hat on her head, keep her head 
warm, two or three kisses will do her no harm.'" In this man- 
ner the play continues till all the couples are on the floor and 
are singing, the only change ])eing, "Old Brother Trueluck" 
in the place of "Old Sister Fibby," when a boy is in the chair, 
and that ten thousand sweet kisses in the place of "two or 
three kisses" made by some of the more inconsiderate boys. 

Some one proposes "Road to Baltimore," at which two 
conductors with their partners, and the centre of the hall be- 
ing again cleared, walk slowly round and sing: 

"Here we go to Baltimore. 
Two behind and two before. 
Round and round and thus we go. 
Where old string beans and barley grow. 
See how the farmer sows his seeds. 
Thus he stands and takes his ease. 
He stamps his foot and he claps his hands. 
He wheels about and thus he stands 
Awaiting for more barley." 

When another couple comes in. It is thus continued till all are 
on the floor and singing. These plays were generally ended 
with a lively song and all prancing around and shuiifling their 
feet, they sing: "Jim McCracin is my song, and we will dance 
it all along." &c. The play "Contentment," when asked: 
"What will content you?" created change of places beside the 
girls, requiring a run from one seat to the other to avoid 
lashes made by a knotted handkerchief, and sometimes the 
boys were made to put on ugl}' faces and assume awkward 
postures before the girls. "Weave the Thimble," all are stand- 
ing- in a circle with partners, each holding the right wrist of his 
neighbor with his left hand, weaving or passing the thimble 
with the right hand, while one person stands alone in the cen- 
tre to find the thimble on its weaving way, quickly passing 
from right hand to the other. As soon as the thimble gets 
around, a whistle is made, by which the finder is notified to 
begin the hunt. Attracted by. whistles all around he tries to 
open their fingers when he i? told he is on "cold track," and at 
another time when he is turned away from where the thimble 
is they say you are on hot track, and the weaving becoming 
lively, the thimble passes in (|uick succession and as quickly 

Williamsburg County. 137 

returns. The hand in wiiich it is found the same becomes the 
finder in the ring. 

Another play is called for when everybody is seeming- 
drowsy and sleepy. All are again in a circle with their part- 
ners and are seated, when the head one says to his right hana 
girl: "Old Mother Hobgobble sends me to you," who in- 
quires: "What for to do?" "To beat one pestle as I do," 
using one hand. This goes round in the same words and man- 
ner, when the head one asks to beat two pestles as I do, using 
both hands; then three pestles as I do, using both hands and 
one foot ; then four pestles as 1 do, using both hands and both 
feet, and the last order from Old Mother Hobgobble is to beat 
five pestles as I do, using both hands, both feet and the body 
rismg and beating on the chair. Here the play breaks up with 
a big laugh, amidst the blushes of the girls. This play hardly 
equalled the play "Move the House." 

Soon "The Wedding Ring" is proposed, one reason of 
which pawns are connected with this play. All are again 
seated and a gold ring being obtained, one of the boys opens 
the play. Holding the ring between the palms of his extended 
fingers he gently and lovingly draws them through the closed 
liands of the others now opening to receive the ring, saying 
to each as he passes along: 

"liiddie, Biddie, you hold fast to my gold ring. 
Till I go to London and back again," 

and all llie way through pretends to drop the ring. After he 
has gone through and unobservedly dropped the ring, he in- 
quires of each person by name, "who has the ring," and when 
receiving the right answer, he says "Rise Ring," and a pawn 
is collected from all who have not guessed the holder, who 
now becomes the disposer, and thus the fun continues till the 
pawns have accumulated and a redemption of them is called 

Some of the boys were skilled in the dispensation of suit- 
able redemption of these pawns, and when exhibited to them 
they inquire: "Fine or superfine?" and being told superfine 
(a lady's), she is told to go in a corner and say: "Here I stand 
on two little chips, Do come and kiss my sweet little lips," 
and to call a boy to do it. Another pawn is exhibited and 'tis 
pronounced fine only (a boy's), he is ordered to go in a cold 
corner and say: Tn the cold I stand on my big toes. Do take 

138 Reminiscences of 

me away before 1 froze," or this one of great elegance and sig- 
nification: "You are required to bow to the prettiest, kneel 
to the wittiest and kiss the one you love best." The execution 
of these pawns which had been imposed, was of such innocent 
amusement that there was no unkind word from the gentle- 
man expressed or entertained when they were rebuffed by the 
girls in their attempts to perform the duty they were ordered 
and expected to do. The girls, in many instances, accepted 
the situation in a good natured way, and when a kiss had been 
snatched on their cheeks it was so kind in them to say: "Take 
that and go with it." When a girl would positively refuse to 
be kissed even by one rec|uired to do so in compliance with the 
order of the master or mistress of the ceremony, she would 
dodge behind the other girls while pursued by the gentleman, 
urged on by the cries and yells of the boys, exclaiming: "Kiss 
her, Scott; kiss her, Scott," or, who after much chasing, gives 
her up and very gracefully accedes to the implied wishes of his 
girl without any expressions of anger or ill will. For this sort 
of good breeding, our society was proverbial, which cannot be 
said of anotlier community where a young man cursed the sit- 
uation even before the ladies. 

However much these social gatherings at singing schools 
and quiltings were productive of delightful entertainment, and 
without the least disparagement of the manner of conduct, 
there was one neighbor, whose quiltings at his house were 
ever in highest expectations by, the McGills. Capt. William 
Brown, residing three miles below the church, belonged to the 
old school, who, being out of the pale and authority of the In- 
diantown Presbyterian Church, allowed and enjoyed dancing 
at his house. A few days anterior to the quilting day, a young 
man in the circle would make it convenient to call on his cous- 
ins, William and Patty P>rown. who were always pleased to 
see Sam Davis, and it was easily arranged to invite some 
young people from other neighborhoods, that a supply of 
dancers, fiddles and fiddlers might be obtained, and thus their 
house was filled in the early evening with girls and their 
beaux. Some young men from a distance, whether enlisted 
or are volunteers, arriving after nightfall with their boot legs 
over the legs of their pants, pull off their boots at the gate and 
put on dancing pumps, which had been concealed and carried 
in their boot legs. These arrivals were received as a great 
acquisition to our home people, as they introduced new dances 

Williamsburg County. 139 

among us, such as cotillions of latest style and mode. We all 
are soon on the floor, and are gliding through the dances in 
the figures called out to us, and among these are the "Co- 
quet," "Prisoner," "Cauliflower," and "Tom and Jerry," and 
during the night as many as can get in a circle join in on 
the floor, and we dance "Perpetual Motion," with the order: 
"Ladies to the right, gentlemen to the left," and by way of 
variation, we unite in the Virginia Reel. In many of these 
dances an opportunity is given for the display of much grace 
and artistic coquetry by the young ladies, and of activity by 
some of the young men, as they "cut the pigeon wing," or by 
request, they sing and dance alone on the floor, "Charley over 
the Water," or "I wheel about, and turn about, and do just 
so, and every time I turn about, I jump Jim Crow." Capt. 
William Brown, a brother of Capt. Asa Brown, introduced at 
the beginning of this narrative, died in 1850, leaving a large 
plantation and ample means for the support of his family. His 
wife also died in a few years, and their eldest son, Abner W. 
Brown. Their only daughter, Frances M. Brown, now Mrs. 
Vause, and two sons, W. R. Brown and J. J. Brown, are yet 

About, or before those joyous days, there moved into our 
mimediate circle of friends, two families, who gave much 
pleasure, in conforming with our social relations and active 
usefulness in our church. Old Mr. Samuel Scott, who had 
married a daughter of the late and distinguished Col. David 
Gordon, first settled the beautiful place on White Oak, which 
is now owned by Mr. John A. Blackwell, of Darlington, and 
desiring to be near to the Indiantown Church in which he was 
an elder, sold this place to Mr. Samuel McGill, and James G. 
Burgess bought the John Gordon place on Indiantown 
Swamp, and moved there. Old Mr. Scott's family belonged to 
the dancing crowd, and his daughters were quite distinguished 
in this elegant and innocent amusement, but yielding to the 
changed condition of their father's relation to church regula- 
tions, they complied with his wishes. His eldest daughter 
married Mr. William Graham, on the Lake, and hence are the 
families of Mr. Robt. W. Brown and D. Lawrence Brown and 
the widow, Mrs. Mary Burrows, relict of the late R. Wilson 
Burrows, and hence also are Mr. W. Lawrence and J. Mc- 
Bride Graham. His second daughter married Mr. Albert 
Scott, and hence are Miss Sallie Scott and William G. Scott. 

140 Reminiscences of 

His third daugliter married Dr. Rose, of Clarendon district. 
His fourth daug^hter married Mr. H. EH McFaddin. and dying 
in early womanhood, left only two children. 

But the great character in the family and its dwarf was J. 
Willitm Scott, better known then as "Grand Pa," on account 
of his settled and sedate appearance. He married a Miss Car- 
ter on the Creek, settled there and hence is the family of 
Scotts in that locality. 

As an mstance of old Mr. Samuel Scott's benevolence and 
family affection he adopted in his family his wife's niece, till 
her marriage with Mr. T. Nelson Britton, and his house and 
home was ever open to her nephew, James M. Gordon, who 
was called by us "Good Jimmy." This distinctive feature ever 
held good, as in his old days he was tenderly cared for by his 
friends and relatives, notably by the Coopers, and through 
their influence. The father of these two children was the third 
son of Col. David Gordon, who has been inadvertently omit- 
ted elsewhere in this narrative. 

Mr. J. Milton Fulton, of Kingstree, was the other ac([uisi- 
tion to our society, who too, with his two brothers, enjoyed 
the social dance, but after his marriage he relinquished that 
amusement, bought the estate of McCutchen place at the 
church. Appreciating the Christian reputation of his father, 
Mr. Samuel E. Fulton, as elder of the Williamsburg Presby- 
terian Church, of his brother, James E. Fulton, who had suc- 
ceeded his father's usefulness, and of the clear and marked 
Christian c(ualifications of Robert W. Fulton, the youngest 
brother, our church people was not slow in electing J. Milton 
Fulton as one of the elders' places made vacant by the volun- 
tary removal of two officiating officers from this district. Mr. 
Fulton was ?. fine specimen of a gentleman and Christian. In 
our games, that of "ball play" in particular, in which he had 
few equals, Milton Fulton aflforded much merriment, and his 
wit and humor on the ball yard frequently evinced themselves 
as he would place his balls low on the battery and exclaim: 
"Feed the corners." where the opposite players were weak, or 
in some soft and sandy spots in the yard where they cannot 
bound, softly say, "In the sod." Two years after the war he 
moved away into Missouri, and there dying, left children out 
in that distant State. 

The pleasure and advantages derived from the settlement 
of Dr. Samuel W. Witherspoon, of Lower Salem, in our 

Williamsburg County. 141 

neighborliood, made in the spring time of 1838, after his grad- 
uation in the South Carolina Medical College, was greatly ap- 
preciated. It was at this time when no doctor resided nearer 
than Kingstree, or Dr. James Bradley on Broad Swamp, and 
hence Dr. Witherspoon was hailed with great joy in his ex- 
pected usefulness. He boarded with his uncle, old Mr. Samuel 
Scott, and also with Mr. Milton Fulton, his cousin, and re- 
mained in the neighborhood till his marriage with Miss Sarah 
C. Wilson, in early 1841, was a successful practitioner and did 
an immense business. I^^ond of sport, he ever was with us un- 
less professionally called away, and fond of company and tell- 
ing stories, and admirably adapted to them, as when one was 
told he gave no signs of emotions within his breast till all his 
hearers were convulsed in hearty laughing, when he would 
join them in redoubled risible persuasions; which was in direct 
opposition to Capt. Isaac .Nelson, in Kingstree, who could not 
tell an anecdote for laughing, which his friends would enjoy in 
iiis efforts to tell one. Dr. Witherspoon rendered valuable ser- 
vices to Ned and Sam when they were medical students under 
him in 1840. 

There were three communities in our district in which 
dancing parties were given and engaged, with little or no op- 
position as in violation of the Christian doctrine. "Over the 
River," as it was called among the Mouzons, Gambles and 
McGills, there were many of these parties and many very ele- 
gant dancers. These parties were of quick and easy formation 
because "McGill's" Derry and his son, "Gamble's Ike," both 
colored servants, resided on their plantation, known as fine 

At Kingstree the Staggers and Nelson Hotels were open 
for application to dance in them, and the many pleasant 
dances in and around that old town had with the young 
ladies of that place are yet here, if in optical illusions, they are 
in cordial embraces, as these charming girls were ever affec- 
tionate and entertaining. Miss Patience Nelson, now Mrs. 
Thorn, and Miss Eliza Adams, now Mrs. Staggers, are yet in 
Kingstree, while Mary Fluitt, Maggie Cormick, Georgia 
Anna Witherspoon and Rebecca McElveen are gone. Our 
grand old fiddler, who claimed to have played at balls in Co- 
lumbia in his young days, as he accompanied his master to the 
Capital, resided on the Singleton place in the suburbs of the 
town. "Singleton's Old Ant'ny" assumed a superior air, as 

142 Reminiscences of 

he played the cotillions and called out their figures, chief of 
them was "Jinny Banged the Weaver," his favorite. He must 
receive his suppers, his drams and his money, or he quietly 
folds up his fiddle and is off, but the rattling of additional sil- 
ver would quickly recall him. 

In Ijoggy Swamp neighborhood there resided Mr. Sam- 
uel B. McClarey in his elegant new dwelHng three miles be- 
low Kingstree, enjoyed the company of a dance in his house; 
that he was the master spirit on all such occasions and he was 
liberal in the distribution of spirits among his guests. Three 
miles below hnn lived Mr. Thomas Duke, whose house was 
ever free to young people to come right along and dance, and 
his two daughters, Sarah and Ellen, brought much company 
to witness their dancing. Their cousin, Mary R. McClary, 
who lived m calling distance, contributed to make the dances 
at Mr. Dukes' lively and enjoyable affairs, and Misses Martha 
and Caroline Troy, and many other girls; and that which 
added much merriment was the presence of the Brown broth- 
ers, and it was generally expressed there would be no fun 
without them. One of them was called "Old Gray," by 
reaon of his roan hair; the other "Devil Bob," to distinguish 
him from some good Bob living somewhere. Old Mr. Duke 
was very silent during the dancing, seated in a corner with a 
pipe in his mouth, with one leg crossed over the other. 
"Duke's Old Jim" was our fiddler, ever ready and willing to 
play all night, as he prodigiously enjoyed his own fiddling, 
which was noticed by everybody in the house, as he patted his 
foot, made muttering sounds and swayed his fiddle backwards 
and forwards. 

During these times of pleasure in our youth, David M. 
Duke was ever present with his fine violin, on which he 
played to an excellence hardly surpassed, and whose music 
charmed the company. He married Miss Adalaid D. Gam- 
ble and hence was the large family of Dukes in that neighbor- 
hood. All of the actors in these scenes which have been pre- 
sented have passed away, only leaving Mary R. McClary, now 
Mrs. Brown, who married William H. Brown. She resides 
with her son, James M. Brown, on Ashby Hill, whose eldest 
daughter married Mr. Richard H. Kellahan of Kingstree, con- 
sidered the wealthiest man in this county. Of the others who 
figured in these playful and innocent amusements, a sketch of 
their changed condition in life is made. Martha Troy married 

Williamsburg County. 143 

W. G. Flagler, a well-to-do farmer, in 186-, who left a young 
family at his death, and his widow married Hon. Joseph B. 
Chandler. Aside from Mrs. Chandler's beauty, she was 
known as a most motherly woman in her famil)' and among 
her acquaintances. Her sister, Caroline Troy, married A. P. 
Flagler, who, dying, lert two daughters, th-^ elder of whom, 
Willyetta, married Thomas Duke, who, with his Ip.rge family, 
resides on the Flagler estate. Sarah Duke married Asa E. 
Brown, who when she died ^eit a large family of boys. Ellen 
Duke married Sidney S. McGill, and after his death, in 1848, 
she married P'obert F. McCottry, who died in 1S85. She died 
IP. jS8h. leaving the bulk of her property to her sister Sarah's 
two cVlest r>ons, Sidney and Dickey, the elder of whom in- 
herited her elegant homestead, yet not entirely forgetting 
others of her father's children. Among them -va^ Mrs. Susan 
Burrows, tlie wile of our popular Henry M. Burrows, resid- 
ing on White Oak. We all can recall Mrs. McCottry's intel- 
ligence and sprightliness, the manner of her liousewifery and 
her elegant tables at all times, as she was esteemed by all who 
had the pleasure of her acquaintance and her intercourse 
among them. 

From time immemorial the events in our society re- 
corded and made at our singing schools, cjuiltings and dances, 
and when this writer, yet a little boy playing with the little 
negro boys, there was an outdoor sport called "game ball," 
played against the house and engaged in by boys and young 
men. For this purpose there was a ball yard at everybody's 
house, using the hall chimney-end as a battery or the sides of 
large barns. This game, ever a favorite recreation, had been 
played in our fathers' useful days, and they enjoyed this 
amusement with their sons, frequently participated in it and 
lieartily laughed to see the young men's awkwardness in the 
ball yard. The ball with which we played was made of India 
rubber strings, with woolen yarn wound around it and cov- 
ered with soft dressed deer hide, made of convenient size to 
suit the palm of the hand, and to roll down the fingers as it 
was jerked and went flying against the battery. The game 
was played in two parties, two or four on a side and some- 
times more. There were two lines marked out on each side 
of the ball yard from the battery, by which the play ground 
was extended on each side and within these lines the ball must 
fall — if outside, it is a lost ball; if on the line, it was called a 
liner and did not count for either side. 

144 Reminiscences of 

During tlie first period of ovir singing school, which col- 
lected many people, we fixed up a ball yard and used the end 
of the new Indiantown Presbyterian Church as our battery, 
securing the glass lights above the two doors with a board 
screen and removing them at the end of the day's play. This 
place continued to be used as our battery till in 1839 ^^'^ built 
a battery of boards at the head of the AIcGill avenue, being 
thirty feet in height and about the same in width. This change 
added much to our pleasure and surrounding neighborhoods, 
inviting the best players from abroad, as only such could in- 
terest J. Milton Fulton, old ]\Ir. John Douglas, Dr. S. W. 
Witherspoon and Sam McGill, the latter of whom sent a ball 
in its rebound on the ground a distance of sixty-nine feet, as 
measured by John E. Scott, who was present on the occasion. 
In "game ball" Sam had a reputation never surpassed, if we 
except Robert W. Fulton of Kingstree, whose superior ac- 
tivity and perserverance were barely able to match the slight 
of his jerks as he nailed the bottom boards of the battery, or 
when at ease among other players, he rolled his ball over their 
heads at the extreme end of the ball yard in the rear of the 
players. Up in Sumter District the Messrs. Plowdens had the 
reputation as ball players and they invited the Williamsburg 
ball player to a ball play and barbecue at their liomes, and 
there was much speculation as to the result of the expected 
engagement. The invitation was accepted and the journey 
imdertaken, but as Sam had to go by way of Kingstree, of 
course, that dear old town and blessed people interposed and 
stopped further proceedings. 

(Ji the interest these people have ever shown to the school 
boy, an instance is at hand which is given in that hvmior with 
which it was written fifty-six years ago. It must be borne in 
mind that Mr. Edmunds, the Yorkville teacher, had refused to 
take two dollars from the school boy for three weeks tuition of 
the second session of his school in 1836, and had claimed 
twenty dollars for five months' session, and that he had said 
he would write to his father concerning our business. He 
wrote two letters and they were not very complimentary to the 
line of conduct of the school boy. These letters being inter- 
cpted at the post ofifice, they never reached their address, and 
as others were expected, it was not pleasant to- meet the mail 
each day. Telling his annoyance to a few friends in Kings- 
tree, one of them undertook his case, as he said: 'T can fix 

Williamsburg County. 145 

that for you." Peter B. Mouzon was postmaster and going into 
his office, he wrote: "Mr. Edmunds, Dear Sir — I am sorry to 
inform you of the death of Samuel U. McGill. He died a few 
days ago in a drunken frolic and upon examination of his es- 
tate, I find nothing due you. Respectfully yours, Obediah 
Smith." Thus ended the case. As Dr. John F. Brockinton, 
travelling through Florida many years afterwards, met Mr. 
Pldmunds there, who inquired about his old Williamsburg 
pupils, and when told that Sam McGill was still alive, he said: 
"Why, you can't say so; I got a letter from Kingstree telling 
of his death." The Doctor said the old gentleman received the 
joke in a good humor. 



With the advent of the year 1839 medical books super- 
seded all other engagements for a short period. Ned W^ilson 
was in Charleston attending the Medical College there. Jack 
Singletary, having graduated in the South Carolina College at 
Columbia, was reading medicine under Dr. Flynn at Darling- 
ton Court House, and Sam was likewise engaged at Kings- 
tree under Dr. Richard Jarrott, at times in his drug store. 
William R. Scott, Clerk of the Court, had built and settled 
where William S. Thompson now resides and Sam, pretend- 
ing to board there with his sister Jane Caroline, divided his 
time, perhaps giving Kingstree the biggest share. The dis- 
tance of six miles was more a pleasure than otherwise, as he 
carried a gun on his shoulders and shot squirrels all along 
the road as they ran across his path, and arriving at the old 
town he was at home. Read medicine! "Did you ever? No, 
I never." Read Byron and Tom Moore. Oh, glory! Hear 
what Byron toasted: 

"Were't the last drop in the well 

As I gasp upon the brink. 
Ere my fainting spirit fell, 

'Tis to thee, Tom Moore, I w'd drink." 


146 Reminiscences of 

Can you, boys of these times, balance the above senthiient, 
as during our time it was the one, as J. L. M. could not re- 
strain his tears in toasting his friend with the words. 
These authors consumed our efforts in other directions and 
thus continued till 1844, when a change in life arose, and hav- 
ing no further use for them, Sam threw those magnificent 
A'olumes into the fire, desiring to acquire more profitable in- 

In the first sunmier of our medical course Jack Singeltary 
came down to Sam's house on a visit. The two old friends 
meeting, they strolled away into the woods, told anecdotes 
and laughed gaily as they rolled over on the grass. When 
the subject of medicine was brought up, being, of course, the 
last, we discussed their technicalities, and Jack complained of 
the dil^culty of their pronunciation, while Sam claimed an 
ease in them by the derivations of the words, w^hich he un- 
derstood to a remarkable degree far superior to Jack's knowl- 
edge of the classics. Knowing he would soon "down" Sam 
as some problem in figures was accidentally considered, as 
Jack figured it out in algebraic characters. Among the 
English words of a strange signification and in the division and 
accentuation of the syllables, there was the word idiocincracy, 
which Sam pronounced i-di-o-cin-cra-zy, laying the accent on 
the penult, when Jack laughed at his friend's expense. By the 
time Jack's fit had subsided, Sam asked him, and how do you 
pronounce it? Why, man, it is pronounced "id-i-o-cin-oc- 
ra-sy,", laying tlie accent on the antepenult. Thus we re- 
mained in ignorance of its proper pronunciation till told by an 
older physician, when we concluded to be governed by wiser 
heads in the pronunciation of medical jaw-breakers. It was 
during one of the two years in which the now old school boy, 
still readmg medicine, went up to Kingstree on horseback and 
there meeting the Hon. James L. Mouzon, they agreed to 
visit an old friend residing twenty-four miles away. A horse- 
back canter from Kingstree to Black ]\Iingo was made that 
afternoon in a visit to Dr. John S. Rich, and an incident of 
our stay with the dector is so delightful that it will bear our 
exposure in writing. As it has often been told to friends who 
ei.joyed the munificence of the preparation and the intelli- 
gence of the procurator. Dr. Rich was a practicing physician 
at Black Mingo, keeping batchelor's hall. The arrival of the 
two visitors at dark produced demonstrations of hearty wel- 

Williamsburg County. l-i7 

come. Supper being announced, we three were seated around 
a table, with a whole chicken in each man's plate, an immense 
corn hoe cake, a dish of fat bacon sauce and a bowl of strong 
hot coffee placed around in the centre. Each disposed of his 
chicken in great mirth, the Doctor keeping his twO' friends 
in convulsive laughter as they listened to the stories and anec- 
dotes at which he was most wonderfully gifted. At a late hour 
the next morning we were around the breakfast table with 
precisely the same bill of fare, and which again was served at 
the late dinner, only an enlargement of the fowls, being three 
big, fat, laying hens. Here his friends remonstrated against 
the extravagance of the preparations, and asked permission 
to cut up the fowls, when our kind host replied, "He is a very 
poor man who cannot eat one chicken," and at which one 
of the visitors, turning to the other, said, "Sam, let us leave 
here before we eat up every chicken on Black Mingo." 

About the last of October or November, 1839, the three 
Williamsburg students were ready to proceed to Charleston 
and enter the Medical College. Xed Wilson had arranged to 
go down by private conveyance. Jack Singletary and Sam 
McGill arranged to go by private conveyance to Georgetown, 
and thence by public stage to Charleston. Leaving George- 
town in the afternoon they traveUed all night, stopping one 
hour for supper and a relay of horses, and arrived at Mount 
Pleasant after the sun had risen the next day. These two 
were the only passengers, and being in an open stage in the 
first heavy freeze of the season, without cloaks or suitable 
winter clothing, they suffered much in the cold. After being 
thawed at a blazing fire. Jack said, "We don't know what cold 
is till we are cold all over." We were soon ferried over to the 
city, where Jack, looking at the ships and the bustle on the 
wharves, and hearing the rattle and the deafening noises of 
the drays on East Bay street, suddenly stopped and exclaimed : 
"Well, I have often heard of Charleston, and here it is," for 
this was his first visit to the city. Passing up along the streets 
in search of a hotel, and meeting a "chimney sweep," Jack 
knocked off his hat, saying, in a peremptory tone, "Get out 
of the way of decent people, you black scamp," and Sam had 
to assist Jack in washing off the soot which his hands and 
clothes had received. 

The Charleston hotel was completed about the first of 
November of this year. The two students registered here. 

148 Reminiscences of 

Among the stockholders was Air. Cjilhland, a wholesale mer- 
chant in Charleston. With this gentleman's son, James Gilli- 
land, and a few more young Charlestonians, these two country 
friends formed very agreeable acquaintances during a few 
days' stay at this hotel, while looking out for a boarding house 
and awaiting the day when the college would open. In the 
meantime we found much to please and interest in and around 
Charleston. In due time we pay the matriculation fee and' 
become students in the Medical College, under Dr. Samuel H. 
Dickson, professor theory and practice of medicine; Dr. Wag- 
oner, of surgery; Dr. James Moultrie, of physiology; Dr. C. 
U. Shepard, of chemistry; Dr. Henricus R. Frost, of materia 
medica; Dr. J. Edwards Horlebrook, of anatomy; Dr. E. Ged- 
dings, demonstrator and of medical jurisprudence, and Dr. 
Chazal, assistant anatomist. In the college of the next year, 
Dr. Wagoner dying. Dr. Geddings was assigned his place and 
Dr. Chazal was promoted. 

In a few days the seats in the lecture rooms were filled 
with students, many of whom were from other States. There 
were five lectures each day of the week except one. On Sun- 
days all were expected to attend church. Each of these lec- 
tures averaged about an hour, beginning at nine o'clock in the 
morning and closing at two in the afternoon. 

Everywhere and by every one Jack was the pleasvu'e, and 
more so of the young men who had been associated together 
in the South Carolina College as students and graduates of 
that grand old institution. It was a noticeable fact that while 
these were of respectful address to all of us. there was an affec- 
tion for each other, as demonstrated by their salutations as 
they met in the mornmgs in the college portico, in their strolls 
along the streets in the evenings in locked arms, and in their 
congregated visits to the theatre or at church on Sundays. 
Some of Jack's particular chums were Singletary of Williams- 
burg, Boykin of Camden, Tennant and Trezevant of Colum- 
bia, Belton of Newberry and Gillison of Beaufort, and a few 
others not now remembered. They all called my friend, Jack 
Singularity, a name he received among them when they were 
students m Columbia, and a more appropriate one could not 
better be given, weighed by his original wit and his playful 

There were two Charleston students who became our as- 
sociates, and were very pleasant and entertaining. Richard 

WiLLiAMSBURci County. 149 

Y. Yates and Theodore Dawson were highly connected in the 
city, and we felt complimented in their acquaintance. Shortly 
after the exercises of the college had begun an mcident oc- 
curred of indelible impressions. It seems that a grand dinner 
was given at the Charleston hotel, either by the proprietor 
or stockholders, and to which Jack and Sam and a half dozen 
other students were mvited by our friend, Jim Gilliland. We 
all were on hand at its beginning except Jack, who had been 
detained. Just after the substantials had been removed, and 
cakes, raisins, nuts, fruit and sparkling wines were brought 
in, a few regular and volunteer toasts given and responded to, 
in rushed our eccentric friend, who, being told he was behind 
the fun, said: "Never mind that, I'll soon catch up." Good 
as his word, in a half hour's time he caught up, and in an- 
other half hour's time he was ahead, giving much zest to the 
party by his dashing humor and his ready answers. Thus we 
continued in our socialities till the lights of our lamps revealed 
the time for our retirement from the table to give place to the 
approaching supper, after which the streets resounded with 
our many songs. 

In this college, during our two winter sessions of it, there 
were names of four students which have ever been of ready 
tongue to tell of them on account of their unusual coincidence. 
We had at one time Bacon, Potts, Pease and Rice, and two 
of these were of distinction among us. Bacon was the hand- 
somest in the college, and while the others were passable in 
general appearance, there was one of them of less prepossess- 
ing manners, yet social and communicative. He told of a 
great row in which he had been engaged, and he exhibited 
great scars on his person, inflicted by a knife. He also went 
on to tell that in the midst of the fight in the dark at the court 
house, he only knew^ he was cut by the slosh of his blood in 
his boot leg. His name is indicative of a row or rather a 
commotion within us when not thoroughly prepared before 
it is placed on our tables. Stephen D. M. Potts may have 
graduated in medicine at this college, but it is a certainty that 
Reuben Rice graduated with us in the spring of 1841. So 
also was Bazil C. Jones of Lancaster, both being school mates 
of Sam when under Mr. Edmunds at Yorkville in 1836. 

Among the many new faces seen at this college there was 
one of such expressive modesty, coupled with retiring ways, 
that Sam. notwithstanding his frivolities and his reckless ex- 

150 Reminiscences of 

penditures, could discern a good thing when he saw it, and 
admiring this man, sought his acquaintance and obtained his 
friendship, lasting all the days of his Hfe. William S. Boyd 
was a native of Sumter district, graduated in medicine with 
the three Williamsburg boys with whom he loved to associate. 
It is a fact that he and Sam became intimate friends in that 
college, and when he married a Williamsburg lady, Miss 
Laura Covert, and removed to this, district, Boyd and McGill 
frequently met in Kingstree. 

In the dissecting room of the college our subjects for dis- 
section were said to have been obtained from the potters field 
and given to a class of five students at five dollars. Boyd, 
Wilson, Smgietary, John A. Hodges of Alarlboro and McGill 
formed one class, and one of our subjects was somewhat a 
dropsical one, but being inflated with wax it was rendered of 
easier dissection and understanding. This business was most 
disagreeable, yet some of the students rather enjoyed it as 
they sported with the corpse lying on the table of the room. 
In the operation of dissection the latter named of the class 
used tobacco for the first time. 

Our afternoons were taken up walking along the pave- 
ments looking at the display of fine goods in the store win- 
dows. On Saturday nights we almost invariably walked in 
the market, not only to see the great concourse of people, but 
to hear the shouts of the sellers in their stalls. On the occa- 
sions of Saturday nights' market we would dally around to see 
the fuss and bustle of these sellers to get away when the nine 
o'clock bell began to ring, being fifteen minutes before the 
clock struck that hour, at the last sound of which every negro 
has left the market and the streets, or otherwise, tmless by 
written permission, they were carried to the guard house. 

Sundays were not regarded and kept with that solemnity 
in the city as characterized them in the country. The people, 
in grandest clothes, thronged the pavement on their way to 
church, and the elegant horses and carriages that filled the 
streets having more the appearance of festive days than of rest 
and reflection. At one of our private boarding houses, whose 
family belonged to the Presbyterian church, there were fifteen 
or twenty day boarders, with about half that number of med- 
ical students. While we had fine dinners each day, with tur- 
key at the head and foot of the table, yet on Sundays we would 
be given a goose dinner, then considered a finer dinner than 

Williamsburg County. lol 

that of turkey, as expressed by the city boarders, but by no 
means such by the country fellows, and for which the one 
called the other "country crackers." St. Michael's church re- 
ceived much of our attendance, 'tis feared, more to hear the 
deep and thrilling tones of its large organ, it being the first 
of the kind many of us had ever seen or heard. At Sunday 
leisure moments we would stray up to the Orphan House, 
and a kind stranger would permit us to walk over its front 
yard amid the beautiful shrubberies of that place. 

Once or twice Sam ascended the worn steps leading up to 
St. Michael's clock, going at one time up to the pigeon holes 
and looked down upon the city and the broad expanse of 
water. At the last ascension of this steeple he was content to 
stop m its piazza and to look down upon the people on Meet- 
ing street, who appeared from this height as a race of Pig- 
mies, being hardly recognizable as men and women. He 
looked at the immense bells suspended between joists, and 
their various offices were explained by his guide. But he did 
not get sufficient information to establish the manner by which 
these bells were made to imitate the sacred tune of "Bridge- 
water" (can I be mistaken in the name), used to announce the 
hour of preparation for Sunday exercises in the churches of 
the citv. and to awaken a devout feeling in the hearts of the 
many thousands of her church-going citizens. 

There is no doubt the Charleston theatre received our 
attention and lightened our pockets. During the two courses 
of lectures at the college at which we were present there was 
an announcement of the engagement of the celebrated 
dancer. Miss Fanny Ellsler, for a few nights, by the manager 
of the theatre. The admittance price was double, if not tre- 
ble, the ordinary rates, and but few of the students went to see 
her performance. Sam, unable to control his admiration of 
the beautiful, was present one night. Her dancing threw the 
liouse in wonder of the art in grace exhibited before them. In 
exquisitely fine dress of silver tinsels, dazzling in the light of 
the many chandeliers, with bootees of highest heels and 
with little rattles of tingling bells held in her hands as she 
placed herself in swaying right and left attitude, at one time 
balancing on the tip of her shoes on one foot, whirling round 
and round holding the other foot out in right angles from her 
body, or leaping up into the air eight or ten feet in inclined 
or nearly horizontal postures and alighting on the floor on the 

152 Rkminiscences 0¥ 

tip of her shoes in erect posture, and again and again per- 
forming similar steps and whirls, made Fanny Ellsler the 
most wonderful dancer and the most charming and bewitching 
creature, that Sam has never forgotten her appearance and 

Also in the winter of 1839-40 an engagement with the 
great tragedian of the world, Edwin Forest, was made. As he 
acted Shakespeare's plays, many of the students were solici- 
tous to hear him, and gave prompt attendance. Among them 
was John S. Rich, who had studied medicine several years 
before, and had attended the Lexington, Kentucky, Medical 
College one term. Turning his talents to the study of dent- 
istry, he soon became a practicing surgeon dentist. Now de- 
siring to prosecute his medical studies, and having the means, 
he became a student with us in our medical college, and grad- 
uated in March, 1840. Ever having a care for Sam's interest 
since the memorable night of their introduction in a bar room 
in Sumterville in 1836, he insisted on carrying his friend along 
with him to liear Forest. In the plays of Macbeth and Hamlet 
Sam was not moved as Rich was, because one had a laughing 
vein in his composition, while the other was of a more serious 
turn of mind. In these plays Sam was astonished to see For- 
est's expressions of agony of soul in his countenance, in his 
gestures and in his tone of voice, seemingly overwhelming the 
man. These features of a grieving heart were new to Sam, 
who had never suffered in the mind, and knew nothing of the 
inward commotions as expressed in the agonies of the trage- 
dian, yet he wanted to cry right out and be done with it, 
while silent tears were seen in Rich's eyes, feeling the sorrows 
in the words of the actor and appreciating and experiencing 
the sentiment represented in the scenes of a tragedy. 

The four months' session in the College terminated the 
last of February, and the Professors' lectures closing with the 
first course, we prepare to make our homeward trip. Jack and 
Sam boarded the splendid steamboat Nina, plying- from 
Charleston to Georgetown on regular days, and started away. 
After going seaAvard a short distance the boat turned and 
came back to its moorings, as the captain said the sea was too 
rough to pass the breakers at the bar in the darkness and re- 
quested all the passengers to remain on board with him that 
night. Early the next morning the two friends, for the first 
time in tlieir lives, were riding on the bosom of the ocean. At 


this time with us the waves were of sufficient elevation and 
force to dash furiously against the boat, and to sweep over 
portions of its lower deck with some rocking and yielding to 
the violence of the storm, and to produce a degree of sea sick- 
ness. In the midst of these tempestuous waves, far out at sea 
with only tops of trees dimly outlined on the mainland, Sam 
turned to his friend, as they lay on the upper deck and en- 
quired, "How do you like it. Jack?" "I would rather be on 
land," he replied. Before the sun went down we were at the 
wharf in Georgetown, and the town looked as if her people 
had all come down to the wharf to welcome our return. 

During the year 1840 we studied with some zest and in- 
creased knowledge of the human system, and the branches of 
physics through which we had been put in the Medical Col- 
lege. Jack returned to Darlington to complete his studies, 
and visiting his friends in Williamsburg, staying a week with 
Sam in the summer, he returned by stage to Darlington, but 
had to get his friend to go back with him, who remained with 
liim another two weeks, both hugely enjoying the recreation. 
Sam placed himself under Dr. Rich, then at Black Mingo, to 
whom he paid irregular visits, the latter of which visits has 
already been given, but he did not neglect to make visits to his 
sister at Pudding Swamp and to other families of the pleasant 
Burgesses of that section, and to Kingstree and his many as- 
sociates of that town and its sul)urbs, chief of whom was Mr. 
W. G. Gamble, ^t his summer house, nor did he neglect his 
ball plays, his deer drives with his home friends, and how 
could he keep away from the Gordon boys? 

The greater part of October was taken vip by Sam in 
preparing and writing his medical thesis, which the faculty 
required to be presented to them in a given time for consid- 
eration, as to the best original medical treatise on a single 
subject, and for which they awarded a silver cup. The three 
Williamsburg students had arranged to go downi to Charles- 
ton the first of November, but old Mr. Samuel McGill was 
taken suddenly ill and died, so Sam did not rejoin his friends 
in Charleston for several days after his father's death. All 
or most of the class of last year were present, and heartily 
engaged in attendance upon the lectures, hoping to receive 
their diplomas as M. D.'s in the following March. W. Covart 
Mouzon of Williamsburg was also a student, and uniting with 
us and William S. Boyd we stuck well together. 

154 Reminiscences of 

The same scenes were re-enacted, and Charleston lost its 
freshness to us, except in our strolls up and down the great 
thoroughfares of the city. There were three incidents hap- 
pening that winter worthy of note. Ned and Sam were walk- 
mg out together as mere observers of things, and soon they 
were attracted by the display of costly jewelry in the windows 
of a jewelry store, and by the glare of large silver waiters and 
dishes at the further end of the long store, and they ventured 
in only to look and admire. Soon a clerk of the house came 
to serve them. Ned, looking down into a case of every man- 
ner of gold watches, inquired the price of one. The clerk 
produced it, and opening and explaining its actions and tell- 
ing its price, and producing a iialf dozen or more watches, 
ranging in prices from one hundred to one hundred and fifty 
dollars, when Ned, seeing quite a small watch lying a little 
way ofif said, 'T suppose that little watch is seventy-five dol- 
lars?" "Oh, no, sir; that is a one hundred and seventy-five 
dollar watcli." Here Ned gave his friend a hunch, and whis- 
pering, said: "Let's go, Sam, he is making fun of us; he 
knows we got no money,"' and bowing to the clerk, who re- 
turned it witli a smile, the two friends were soon on the street 

(3n a lovely afternoon when tb.e faslfion, beauty and grace 
of our city were leisurely promenading the streets, the stu- 
dents, known and pointed out more on account of their ever- 
lasting presence in the streets and their rougher dresses of 
country styles than the unwarranted appellation of country 
rowdies, formed a part on the crowded walks. The two friends, 
Jack and Sam, arm in arm, passing a lady of exquisite beauty, 
remarked the same, and declared her to be the prettiest lady 
they had ever seen. By agreement they crossed over to the 
other pavement, walked briskly, watched the lady as she leis- 
urely observed the display in the wmdows of the stores, and 
heading her they re-crossed the street and again passed her. 
Jack, being on the inside and next the lady, m passing peeped 
at her under one of those old-time obstructing side view bon- 
nets. At this outrage she drew back and said: "Sir, you are 
very impertinent," and Jack as quickly answered: "And you 
are very liandsome, mam." She graciously smiled, and Jack 
and Sam quickly re-crossed the street at the famous bend of 
King street, and entering Fairchilds", celebrated their escape 

Williamsburg County. 155 

from a cow hide in the hands of a brother or insulted husband, 
in bowls of hot Irish whiskey punches. 

In the students' connection with the faculty, though ever 
courteous, they held the students at a distance. During this 
last term of the session Jack had a large rising on the side of 
his neck, and consulting Dr. Geddings about it, he was told 
to come back to his ofhce a certain day and hour and he would 
lance the boil for him. Accordingly, Jack and Sam, at the 
appointed time, reached Dr. Geddings' office and were ush- 
ered in. It presented the appearance of a book store — books 
were on shelves, books were on the tables and on the carpet. 
Shortly Dr. Geddings entered, and his salutation had hardly 
been given before Jack exclaimed: "O-u-g-h, Doctor; surely 
you haven't read all these books," when the Doctor, with his 
hard and characteristic smile on, replied: "I've peeped into 
the most of them." 

The more adventurous students went in droves to the 
Washington race course during race week in February. A 
four-nnle heat between the celebrated race horses, Santa Anna, 
a deep red stallion, and Omega, a dark gray filly, and another 
racer, created intense interest and heavy betting, as each had 
won one heat. On the fourth heat, the unknown horse having 
been distanced on the third heat, the race was made between 
the stallion and the filly, and it is believed the former won 
the stakes. The many races of mile heats were more produc- 
live of bets of small denominations by the students, and in 
the long stand or shed, there was every opportunity to make 
or lose a dollar around the various tables in the hall, which 
were designated by the students as faro bank, chuck luck, 
sweat rag and others. During race week we had a very 
agreeable visitor from Darlington, with whom a few of us 
were on intimate terms. W. Henry Cannon was a wealthy 
]jlanlcr, of unbounded means and of great libeiality, and mak- 
ing our boarding house his headquarters dui'ing his stay, we 
sponged on him in our theatre visits, our drams and smoking 
and beef steaks at eating saloons. 

Ten or fifteen days before the expected close of the lec- 
tures notice was given to candidates for the M. D. degree to 
send in their "Thesis" to the Dean of the faculty, and there 
was great flutter among the students as we examined and re- 
vised our respective treatises. Jack was not quite ready, as his 
introduction of subject had been left unfinished, because, said 

156 Reminiscences of 

he, "1 started so high I could not get down," as he began: 
"Among the various diseases to which flesh is heir and the 
multitudinous conducive causes" — , and here he left off, leav- 
ing balance of first page tO' be filled up. Among us, we lifted 
liim down, tho' it was effected by much labor. As the days 
for our dreaded examination advanced our gloomy faces be- 
trayed our anxiety of results. To add tO' these tiresome mo- 
ments our fellow student, John A. Hodges, would play on his 
flute, in the darkness of his room, airs of the most plaintive 
kind, in low and subdued tones, when we all were in our beds 
and the streets hushed with silence. 

During the first three or four days of March, 1841, the 
rains were heavy and continuous, and which were of much 
hindrance to the candidates in getting to the college to attend 
their exammation. These candidates were awaiting their turn 
as previously drawn m numbers. Sam being twenty-two years 
of age, had hoped to draw that number, but he drew number 
twenty-three, which he then considered a good omen. This 
student had not been regular in attendance, holding the opin- 
ion that five lectures a day for five or six consecutive days 
were too much for a proper digestion. Being ever delighted 
with Dr. Samuel H. Dickson, Sam tried not to miss a single 
lecture of this grand and distinguished professor and physi- 
cion; also with Dr. James JMoultrie's lectures on physiology. 
Not having taken private lessons under any of the professors, 
and not personally acquainted with them, increased his unea- 
siness. His examination day arriving, he was called by the 
janitor, Mr. Brady, and conducted into the "green room." 
where, luckily meeting Dr. Dickson at the entrance, he was 
introduced by him to each professor present, and after getting 
through with liim. he graciously examined this candidate in 
one or two dift'erent branches of physics, in the absence of the 
rightful professor, detained by the heavy rain. Sam was 
aware that he had done well in physiology and somewhat 
passable under Dr. Dickson, who smiled as the applicant 
before him twice repeated Dr. Dickson's advice to young doc- 
tors in his lectures, as he said to them: "Sit at the bedside 
of your patient, watch the progress of the disease and combat 
symptoms as they arise." His examination being closed, he 
was requested to retire into the alley of the college building, 
which hardly being done and Sam somewhat mad with him- 
self and inwardlv saving, "I could do better if I had another 

Williamsburg County. 157 

chance," the door of the green room was softly opened and 
out came Mr. Brady, only to say in a whisper, "Dr. Dickson 
is your friend and is managing for you." Sam awaited in 
breathless silence but only a few moments when Mr. Brady 
came out again from the green room with a smiling face, and 
extending his hand and giving a hearty grip, he said, "Dr. M.c- 
Gill, Dr. McGill," and re-conducting him into the green room, 
the young doctor was congratulated by all the professors, and 
a chair being offered, he was soon seated among the learned 
doctors, answering, among other things, Dr. Dickson's inqui- 
ries about the Williamsburg people. 

Our class of over fifty students passed through the se- 
verest ordeal of our lives in triumph, received our diplomas 
from the President of the college, the Hon. Henry A. DeSaus- 
sure, in the "old theatre," and with pleasure we witnessed the 
presentation of the "silver cup" to our friend and associate, 
William J. Keitt of Orangeburg. An interesting description 
of the presentation of the diplomas and silver cup was made 
in the Charleston Courier, and it being the first time we had 
ever seen our names in print, a copy of that issue was obtained 
and carried to our homes. But we were not at our homes yet, 
and the question was how to get there, as it was known that 
all the bridges across creeks and swamps had been washed 
away by the recent heavy rains. Of the Pee Dee section of 
our class, David McLeod, Alfred Bethea and John A. Hodges, 
arranged with Wilson, Singletary and McGill to make our 
homeward trip by stage from Mount Pleasant to Georgetown 
together, and we were soon on the journey. 

In the crowded stage we left Mount Pleasant and arrived 
in the night at the 32-mile house. Here we all greedily par- 
took of fresh water fish, etc., placed before' us. In the night, 
with the dim light of two stage lanterns, we crossed the South 
and North Santee in a fiat, which rivers now were one solid 
body of w'ater, covering many miles of rice fields or swamp 
lands between the rivers, flowing from bank to bank, made so 
by the great deluge at this time rolling down through the 
channels of our water courses. In crossing the North Santee 
river, whose waters were so deep at certain places the boat 
hands could not touch bottom with their long poles, and being 
unable to steer the flat, we were rapidly drifting in its swift 
current, and were likely to go out to sea. While in this condi- 
tion the young doctors, losing their dignity and self-impor- 

158 Reminiscences of 

tance, were here and there in the flat offering assistance and 
money to the boat hands, who with redoubled strength and 
energy in accidental touches of bottom, eventually landed us 
on the Georgetown side, to our inexpressible relief. We owned 
up in the confession that a float out to sea in an open flat 
boat on a dark night was much more horrible to anticipate 
than an examination before college professors, who had 
almost scared us to death. 

At Georgetown we parted company with the Pee Dee 
doctors. The Williamsburg doctors, waiting to procure a ve- 
hicle in which to pursue their homeward journey, called on 
some of their friends, among them Mr. Eli Waterman. Leav- 
ing- Georgetown they made their way to Rope ferry, going 
along the Gap Way road, as the bridges across Six-Mile creek 
and Lane's creek had been washed away. After passing Gap 
Way bay they turned down on the Black River road, and 
found places on the road filled with water backed up from 
the river into the lower pine land, around which they cut their 
way. Staying at the ferry house that night, and leaving their 
trunks, they walked up to Mr. Nicholas F. Johnson's, where 
Dr. Hemmingway now resides, and they were kindly sent 
home by him. Mr. Waterman, editor of the Winyah Observer 
at Georgetown, announced in his paper the graduation in med- 
icine of the three Williamsburg doctors and published their 
names. Among other compliments in connection with their 
general appearance, he congratulated the old district in the 
acquisition of her three learned and youthful physicians of 
her own raising, and predicted that billions fevers and othei 
malignant diseases will yield to their treatment, and in a few 
years they will forever hide their dreaded and hideous heads. 

What! Sam a doctor, a name that had been a household 
word and by which the girls so sweetly addressed him, now 
lost as they say "doctor." Well, at the outset of his medical 
career, lasting three years, this change may have been quite 
acceptable and considered a compliment, but alas, the delu- 
sion, ah me, the phantom, as he soon discovered he had "swap- 
ped the devil for the witch." In revolving years "Sam" was 
dropped, and he felt slighted by his old friends as they said, 
"good morning. Doctor," but was made happy when he was 
addressed, "How are you, Sam, old fellow," only now used by 
a few. What! now a doctor, and must give physic, when he 
wouldn't take it. This early conclusion about physic will be 

Williamsburg County. 159 

illustrated by an incident occurring in the fourth or fifth year 
of his age. In those times raging billions fevers were ex- 
pected in the months of July, August and September, and 
great precautions aganist their attack were taken in dosing the 
children for worms, not permitting them to go out in the 
heavy dew of the morning and not eating any green fruit. 
Once a child is sick and he is in jail in a darkened room in a 
noiseless house, and cold water was assiduously kept out of 
his sight, and no nourishment given except sage tea and 
chicken water, but there were so many nice things promised 
him when he got well, if he would only take the doctor's 
physic! When the doctor's professional visits have ended and 
the patient considered better and out of danger, if properly 
guarded in his diet, another great agony awaits him as the 
kind neighbors bring to him nice ripe apples and pies and 
cakes, and he is not allowed to eat them yet awhile, as he 
keeps these nice things in bed with increasing relish and 
desire to get well, and he keeps them in his sight and sleeps 
with them in his bed for a few days. 

The incident referred to in the above paragraph is this: 
Sam, being very sick with fever, the doctor was called in. Sam 
refused to take his physic and it was forced down his throat. 
On the doctr's next visit, Sam, who had refused to take the 
prescribed doses of physic, was threatened with him, and when 
the doctor came into the sick room his patient had suddenly 
disappeared, and when found he was dragged out,^frOWi a 
corner under the bed with great kicking and bellowing. The 
doctor used every possible persuasion to induce tlie patient to 
take the physic without avail, but when the doctor told him 
that he wouldn't give him any more physic, but w'ould only 
give him medicine, Sam became reconciled, took it and got 
well. Dr. Hcnnagan was now Governor of the State, caused 
by the death of Patrick Noble, who died shortly after his in- 

160 Reminiscences of 




To take up the thread of the story of the three young 
doctors requires an nitroduction of them now at their homes. 
An open field for the employment of their medical skill was 
spread out before each. Their timely presence among the 
people seemed fortunate, in that Dr. Witherspoon, their 
former practitioner, had left the neighborhood after his 
father's death and had moved away to Lower Salem and oc- 
cupied his father's home. For the distribution of their services 
and their proximity to each other the following plan of di- 
vision of territory, after some discussion and a little dissatis- 
faction, was ultimately agreed upon. Dr. Wilson's preference 
for the Indiantown practice was freely accorded to him, for 
who of us at that time would interfere with Ned Wilson's op- 
tion ; Dr. Singletary selected Muddy creek, while Dr. McGill 
was given the Black Mingo field, as his friend, Dr. John S. 
Rich, had just moved away and gone to Kingstree, expressing 
a desire to have Sam as his successor. 

The Indiantown physician quickly located at Col. Wil- 
liam Cooper's, formed a copartnership with old Dr. James 
Bradley at Kingstree, of long experience, and soon was 
doing a good business, and by his urbanity and unstudied 
address ever in the even tenor of his ways, he was soon deeply 
ingratiated in the hearts of all the people, and they were proud 
of his professional skill. Of modest ways, no presumptuous 
caste of mind ajid of no distinctive feature recognized by him 
between the high and the low, the rich and the poor, he was 
the idol of all his acquaintances. 

The Muddy creek physician located in the Johnson ferry 
house, on the hill of the creek, and boarded with Capt. Wil- 
liam Johnson, but being of a roving turn of mind and fond of 
his people on the Lake Swamp, twenty miles away, he divided 
his time between them and his friend. Dr. Sam, twenty miles 
in a different direction. Frequently, when needed most in 
cjuick time, he could not be found, as urgent cases have ever 
demanded, yet he was a bold, successful practitioner and 
original in the treatment of some cases. He was lavish of his 

Williamsburg County. Kil 

wit and humor, which sometimes subjected him to some un- 
pleasantness in a crowd. Notwithstanding this, his presence 
in society added great zest. The late E. J. C. Mathews used 
to say that these two boys at quiltings and other social gather- 
ings were very disgusting, as with Jack it was nothing but 
Sam, and with Sam it was nothing but Jack. 

The Black Mingo physician did not occupy his allotted 
position, as he desired a little respite from his books and a 
recuperation of his spirits from his Charleston confinement, 
and knowing no better way than a visit to his Kingstree 
friends, and while there form a medical copartnership with 
Dr. Rich, but found that he had already united with Dr. 
Henry Dubose of that place. During his visit, and while in 
Rich and Dubose's office, the latter gentleman made inquiry 
of Sam's plans, and being informed, he laughingly advised 
him to go west and to settle in the Yazoo river bottom and 
practice on those big sugar plantations there, which had been 
set aside for young doctors, assuring Sam he would make a 
fortune in two years. But, said he, you will die the second 
year, as all the other young doctors have done. Sam, without 
pondering, and not wishing to be outdone, replied: "Well, 
as half a loaf is better than none, I'll go and stay one year," 
when the benevolent old doctor said, "That will be arranged. 
You know you are a fast young man, and you'll die the first 
year." Here too was received a message from Dr. Robert 
M. Gourdin at Lenud's ferry, requesting this young doctor to 
come down and see him, and that he would take him as a 
partner, and in a few years he would retire from the practice 
of medicine and turn all his business over to him. This place 
was too far from Indiantown, so Sam did not accept this kind 

In May, 1841, the Black Mingo doctor, with much mis- 
givings as to his calling, located at Col. E. H. Miller's, where, 
soon feeling at home, an affectionate attachment to the family 
arose, there being little children in the house, with whom he 
played. He, however, with his usual crop of good resolutions 
to try and please his friends, entered upon his duties. There 
were high prospects held up, rendered thus by the courtesy 
and good wishes of the people of a section of country reaching 
out to the Potatoe ferry country and down to the upper rice 
plantations on Black River. Mr. A. B. Jayroe, a rice planter, 
sought his acquaintance and afterwards employed him as his 

162 Reminiscences of 

family physician and on liis plantation, and used his influence 
in his behalt and thus extended his field. This gentleman had 
been an overseer on the large rice plantations above George- 
town for many years, and having seen thousands of cases of 
our malaria fevers under the treatment of Georgetown doc- 
tors, was a doctor in such cases, and really knew more about 
their proper treatment than this young doctor, who being a 
good listener learned much of practical importance from this 
friend. Not so with many others of his friends all over the 
country, who could not refrain from telling this young doctor 
what to give in such and such cases, that poor Sam felt his 
ignorance and had to relieve himself from such impressions 
and to keep up a show of some kind of knowledge by taking 
out some of his medicines from his little mahogany medical 
box, displaying their labels in big letters of elegant print for 
their inspection. 

His first cases of sickness being of a mild form, readily 
yielded to his treatment of paregoric, spice and clove teas and 
an occasional hot dram, by which his spirits were raised and 
he began to think he was a doctor in spite of himself, possess- 
ing the only fear he would be called an old granny doctor. 
A desire for leisure and comfort prevailed over the lust for 
pecuniary advantages as he played with the children of Col. 
and Mrs. Miller, learning a lesson how to manage them as 
they prattle and dance before him, or listen to the political 
discussions of their father, who, young, shrewd and intelli- 
gent, became our State Senator in 1850; or with Mr. Thomas 
McConnell, wife and their friend. Miss Suckey Gibson, who 
lived with them, and all being fluent of speech it was funny 
and interesting to hear them talk at the same time without any 
apparent disturbance to each other. 

Or with the young Nesmith boys, Joseph and Benjamin, 
where there was ever a treat in frequent visits to their hospita- 
ble home, abounding in plantation and kitchen supplies, with 
fruits and melons of great varieties, and hard cider. It was a hot 
and sultry night, and we boys were lying in the passage of the 
house on pallets thrown down on the floor for that occasion, 
and ere the full moon had reached its zenith, they were 
a. ^ used from their slumbers by the most hideous yells. Rush- 
ing out of the house in their night clothes they saw the old 
ram goat of the flock suspended by his horns in the fork of 
the branches of an inclined tree. Upon being disengaged 

Williamsburg County. 163 

from his predicament with much labor, this thankless old ram 
turned around a few times, resented our hearty laugh at his 
expense, by going for us, and we had to make good our re- 

Or with Mr. Daniel Ncsmith and family, who were the 
leaders in the Sand Ridge Methodist Church, and with whom 
the Rev. Mr. Walker, the circuit rider, and family boarded; 
and too with Mr. Robert Morris Green, whose wife was the 
prop in that church. In this little church, preaching was held 
during the week day and Mr. Morris raised the tunes, whose 
untutored and voluminous voice made the surrounding forest 
resound with his melody, and the young doctor seldom failed 
to lend his musical talents and make the welkin ring with what 
gifts he possessed. 

Or with Mr. Thomas G. Finkley, who frequently invited 
his friend to his home on his fine plantation. Mr. Finkley 
having been a manager for many years on the Cooper River 
rice plantations, and possessive of means, was a gentleman of 
some refinement, his tables were supplied with the best the 
country could afford, and his side board glittered with bran- 
dies and wines in double cut ffint glass decanters. He was 
also a hunter, kept guns and dogs, and together with Col. 
Miller, we killed many deer, eat his hne venison hame alamode 
prepared, and sipped his brandy at dinner. 

Or he visited, whether for social purposes or in profes- 
sional engagements, Mr. Charles B. Cumbie, residing on the 
County Line road dividing Williamsburg and Georgetown 
districts, whose farm lay on the Big Dam Swamp. These 
were pleasant visits to Mr. Cumbie, who by his hard labor, to- 
gether with his large stock of cattle, had gathered around him 
much solid home comforts, aided by his wife, who actively per- 
formed her domestic duties. 

While yet in search of relaxation from the practice of 
physic, made necessary for the mental strain in the line of 
duty imposed, this imaginative young doctor would ride 
through the woods of the lower Black Mingo country, notic- 
ing the rich w^aste lands marked by ditches as of English sur- 
vey. Amid these fertile plains old Mr. John Brockinton re- 
sided with his family, and among them was his widowed 
daughter, Mrs. Sarah Jacks, whose handsome face bespoke 
the Brockinton preference. Nearby was his eldest son, known 
as young John Brockinton, with a family, a man of iatelli- 

164 Reminiscences of 

gence. This old Mr. John Brockinton and son were of im- 
common interest in their communicativeness, because they 
were able to give much information of the older families of 
Wiltown. Its beautiful site on the banks of Mingo, its river 
advantages and its former wealth, its adjacent country, in part 
accountable to the fertility of its clay soil and the great quan- 
tity of stock ranging at large with the wild game of the forest. 
When urged they gave summaries of the history of the Brock- 
inton family, beginning with Capt. John Brockinton's inmii- 
gration to this country from old England. 

His father, possessed of wealth and influence and of some 
distinction among the nobility of England, from whom he had 
a commission of some kind, moved into this country about 
the middle of the last century and settled on Black River, 
above the Rope Ferry, fourteen miles above Georgetown, on 
its western bank, and opened and cultivated a large rice plan- 
tation, and thereby was accounted one of the Georgetown rice 
planters, which then and until the war was a distinguishing 
mark of wealth, refinement and intelligence. An opportunity 
being afforded, this writer visited the site of this once rich 
old English gentleman's residence and plantation, at which 
were observed unmistakal^le evidences of its former Ijeauty. 
Holding an elevated position, high and dry, its banks resting 
along the blufif of the river here in deep channel, affording safe 
anchorage for his schooners for transporting his produce, and 
in the rear extensive farming lands, excited an interest to 
know something of its ancient possessor. The site also com- 
manded full view of his rice lands, utilizing the tides of the 
ocean in the production of that crop as the banks of the old 
ditches were yet visible. These tidal waves extend up lUack 
River five miles above Potatoe Ferry to the "Steele Dodges," 
when the river is low, and only to the "Narrows," live miles 
below Potatoe Ferry, when the river is full. 

Just above, and on the opposite side of the river, is that 
whirl of the river waters dreaded by boat and raftsmen, caused 
by an encroachment of a high bluf¥ extending out into the 
river with a base of rocks by which a great body of the im- 
peded waters in the downward course are made to whirl 
round and round, and after eddying some distance up the river 
along its opposite bank, they reunite with the main current, 
which partly passing around this promontory, they form the 
famous expanse of the peaceful waters of Gibbon's Neck and 

Williamsburg County. 165 

the alluvial tide lands once in the cultivation of rice by this 
English gentleman. 

Thus with all things grand and beautiful presented to his 
senses, it was unfortunate that this contented and 'vealthy 
Englishman was forced to choose in a struggle which had 
arisen between the land of his birth and that of iiis adoption. 
Who among us does not honor the land of our fathers and 
revere the memory of early friends as we played and clus- 
tered together in our father's yard and around family iiearths. 
Or does not feel the emotion of his heart swelling in his throat 
as he repeats the sentiments of the poet and applies them even 
now to tlie present disturbed condition of our South Carolina: 

"Next to the joys of Heaven alcove. 
Land of my fathers, thee I love; 
And rail thy slanderers as they will. 
With all thy faults I love thee still." 

Yet this kind host, old Mr. John Brockinton, preferred to 
speak of his mother, when it is remembered there had been a 
Fowler among her descendants along the line of her family, 
showing the piety and excellencies of this grand, old Christian 
lady, made in commemoration of her virtues, }et infused in 
the bosoms of her lineage. Many items of interest relative to 
great endowments of head and heart of old Mrs. Brockinton 
were related by the cUler citizens of Black Mingo, as they bad 
learned from others and among them were Miss S'lckey Gib- 
son and old Mrs. Chambers. 

There was a pleasure in the many social visits made to old 
Mr. Johny Brockinton, who at times may have been a "little 
too much of how come you so," yet his black eyes, regular 
features of the Brockinton type and language of uncommon 
impressiveness, with a fat and almost shapeless figure, were 
very fascinating and his company desirable. The early history 
of his three sisters and of his only brother made a pleasant 
episode to their future lives. Of these families and their de- 
scendants, it can safely be said ihat Williamsburg district 
never produced their superiors in wealth and intelligence, rep- 
resented in Mr. Cleland Belin, Mr. John B. Pressley, Mr. Wil- 
liam Burrows, Mrs. Martha F. Mou.zon, and the descendants 
of William S. Brockinton, now in and around Kingstree and 
on Pudding Swamp; also Col. William Cooper, now repre- 
.sented by Mr. Willie Cooper. Among them many responsible 

166 Reminiscences of 

positions have been entrusted, in law, in medicine and in State 
politics, unsurpassed in fidelity to their trusts and in a])precia- 
tion of favors of extensive demands, which patriotic and bene- 
ficent qualities up to date are osten^ilile and fully personified in 
the easy elegance of our youthful, intelligent and liberal Jo- 
seph E. Brockinton. Also in the present Jjlack jMingo Brock- 
intons and Nesmiths and the Cedar Swamp McCulloughs, and 
in the "In Memoriam" at the end of this book. 

In Sam's flying trips to Kingstree, intimacy arose at urst 
sight, with the young and wonderfully interesting James Hen- 
ry, attorney at law, just settled in Kingstree. He was a native 
of Columbia, and being conversant with -'ts doings, and the 
history of the prominent men, much information was giveri of 
the Hamptons, Taylors, Adams, Warings, the Prestons and 
others. Full of fun, it was a pleasant canter down to Black 
Mingo, being twenty-four miles, and there oeing gladly re- 
ceived and entertained by Sam, he remained a week or more 
at a time. Of so much superior intelligence over Jack and 
Sam that we pronounced him a walking dictionary. In the 
many strolls in and around the site of old Wiltown we had, 
in my imaginations, the scenes transpiring long years ago, the 
noise of the bar-rooms and billiard tables in the hotels, and 
the activity along its streets, the dash of young men and the 
beauty and grace of the town as they dance on the ijridge 
spanning the creek, or float in the little boats. These two 
friends in imitation of this latter sport were gliding down tlie 
current, when Henry in the bow of the boat, said, it is too un- 
social to sit and talk to his friend with his back turned to him, 
and changing his posture, the two sentimental friends were 
soon struggling in the deep waters of Black Mingo Creek, 
and regaining the boat and using their hands as paddles they 
at length reached the shore. 

In one of the visits to this Kingstree friend, a story was 
told of a marriage of an old man of 76 years of age, of a large 
family of children, residing at Clocktown, to a yotmg woman 
of 16 years of age. Arriving home after an absence of three 
or four days, this story was told to his good friend and land- 
lord, Col. E. H. Miller, and we soon fixed up the following 
announcement of this unequal marriage for publication in the 
"Winyah Observer." The announcement was published, but 
refused its accompanying stanzas, saying in his message sent 
by a friend, "Tell Dr. McGill he is a bad boy." Thus was the 

Williamsburg County. 167 

announcement: "Married at Clocktown, on Santee, on , 

1841, by Robert G. Ferrell, Esq., clerk of the court, Mr , 

aged 76, to Miss , aged 16. 

To multiply and replenish this earth is Heaven's great com- 
A text the good old veteran doth fully understand, 
May Heaven give him strength now to perform this arduous 

And lean upon her breast and pant away his last." 

Well, what more! There is plenty of it, but for fear there 
may be doubts as to the practical usages of his profession 
these cases of sickness are ready for insertion and to undeceive 
the friendly minds; one being obstetrical, one surgical and one. 
febrile. From these may be judged Sam's displeasure in a 
sick room, the fidgets performed in the presence of his 
patients, and the lack of faith in his own prescriptions, never 
assuming that his medicines alone effected a cure, or declar- 
ing, like other doctors, being just in time to save life, and two 
hours' delay in the visit would have resulted in the death of his 
patient. However, in many cases of malaria, summer and fall 
fevers, if not checked they would soon assume the malignant 
type, and Dr. McGill was called in to manage and control their 
fatal tendencies. Now it was that he realized his awkward 
circumstance in his feeble efforts to diagnose the disease, and 
wished to have a consultation with old physicians, chief of 
whom in his distresses he had in mind his interested friend in 
the green room, Dr. Dickson, of Charleston, who, as he be- 
lieved, W'ould cast aside the prescriptions and medicines of this 
young and tremulous doctor, use others and in a short time 
relieve and restore the health of the sick person. At times, 
the presence of Dr. Jack was wished for, who monthly, and 
sometimes oftener, came to look after Sam with the hope he 
could suggest a better remedy, or at least share the responsi- 
bility in case of an accident or death, and on one occasion the 
two friends were together around a sick and supposed danger- 
ously ill patient, with the following termination: 

A negro woman, belonging to Mr. George Gibson, had 
safely passed through her most critical period, yet the placenta 
remained, and in this state she was visited. After two or three 
ineffectual attempts to remove the obstruction, and hearing 
that Dr. Jack was in attendance at the Methodist camp-meet- 

168 Reminiscences of 

ing on Poplar Hill across the creek, he was sent for, and he 
joined Sam in the negro cabin. He confessed it was a delicate 
and dangerous operation but believed he was equal to the ex- 
igencies of the case, and throwing off his coat, rolhng up his 
sleeves and other necessary preparations, Sam supposed him 
to be another Dr. Prelieu, and thus he was addressed for 
many months after this occurrence. Every gentle and ex- 
tremely cautions means were employed, but without success, 
and Dr. Jack already alarmed, gave the case up and advised to 
have old Dr. Bradley sent for. During the night while the 
two anxious young doctors remained with Mr. Gibson, mak- 
ing frequent walks to the negro house, the old doctor arrived, 
and in less time than this sentence can be written, he removed 
,the obstruction, only using one gentle twist. Whereupon, Dr. 
Jack said to hmi: "Dr., please don't expose our timidity, and 
when I get back home I shall scratch out the word 'caution,' 
wherever found in old Dr. Burn's midwifery big medical 
book," and here the old doctor, commending us for the neces- 
sary caution which young doctors should entertain in such 
cases. Dr. Jack replied: "Oh, yes, for by such you make a 
good bill out of them." 

A case of his greatest dissatisfaction with self which may 
have originated his utter abhorrence of medicines ever after- 
wards, felt m his powers in the healing art, is freely and fully 
set forth in the following narrative: A valuable negro man, 
worth a thousand dollars, belonging to Mr. William 
Hedleston, living four miles away, v/as sick and Dr. 
McGill was sent for. who finding his symptoms of an ag- 
gravating and peculiar nature, and being undecided where 
and with what to begin his treatment, he had resource to Dr. 
Dickson's advice to his class. The man was very sick and 
restless, and tossing from side to side in his bed, his stomach 
irritable and repulsive, skin hot and dry, tongue parched and 
billions, and a rising pulse, and the young doctor no longer 
hesitated. The lancet was stuck in his corded vein without a 
diminution of its pulsation, he gave broken doses of powders, 
composed of pulverized opium for the irritable stomach, cam- 
phor for the skin and calomel for the liver in heavy doses 
every two hours, and awaiting their effects and seeing no 
favoring ones a blister was applied. Continuing this treat- 
ment all day with no apparent change of his alarming con- 
dition but perhaps an increase of the unfavorable symptoms. 

Williamsburg County. 169 

he was concluding- on a change of medicine, when his patient 
suddenly lost his speech, his eyes became fixed in his head, 
and his jaws were locked, and everything presented immediate 
death coming to the relief of the sufiferin^ man. Consider- 
ing his patient dying, he turned to his master and the man's 
weeping family and said: "I have done all for him and can 
do no more," and quickly the young doctor was in his saddle, 
and his horrified mind at what he had done, added a vim to his 
spurs, and soon he was at home in his room. Locking his 
door, and in the lonely darkness of night he paced the floor, 
as in agonizing scrutiny of what he had done, he exclaimed: 
"Oh, my God, I've killed a man! What will become of me! 
I must fly my country!" While thus in horror of self and its 
safety and humbly on his knees awaiting daylight, he heard 
horse tracks in quickest succession coming up to the house, 
and the young doctor, peeping out at the window, was hailed 
to by a servant boy, saying: "Jeffrey is better, and Massa say 
you must come to him as quick as you can." Arriving at day- 
light, he found the man's consciousness had returned and his 
whole condition m a favorable state. Gentle restoratives were 
administered which acting like a charm, Sam had a joy which 
words cannot express as he saw his patient recovering, and 
a few days longer told him good-bye, he handed him over to 
the cook. 

But the recovery of his patient did not bring a satisfactory 
conclusion, as he became more gloomy in the consideration of 
the treatment of this case. In the midst of his embarrassments 
he resolves to go among his old and sympathizing friends in 
Kingstree, in the hope of relief. This place holds many endear- 
ments, for here Sam's father met his mother for the first time 
at a dance and here too Sam met his wife for the first time at 
a dance. 

His visit on this occasion was of an unusual character, as 
he was wont to tell his bosom friends of his providential escape 
from the gallows, or a public trial in court for manslaughter. 
As soon as he arrived in the village he went direct to Dr. 
Rich's of^ce, and soon told him of his distresses and their 
cavises, exhibiting much anxiet}- of mind, when his friend. 
John Rich,, told him that the treatment of the case was the 
very best that could have been done and that it had saved the 
life of his patient. Sam's old friend. Dr. Dubose, came in their 
office just then, and jokingly assisted his partner in offering a 

170 Reminiscences oi- 

palliative for the young doctors mental perturbation, as he 
said: "All doctors are nothing more than licensed murderers, 
and he had done many a thing for which many a man had 
been hung." Sam, greatly respecting the superior gifts wheth- 
er in words or his original ideas, could not and did not accept 
his version of that case, as he said: "Well, if I've got first to 
half kill a man, by fixing his eyes in his head, silencing his 
tongue and locking his jaw, you can and must scratch off my 
name from the list of practicing physicians." Even yet. not- 
withstanding Sam's denunciation of physics, he continued to 
drag along in his profession for four or five years, urged on 
by the kind words and friendly interpositions in his behalf 
made by his fraternity, relatives and friends. 

The case of surgery was in this wise; a young man resid- 
ing on Upper Birch -Creek, of little or no means, had his leg 
gashed by a boy, and the young doctor was summoned to his 
side, carrying with him his pocket case of surgical instru- 
ments. The wound was sewed up, dressed and soon was 
healed. In a short time the young man moved away without 
settling his bill, and returning in the fall of the next year, he 
called around to see the young doctor and said: "Doctor, 
is it possible you charged me eight dollai"s for the cut the d — 
old black sow gave me?" 

"If I did you never paid it." 

"I'll give you five dollars for the claim." 

"(Jut with your money." 

"I'll pay you in a few days." 

"No, I won't be jewed." 

"Then, what shall we do?" 

"Consider the debt paid." 

"Agreed," quickly replied the debtor. 

The above are some of the ills endured during the years 
'41 and '42, and against them are many pleasantries. 

Thus it was with Sam who, notwithstanding all his efforts 
at dignity to accord with his profession, could not establish a 
distant manner towards his associates. An old and infirm 
man accounted good, just, inoffensive, whom everybody loved 
and respected, was very poor and in miserable health. In this 
condition he and his family would greatly have suffered but 
for the charity of their neighbors and the liberality of the 
wealthy William Burrows, for which favors the good old man 
named one of his sons for him. Occasionally he hobbled to 

Williamsburg County. 171 

Col. Miller's store and soon Sam caught his answer to the sa- 
lutations of his friends, invariably the same to everybody's 
inquiry. Now, it would be arranged that one of the company 
present should approach and speak to this good old man, 
whose answer to the question: "How are you to-day, Mr. 

," would be: "Poorly, poorly. I'm not as well to-day as 

I was yesterday; nor not as well yesterday as I was the day 
before," thus giving a clear illustration of Dick Green's belly 
ache, which got no better fast, as the story goes. 

With one other story connected with Black Mingo, and 
the chapter closes, tho' there are many others which intrude 
upon tlie memory and almost force a transcription of them. 
In the going and returning from Kingstree, the would-be doc- 
tor could not go around his old friend, Mr. James McFaddin, 
who told the story of an old school master at Black Mingo 
falling mto an old well. This old school master taught in the 
neighborhood, and had a habit of going every Friday evening 
to Willtown,' then a thriving town, to drink rum and play 
cards till Sunday evening, and then go back home in the 
country. At Willtown he would put up at a hotel and fared 
sumptuously, but he would put up his horse in an old de- 
serted out-house nearby, in the suburbs of the town, and buy 
feed for him, thereby saving the expenses of the livery stable 
charges. On his last visit he put up his horse as usual, but 
the door had been taken off, and looking around to find some- 
thing with W'hich to barricade, he discovered his old door lying 
on the ground a short distance away. In lifting, it proved to 
be quite large and heavy, and in following the door as he 
raised, he fell into an old well, and the door fell back over the 
mouth of the well. After night when the noise and the bustle 
of the town had subsided, and during the night, the citizens 
heard low, subdued and hollow sounds, and at daylight they 
all were out in the streets, saying they heard the sounds and 
could not sleep, and yet listening they could not determine the 
course of the noise. In the midst of their bewilderment and 
solicitudes, some one suggested the old well, and thither going 
witli hasty steps, and removing the door, they saw the old 
school master down at the bottom of the well safe in limbs. 
They restored him with stimulants, and he took his departure, 
never again to visit the town. 

"Now, Sam," continued Mr. McFaddin, "you are an in- 
quisitive young fellow and you had better find out where that 

172 Reminiscench;s of 

well is and if you should chance to fall in, you are not as wise 
a chap as I take you to be after being warned." 

Late in February, 1842, while at the Indiantown Presby- 
terian Church on Sunday, Jack and Sam hearing of Ned's 
sickness, were quickly at his bed side with him to see him 
through. On opening a window one morning to examine 
Ned's condition, Sam was alarmed as he discovered measles 
had appeared on his skin. This was quite unexpected, as this 
disease was no where in the neighborhood, and that the con- 
clusion was that Ned, who had just returned from Charleston 
on a visit, had caught it there. The news of measles with us 
soon became spread abroad, and the whole community was 
alarmed, as that disease had not been in the families or on the 
plantations for a score of years. It was arranged that Dr. Mc- 
Gill go and stay with Dr. Wilson. In a few days Sam was 
taken sick. The recovery was slow. Strength being at last 
regained, he returned to his post, uneasy about Ned's delicate 
condition, Sam called around to see him. During his stay he 
learned that measles had affected Ned's eyes, so much so that 
he could not distinguish persons from his house to his gate, 
thus proving his near-sightedness. This defect had never been 
seen before and 'tis probable the increasing damaging results 
of the measles upon his eyes may have been the prime cause 
of his total blindness, occurring a few years before his death. 
In Sam's case, measles may have cleared away the mists and 
humors of his eyes, thus enabling him to read the finest prints 
without the aid of glasses at all times, who now has passed his 
seventy-five mile post of life. 

Measles taken the first of March. '42, caused much hin- 
drance in the unpleasant duties of his profession, and by the 
time their effects were overcome, there came an intermittent 
fever, followed by a relapse, and collapsing into typhoid fever, 
prostrated the young doctor and incapacitated him to do any 
work till the sickly season was over. A change of base was 
decided, and going to see his friend, Mr. Thomas McConnell, 
arrangements were made by letters with his brother. Dr. — 
McConnell, at Brunswick or Darien in Georgia, by which he 
agreed to take Sam McGill in as his partner. In January, '43, 
the journey was undertaken on horseback, but Charleston be- 
ing in the way, tiie young doctor did not get there but re- 
turned home as the "Prodigal Son," in less than a week's time. 
Bv the advice of Col. David D. Wilson and his son. Dr. D. 

Williamsburg County. 173 

Edward Wilson, and at the solicitations of Capt. William 
Johnson, at Witherspoon Ferry, and Hon. A. W. Dozier, on 
Pee Dee River, Dr. McGill settled at the ferry house, as Dr. 
Jack Singeltary had already moved away intO' Georgetown dis- 
trict, at the Rope Ferry House, with Capt. Richard Green, 
who having rented the two ferries and the plantation, expected 
to do a big business, and having many friends and acquaint- 
ances in Georgetown district, gave Dr. Jack the benefit of his 
influence among the upper rice planters. 

For the first few months Capt. Johnson and family resided 
in the old ferry house, situated on the bluff of Lynche's Creek, 
but soon we all moved down into his new house just finished, 
at the junction of the Indiantown and stage road. Old Bram, 
the colored ferryn'ian, did not have much to do, and kept our 
house supplied with trout and bream, and in the preparation of 
them for the table — there were frequently three dishes, fried, 
boiled and stewed in cream. The family was very kind and 
attentive, and old Mrs. Johnson was the most motherly of 
women. Thomas R. Grier, who had married their eldest 
daughter, was living with them, who- at this time was a bank- 
rupt. Their eldest son. Nicholas F. Johnson, lived at Capt. 
Johnson's new house, which was afterwards owned by Mr. 
Grier, while their youngest son, James Johnson, was the farm- 
ing boy and was of great comfort to the young doctor. Among 
the many pleasant neighbors none gave more interest than 
Mr. William Cox, who once a week came to our house in the 
evening to grind his axe, but also to tell some of his long 
yarns. In the telling of these stories of otters and otter traps, 
in which he was the master trapper, Sam would dispute with 
Mr. Cox, only to evoke his emphasizing words in the affirma- 
tion of them. 

With all the attention and encouragement given by 
friends, and a little practice of physic extended here and there 
among the wealthiest citizens over in Marion district, and 
along the Pee Dee River, yet there was a sadness and indififer- 
ence interposing wath the success of a medical man. Dr. Mc- 
Gill had not done well in Charleston when on his way to Geor- 
gia a few months ago, whereby he displeased the friends who 
had arranged the trip, and thus he became discontented with 
self and the practice of physic, as each case of sickness to 
which he had been called increased his abhorrence of assum- 
ing a knowledge which he did not possess. In this condition 

174 Reminicensces of 

of mind, he often walked up along the high banks of the creek, 
and coming to one of uncommon elevation and the swift cur- 
rent of the waters flowing at its foot or base, there were the 
graves of his mother's ancestors, the James' family burying 
ground, as pointed out by Capt. William Johnson. Here at 
this hallowed cemetery, amid its solemn silence, on bended 
knees, Sam attempted to recall the recorded and traditional 
heroic deeds achieved in the old Revolutionary war by the 
live brothers of the Jameses as Marion's men. Here too, 
would flash before him the charges and bravery of Capt. Mc- 
Cottry and Conyers as of Marion's men in the days that tried 
men souls, when the unfortunate Sam, knowing his nothing- 
ness, would exclaim: "Oh, unworthy son that I am, of such 
heroic and devoted patriots and ready and unflinching soldiers 
in their country's cause." Or in a lonely stroll down to the 
ferry, the pictured scene of Miss Jenny James, sister of the 
five James brothers and of Mrs. Witherspoon, owner of the 
ferry, and the grandmother of this writer, was presented as be- 
ing here in a flat at a time when a squad of the British was 
passing the ferry. One of their officers attempted to take off 
her nng, and when about to be overpowered, she wrenched 
the ring from her finger and dashed it away into the river. 
Hurrah! there is where Sam got his pluck, and in his ecstacy 
shouted aloud: 

"Breathes there a man with soul so dead. 
Who never to himself hath said. 
This is my own, my native land." 

But this happy state could not be enjoyed alone, so he 
made frequent visits to his Cousins William and Patty Brown, 
now at their summer house a few miles away near a mineral 
spring of cool and refreshing water. What made these visits 
so pleasant was the knowing of each other's feelings for each 
other, as in addition to other things, Sam loved his Cousin 
Patty. Here Sam in the cool passage way of their house, al- 
most defied the oppressive heat of July and August. 

One act during the summer of 1843, was the effort of the 
young doctc?r to get a postoffice in the neighborhood. There 
was none in this district nearer than Indiantown, fifteen miles 
away. As well as remembered, we got our mail from Marion 
district either at Mr. Henry Davis' or higher up the Pee Dee 
River, in the Hines section of country. About this time old Mr. 

Williamsburg County. 175 

Henry Eaddy was settling the place where his son, Hon. H. 
E. Eaddy, now resides, and he and Capt. Johnson applied to 
the young doctor to write up a petition to the Postmaster Gen- 
eral at Washington for an office to be established here, sug- 
gesting Johnsonville as its name, and Mr. John Gerard as its 
postmaster. Our petition was complied with, and Capt. John- 
son, Mr. Eaddy and Dr. McGill were securities to the bond of 
Mr. Gerard. Soon this section of country took the name of 
Johnsonville, and its old name, Muddy Creek, is fast dying out 
of recollection. 

Ere the autumn months had put on their sered and yel- 
low leaf, Sam had arranged to occupy another field in which 
to operate his pretended medical skill. He could not stay 
away from his mother, then living on her W^hite Oak place, 
now owned by Mr. J. A. Blackwell, and from thence he would 
visit his early friend, John E. Scott, who was now married and 
father of two children, living in his elegant house with the rich 
Cedar Swamp lands around, and his farm stocked with horses 
and mules, and that species of property then considered the 
wealth of the country. When informed of the poor success 
his friend had met with in his feeble attempts to support him- 
self, he said: "You can't do this when you have to pay board 
for self, horse and servant boy; come live with me, I'll board 
you and horse for your services on my place, and will furnish 
a servant boy when you need one." Thus were Sam's pros- 
pects brighter than at any previous time. His neighbors were 
pleased to have a doctor settle among them, and his old friend, 
Mr. James McFaddin, sent for him to say: "I'll employ you 
on these conditions: no cure, no pay." 

It was Christmas, and there was a grand party given by 
Col. N. G. Rich, a widower, in his elegant mansion in Kings- 
tree, under the control of a committee to which Dr. McGill 
belonged. The beauty and fashion of the village and imme- 
diate country were present, and it was splendid afifair. Among 
tlie young ladies who favored the occasion with their presence, 
were the Misses Louisa and Bet Scott, under the escort of 
their Uncle Sam, and the Misses Yermelle and Sarah Single- 
ton, also escorted by their Cousin Sam. There was dancing 
and music and a supper table glittering with silver dishes and 
waiters exhibiting cakes and fruits in greatest profusion, all 
under the supervision of Mrs. Louisa Singleton. 

On the following night a dancing party was given at Mr. 

176 Reminiscences of 

Samuel B. McClary's, three miles below Kingstree, and an 
invitation being given, Sam was present. The events of that 
night are so identified with his after life that it recalls a joy, 
lasting near a half century. Arriving after night, and not fully 
recovered from the effects of the loss of sleep, he did not ex- 
pect to participate in the pleasures of the dance. In the hall 
the dancers were on the floor, and Sam keeping aloof, was ad- 
miring the figures of the dances and the graceful ease of the' 
young ladies. Seeing Mr. Iley Coleman, a Kingstree lawyer, 
in pleasant conversation with a group of young girls not in 
tlie dance, and observing one of them of uncommon beauty, 
asked Mr. Coleman who she was. Being informed, he re- 
marked her beauty. Mr. Coleman hastened to tell her of the 
compliment and then introduced us. A conversation ensued 
and Sam asked the pleasure of a dance, when she said, "I am 
engaged." "Then give me the second dance." "I am engaged 
for that, too." "Then the third." "I am engaged 
for that." During these dances, Sam seized every opportunity 
to be by her side and engage her attention, arid as soon as re- 
leased from her engagements, Sam and Sarah danced as part- 
ners all night, and ere the morning light their eyes were fixed 
and their hearts pulsating one and the same. At a party at 
her Uncle John Tisdale's, two nights after, the lovers met by 
agreement, and they are again dancing, and before they 
parted next morning they were affianced. 



The first six weeks in the year 1844, found the young doc- 
tor in the most disconcerted state of mind. Feeling unable to 
longer endure the responsibilities of a practicing doctor, he 
applied to his old friend, Dr. Henry Dubose, at Kingstree, 
and formed a copartnership with him for the practice of medi- 
cine, and thither he removed. We kept batchelor's hall in an 
old dilapidated house, with a piazza resting on the pavement 
of the street, where the Benjamin Bakery now is placed, this 
being the only house on that street, if we except a small house 

Williamsburg County. 177 

where Mrs. Caldwell kept a little confectionar) at the corner 
opposite Mr. Heller's livery stables, and one opposite Dr. 
BradwelL's house, then used as Patterson's workshop, and his 
two-story unpainted dwelling house where Mr. Benjamin's 
house now stands. Those friends who were in Sam's secrets, 
knew the primary object in his removal to Kingstree. rlis 
occupancy of the house contiguous to Mrs. Ferguson's board- 
ing house for girls, situated in the Old Corner House, under 
whom his affianced was a pupil and boarder, rendered trans- 
mission of letters of quick and ready acknowledgment through 
their trusty "Lindy," a colored female servant and their con- 
fident, who for her fidelity to Dr. AIcGill and Miss Sarah 
Pressley, suffered banishment and was sold and carried away 
into distant lands. 

All the day of 14th March, 1844, was that of rain, and in 
his sol'tude, Sam's affectionate heart was filled to overflowing 
as he pondered over the step he was about to take. He was 
doing wrong to take a yoimg and trusting young lady from 
the many kind friends and relatives of highest respectability 
and affltience to trust her fortune in a life's journey to one 
without any settled purpose, and who was recognized as a 
spendthrift and debauchee. No mortal on earth was happier 
than she, and now she was likely to sacrifice it all for the pure 
and innocent love she nourished for the sake of Dr. McGill. 
During the day, he was on his knees and in prayers, yet in 
constant and secret communication with his expected bride, 
and seeing Mr. William G. McAlister and his bridal party 
passing by his door in the rain on their way to Lenud's ferry 
to solemnize his marriage with Miss Lenud, before the world 
m open day, Sam almost repented of his engagement. His 
two friends, Peter Ij. Mouzon and Dr. John S. Rich, hooted 
at his despondency, and declared him to be good enough for 
the King's daughter. About this time, Mr. W. G. Gamble 
came into the room, and being informed of the arrangements 
for the expected marriage, said that a marriage contract must 
be entered into, and accordingly Mr. Iley Coleman was called 
on to draw tlie deed, making John S. Rich our trustee. At 
twilight the rain was still dripping from the eaves of the houses 
and thick darkness shrouded the houses, trees and streets, and 
the two occupants in the gig knew only of their presence by 
the warmth of affection as entwined in each other's arms; yet 
in a half hour's time. Dr. McGill and Miss Sarah Pressley, 

178 Reminiscences of 

guarded by Air. Sidney S. McGill, the Doctor's brother, with a 
club, were at the designated place. Col. N. G. Rich's residence, 
and after the signing of the marriage contract the ^narriage 
ceremony was pronounced and here is a copy of the record 
made in tlie McGill family Bible: 

"This certifies that the rite of holy matrimony was cele- 
brated between Samuel D. McGill, of Williamsburg county, 
and Sarah E. Pressley, of Williamsburg county, on 14th 
A'larch, 1844, ^t Kingstree, S. C., by W. B. Graves, Esq. Wit- 
ness, Dr. J. S. Rich, Laura McClary." 

After which, cake and wine by previous arrangement, was 
served by Venus and Peggy, two mulatto women in Kmgs- 
tree, known for their cleanliness and nice cookeries, and after 
much confusion in the dark, misty night at the steps of Col. 
Rich's house, and the wrapping of Mrs. McGill up in shawls, 
the bride and groom, accompanied by their brother, Sidney, 
were making their way across Broad Swamp on that narrow 
causeway, and here for the first time Sam realized the awful 
responsibility he had assumed, as he expected to go headlong 
with his wife from the high embankment, having nothing for 
his guide but the dim light of the sky through the opening 
space of the limbs of the trees along over the road. In an 
hour's time of most intense solicitude, the bridal party were at 
Mr. Gamble's gate, who had promised not to turn them off if 
they came to his house any hour of the night. Mrs. Gamble 
met us and cjuickly an elegant supper was placed on the table, 
Mrs. Nora McClary assisted. She had been kept uninformed 
of what all these preparations meant, and her joy was almost 
boundless, showing that blood was thicker than water, and 
equally so with Mr. Gadson Gamble, whose mother's and the 
groom's father were two brothers' children, as the following 
record in the McGill family Bible shows: "Rodger McGill 
was born 28th August, 1742. Samuel McGill was born 12th 
September, 1747." Also this "Record of important events:" 
"Hugh McGill, the father of the McGill family, in Williams- 
burg county. South Carolina, was married to Sarah Gordon, 
loth June, 1732, and departed this life 30th June, 1752, in 
the 50th year of his age, and was married twenty-three years 
to Sarah Gordon, his wife;" and from them were the births of 
Roger and Samuel, already made, they being the fourth and 
sixth births in their family of seven children. 

In the late morning of the day succeeding 14th Alarch, 

Williamsburg County. 179 

1844, an apparent stranger with foaming steed was seen 
dashingly wildly into Mr. Gamble's avenue, directly to his 
house, and soon Dr. Jack Singeltary was embracing his old 
friend. He had been written to about the expected afifair, but 
being away from his home, did not get the letter till the night 
of the marriage. He traveled all night, making frequent stop- 
pages on the route in the hope of a break in the clouds to 
enable him to see how to drive. Now overjoyed to learn of 
the success of the elopement, he became more so when for the 
first time he met the brave and beautiful Mrs. Sarah McGill. 
After dinner, Mr. Gamble's carriage was ready at the gate, 
when a ride down to Kingstree was proposed to find out how 
all things were working. Before leaving. Dr. Jack, in a jovial 
way, gave Mrs. McGill the assurance that he would bring her 
husband back safe and sound. Soon Harry, Mr. Gamble's 
indefatigable colored carriage driver, wheeled us into town 
amid the prodigious excitement of the place. Mr. and Mrs. 
Ferguson had gone down to the bride's mother and to her 
Uncle John Pressley, and told the news, and even old Mr. 
Staggers, who had married Miss Susan Gamble, the bride's 
aunt, was cursing. In extenuation of the whole affair see "In 
Memoriam," which closes this narrative. While we were in 
the town, old Mr. Graves, the executor of the marriage cere- 
mony, told this story: That morning as he was passing down 
the street opposite Mr. Staggers' store, he was hailed to by 
Mr. Staggers, saying: "And where are you from, you d — 
old son of a b — ?" and he sent back to him: "From Gretna 
Green, may it please your honor." 

On the morning of the second day Sam and Sarah were 
at the Nelson Hotel in Kingstree, and the villagers iiocked in 
to congratulate them. Among them came hobbling across 
the street Dr. Dubose, who after cordially shaking our hands, 
turned to the lady and said: "There is one thing certain, Sam 
will never ill treat you, but I can't promise you he'll supply 
you in bread," and handing her a silver quarter, and marking 
a cross on it, said: "Keep this quarter in your house as long 
as you live for good luck." It remained. with us twenty-one 
years, when it was accidetally lost in hiding our valuables in 
the stump-holes in the woods, to prevent the Yankee raiders, 
expected through the country in March, 1865, from getting 

By way of palliation for such a terrible offence given to 

180 Reminiscences of 

a school mistress entrusted with the charge and education of 
young ladies, the following circumstance is feelingly written 
for the sake of the parties concerned: 

During the latter years of our terrible war Mrs. Fergu- 
son, who for many previous years had been residing in Moul- 
trieville, S. C, returned to Kingstree as a refugee. Mrs. 
Sarah McGill was pleased to see her and paying frequent 
visits to her, interceded in her behalf, so grateful at that time, 
and thus made her comparatively comfortable. It was in one 
of those visits of affection that Mrs. Ferguson requested her 
beloved former pupil to bring up her husband with her the 
next time she came to Kingstree. The invitation was ac- 
cepted, and while we were yet shaking hands, this blessed old 
lady said to the one who had so shabbily treated her twenty 
years ago: "Doctor, I have long since forgiven you, because 
1 have heard yoii made a kind and provident husband to 
Sarah," and here pressing his hand, she added, "May God con- 
tinue to bless you and Sarah and all of your children." Ever 
afterwards during their mutual lives Sam and Sarah obtained 
solid comforts in the pardori and benediction as given in tht 
above interview. 

Obtaining a month's furlough from his partner in physic, 
soon the happy pair were at their mother's place on White 
( )ak, where all the McGill family, including the Scotts and 
the Burgesses, were assembled to meet them, and soon we all 
were seated at the wedding dinner. Our appearance was 
made at the Williamsburg Presbyterian Church on the fol- 
lowing Sunday, in compliment to Rev. A. G. Pedin, its pas- 
tor, who, as a friend of the McGill family, had been reported 
as saying he would have married us if we had called on him. 

In a week or ten days Mr. John I>. Pressley was up in 
Kingstree, and Mr. W. G. Gamble, having heard that the 
Pressley family accused him of making the match, and in his 
usual defense of the truth, called ]\Ir. Pressley aside, and ex- 
plained all the circumstances connected with the alTair in 
which he had acted. Mr. Pressley was reconciled and ex- 
tended an invitation to Sam and Sarah to visit him, which 
was done. In the evening of their first visit, Sarah's Uncle 
John and Aunt Sarah Pressley walked with us from their 
house across the fields to Sarah's grandmother on the Pressley 
side, who, meeting us in the piazza of her house with that 
solemn and unaffected address, said: "I've buried the hatchet. 

Williamsburg County. 181 

You must come and see me as often as you can." Sam's fur- 
loug-h having expired and his visits to his cousins, Robert 
Wilson, Patty Brown and Dorcas Burrows, at Indiantown, 
and his sisters' and his mother's neighbors becoming too com- 
monplace, the youthful couple arc in comfortable quarters in 
Kingstrce, as boarders with Mr. Isaac and Mrs. Martha Nel- 
son. In every distant medical call, and particularly those at 
night, his old partner would send the young doctor. 

In the month of May or June there was a battalion mus- 
ter of the militia in Kingstree and a parade of the Volunteer 
Cavalry Company on the same day. Both the Nelson and 
Staggers Hotels were crowded with ladies, and at the latter 
hotel was Mrs. Betsy Tisdale, Sarah's dearly beloved mother, 
whom she was so anxious to meet and fall at her feet, and of 
whom she would tell of her dreams to her husband. After 
the muster and the dinner, Mrs. Martha Nelson, moved with 
tender compassion in consideration of a child's affection for 
its mother, volunteered to carry Sarah, with Sam's permission, 
over to the Staggers house and reconcile Mrs. Tisdale's feel- 
ings in the elopement of her daughter. When they started, 
and all the time Sam secretly followed, keeping in convenient 
distance of them. Watching for their return, Sam hastened to 
meet them both in smiles and qviickened step, and Sarah's face 
was surely that of an angel's and her eyes yet moistened with 
the tears of her overflowing heart. It was then Mr. Isaac 
Nelson hunted up and brought Col. J. J. Tisdale and others 
of Sarah's people, who had been reported as speaking un- 
kindly oi our marriage. Satisfactory explanations then and 
there being made, Sam and Sarah accepted invitations to visit 
them. The reconciliation thus early begun, and the ready and 
willing concessions of Sam for the apparent wrong he had 
done to them, resulted in the happy condition of their after 
life. Those people were conciliatory alike, and anxiously ex- 
tended favors and entertainments, made more so by Sarah's 
Aunt Jennie Tisdale. her Aunt Adalaid Dukes and her Uncle 
William Tisdale's wife. But the recall of the love and affec- 
tion of Sarah's "My Pah" and her "Muddie" is of such sweet 
and comforting endearments that there are present tears in 
tlieir remembrance and prayers for a reunion of such friends 
m heaven. Surely many Saturdays of the week did not pass 
away without the coming of favors from Sarah's beloved 
parents. So oft' was seen little Adalaid Tisdale wending her 

182 Reminiscences of 

way along a narrow patli through the thick pine forests, with 
a bundle of nice things, and accompanied by her servant girl, 
with a basket of substantials on her head, as a compliment 
to "the doctor" and her "Titter Sarah," at their lonely home 
in the woods. Invitations to visit were given and accepted 
and Tisdale and McGill became friends forever. 

In Sam and Sarah's second visit to Mr. John Pressley it 
was agreed to bring down Dr. Rich, our trustee, as Mr. Press- 
ley desired to turn over to us his brother William's estate, of 
which he had been the executor since the death of Sarah's 
father. In a short time this estate, consisting of five negroes 
and money and good papers to the amount of fourteen hun- 
dred dollars, was turned over to us. With this money we pur- 
chased John E. Scott's summer place on Black River, horse 
and buggy, cart, household and kitchen furniture and some 
cattle and hogs. Biddmg adieu to Kingstree, they began 
housekeeping in July, and it was so funny as we took the 
head and foot of the table, that we had a merry laugh. Sam 
asked Sarah to say grace, who frowning and shaking her head, 
the head of the family stretched out his hands on the table and 
obediently said: "Sanctify these blessings to our use, and par- 
don our sins, for Christ sake." 

In the two succeeding years these two people were at 
their home m the lonely woods, near where Mr. W. G. Cantley 
now resides, there being at that time no neighbors in three 
miles of them, except in the summer months. Mr. G. Henry 
Chandler, John E. Scott. Sidney S. McGill and Mr. S. T. Mc- 
Crea, with their families, built summer houses in calling dis- 
tance of them, and thus for three months was formed a so- 
ciety of pleasant friends. In our loneliness during the other 
months we alternated our abodes, being awhile on White Oak 
and back to our Black River place, where most of Sam's time 
was given in the wild forest among the deer and wild turkeys, 
and Sarah with her dear "Muddy" and her brothers and sis- 
ters, who were as frequently with her at her own home. But 
we could not hide from Jack Singeltary, nor could the wealthy 
and charming Widow McCrea, and they were married in July, 
1846, and Sam gave Jack his wedding dinner. 

Such ease and idleness could not last always and a 
change came over the spirit of their dreams, as Mrs. McGill 
giving birth to her first child, Dr. McGill awoke to a higher 
responsiblity. Their daughter, Elizabeth Gamble, was born 

Williamsburg County. 183 

on the 22d day of February, 1847, and a new era dawned upon 
their married Hfe. A school being formed on Cedar Swamp 
in the summer of this year, Sam accepted the offer to teach 
it, and he and Sarah and the baby, in order to be convenient, 
moved into a vacant house belonging to John E. Scott, and 
opened the school first at the Old Brush Shed, and afterwards 
in a new school house in front of Mr. W. G. Flagler's place. 
During this term among school children Sam made the dis- 
covery that he had been made for a school master, and that 
he perfectly understood the a., b., c.'s, and found great pleas- 
ure in walking about in the school house teaching the chil- 
dren. Oh, the joy of his heart to know that he had at last, 
after six years of imposition upon his people, was now in a 
position pleasing and profitable. During these first two years 
of our married life there are two incidents to be recorded. 
It was a bright and serene summer night, and Sam and Sarah 
sat together in the wide passage of their house listening to 
the music of the "cheek, cheek widows" in the surrounding 
groves of pine forest, when a horseback ride was proposed. 
Soon their horses were brought out, and away they went to 
White Oak, twelve miles away. Arriving at Sister Ann Mur- 
phy's in the stillness of the night, she expressed her surprise 
and had to laugh, while his mother, who was present, de- 
clared, "You must be two crazy people." Miss Ann McGill 
had married Mr. Andrew J. Murphy, who. inheriting a tract 
of land on White Oak from his grandfather, old Mr. Andrew 
Patterson, comfortably settled thereon. This old Mr. Andrew 
Patterson was famed far and near for his genius as a gun 
smith, and it was said he made a pair of horseman pistols 
for Governor Allston, by request, which he sent or carried 
over to London as a specimen of the gun smith's ingenuity 
in the New World. 

Also on just sucli a night m mid-summer, while Sam 
and Sarah sat listening to noises of the "Katydids" in the yard, 
and suffering from the intense heat of the season, they could 
not sleep for annoyances made by a large flock of goats be- 
longing to Capt. John E. Scott, as they capered in through 
the passage of their large two-pen log house. Two or three 
times they were driven away, but their dog being used to 
them, refused to chase them. Thus these goats continued 
their plays and pranks till the middle hours of the night were 
past, when Sam got his gun, and putting a hand full of small 

1S4 Reminiscences of 

shot into the barrel, told Sarah he intended to shoot the goats 
if they returned. She said, "Oh, do not shoot Mr. Scott's 
goats." Hardly had he got into his bed, and while yet dozing, 
up came the goats in double force, with redoubled baas up 
and down the passage. Seizing his gun, he chased them over 
the fence to a low place sixty or seventy-five yards away, into 
which many old logs had been rolled and on which they were 
now scampering. He then fired into the crowd, and hearing 
a low baa from one of them, he returned tO' the house, where 
Sarah said: "Surely, Doctor, you have not shot Mr. S-'^tt's 
goats?" "Yes, I have; I think I've killed one." Rising, she 
said, "Let us go and see," and we went to the bottom, and 
there, to our horror, we found six goats, including big and 
little, lying dead. Next morning Sam, in great distress, vis- 
ited Scott, living five miles away, and offering to pay for them 
or buy six others in their place, he laughed and kindly re- 
fused to exact either, only asking for their hides. 

"Old Queen Ann," as we all called the gun, was made by 
old Mr. Andy Patterson and had ever remained in the family. 
At the death of Robert j. Patterson, his grandson, old Queen 
Ann was olTered for sale. She was bid in by old Mr. D., 
connected in some way with the Patterson family, for ^y 1-2 
cents. Sam, standing near by, and knowing the purchaser's 
love of money, told a friend to offer him 50 cents for the gun. 
It was accepted, and as the gun was being handed over this 
old gentleman made the remark: "A man don't make a seven 
l^ence every day." 

The old Patterson name is now extinct in this county, 
tho' Mrs. Mary Jane Thorpe still lives and has a small family 
around her. Her brother, Dr. Robert J. Patterson, received a 
good edtication, mamly by his own efforts, and graduated in 
medicine. He married a ■Miss Eastcrling in Marlboro county, 
and there he located, by which Williamsburg lost the Patter- 
son name. 

About this time a resolve is made to repay his county 
for his assumed malpractice in physics and his high charges 
for them. Before the abandonment of this field he bragged 
over Ned Wilson and Jack Singeltary and John Rich, while 
giving them the credit of knowing more in a sick room and 
explanations of the nature of the disease, yet Sam claimed a 
superiority over them in the use of his pen when in his own 
room alone, thus he wrote in his dav book: 

Williamsburg County. 1H5 

Antiphlogistic infusion. .$i.oo Antifebrile solution $i.oo 

Diaphoretic decoction. ..$i.oo Epispastics, No. 2 $1.00 

Emollient apphcation. . .$1.00 

The modern young doctors must not sneer at this exhi- 
bition of our attempt at such sockdologers, for they must be 
informed that we did not have Hood's Sarsaparilla, Ayer's 
Cherry Pectoral and the thousand and one patent medicines 
which now flood the drug stores and the country, thus making 
some sort of a doctor in every locality. 




Before the close of Dr. McGill's second three months' 
school at Cedar Swamp his reputation as a teacher had far 
exceeded the expectations of his most sanguine friends. This 
being the case, his old Indiantown friends, having built a large 
academy, and Mr. Adams, the teacher, declining to teach 
longer for them, Capt. S. J. Snowden came up to see him and 
offered the Indiantown academy to him. A positive answ^er 
was reserved till a consultation could be had with his wife. 
Know'ing the great affection now existing between the recon- 
ciled families, and the many favors conferred vipon us by their 
kindness, it seemed a cruelty to move away beyond reach of 
daily visiting, but Sarah consenting to go to Indiantown, and 
Sam moved by the ofifer of five hundred dollars, they soon 
were in that little house erected for them at the academy by 
the first of January, 1848. Settled in the Indiantown academy 
it was soon apparent and acknowledged that a superior 
teacher had charge of the school. So great and popular as 
an instructor of the youths, that more than twenty years of 
his life have been spent in a school house, having in the 
meantime taught at Cedar Swamp, Indiantown. Kingstree and 
Black River, and since the war at White Oak. Before giving 
the list of the many children of this county who received their 
education wholly or partly from Dr. McGill's instruction, it is 
desirable to present a few incidents happening in his school. 

186 Reminiscences of 

In the Indiantown school was J. J. Brown. While a large 
class was reading, little Johnnie, with his a. b. c. lesson in his 
hand on a bench in full view of the class, was nodding down to 
his book and then quickly resume his upright posture. The 
class was giggling, when the teacher, being in a good humor 
and wishing to abash this boy, said to them in loud tones, 
"Can't some of you make a bed for Johnnie?" who, looking 
up with half closed eyes, said, "Do, Cousin Sam, make a bed 
for me." 

There was a large class of spellers, and Friday evenings 
were employed in that pleasant exercise. A, great spirit of 
emulation existed to be head or near there. Among the more 
ambitious and advanced scholars were Mary Snowden, Dru- 
cilla Burgess, Zeno Hanna and Itley Wilson, and each was 
jealous of the other. Little Zeno, called Dock, was foremost 
among them, and was often at the head, but when not and 
he missed a word, which being spelled by another below him, 
he would not be turned down, and those above him had to go 
higher up and make room for the correct speller, as Dock 
stood in his tracks as solid as a rock and as savage as a meat 
axe. Such was H. Z. Hanna then and such is he now. as the 
people have seen in his public capacity. 

Recorded Items in Diary. 

1848, i/lh August. — Elizabetii Gamble McGill departed this 

life, being i yr., 5 mos., 25 days old. Died of whoop- 
ing cough. 

1849, 15th April. — A large snow, being near three inches deep, 

and large frosts for three successive mornings. 

In 1850, while teaching the Kingstree academy, among 
the fifty or sixty scholars there was little Henry D. Mc. 
residing with his parents in the village. One morning he 
badly missed his night lesson, while his class was compli- 
mented for their correctness of it, and Henry was given fifteen 
minutes to prepare that lesson, and was told that if he did not 
he would be put back with the a-b ab class. Fifteen minutes 
expiring, and failing in the second trial, he was in tears. The 
teacher, moved with compassion, gave him another trial of 
fifteen minutes, making the same threats and asking some 
older bov to help Henry get that lesson. When again called 
he failed as before, when the teacher, in a somewhat harsh 

Williamsburg County. 187 

manner, said: "What! Henry, missed it again!" At this 
Henry, looking up into the teacher's face, who was standing 
over him, with a most pitiful expression and sobbing tears, 
said: "Doctor, I'll swear pine blank I can't; if I could I 
would do it, to please you." "Take your seat, Henry, and get 
the next lesson with your class," was the teacher's sponta- 
neous reply. 

Recorded Items, Kingstree, 1850. 

March nth. — Mary Rebecca Ferrell began to board with us 

at $5.50 per month. 
April 1st. — Thomas A. McCrea and Willliam M. McCrea 

began to board with us at $5 per month. 

Before the end of this year Sarah and Sam suffered much 
with fever, and adding the Hewitt place at a cost of $220 to 
their Black river plantation, they returned after three years' 
absence to their own place. Soon Sam was engaged in a 
small school near his home, and afterwards in the Never Fail 
academy, five miles away, where the following incident oc- 
curred : 

It was at a twelve o'clock recess, and the day was in- 
tensely hot. The girls were playing "jacks" in the old school 
house, shaded by a large oak, and the boys were in the acad- 
emy, some reading, some dozing on the benches, and a group 
of small boys talking and laughing. To one of these boys, a 
great laugher, the teacher called and said: "Bobbie, spell 
laugh," who without the least hesitancy and with assurance, 
said: "L-a-f-laugh." Then the teacher called on another boy, 
a very silent and cautious one, and said: "Tommie, spell 
laugh." Now. Tommie had been somewhere along there in 
his book, and with a slight pause between each letter, for he 
was very uncertain about it, said: "L-a-u-g-h spell laugh, ain't 
it." Whereupon, Bobbie leaped from the floor and said: 
"Gor, listen yonder how Tommie spell laugh," and he had a 
great laugh over it. Here we all joined in the laugh, and it 
was not until Bobbie was shown the word in the book, he dis- 
covered we were laughing at his expense. 

The many boys who were ever pleased with Dr. McGill's 
school ought not to accuse him of an invidious spirit when he 
introduces John James Martin to those who witnessed the ex- 
traordinary mental powers of his giant braim When school was 

188 Reminiscences of 

called in the morning, while other scholars were studying, Jim- 
mie Martin sat unconcerned with his books on the bench by 
his side, nor were those books handled till his recitation hour, 
when he would separately hand book after book to the teacher, 
and referring him to the page, would correctly recite 
many pages using almost word for word. He would sit in the 
school house an observer of things transpiring. He has told 
the writer just before his untimely and unfortunate death that 
he learned more by listening to explanations by his teacher to 
the class than from books. Herein has ever been considered 
Dr. AIcGill's success as a teacher and an educator. 

Scarcely was Sam's occupancy of the school master's 
chair before he received from an old friend the following letter 
which was published in "The Sumter Banner." It's printed 
form has been preserved and is reproduced, not so much for 
its rhythmical excellence as for the original thoughts ex- 
pressed and its good advice : 

"For The Banner — Epistle to Sam: 

Dear Sam, what makes you such a fool? 

They teJl me }ou are teaching school; 

'Tis very well: but ah! how long 

Before you quit and change your song 

To something else — perhaps to arming 

Yourself for war? won't that be charming, 

And next, if you should get some money. 

You'll go to h — ; won't that be funny? 

Oh! Sam, you need some stern adviser; 

You're now a man and should be wiser. 

A rolling stone ne'er gathers any 

Moss, nor will you have a penny 

Long to rattle in your pocket, 

If you don't change, by David Crocket; 

A man should open wide his eyes 

And learn how to philosophise 

While passing o'er this sea of life. 

Whose waves are mix'd up so with strife. 

All happiness from virtue streams ; 

And if we'd take it in our dreams. 

We should have strength enough to stifle 

The appetites in every trifle. 

Keep cool, keep sober, and keep steady, 

Williamsburg County. 189 

And you will soon have something ready, 

To put on l:)oard your little bark. 

That floats upon Life's ocean dark. 

You grasp too much at first, like all 

Mad caps have done who rise to fall. 

Take life easy ; watch and pray 

But do not then be sad ; be gay ; 

And peace will come to you each day. 

I know how fickle, and how prone 

To licentiousness you've grown; 

But, tush Sam! are you such a fool 

As not to know how very dull 

The sentiment nerves grow from abuse, 

On making of them too much use! 

You must not let a' word, or frown, 

Or cool look, strike your courage down. 

Bear up ; good courage makes men praise 

And flatter you throughout your days. 

When going down hill on the rocks. 

You PT!y I'^'^l- for ;\ 1,-irl.- or hov , 

But "din na ye" be chicken hearted. 

And soon you'll rise from whence you started; 

And those who'd given you cold glances 

Will turn your warmest friend, the chance is. 

Never tell your thoughts or dreams; 

Never hint your little schemes; 

For men of sense will say 'tis folly, 

And that wdl make you melancholy. 

Let your actions speak always 

Instead of words, if yoii want praise. 

'Stick to your school since you've begun it. 

And you'll do well I'll bet upon it. 

Stick to vour school, 'tis not tb^, office. 

But man, that brings it into notice ; 

Stick on ; should all your scholars quit you, 

Close to your pine board desk still sit you. 

Would Franklin e'er have won a name 

So glorious — so high in fame. 

If he had not become a stinter 

When he used to be a printer? 

He made men boast the little trade 

Of setting type, it can be said; 


Reminiscences of 

That is the man, not occupation 
That give the latter reputation. 
Take my advice ; stick to your school 
If you would not be call'd a fool; 
And whilst Fm fumbling o'er dead men's 
Bones, you'll make another Edmunds, 
And if vv'e meet ten years from now. 
We'll laugh to hear the boys say how, 
I gave them powders for the gripes, 
Whilst you put on their a — es stripes. 


Three days it has been raining; 
But I'm far from this complaining; 
I always thought there was a pleasure 
In Noah's flood, for there's such leisure. 

JACK (J. S. R.)." 

List of scholars referred to and recorded: 

A. Dickey Brown, 
Frances M. Brown, 
John J. Brown, 
Vermelle Brown, 
J. White Brown, 
Samuel A. Brown, 
J. Heatley Brown, 
Willie J. Brown, 
John Barrineau, 
Marion Barrineau, 
Henry M. Burrows, 
Leonard Burrows, 
E. Rosa Burrows, 
J. Allston Burrows, 
John T. Burro\/s, 
Samuel J. Burrows, 
Edward P. Blakeley, 
Thomas M. Britton, 
Ann D. Britton, 
J. Drucilla Burgess, 
Ouintus L. Cooper, 
Alex iM. Chandler, 
William W. Cunningham, 

Abner W. Brown, 
W. Robert Brown, 
John M. Brown, 
Thurmutas Brown, 
Willie C. Brown, 
Holley L. Brown, 
Leila Brown, 
Joseph Barrineau, 
Warren Barrineau, 
J. James Barrineau, 
S. Joseph Burrows, 
Robert L. Burrows, 
Z. Inez Burrows, 
Omie D. Burrows, 
Melville W. Burrows, 
Robert F. Blakeley, 
Lavina Blakeley, 
F. Marion Britton, 
Mary J. Britton, 
E. Amelia Burgess, 
Frances Chancy, 
F. Sidney Chandler, 
Leonard F. Dozier, 

Williamsburg County. 


Susan A. Duke, 
Robert E. Duke, 
Mary H. Duke, 
Flovia Duke, 
Margaret E. Duke, 
J. Mildred Duke, 
Margaret G. Flagler, 
Olonza W. Flagler, 
Jane S. Flemming, 
James H. Fluitt, 
Amelia A. Frierson, 
I. Taylor Frierson, 
Josiah Frierson, 
Elizabeth A. Frierson, 
H. Dudley Gamble, 
Rowena Gamble, 
Statia Gamble, 
James Gibson, 
Peter St. Gary, 
Alice M. Graham, 
Hugh M. Graham, 
William J. Hanna, 
H. Zeno Hanna, 
William E. Hanna. 
Julius Hanna, 
Mary E. Hewitt, 
Stephen B. Haselden, 
Mary Johnson, 
James Knox, 
Neighbor D. Lescsne, 
Elizabeth Lowery. 
J. James Martin, 
Thomas N. Martin, 
Thomas A. McCrea, 
James A. McCrea, 
Sarah "McCrea, 
Elizabeth AlcCutchen, 
George W. McCutchen, 
S. Snowden McClary, 
H. Alex. McCullough, 
Louisa McCullough, 
Henrv D. McElveen, 

William D. Duke, 
Thomas J. Duke, 
Elizabeth M. Duke, 
Benj. F. Duke, 
Susan L. Duke, 
Mary R. Ferrell, 
Robert A. Flagler, 
Blakeley Flemming, 
Perviss Fluitt, 
Wm. M. Frierson, 
W. Edwin Frierson, 
J. Martin Frierson, 
Mary J. Frierson, 
Samuel R. Frierson, 
Julius P. Gamble, 
William G. Gamble, 
Josephine Grayson, 
John Gibson, 
Laura I. Graham, 
J. James M. Graham, 
John Hanna, 
Julius J. D. Hanna, 
Lydea Hanna, 
Elizabeth G. Hanna, 
Amanda Hanna, 
Eliphet M. Flewitt, 
William M. Haselden, 
Daniel H. Jones, 
Susan C. Lee, 
Francis Lencrieuj^, 
Caroline Lowerv, 
James C. P. Martin, 
Irene Mathews, 
W. Marcelhis McCrea, 
Josina McCrea, 
Thomas McCutchen, 
Emma J. McCAitchen, 
John McCutchen, 
John T. McConnell, 
William McCullough, 
Laurens P. McCullough, 
George G. McElveen, 


Reminiscences of 

Ida McElveen, 
Rebecca McElveen, 
Minto W. McGill, 
Jennett McGill, 
Mary A. T- McGill, 
William P. McGill, 
Martha E. McGill, 
John y. McGill, 
Josina F. McGill, 
Julia A. McKnight, 
Brantley McKnight, 
Samuel G. McKnighi, 
Robert Morris, 
Laura E. Newsom, 
Georgia A. Newsom, 
Margaret L. Newsom, 
Harvey S. Owens, 
John S. Owens, 
Thomas C. Owens, 
Mary J. Patterson, 
Missouri Sauls, 
Eli Sauls, 
Ida P. Speights, 
Lewellen E Snow, 
Elizabeth D. Singeltary, 
Ervin Singeltary, 
Davis H. Shaw, 
James E. Strong, 
Margaret O. Strong, 
Edwina Strong, 
Madeline Strong, 
Sarah A. W. Snowden, 
Amelia M. Snowden, 
E. Brannard Scott, 
Ann Sinclair Scott, 
James E. Scott, 
Susan E. Scott, 
Benj. F. Scott, 
Julia E. Scott, 
William G. Scott, 
Samuel A. Scott, 
Mary A. S. Scott, 

William H. McElveen, 
Enmia McElveen, 
Sidney S. McGill, 
Mary Ann McGill, 
M. Irene McGill, 
Sarah G. McGill, 
Amelia- J. McGill, 
Ellen D. McGill, 
Addie O. McGill, 
George M. McKnight, 
Edward McKnight, 
Benj. F. McKnight, 
Katherine McWilliams, 
Dora Morris, 
James Murphy. 
Lebby A. Newsom. 
Susan L. Owens, 
Mary J. Owens, 
W. Dingle Owens, 
Robert J. Patterson, 
John N. Sauls, 
E. Henry Sauls, 
G. Levi Sauls, 
W. James Scurry, 
Jeremiah J. Snow. 
W. J. D. Singeltary, 
James M. Shaw, 
Isaac H. Strong, 
E. Cornelia Strong, 
Ellen J. Strong, 
John Strong, 
Mary L. J. Snowden, 
Samuel J. Snowden, 
S. McBride Scott, 
Susan T. Scott, 
John R. Scott. 
Mary E. Scoit. 
Eugenia P. Scott, 
Junius E. Scott, 
David C. Scott, 
Thermutus C. Scott, 
W. Robert Scott, 



Louisa M. Scott, 
S. McGill Scott, 
James H. Tisdale, 
J. Yancey Tisdale, 
Robert S. I'isdale, 
Robert Saml. Tisdale, 
Sarah E. Tisdale, 
John W. Tisdale, 
Agnes L. Tisdale, 
Mary M. Tisdale, 
William V. Tisdale, 
Martha P. Tisdale. 
Samuel J. Thorp, 
Jefferson D. Thompson, 
Katherine Thompson, 
William M. Wilson, 
M. Emma Wilson, 
Robert M. Wilson. 
Wistar Wheeler, 
Daniel Hough. 
James Murphy, 
Margaret E. Flowers, 

Martha M. Scott, 
Elizabeth A. Scott, 
David L. Scott, 
Adelaid J. Tisdale, 
William VV. Tisdale, 
Louisa M. Tisdale, 
James G. Tisdale, 
Agnes L. Tisdale, 
Edgar H. Tisdale, 
John Show Tisdale, 
Margaret C. P. Tisdale, 
Margaret E. Tisdale, 
Mary Frances Tisdale, 
Joseph A. Thompson, 
Adell Thompson, 
Eliza Ann Wilson. 
S. Itley Wilson. 
Wilham J. Wilson. 
Sarah Wilson, 
J. Preston Wlieeler. 
George Hough. 
Franklin W^oodburv. 

Total number of scholars 258. 

In connection with "Epistle to Sam" and the list of pupils, 
a letter previously received and the subsequent career of holi- 
ness and other virtues of these scholars are deemed worthy of 
a presentation. The former, for its novel manner of an invita- 
tion to his wedding, preserved for the style of letter paper be- 
fore envelopes were manufactured, and the letter for its useful- 
ness in the pulpit: 

'"Friendship P. O.. Sumter District, Oct. i8th. 1849. 
"My Dear Friend: — It is natural with genuine friends to 
impart to each other their joys, as well as their sorrows, but 
at this time I have no sorrows, no heart-rending chances, no 
bitterness of soul; on the other hand I have to impart to thee, 
my old and sympathising friend, the greatest of joys, the 
greatest of all felicity. At last, in my 36th year, after all the 
misfortunes which I have lived through, after all the agonies 
of heart that I have borne, after all the trials and heart-rending 
scenes that I have passed through, after having my poor heart 

194 . Reminiscences of 

shattered and turned again into chaos. I say after all this and 
much more besides, I have come out of the cog" wheels of de- 
struction, an unscathed youth, and will be married to a lovely 
and exquisitely beautiful girl in a couple of weeks. How joy- 
ous 'twould be to my soul to see you at my nuptial ceremony! 
Can you not come to Summerton next Wednesday week and 
see me out? 

■'Come, come, we may not meet again; 
'Twill bring to mind each joy, each pain; 
'Twill bring to mind youth past, insane 

And many a feeling 
Long latent in our hearts; I fain 

Would cease congealing. 
Come, come, we were as few have been. 
1 might go on and make some rhymes, 
Buf then it does not suit the times. 
Shall I say heartless Sam. Adiew, J. S. R." 

To his heartless Sam this friend wrote a letter while lying 
on his death bed, begging him to come with all speed, as he 
wanted to see him once more before he died. This letter was 
delayed and Sam arrived in Kingstree only to be informed that 
John Rich was dead and buried. 

Jeremiah J. Snow was the son of Mr. James Snow, who 
resided at the China Grove place. His father was a devout 
Christian and a farmer of considerable means. He was the 
head of Cnion Methodist Church and his affections were easily 
moved to tears and in audible lamentations during divine ser- 
vice in the church. His son, the Rev. Jeremiah, exhibited at 
school in the years 1848 and 1849, ^ ^ove of the classics and his 
gentle behavior was admired by his teacher and all the schol- 
ars. After the completion of his youthful studies he early at- 
tached himself to the Methodist Church, and continuing in 
the line of duty as he consciously believed, he entered the min- 
istry and became a divine. The Rev. Jeremiah Snow was ap- 
pointed chaplain in Col. Witherspoon's regiment, stationed in 
Georgetown in the winter of '63-'64. In our unsettled condi- 
tion after the war, he engaged his pen as a means of support, 
and becoming palsied, he came tO' Kingstree and died a 
few years ago. 

The other scholar referred to is Josiah Frierson, who is 
now a Methodist minister, and is the son of Mr. John Frier- 

Williamsburg County. 195 

son. The Friersons of the White Oak section, are among the 
oldest settlers of our district. The first prominence of any 
value was the election of Josiah's grand-father, Mr. John 
Frierson, to the ordinary's office at Kingstree, in which he 
died, and afterwards by the election of his father, Mr. John 
Frierson, to the tax collector's office just before the war. 
Among the pleasant associations formed in the White Oak 
section in 1866, when this writer removed hither, aside from 
the James, Witherspoons, Cades, Hannas and Burrows fami- 
lies, Mr. John Frierson and family were foremost to recognize 
neighbors' relations. He married a daughter of the late Wash- 
ington Cockfleld. All the children of the family possess dis- 
tinouishins: abilities. The eldest son, William Moultrie, and 
his brother, Josiah, hold uncommon advantages, the one for 
his skill in mechanism, his stern and uncompromising address 
and his bold and patriotic devotion to his State, and the other 
for the affection and Christian practices at school when a boy, 
afterwards advanced as a prominent Methodist minister and 
esteemed and beloved for his perseverance and zeal. . 

Along with other scholars Jennet Drucilla Burgess incites 
a special notice for her attention to her studies, her ambition 
and for her love and affection for her Uncle Sam. With her 
school books she ever had her little Bible, and judging by the 
difl'erent pages marked by a white ribbon in her progress day 
by day, she desired to read the Bible through in her girlhood. 
Her even temper and her quiet deportment alike unfolded the 
pious sentiment of her breast. In January, 1854, she married 
Dr. John C. Williams, of Chesterfield district, who already had 
settled among us, and by his social and Christian profession, 
he soon received attention and respect. Being of strong Wes- 
leyan religious faith and practices, he was prominent in the 
building of the Cedar Swamp Methodist Church. He died in 
1857, in the vigor of life and is buried in that church yard. In 
1856, Mrs. Williams with her three little sons moved into Ar- 
kansas with her mother. The possession of many ennobling 
qualities has been made clearly manifest in the pious education 
she gave to her three boys, and by eft'orts and prayers the 
subsequent collegiate and ecclesiastic course of education of 
her two youngest sons, Charles Craig and John C. Williams, 
who are now ministers of the gospel in good standing" in the 
Presbytery in Arkansas. 

Minto Witherspoon McGill was a scholar in our first 

196 Reminiscenxes of 

school in 1838. He moved away into Arkansas in 1857, and is 
now known in Camden of that State where he hves, as "Old 
Maj. McGill." A case occurred in that old school house at 
Indiantown which will ever be remembered. Minto was 
whipped, and the little fellow tearfully cried out: '"Oh, Sam- 
mie, you hurt me." Even now it is presumed that similar 
cases have silently occurred in our old time schools, where our 
fathers' maxim, "A boy that can sing and won't sing, should 
be made to sing," was carried into execution. A boy's predi- 
lection or preferences were never consulted. In palliation for tlie 
treatment we got in school a fact should be borne in mind, that 
the teacher had to endure great trials and perplexities, as in 
the dread of pins fastened in the bottom of his chair, 
shaking fasts at the teacher's head behind his back and doing 
many other vexatious pranks in a covert way. He was kept 
busy all day talking and watching, and ere the time for -the 
close of the school he was very tired. The school being dis- 
missed and the children in great joy he inwardly says: "Go, 
and joy go with you." 

And yet the next morning brings the bright and shining 
faces of the scholars, and their pleasant greetings to the school 
master, who too comes to them with renewed spirit and en- 

Among the many pleasant remembrances arising from 
the scholars' studious habits and respect and affection for their 
teacher, there was one of such mutual endearments that the 
recall of Neighbor D. Lesesne, a pupil at the Kingstree Acad- 
emy in 1850, excites a tear at his early death. Neighbor, as 
\\& all called him, married Miss Marion Ervin, sister of Gen. 
W. T. Ervin, spoken of elsewhere, and was happily situated on 
his Santee plantation. Soon our late war began and he obeyed 
his country's call, enlisted in the Manning Guards, which 
formed a part of the Hampton Legion, was in the first battle 
of Manassas and was fatally wounded. While yet lying on the 
ground, exposed to the fire of both armies and nearly ex- 
hausted, a Yankee soldier, happening to pass, gave him a 
drink of water from his canteen, w^iich revived him till taken 
up late in the evening by our ambulance. He was carried to 
a private house, and tho' kindly treated he died, and was bur- 
ied before his wife reached there. He left an only child named 
for him, who is now the educated, intelligent gentleman. 
Neighbor D. Lesesne. 

Williamsburg County. 197 

The Lesesnes. together with a dozen or more of VVilhams- 
burg's prominent citizens, belong to the French Huguenots, 
who possessed great social and political status and wealth 
among the Scotch Irish Presbyterians of this county. The 
Hon. James L. Mouzon, in his early manhood, used this ar- 
gument to this writer when his friend, was disposed to extol 
the Scotch Irish Presbyterians above the Huguenots, and suc- 
ceeded in a high meastire to increase his affections for the 
Huguenot families. He said: "Your people came over here 
tO' better their financial condition, while my people left their 
dear old France on account of religious persecution." 

This fact being admitted, yet the Scotch Irish Presbyte- 
rians built the Williamsburg and Indiantown Presbyterian 
Churches, w'hich were the first houses of worship erected in 
our dear old Williamsburg county. 

When Dr. AIcGill engaged his first school at Cedar 
Swamp in 1847, the children of the late Thomas Armstrong 
McCrea entered his school. Again when he moved down to 
the Indiantown Academy the two boys followed. So toO' at 
Kingstree in 1850, and at the Never Fail Academy in subse- 
quent years. "Tump" and "Celly," as they were called, 
boarded with us, were a part of our family. A few years elap- 
sing, Mrs. McGill was joyous when Thomas made suit to her 
Cousin Mary M. Tisdale and, Marcellus following suit, sought 
and obtained the heart and hand of her sister, Adalaid J. Tis- 
dale, and our joy was consummated when we attended their 

Josina McCrea boarded with us when a pupil and was of 
such silent behavior, pretty face and affection that she was en- 
deared in our family. 

Sam and Sarah resided quite near to the Indiantown 
Academy in 1848 and 1849. ^^ this school there were many 
fine spellers and perhaps who were ambitious and contentious 
to be head and among them were Mary Snowden, Lydea 
Hanna. and many others. The girls were nearly grown, beau- 
tiful and interesting, and Sarah rejoiced tO' see them at the 
head, but the boys wanted to be there too, and none more so 
than little Dock Hanna, as he was called. He was so inclined 
to be head or to hold his place that he firmly refused to go 
down when corrected, but forced the class to extend the line 
at the head, apparently then resolving to adopt the Latin 
phrase, "Nulla vestigia retro." At this time he looked very sav- 

198 Reminiscences of 

age, and when the head hesitated as to the right letter in the 
middle of a word Dock would quickly supply the letter and 
force his way up. Seeing little Dock thus treat the big girls 
and turn them down, Mrs. McGill was so provoked that she 
said she wanted to whip the saucy little chap, and yet, in after 
years she was a great admirer of Mr. H. Z. Hanna. Quis non? 

The Never Fail Academy on Black River was erected and 
ready for occupancy in January. 1853, and in this school Dr. 
McGill was employed as their teacher for three years. No 
years of Sam's life were more delightful. The Dukes children 
were of great sprightfulness; the Owens children remarked 
for the gentle and Christian qualities of their parents; the 
Strong children for their affection for the teacher and obe- 
dience to the rules; William Tisdale's children for their intel- 
ligence; Col. Tisdale's children for the beauty of person, and 
of James Gamble Tisdale, his manly appearance, and last but 
not least, are the children of Samuel Tisdale, who, like him, 
ever walked in wisdom's ways. Their sons, James Henry, 
John Yancey, William Warren and Robert Strong Tisdale, 
now fully represent the endearing qualities of old Mr. Sam 
Tisdale. However much the two elder brothers sported 
among the deer, wild turkies and fishes in the river, they to- 
gether with all the Tisdales found greatest pleasure in the late 
spring time mounted on their horses, in company with their 
fathers, and hunt up and drive home the immense stock of cat- 
tle. The gathering up of their cattle was the work of several 
days, and in driving home this large (juantity of live stock 
along the public road, the lowing of the cows, the bleating of 
the calves, the yells of the horsemen and the cracks of their 
whips could be heard for several miles around. This was the 
sight of those times. 

The omission of the recreations had on Saturdays, rainy 
days and vacations of school in the woods around his pleasant 
home on Black River, planned and ornamented with the oak, 
elm and maple, during the ten years preceding our war, and in 
the sweet enjoyment of the society of wife and the births of the 
first four children, would exhibit an absence of appreciation 
of the comforts and blessings which at that time accompanied 
our pathway. These sports were made with the deer, the wild 
turkies and the fish in Black River, and are copied from diary 
as made at the time. The extended woods afforded pasturage 
and shelter for the deer and turkies and the river and its creeks 

Williamsburg County. 199 

abounded in the fish. Here is an entry: "The Woods. 1851, 
July 3rd. Alone I drove and afoot in hearing of my place, and 
started six deer which I know, two at Canebranch, one at 
Martin old field, one at my turkey blind, one at'TVIartin mill 
branch, one near the Hewitt field, and in the evening one at 
the nine mile branch." Also this entry to show the difference 
in markmanship between shooting into a flock of tame goats 
and the wild and swift footed deer, bounding over bvishes and 
logs, pursued by the hounds often in full cry, just behind them. 
At any rate, the present shooting will show the improvement 
made on his father's reputation as a marksman, as he carried no 
gun in the woods, but depended on the crack of his long whip 
and his shrill and lusty yell, to force the deer to run out by 
the standers, and hence he was considered the driver for his 
communit}' : 

"185 1 — I buck at head of Delane, 80 or 100 yards, killed; 
I deer in Delane, 25 or 30 yards, killed; 2 fine bucks. Blue 
Spring, 100 or no yards, missed; i deer in Guinea old field, 50 
or 60 yards, missed; 2 deer in Manning's pond, 125 or 150 
yards, missed ; i fawn in River islands, 35 or 40 yards, killed ; 
I deer in River islands, 30 or 35 yards, missed; 3 deer in River 
islands. 125 or 150 yards, missed; i deer in bean patch, 60 or 
70 yards, missed; i deer in Lesesne swamp. 40 or 50 yards, 
blooded ; i fawn, in Lesesne old field, 25 or 30 yards, missed ; 
I deer along the drain, 35 or 40 yards, missed; i fawn, Blatin 
Bay, 30 or 35 yards, missed; i deer in Cedar Bay, 30 or 35 
yards, missed; i doe in old field, 40 or 45 yards, killed. — 19; 
one killed in every 4 3-4." 

While Sam was sporting Sarah was working, and her gar- 
den gave evidence of her economy and industry as the follow- 
ing entry will establish: 

"The Woods, 185 1, February 8. Planted in the garden 
peas and turnips; February 11, planted mustard, kale, beets, 
green glaze and early yorks; February' 14, planted nine quarts 
Irish potatoes; 15 March, eat radishes; 17 May, eat Irish po- 
tatoes (not good); 20 May, eat beans; 23 May, eat squashes; 
26 May, Sarah commenced planting rice in a pond. 

Wild Turkies. 

"1855 — Killed 4 turkies at a blind, and to show that they 
were no rarity on our table, Sarah made the following distribu- 
tion of them : One to her mother, one to John Morris, a white 

200 Reminiscences ot 

laborer on the place, and one to the negroes. As to the fish 
we had them only when it was planned to go with somebody 
else to the river. Sarah was fond of the sport and was fre- 
quently with Sam at the river with her cane and a small negro 
boy to attend upon her." 

They were at the river one day and Sam had his gun and 
dogs and was strolling around shooting squirrels, leaving Sa- 
rah and her servant to catch the fish. Presently he heard a 
loud cry of distress, and hastening to them he found Sarah 
standing on the bank with water trickling from her hair and 
streaming from her clothes. She had slipped and fallen into 
its deep water over her head, but her presence of mind did not 
forsake her, as she seized hold of a log, crawled upon it to the 
bank and rescued lierself from drowning, as her boy was so 
frightened he did nothing but scream. Sam wrung out Sarah's 
wet clothes, folded his coat around her, and placing her in her 
saddle, they weresoonat home, two miles away. Ever afterwards 
Sarah was pleased to tell of her heroism in drowning water 
and considered her recovery as one of the brave acts of her 
eventful life. The above accident gave rise to the name as 
"Sarah's Lake." 

It would be an act of ingratitude to slight a faithful ser- 
vant, who contributed to the joys of our household and to the 
alleviation of our distresses. Silvy, stout of frame, of pleasant 
manners and good sense, was even present with us, whether in 
the field with her hoe, in the kitchen with her pots and pans, 
and in the house ready and willing at every call to administer 
to the wants of our children. Indeed, so attached were the 
children to her that they loved to be in her arms, caressed her 
and addressed her as "Manuner." She died a few years after 
the war and Sarah and all the children mourned her death, as 
her life Was marked for her fidelity and affection shown to her 
"Missy" and her children, in which even the results of our 
war did not alienate or affect their mutual attachment, as 
Silvy, of the Pressley stock of negroes, never knew any other 

National Celebrations. 

The 4th of July of every year has long been a day expres- 
sive of a day of great jubilee for the people of the United 
States since the organization of their Federal government. Its 
advent and celebration in Williamsburg district. South Caro- 

Williamsburg County. 201 

lina, have been anxiously awaited by the old and the young. 
It is now ahnost a thing of the past when compared with the 
enthusiasm as now exercised in its coming as that of the long 
years ago, and there is scarcely a simile between them. A few 
of us recall 4th of July days as observed more than a half cen- 
tury ago when the people from all over the district jomeu m 
one universal jollification as they assembled at our court house 
in Kingstree. We had music, a speech, and a public dinner. 
The music was rendered on fine violins, costing fifty or a hun- 
dred dollars, by such elegant fiddlers as G. Henry Chandler, 
William R. Scott. William D. McClary and T. Armstrong 
McCrea. They never failed to play "Hail Columbia" and 
Washington's March, in two parts, seated as they were up in 
the court house gallery during the entrance and conclusion of 
the speech of the orator of the day. At the dinner, either at 
the Nelson or Staggers hotel, they gave their attendance in 
the large hall after dinner, and signified their readiness to 
amuse by playing: "Come, haste to the Wedding," or the 
"Campbells are Coming," or other lovely airs, considered as 
dancing tunes for the dancers on the floor in the long Virginia 
Reel. They too gave delight to the more bashful young men, 
peeping" in at the windows and crowding the front door way 
that there was neither ingress or egress, while the dear elder 
matrons filling the inner doors and passages, watched and ad- 
mired the fashion, beauty and grace of their daughters as they 
glide along in the dance with eligible young men as partners 
on the floor. 

After dinner, and the dishes and clothes being removed 
and the bottles of wme being produced, the chairman of the 
meeting pro tem. read the regular toasts, prepared for the oc- 
casion, being generally of a political and highly exciting char- 
acter, and which were loudly applauded. Then volunteer 
toasts followed, more or less inflammatory, and were seriously 
entertained, bearing on State right doctrines and looking to 
a secession movement. On one of these occasions and while 
the crowd was wildly enthused, a young lawyer from Colum- 
bia, who had settled in Kingstree, arose and said he had a 
toast to give, which he hoped would be received in silence and 
profound respect, thus: "Here is to the thousand and one 
pigs which have this day bled and died in their country's 
cause." The sentiment was a new' one to us and we enjoyed 
it highly, causing a milder channel of enthusiasm by those 

202 Reminiscences of 

of us who, like our fathers, loved the Union and were not loud 
in denouncing the whole Yankee family and our Northern 
brethren, as side by side they fought the British in the old 
Revolutionary war. 

Proceeding in our 4th of July celebrations 3nd arriving at 
the years just precednig our Secession Ordinance, an incident 
occurred at a public dinner, had in the grove in the Nelson 
yard, which will illustrate the Union principles of one of the 
great political Union leaders in the days of the Nullifica- 
tion struggle. At this dinner. Col. William Cooper, of ad- 
vanced age and of great observation, was present and being 
called on for a toast, gave: "The Union, what God hath 
joined, let no man put asunder." This evoked a reply from 
the chairman of the meeting and from others entertaining the 
opposite sentiment and recognized as leading, red-hot Seces- 
sionists. In substantial reply. Colonel Cooper, feeling ag- 
grieved, said he was a private citizen and had a right to his 
opinion, which he had often publicly declared; that he had 
been taught to love the Union of our States and he loved it 
still, and that time will prove that slavery is stronger in the 
Union than out of it, and many other sensible remarks he 
made at the time, which subsequent events fully justified all 
along the line of our bloody Confederate war. During the 
first two years of the war he was a sneering object and threats 
were made against his property ; yet he suffered no bodily vio- 
lence, as did Laocoon, of Trojan fame, for opposing the roll- 
ing the wooden horse of the Greeks, instar montis, within the 
walls of Troy. The introduction of this horse, full of armed 
Grecian soldiery, caused the sack of that Hectorian city and 
Troy fell in a heap of ashes to rise no more. \ irgil, its his- 
torian, thus reflects on the sad catastrophe and deduces these 
probabilities — 

Et, si fata deum, si mens non lueva fuesset 
Trojaque nunc starct. Priamique arx alta manores. 

At these various schools when boys and girls interchange 
love smiles and give love tokens behind the teacher's back, and 
for hours face each other in the school house, it is no- wonder 
that their youthful hearts beat in unison and their nuptials 
celebrated in after years. While there were many such cases, 
that of J. J. M. Graham and Missouri Sauls invites an intro- 
duction, in that they are neighbors and extend many acts of 

Williamsburg County, 203 

kindnesses to their old teacher. Missouri Sauls, now Mrs. 
Graham, is the only daughter of Mr. E. S. Sauls, who re- 
sembles her father, is gay and full of life, as seen in her society 
and a devout Christian worshipper; unlike her four brothers, 
who are silent and reserved and seem to do a great deal of ob- 
servation and thinking. Of these latter qualities, Eli and Levi 
Sauls are ever marked and remarked upon. More so of Levi, 
the youngest brother, who is now off at college, and 'tis pre- 
dicted that he will be a scientist inferior to none, as he pos- 
sesses the brain and studious habits necessary for that dis- 
tinction. J. J. M. Graham, Jr., (Jimmy, as we call him) is one 
of our most interesting, energetic and public spirited young 
men and in these respects he fully represents his grand father, 
old Mr. James Graham, already spoken of in this Narrative, 
as a figure in the days of our nullification struggles, and like 
him, he is brave to declare his preferences in political disturb- 
ances and to maintain them by words and acts. He is the only 
son of Mr. John J. M. Graham, Sr., who, following in the ways 
and means of his father, has been, able to settle his children 
around him in comfortable style. Anna, his eldest daughter, 
married John Peter Epps, and they have a large family of 
boys and it is a pleasure to hear Peter, or Pete, as familiarly 
addressed, speak in company of "my boys," and well he 
should, for they are a noble set in general appearance and bid 
fair to make their mark as honest, thrifty and intelligent and 
useful citizens, as their parents are giving them opportunities 
to make themselves what their natural intelligent faces indi- 
cate. Mr. John Graham's second daughter, Laura, married 
Henry McFadden, and both dying, left three orphan boys — 
John, Julius and Henry McFadden. His youngest daughter, 
Alice, married John T. McElveen, who, settling two miles be- 
low Cades, has built up a neat residence and farm around him 
at a place the least inviting, thus showing what a man of 
energy and determination can accomplish where others less 
endowed would make a dead failure. 

204 Reminicensces of 




This chapter covers a period from the beginning of our 
late war to its close, and such facts are given concerning it as 
are recorded in diary kept in i860 and '61, and after that time 
on fly leaves of books and scraps of paper gathered here and 
there, as our country had no paper outside the use of the gov- 
ernment. These items are given in the language in which they 
were recorded, with very few changes made necessary to a 
better tmderstanding of the facts of our condition, and besides 
they were put down in short sentences and were not expected 
at the time to be brought to light and exhibited for the reading 
of a subsequent generation. 

"16 December, i860. Visited K. T. and saw the Seces- 
sion flag. South Carolina will certainly go out of the Union 
to-morrow. From Tuesday, ist January, 1861, to Saturday, 
5th inst., a very remarkable week. Eighty-odd 'Wee Nee Vol- 
unteer Riflemen' took the cars at Kingstree to go to Charles- 
ton and assist our State from being coerced back into the 
Union. Their departure was a sad affair, as old men delivered 
their sons to Capt. John G. Pressley, and to Lieutenants Sam- 
uel W. Maurice and R. C. Logan, and as others told the 
young volunteers good-bye for the last time as they expected. 

"13 January. Times hotter than ever and many indica- 
tions of a feaful war. South Carolina fired upon 'Star of the 
West' bringing reinforcements to jMaj. Anderson at Fort 
Sumter, which being crippled, went back to sea. 

''19th Janviary. Great noise and stir about war and sev- 
eral new companies have volnteered. Many planters sent able 
bodied hands to fortify Fort Moultrie and Sullivan's Island." 

Week ending 26th January. Was in Charleston with my 
daughter, Irene, and we visited the Tisdale boys and soldiers 
on Sullivan's Island, stationed at the Moultrie House, and the 
Bay being very rough, we were forced to remain with the sol- 
diers that night. 

On the 4th March, Abraham Lincoln, the Republican 
President-elect, was inaugurated, and proclaimed coercion, 
contrary to the belief of many Southern patriots. The South 

Williamsburg County. 205 

has been much excited and war considered beyond doubt. 
There are now seceded States seven in number and known as 
"The Confederate States," wnth Jeff Davis as President. 

To 23d March. Paid taxes tO' John Frierson for 1135 
acres of land and 13 slaves, being $23.00. 

On the I2tli inst., our troops began the bombardment of 
Fort Sumter which continued thirty hours, and at 11 o'clock, 
Saturday, 13th, its garrison surrendered without the loss of a 
single life on either side. In the country here the guns' re- 
ports were not heard the first day, but on Saturday at day 
every gun could be distinctly heard, which for a time every- 
body took to be thunder. There were eighty-two reports 
fired in half an hour. Great rejoicing everywhere, but 'tis 
feared this is not the end. 

Week to 9th June. Much ado about the Lincoln troops 
invading Virginia, and their brutal conduct in Alexandria has 
aroused everybody. Our South Carolina Volunteers have ob- 
tained the most dangerous position. 

Week ending i6th June. Busy this week rubbing down 
and breaking my ponies to buggy to carry my two little 
daughters to the dinner given in honor of the Wee Nee Com- 
pany, who were now at home. There was an immense crowd 
in Kingstree and probably more ladies than at any former 
meeting. Speeches were made by T. Logan, J. O. Hardin, 
and Capt. Pressley. A bountiful dinner and enough left for a 
thousand more, given in Cooper's yard at the Patterson place, 
for its shades and well of water. 

Week ending 14th July. Lincoln's vvar message to Con- 
gress, calling for four hundred thousand troops and four hun- 
dred million dollars, aroused our citizens, and many young 
men have gone to join Col. Blanding for Virginia. 

Week ending 28th July. A battle has been fought in Vir- 
ginia at Bull Run, and the enemy repulsed. Gen. Beavire- 
gard commanded our forces and Gen. McDowell the enemies' 
forces. It was fought on 21st July at Stone Bridge, Bull Run, 
Virginia, in which we gained a great victory, completely rout- 
ing the enemy and pursuing them till night closed upon our 
troops. We took all their batteries, amounting to fifty-seven 
guns, great many small arms, ammunition stores, knapsacks, 
blankets, caps, &c., besides wagons loaded with five months' 
provisions for an army of eighty thousand men. Our loss was 
inconsiderable to that of the enemy, they having lost in killed 

206 Reminiscences of 

and wounded over five thousand men, among whom are many 
officers. We have lost three generals, viz.: Gen. Bee, of South 
Carolina; Gen. Bartow, of Georgia, and Gen. Kirby Smith, of 
Florida, or such are the reports. Williamsburg county had 
five soldiers in the battles of i8th and 21st inst.. Neighbor D. 
Lesesne and Charley Jones seriously wounded; George Weir 
slightly; while Samuel H. Jones and Robert A. Flagler are un- 
hurt. From one end of "C. S. A." the excitement is prodi- 
gious to all parts, and universal rejoicing for our delivery from 
the Vandals who had started that grand army South. 

Week ending 25th August. The war is still raging. Gen. 
Ben 'McCullough engaged Gen. Lyons and gained a great vic- 
tory. Lyons was killed. They fought near Springfield, Mis- 
souri, on loth inst., our loss being four hundred killed and 
eight hundred wounded, while the Lincoln troops lost eight 
hundred killed and twenty-five hundred wounded. 

Ending ist September. The report is that the Forts at 
Cape Hatteras, N. C, are taken by the Yankees. We lost 
sixty or eighty killed and six hundred made prisoners, only 
twelve of the garrison succeeded in making their escape. 

8th September. Two companies left this week under 
Capt. J. G. Pressley and Capt. J. B. Chandler, for drills at 
Light wood Knot Springs and Fort Johnson, and on yesterday 
one other company was organized under Capt Samuel W. 
Maurice, to which I and Jno. E. Scott have attached ourselves. 

Week ending 15th September. We are in the midst of a 
long and desperate struggle, for foreign powers are deter- 
mined on strict neutrality and no recognition. Thefe is 
no abatement of the money pressure, but on the other hand 
money no where can be got. Volunteers have gone away and 
neither they nor their friends could succeed in getting money 
for them. Everything is enormously high and still advancing. 
Salt is six dollars per sack, coffee once thirty-three cents per 
pound is one dollar and thirty-three cents, and no credit. All 
groceries are cash, while there is no money to buy them with, 
1 have yet on hand one sack of salt and forty or fifty pounds 
of cofifee. 

Judging from tlie many reports received from the then 
seat of war, our victorious army had pressed the Yankees in 
and around Washington City, protected by the Potomac river 
and the Arlington Heights. We daily expect the capture of 
our Capital, by which the foreign powers would recognize us 

Williamsburg County. 207 

as Belligerents and thus the war would be ended. A letter 
written in answer to one received from a friend then in the 
front in Virginia, has been preserved and the first six lines 
and the last six are copied only to show the patriotic senti- 
ment contained in the two last lines of his letter: 

"A day of wind and rain 27th September, 1861. 
The wind is wild, and low the tall trees bend, 
r^rom flying clouds the drifting drops descend; 

Nature now seems moved to join in the strife 

Of North and South in the destruction of life; 
Which battle after battle plainly declare, 
The end of which no mind can ken, I'll swear. 

On Sunday last your letter came to hand, 
Glad to hear from you and our gallant band. 
For me tell the boys "buddy," and God bless them 
With good stomachs and enough to mess them, 
And when our flag is planted in Washington 
Let it be done by a South Carolina son. 
To Junius E. Scott, 9th Regiment S. C. V., Virginia." 

Week ending 19th October. Many of the sick soldiers 
have returned on furloughs and look very badly. Our forces 
on the Potomac have retreated to Manassas, which is not fa- 
vorable. Much imeasiness prevails on accoimt of not being 
able to get shoes and clothing for our negroes. 

Week ending 26th October. Another great victory has 
been gained by Gen. Evans at Leesburg, 25 miles above Cen- 
treville, Va., four hundred and fifty of the enemy killed and 
wounded besides thirteen hundred prisoners, while our loss 
was only one htmdred and sixty killed and wounded. 

Week ending 9th November, 1861. My reports for this 
year in all probability close, for I am called away into camp. 
South Carolina is invaded, and now 35,000 Yankees are upon 
her soil, and they must be driven back. On the 7th inst.. the 
Yankee fleet, consisting of 42 vessels, entered Port Royal en- 
trance, silenced our batteries there, and put to flight our gar- 
rison, after a struggle of 12 hours. The town of Beaufort is 
deserted and left to the ravages of the Hessian invaders. The 
whole State is desperately aroused to repel the Yankees after 
they have landed. The program of their naval expedition is 
carried out. This does not look right in South Carolina in not 

208 Reminiscences of 

making additional preparations for the defense of Port Royal. 
But on every hand there seems to be the opinion "let them 
come." We are not able to fight them on water, having no 
navy; now that they have landed we can and will pitch into 
them. Gen. Harllee's Legion, of which Capt. Maurice's Com- 
pany form a part, and to which I belong, is ordered to George- 
town and report 9 o'clock Wednesday, the 13th inst., and I go. 

This day may be the last that I may ever be with my fam- 
ily in this world, who is not in a situation to leave so, yet 
thousands of others have left their families perhaps in a worse 
condition. My wife is in a critical situation, yet I know she 
is firm and resolute. My children are small, yet I know that 
my daughter Irene is a remarkably inteUigent girl, and 
if her life is spared will be of help to her mother. The above 
was written Monday before day. 

On Tuesday, 12th November, 1861, I took my departure 
for the camp. This was indeed the most sorrowful day of my 
life. However, the departure was not made hastily, but pre- 
parations had been made for it several days before. I had 
written my will in which were my parting words of admoni- 
tion to my children. I had advised with my wife as to business 
and as to the education of our children, and training them 
in the love of God. For da3^s we wept in each other's 
arms, and my two eldest children would sing some of our fa- 
vorite songs, till their sweet little voices would become stifled 
and choked by their tears and sobs, while the other smaller 
ones (three of them) seemed to be equally moved. I shook 
hands with all the negroes and about sunrise I mounted my 
horse to join my companions in arms at "Hickson Old Field," 
five miles away. Twenty-odd soldiers had assembled with 
wagons and provisions for three days. We jogged on till we 
arrived at Totatoe Ferry and crossing the river we partook of 
a bountiful and rich repast, and upon our arrival at the cross 
roads, two miles beyond the ierry, we were met by other mem- 
bers of our conmpany under our officers, Samuel W. Maurice, 
captain; R. C. Logan, William McCullough, and S. Isaac 
Montgomery, lieutenants. A little before sun set, the long 
caravan of wagons, cars, buggies and footmen took up a line 
of march to the bluff this side of Indian Hut Swamp and 
camped. By the time the fires were kindled and the horses fed 
all reclined on the ground to rest. It was rest, for after we 
had dispatched ham, turkey, chickens, pork, rice, biscuits and 

Williamsburg County. ".ioi* 

butter and coffee, then jokes and anecdotes began, led in chief 
by Thomas S. Stuart, which made our voices reverberate 
among- the dense forest around us. For one, I cannot say that 
these were pleasure to me, my mind not being in a situation to 
enjoy the hilarity of the camp. The fires slackened, silence be- 
gan to reign, and the small hours of the night have come, and 
the moon shines with all its beauty and glory as we sleep. Long 
before daylight all were up, anxious to report ourselves in 
Georgetown tO' Col. Manigault of the loth Regiment of S. C. 
Volunteers, then in part encamped at White's Bridge. Arriv- 
ing in Georgetown we were quartered in a plain, comfortable 
dwelling a short distance below the market. Our messes had 
been formed before we left home, and the following formed 
mess No. i : Dr. J. S. Cunningham, Dr. S. D. McGill, A. F. 
Gardner, John E. Scott, Alex, and William McCullough, J. P. 
Thompson. Frank Cantley. Edward Howard and Samuel 
Hanna. In a week or ten days we moved over the Sampit 
River to a place called Sevenity, all under the command of 
Col. R. F. Graham, whose regiment was composed of six or 
eight hundred soldiers. Here drills began in good earnest, 
and we tried to look as military as our every day clothes and 
old shot guns would permit. Our ninety days' enlistment hav- 
ing expired and there seeming to be no- great need of our ser- 
vices at this point the Harllee Legion was disbanded, many of 
which went into other service, while many more returned 
home to their families and plantation. 

In 1862 was begun the boiling of salt on the sea coast, 
which necessary article was of great concern. In McClannon- 
ville, boiling was made in old turpentine boilers cut in half. 
Its salt being engaged to the government, private parties go- 
ing there for salt found difificulty in getting it at $10 per 
bushel. In the last year of the war corn and other produce 
carried in four horse wagons a long distance from home had 
to be bartered for salt. 

In September of this year there was a great demand for 
soldiers to defend our sea coast, and companies composed of 
old men and broken down Confederate soldiers, residing in 
our Congressional district, were called into service. After 
serving two months at Fort Finger on the Pee Dee River, Col. 
E. B. C. Cash's regiment was ordered to report at George- 
town, and thither we went. At an election for officers for the 

210 Reminiscences of 

Williamsburg and Georgetown company the following men 
were chosen: 

S. D. McGill, Captain. 

A. F. Gardner, ist Lieutenant. 
W. G. Cantley, 2d Lieutenant. 
W. J. Grayson, 3rd Lieutenant. 

There were eight other companies and were given posi- 

Company A — Captain Evans. 
Company D — Captain McGill. 
Company C — Captain Williamson. 
Company E — Captain Dunbar. 
Company B — Captain Ellerbe. 
Company F — Captain Rouse. 
Company I — Captain Larimore. 
Company H — Captain Philips. 
Company G — Captain McGillbery. 

Thus it will be seen that Williamsburg was assigned as a 
guard around the colors of the regiment, obtained by Major 
L B. Chandler, interested in our county. At the organization 
of Company D, the following non-commissioned ofihcers were 
appointed by its captain: 

W. D. Fulton, 1st Sergeant. 
W. J. Lee, 2d Sergeant. 
S. J. Strong, 3d Sergeant. 
Jesse Carter, 4th Sergeant. 
T. S. Stuart, 5th Sergeant. 
J. M. Gordon, ist Corporal. 
R. F. Scott, 2d Corporal. 
E. H. McConnell, 3d Corporal. 
W. J. Stone, 4th Corporal. 

The latter being quickly detailed in blacksmith shop, J. D. 
Harper was appointed in his place. 

At first there were 126 men on roll, but a few were de- 
tailed from the company, as their services were required in 
ether duties, occasioning a change among the non-commis- 
sioned officers. When the company was disbanded in Febru- 
ary, 1863, at Kingstree there were 103 men on duty, and there 
they were paid ofT by the captain for their services under him, 

Williamsburg County, 


including tlieir commutation money, amounting toi $6,935.41 

m the aggregate. 

These have been preserved and below is the list of mem- 
bers of Company D, 2d Regiment of Reserves: 

S. D. McGill, 
Jesse Carter, 
R. S. Tisdale, 

A. F. Gardner, 
T. S. Stuart, 

J. D. Harper, 
S. A. Scott, 
E. Baxley, 

B. Baker, 
W. Burrows, 
S. Cribb, 

L. Cribb. 
I. Coker, 
A. Carraway, 
L. J. Dennis, 
P. O. Eaddy, 
W. D. Fulton, 
J. Hatheway, 
J. G. Hanna, 
A. M. Jay roe, 
I. D. Bvrd, 
W. H. Brown, 
I. R. Bradshaw, 
J. R. Crosby, 
I. Cribb, 
S. Cooper, 
W. J. Cameron, 

A. Dubose, 
R. I. Eaddy, 
R. W. Fulton, 
I. D. Ham, 

C. Hanna, 

J. H. Johnson, 
P. P. June, 

B. Lambert, 

S. R. Mitchnm, 

W. G. Cantley, 
R. F. Scott, 
*E. G. Cantley, 
VV. J. Grayson, 
E. H. McConnell, 
J. Bradshaw, 
W. Altman, 
L. Brown, 
I. M. Buckles, 
R. R. Blakeley, 

C. Cribb, 

A. Cribb, 

W. M. Campbell, 
Z. T. Ham, 
W. Epps, 
G. Freeman, 
R. Gamble, 
J. E. Howard, 
J. F. Hanna, 
W. J. Baxley, 
I. K. Barfield, 
R. W. Burns, 

B. G. Blake, 
T. Cribb, - 
Jno. Cribb, 
S. Coltrain, 
W. B. Davis, 

D. Epps, 

I. W. Forbs, 
N. Graham, 
T. J. Hughes, 
S. D. Hanna, 
W. Jefferson, 
B. Kirby, 
J. C. Lesesne, 

E. J. C. Mathews, 

^Harper's substitute. 


Reminiscences of 

A. AI. Mathews, 
W. A. Myers, 
Tim Prosser, 
J. E. Richburg, 
E. E. Stone, 
T. S. Tliompson, 
R. Cribb, 
H. Lambert, 
W. J. J. Lifrage, 
John Mathews, 
D. McClam, 
L. E. Powell, 
R. Rodgers, 
Thos. Stone, 
R. G. rhompson, 

W. McClam, 
Isaac Poston, 

D. R. Russ, 

B. F. Singeltary, 
W. G. Thompson, 
W. J. Wilder, 
W. P. Kennedy, 
'^'A. J. Lambert, 
R. J. Morris, 
J. T. McCants, 
R. Pipkins, 

E. Pope, 

J. W. Scott, 
W. J. Stone, 
R. Williams, 
B. F. Westburv. 

2d July, 1863 — $3.50 I lb. coffee; $3.00 1 lb. soda; $65 for 
5 lbs. salt. 

August 20, 1863 — Mrs. McGill paid '$t,^ for two bunches 
of yarn; $12 for six yards white homespun. 

In November of this year the Reserves are ordered to re- 
port to Col. James H. Witherspoon at Georgetown, and Wil- 
liam il. Johnson was chosen captain. Dr. McGill was there 
but had an easy time through his pen in making out morning 
reports, and attendmg in the hospital as hospital steward. In 
February all were disbanded, for as yet no Yankee vessel had 
crossed over the Georgetown bar, nor Yankee soldiers had 
l)een seen. On niy return home a letter was received from my 
old friend, Edward J. Porter, at Kingstree, asking my imme- 
diate presence. He had procured the position of assessor of 
the tax in kind for me from Gen. Chestnut, as was believed, 
and soon I entered upon its duties, and this continued until 
the assessment seemed no longer available. 

6th July, 1864 — A hst of articles sold at the estate of Mrs. 
Eleceph Belser's plantation: Large pot, $105; large oven, 
$95; and other furniture in proportion. Match horses, 13 years 
old, $3,100; plantation horse, $1,100; carriage (worn), $1,400. 
Price of articles in Kingstree about this time: Tobacco $6 per 
lb.; flour $1 ; sugar $5; cotton $1 ; factory yarn $35 per block; 
cotton cards $75 per pair. 

Williamsburg County. 213 

1st November, 1864 — Airs. McGill sold 15 lbs. tallow for 
$45, and bought a pair of cards. 

1st January, 1865 — Sold 1,400 lbs. cotton to P. B. Mou- 
zon for $1,400 and most of that money died on our hands, ex- 
cept as follows : 

January 25th, 1865 — Mrs. McGill bought in Kingstree 

4 yards homespun $ 24.00 

I spool cotton 3.00 

1 skein black flax 3.00 

T lead pencil 3.00 

2 slate pencils 3.00 

I cake soap 3.00 

1 dozen horn buttons 1.50 

2 bunches yarn, No 8 140.00 

3 bunches yarn. No. 9 210.00 

I 600 reed 35-00 

February 1865 — Dr. McGill bought i lb. tobacco 14.00 

4 drinks given in wine glass of ordinary size 20.00 

And on leaving, 2 bottles apple brandy 140.00 

Now Hangs a Tale. 

Charleston was evacuated i8th February, 1865, with fear- 
ful consequences. On Thursday, 17th February, 1865, Sher- 
man succeeded in taking Columbia after a stubborn resistance 
by Hampton and Wheeler. Our forces fell back towards 
Winnsboro. Gen. Hardee in conmiand of South Carolina, 
Georgia and Florida troops, will unite his forces with Gen. 
Beauregard at Charlotte, N. C, to oppose Sherman's march 
across the country to Hank Gen. Lee at Richmond, Va. Kings- 
tree at present is Gen. Hardee's headcjuarters, which place is 
filled witii officers and soldiers, who are impressing corn, ba- 
con, mules and horses, and many persons have suffered se- 
riously and worse behind. All agree that our fate hangs on 
the result of our combined forces meeting Gen. Sherman. All 
is gloom and uncertainty, and preparations made for the worst, 
in hiding furniture and provisions against pending raids ex- 
pected through the district, now at the mercy of our enemy. 
Our currency is valueless and merchants refuse to take it for 
goods. It is feared famine will possess the land; our army is 
demoralized and the people panic-stricken. All is gloom, des- 
pondency and inactivity. The power to do has left us. All 

214 Reminiscences of 

our possessions will go to pay the Yankee debt. To fight lon- 
ger seems to be madness. To tamely submit is dishonor. 

March ist, 1865. — News continue to get worse. Enemy 
reported to have crossed Santee and burnt Mr. Staggers' fine 
house at Murray's ferry, in this district. They are composed 
of artillery, cavalry and infantry, most of which are negro 
troops. They were expected at Kingstrec yesterday to burn 
and destroy and pillage. No force there to oppose them. An- 
other force of Yankees is reported coming from Georgetown 
by Rope ferry, and already have seized government stores at 
Pine Tree, which had been the point of transportation of rice 
from Georgetown. The whole country is in the wildest com- 
motion. Many are fleeing to the woods with their wives and 
daughters, while a few have gone to meet the advance and 
give battle. 

All during this month of March, 1865, we were all under 
such excitement and distress that we gave credence to the 
most fabulous reports, as we seek information of news from 
our neighbors. All communication from outside was cut ofif, 
and all that we could hear from our army was through sick 
soldiers, who had made their way home through the Yankee 
lines, and who gave woful accounts of our starving and dis- 
heartened soldiers. On the road could be seen deserters from 
our army, who, believing the war virtually ended, were trud- 
ging their way through the country homeward bound in 
squads, with their guns, prepared to defend themselves if mo- 

Georgetown was now in possession of the Yankees, and 
thither thousands of our negro slaves, who had been kind, 
faithful and true to us during the war, were stealing away in 
the night. Each morning w-e could hear of such a negro "run 
away and gone to the Yankees," and no efforts were made to 
intercept them, owing, in part, to our inability to do so and 
the expected successful operation of President Lincoln's 
Emancipation Proclamation. 

All during the war I had a double duty on my hands in 
caring for my widowed sister, Mrs. Mary Burgess, and her 
widowed daughter, Mrs. Drucilla Williams, and her three or- 
phan boys, living on White Oak, ten miles away. In these 
last days of our awful war I was with them every two or three 
days, and in the trip no persons could be seen, and everything 
bespoke destruction. Over Mrs. Burgess' plantation a kind 

Williamsburg County. 215 

neighbor, Mr. W. J. B. Cooper, gave his attention, and there I 
met him. After much discussion of our condition, and consul- 
tation as to the best for us all, it was agreed that we cwo con- 
tinue our way to Georgetown and ask the Yankees to come 
up into Williamsburg and garrison Kingstree, and thus relieve 
our fears respecting our families. While vvc were airanging 
for the trip our Governor Magrath was preparing tO' make one 
more desperate effort to keep back our enemy in Georgetown, 
and issued orders to that efit'ect. Mr. Cooper and I prepared 
to follow him, and thus our intentions to save the lives and 
property of our people were frustrated. 

On Tuesday, 4th April, 1865, James H. Tisdale and my- 
self, mounted on Black Mary and Linda, two young horses, 
and each armed with double barrel shot guns, proceeded vlown 
to Potatoe ferry to join Capt. T. W. Daggett's com.pany, who, 
in obedience to the Governor's orders, had called for every 
man capable of bearing arms to report to him. After leavitig 
home, and in passing around Cedar Bay on a blind horse path 
near the "Sounding Hill," I saw a large eagle fly up before 
me and perch on a large limb of a pine. I shot and down fell 
the eagle. When arriving at Knox's summer house branch I 
met Tisdale, and displaying one of the eagle's large claws, 
said, I've killed the American Eagle and great things are now 
in store for me. 

We arrived at Potatoe ferry at dusk and reported to Capt. 
Daggett, and at four o'clock next morning, Wednesday, tlie 
5th, we were sent to occupy a picket post at the cross roads, 
two miles on south side of Black river, accompanied by Mr. 
Frank Parsons. Before leaving camp Capt. Daggett re- 
marked that James F. Pressley, a disabled Confederate colo- 
nel, was expected today with a number of men, who would 
assume command of all the forces and make a dash down 
upon Georgetown, where there were a small Yankee garn&on, 
some merchants and Yankee merchandise, and capture the 
whole fix. Such information of the condition of afifairs in 
Georgetown was mostly obtainable from flying rejiorts of our 

Before leaving camp the pickets were informed that they 
would be relieved at nine o'clock. When that hour arrived 
the pickets were informed by Capt. S. J. Snowden, who, with 
his horsemen of fifteen or twenty men, lunched with' us, that 
the relief would be sent that evening. Here at our post we re- 

216 Reminiscences of 

mained all day, unconscious of any advance of the enemy 
from Georg-etovvn, till about four o'clock in the evening, when 
a considerable noise was heard down the road. This aroused 
our suspicion, and we were on the lookout, sensible of our 
danger. The report of guns sounded, and it became evident 
that the enemy was upon us. We fell back about three hun- 
dred yards, and awaited further developments upon the part 
of the Yankees before returning to our command to give in- 
formation necessary to establish the fact of the advance of the 
enemy. The firing continued till about eight, when the differ- 
ent calls of the drum and bugle indicated that the Yankee 
army was then encamped at Davidsons, a distance of half mile 
from where we were concealed. Satisfied of this, I proposed 
to the other two pickets to return to the ferry and give the 
alarm. But it seems the camp was already sensible of it, as 
Capt. W. L. Wallace, with twelve or fifteen men, was sent 
across the ferry on our side, and we found them at Mrs. 
Woodward's house by the road side, waiting to hear from us. 
Upon my given information of what we had seen and heard, 
and our leaving the picket post, Capt. Wallace said that post 
must l)e re-established, and ordered Lieut. Furman Rodgers, 
with three footmen, to go ahead of us to the post and estab- 
lish the same, and ordered us three horsemen to keep in the 
rear of them, that the noise of the hoofs of the horses might 
obstruct their hearing. When within two hundred yards of 
the post they halted, and being old and tried soldiers, they 
flanked around, and the horsemen, after great caution, estab- 
lished the post. Luckily, no Yankee picket was there, or if 
there, we saw none. After this affair Mr. Parsons was dis- 
patched for Capt. Snowden, who had passed their post at noon 
of that day on his way to Santee to press men and horses into 
service, and to inform him of the state of affairs, and to bring 
him and his company back in haste to assist in checking the 
Yankee raid. Lieut. Rodgers and the other two men then 
left Tisdale and myself, with instructions to remain here till 
morning, mark the course the enemy take, and ascertain their 
forces in infantry, cavalry and artillery. After secreting our 
horses Tisdale and I took a position in fifty or sixty yards of 
the cross roads and concluded to remain there till a short time 
before day, and then withdraw to some hidden place and 
watch the movement of the enemy. 

Tt was now between eleven and twelve at night, and the 

Williamsburg County. "217 

moon was sliining brightly in a cloudless sky. Seated under 
a large pine tree, we softly discussed the danger of our situa- 
tion, as we believed the Yankee pickets were near at hand, 
based upon their answering whistles which we had heard at 
dark, when we left our post to give information to our com- 
mand. In a few minutes, amid the solemn silence around, 
Tisdale, who was indignant at the manner of our treatment, 
and expressing hot words relative thereto, which were kindly 
rebuked as I said, "Don't curse; we are going to do big things 
tonight," distinguished sounds of footsteps. As soon as Jim 
directed my attention to the course from whence the sound 
came, I saw a squad of men stealthily coming from up the 
road, but had turned out of it and were coming straight to- 
wards us. I quickly sprang behind a large pine tree, dragging 
Tisdale behind me, which the men perceiving, halted and hud- 
dled in the shadow of a tree. Upon my inquiring "Who are 
you?" I heard them cock their guns. They in turn hailed us, 
and upon my answering, "Friend." for they were supposed to 
be some of our men, and there was no expectation of the 
enemy coming from above the cross roads, their spokesman 
began to curse, saying. "Come from behind that tree, you G — 
d^ — rebel son of a b — ," and his voice at a threatening pitch 
in foreign accentuation, that I no longer hesitated, and all 
doubts removed, but fired at them. They poured a volley at 
us behind our good tree. Tisdale, being left-handed, then 
fired on the left of our tree, while the enemy's fire was con- 
tinuous. As quick almost as lightning I gave them my other 
barrel, when Tisdale, seeing another crowd firing on us from 
our left, gave these the benefit of his other barrel, saying, as 
he did so, "Doctor, I've got no more shot; let's run." We 
took to our heels, and as the enemy pursued, we were feeling 
for their bayonets in our backs. 

In running we came vip to a third party near our horses, 
and they, too, commenced firing on us. which caused our sep- 
aration, one gomg to the right and the other to the left, thus 
dividing the enemy's shot. We had hardly passed our horses 
and were yet in sight of each other, when I saw Tisdale stum- 
ble and fall, and called to him to know if he was hit, which 
he misunderstood, and thought I was hit. We had a distance 
of several hundred yards through the pines, the bark and 
sap blinding our sights as bullets struck them by and before 
us, before we reached Horsepen swamp, and in that stampede 

218 Reminiscences of 

there were hundreds, if not thousands, of shots fired at us, 
yet we made the distance untouched. 

Being fat and cumbersome I was broken down in breath 
near the end of the race, and coming across two large pine 
logs lying on another log, with a small space between them, 
I forced my body down between them to catch breath and to 
secure myself against bullets yet being fired towards me. Just 
as I was somewhat restored, with my tongue back in my 
mouth, another alarm aroused my fears, as amid the great 
helloings of the Yankees the barks of the deep tongue hounds 
could be heard. There was no time to think, and the con- 
clusion was hastily reached that we had killed some great 
General, that these were blood hounds, and we would be 
taken dead or alive. Coming out of my retreat, I ran as best 
I could to Horsepen Bay, nor did I stop till water two or three 
feet deep was found. Here standing in the water I loaded my 
gun, determined to kill two of the dogs by shot and slay the 
others with the "brich" of my gun, as they swim around me. 
This alarm proved causeless. 

After the moon had gone down and darkness overspread 
the ground I ventured to come out of the bay into the river 
islands, suspecting every unaccountable object to be a Yankee, 
and going around it, I avoided a meeting. Thus I rambled 
through the woods with intentions to find my friends at the 
Woodwards house, where I had left them in the early part 
of the night, and coming to a horse path through deep sand 
it was examined, and many fresh horse tracks were made out, 
which I feared was a Yankee cavalry scouring the woods. 
Leaving the horse path,- diverging towards the river and feel- 
ing my way through this strange country, and being led by 
the barking of a fice dog at Woodwards, I cautiously ap- 
proached the house, and giving two whistles (our signal), re- 
ceived no response. Slowly and tremblingly outside the road 
I arrived on the south bank of Potatoe ferry, and my joy can 
scarcely be imagined upon hearing my signal answered on the 
otherside. Soon I was among my friends. Thev were glad to see 
me, for they supposed me killed. I related to them in a hur- 
riedly and excited manner the adventures of this night, when 
the Captain told me to go up to Mrs. Whitman's ferry house 
to a fire, and hither I dragged along, cold, wet, hatless and 
disconsolate, believing my friend Tisdale killed by the enemy. 

The sun was up, and I had been lying by the fire a short 


time, when, to my surprise, Tisclale stepped in. We both were 
too much overcome with fatigue to rehearse our trials, but 
stretched our wearied hmbs before the fire tO' enjoy that rest 
so much needed of mind and body. To God alone we ascribed 
our delivery from the bullets. 

On awaking we were told that Capt. Pressley, with about 
a hundred men, under Capts. Daggett and Wallace, had 
crossed over the river to engage the enemy, but finding the 
Yankee army many thousand strong, had gone up the river 
towards Kingstree. They re-crossed and pushed up on this 
side to intercept them at Lower bridge, receiving reinforce- 
ments from every part of our country. As the Potter raid has 
gone into history, here is the finale of it, as far as the writer 
is concerned. 

Tisdale and I walked home, and we were passed on the road 
by Col. Pressley's command. Along our trip we saw^ great 
heaps of smoke rising on the other side of the river, showing 
the burning of houses along the route of this Yankee raid. At 
home, we all grieved about the loss of the two young horses 
which we had raised. One of them, Black Mary, was a 
favorite with all the family, and a great loss. She was gentle 
and kind, first-rate under the saddle and so gentle in harness 
that a child could drive her. 

Early Thursday morning, 6tli April, James Tisdale and 
Dr. McGill, poorly equipped, were at the Lower bridge to 
rejoin their companions in arms, who had already destroyed 
and set fire to it. Finding a small guard here, they told how 
a few of the Yankees had strolled away and crept down to the 
opposite bank and a few shots had been exchanged, by which 
Mr. Clark of Kingstree had been shot through the ear, tearing 
away a part of its lobe. These two friends pushed on up to 
Kingstree and found the Kingstree bridge in a like condition, 
and our little army had gone on up the river to destroy and 
burn other bridges. Refugees from the other side of the river, 
through which the Yankee raid has passed, reported them- 
selves to our troops for service, and told of an army under 
Gen. Potter, consisting of artillery, cavalry and infantry, num- 
bering between fifteen and twenty thousand strong, which 
had passed on up, going towards Sumter. In their rear strag- 
glers from the Yankee army were raiding the country, making 
greater ravages than the regular army had. The two friends, 
hearing the Yankees had learned the names engaged in the 

220 Reminiscences of 

cross roads affair, and that extreme penalty would be inflicted 
as bushwhackers, if captured, they very wisely went home to 
take care of their families and themselves, satisfied with the 
performance of their past and present duty to their country. 

For the next few weeks no mind can comprehend the 
gloom and fearful anticipations of the whole country. Every 
man, capable of bearing arms, was in our little army now 
away in Sumter district, and our whole country was at the 
mercy of negro raids, led by Yankees from Georgetown. Nor 
vi^ere we in any way relieved from the horrors of our situation 
till Gen. Potter, hearing of Gen. Lee's surrender in Virginia, 
was on his way back to Georgetown by the Santee river roads, 
and most of our men returned to their homes to defend and 
gather around them their families, who had sought safer places 
than their homes were considered to be. 

In May following, a Yankee garrison was stationed at 
Kingstree under Capt. Blake, and hither we all went, as re- 
quired, to renew our obligations to the United States Govern- 
ment and to make contracts with the now freed negroes in the 
cultivation of our present crops. Thus far we unhesitatingly 
accepted the situation, even in the parades of the freedmen 
along our roads, marching and shouting under the music of 
old tin pans. But when these freedmen, and particularly the 
younger chaps, attempted to block the public roads by stand- 
ing in the middle of them and force the white people to go 
around them, and cast derisive language to our wives and chil- 
dren, we could not brook their insolence, as the records must 
show in Capt. Blake's ofificial reports to the head of the P>eed- 
men's Bureau. 

It was the wish that our conquerors had stopped there, 
as we were confident of our ability in the management of our 
former slaves, made in a manner reconcilable to the changed 
state of affairs. But Congress thought otherwise, and when they 
passed the Reconstruction Acts for our subjugation and en- 
forced them on us, our spirit, not yet tamed, again arose and 
hence were the bloody encounters between the two races. A 
few of us, who had never been loud in the wholesale denunci- 
ation of the general Yankee character, still remembered our 
common struggle as recorded in history in our Revolutionary 
War, and the services of our Northern troops under Gen. 
Green, rendered on our soil at a time amid our fathers' great- 
est despondency. Our whole district, uniting with our Yan- 

Williamsburg County. 221 

kee allies, under our Gen. Marion, fought the bloody battle at 
Eutaw Springs side by side, and this virtually ended the war 
in South Carolina. Thus viewed, it was with reluctance we ac- 
cepted the operations of the Reconstruction Acts, and we were 
yet loath to believe that such things were, and that the Yan- 
kees had lost that magnanimity which now a conquered and 
down trodden people had expected to be exercised in their 

Thcie is some satisfaction in the beUef that all the people 
of the old original thirteen States at the North, did not know 
the depth of our poverty and the degradation to which we had 
been subjected by the Scalawags and Carpet-baggers now 
reigning over us by these Reconstruction Acts. In the two 
or three first years of their dominion we became aware of our 
famishing condition, as all our stock of cattle and hogs, on 
which we mainly depended, were destroyed, almost in our 
sight, and we could not help ourselves. Nothing was left for 
us to do but pull our coats, break an ox and follow behind 
the plow. Our newly enfranchised citizens preferred to buy 
or rent land, and we were forced to consent, as we had nothing 
to pay them with as laborers on our farms. 

In the fall of one of these years, Sam and Sarah, who had 
Vvorked in the field up to this time on hard fare, picked a few 
hundred pounds of cotton, assisted by their children. Sam 
loads the cart with seedy cotton and goes to a country store. 
The merchant paid a high price for it, for cotton was in great 
demand, and little shops were everywhere to buy cotton. This 
merchant was a large one, and kept whiskey. Now Sam has 
no revengeful spirit, but in the following instance he took 
revenge on the hard times without knowing it. He bought a 
jug, and bought his wife a fine worsted dress, and these two 
articles consumed his money. Returning home that evening, 
pleased with himself and his purchases, he whistled a lively 
tune. His wife and children were at the gate awaiting his 
approach, and Sam, handing over the dress to his wife, said, 
"Sarah, I've bought you a worsted." "Oh, husband," she 
said, "what do I want with a worsted, when there is not a 
yard of homespun cloth in the house, and our children are 
about naked?" Sam's eyes were suddenly opened, as when 
he heard his children asking for their presents, and saw his 
wife dash away the worsted bundle as far as she could send it, 
he sneaked away, dodged about the house for several days. 

222 Reminiscences of 

made great apologies, and declared these purchases to be his 
last. Sam was glad to keep his word, as ever after this time 
his good wife made all the purchases for the family and the 
house, and even for Sam's own clothing. In confirmation to 
the above declaration it is proper to say that the balance of 
the cotton of that year was driven in the cart by Mrs. McGill 
and the larger children to the store, leaving Dr. McGill at 
home to mind the little children. By this means we all were 
supplied with shoes and winter clothing and a calico dress a 
piece for the children, bringing back with them apples, cheese 
and crackers. 

During the years of Republican rule, lasting in this State 
eight years, our political condition grew from bad to worse, 
yet notwithstanding these obstacles we, the Democrats, by 
our own honest efforts, improved in our finances. It was 
known that corruption and fraud had been committed, and 
that our taxes and county and State debts were about to 
crush us and place us in a more deplorable condition than at 
the first years of Republican rule. With a growing spirit to 
overthrow all this, the Hampton campaign was begun in 1876, 
and every prospect brightened up in hope of its success. All 
during those exciting times the enthusiasm and devotion of 
the native white people exhibited at the campaign meetings at 
out court houses equaled, if they did not exceed, those of our 
old time Methodist camp meetings. "Hurrah for Hampton," 
was soon a household word. Our red shirts produced a senti- 
ment encouraging every heart, while our little boys, in imita- 
tion of them, here, there and everywhere, hardly able to strad- 
dle their stick horses, with their home-made straw hats, rim- 
less or half torn ofT, played red shirts, shouting as they went, 
"Hurrah for Hampton." 

The exemption of Williamsburg district from murder and 
outrages prevailing in other parts of our State, claims a notice 
as showing the kind disposition the Radicals entertained for 
the white people. It is reasonable to believe from their acts 
that these leaders, mostly of foreign birth, were more influ- 
enced to accept office as a monied transaction and a desire to 
mollify the animosity engendered by the results of our war 
than to oppress and ruin. Louis Jacobs, the sheriff and 
active Confederate soldier, came to Kingstree just after the 
close of the war, opened a large mercantile store as clerk of 
it and dispensed his goods among us to our great relief, and, 


perhaps, to his disadvantage, and received our gratitude and 
good wishes. Mr. J. Hirsch, State SoUcitor and likewise a 
Confederate soldier, did not impose upon the white people in the 
few cases they had in the court house, but gave them chances 
to obtain justice by his pleadings before Judge John T. Green 
and a negro jury. Philip Heller, a Prussian, removed to- Wil- 
liamsburg with his family at or before the beginning of the 
war, was a jolly old gentleman and soon made many friends 
in his adopted district, and his children worthily received res- 
pectful consideration. He amused his friends as he said, "I 
w'd be Democrat, too, if the money was there." S. A. Swails, 
a colored soldier in a Pennsylvania Union regiment, was State 
Senator, and possessed unbounded influence over the negroes, 
and to him is principally due the exemption as above, and 
there were no serious complaints made against him. Being 
a free and accepted A. F. M. may have secured him against 
indignities and violence, as he was a bold and active politician. 
William Scott and James Peterson, two native colored Repre- 
sentatives, were ever respectful and attentive, and evidenced 
much anxiety to get some of the native whites to join their 
party and promote them to office and retained their respectful 
address after their overthrow. 

The first attempt made to mollify the Radical rule in 
South Carolina was begun in 1872 by offering to the Repub- 
licans a fusion ticket for Governor and Lieutenant Governor. 
Judge R. B. Carpenter, a Republican, and Gen. M. C. Butler, 
a Democrat and Confederate officer, were chosen for these 
offices. These gentlemen canvassed the State in company, 
and at the appointed time for Williamsburg county they were 
in Kingstree. Efforts had been made to get a mass meeting 
that day. and the town was crowded with people, the colored 
proportion largely in excess. The candidates spoke from the 
Nelson Hotel piazza, and Judge Carpenter, the first speaker, 
was accorded a respectful hearing. He was suffering from 
throat affection, and made a short speech. When Gen. Butler 
was announced there was a commotion among the negroes, 
and many of them withdrew towards the court house and be- 
yond distinct hearing. The whites, observing this unfriendly 
demonstration, shouted, "Butler, Butler." At first Gen. But- 
ler was mild and persuasive in his words and manner, but ob- 
serving the stir and hearing the aggravating buzz of the ne- 
groes standing in the open space before him, he warmed up. 

224 Reminicensces of 

and addressed himself to the masses of the negroes, telUng 
them of their bhnd adherence to their leaders, who were only 
selfish in their own promotion, who were leading them to their 
own ruin and perhaps ultimate alienation. At this a young 
Mr. Frost, a school commissioner, who' had a pipe in his 
mouth smoking vigorously, was restless and his manner of- 
fensive. Seeing this. Gen. Butler hailed him, and said: 
"Young man, put every word I've said into your pipe and 
smoke it." Soon a loud voice was heard saying, "We will 
have our own speaking down at the Heller House," and in- 
stantly their lines were formed and the multitude were soon 
on their march down to Heller's. By this time the whites 
began to show their marks of disapprobation, when Gen. But- 
ler closed his speech, and said, "I'll follow them." and hasten- 
ing down the Nelson steps he was soon on his way, and fol- 
lowed by his friends. Arriving, we found the front yard 
jammed witli negroes, and pressing through there seemed to 
be no way to ascend into the piazza. Soon we are at one end, 
and Butler clambered up into it, with Henry B. Johnson and 
William M. Frierson on his right and left. As many as could 
find a place to stand were with Butler, who. placing himself 
by the side of a negro Radical speaker, disputed every false- 
hood and every misrepresentation made by their speakers. 
That there was no collision that day is due to the fearlessness 
of Gen. Butler on that occasion, and to him also is due the 
credit of developing the strength of our united manhood and 
of entering the wedge that successfully cleft the stubborn 
ranks of a party and of laying open the way which led to the 
Hampton campaign in 1876. 

The general election held in November, 1876, was con- 
ducted at Kingstree in a manner which plainly marked the 
ultimate success of Hampton's campaign. Every Democrat 
seemed to know his duty, and promptly performed it, though 
that precinct claimed an overwhelming majority for the Re- 
publican candidates. Everything seemed to be working in 
favor of the Democrats. Late in the afternoon one of its 
voters of strong conservative principles mounted his horse 
and soon was on his homeward trip of eleven miles. Arriving 
at the railroad crossing he was aroused at the unearthly shouts 
towards the depot, and looking in that direction he saw a 
large company of men coming down the railroad track with 
red flags and red shirts, making the air resound with shouts 

Williamsburg County. 225 

of "Hurrah for Hampton!" On came the crowd with shouts 
redoubled, and while wondering what all this meant, he dis- 
tinguished in front the tall and commanding figure of Dr. S. 
D. M. Bryd, the champion of our Democracy. For a while 
there was bewilderment, but seeing his friend and next neigh- 
bor, E. S. Sauls, bringing up the rear, his old books were 
thrown into a fence corner, and hitching his horse to a rail, 
he, too, fell into ranks and added shouts to the luuTahs for 
Hampton. This company of seventy-five or one hundred 
men came from Graham's X roads, a place known to be 
"rough on Rads," on the train at the railroad company's ex- 
pense. They came to regulate the Kingstree vote, and they 
did it in a hurry, and the night was consimied in making 
speeches in the court house yard and receiving thanks and 
supplies from the Kingstree people, chief of whom was W. J. 
Lee. The speeches were most enthusiastic, and were made by 
Dr. S. D. M. Byrd, Dr. J. Marion Staggers, Mr. R. C. Logan 
and others. Some time in the night the train arrived and the 
crowd rettirned to Graham's X roads, well pleased. The 
whole negro comnumity was aroused, and their yells and 
curses were heard all along the road by this lonely Democrat, 
Init he was not molested. After he had proceeded five miles 
from Kingstree, on the White Oak road, he was alarmed at 
the tramp of horses at full speed and the glare of highly pol- 
ished gun barrels approaching him. These fears were soon 
disposed of as David D. Chandler and Watson D. Snowden 
came tip. They were hastening to Kingstree with the Cedar 
Swamp box, pursued by the negroes whom they had out- 
witted. The beating of drums could be heard in the distance. 
Bidding them a hearty God-speed, we part for that night. 

We hope for a continuance of our blessings as a nation, 
and feel almost assured of them, courting our divine favors, 
with Grover Cleveland as President and Wade Hampton and 
M. C. Butler as representative men, acting in the affairs of 
the government at Washington, with honest and patriotic in- 
tentions, exercised in the interest of all the people. A few 
years after the close of the war the combatants in the late war 
were willing to shake hands across the bloody chasm on the 
battle grounds around Chattanooga, and pleasantly discussed 
the events of those bloody days in 1863 '64, and they kindly 
spoke of those battles and the thousand fights and skirmishes 
as "our late unpleasantness." Tliis is ])luck in the backbone 

226 Reminiscences of 

and patriotism in the soul, for which we will soon be indebted 
for the happy results arising from personal contact, as they 
walk over these battle grounds, hallowed by their own blood 
and that of their respective comrades twenty-nine or thirty 
years ago. 



On the first day of January, 1881, this writer, having been 
elected County School Commissioner in the preceding year, 
took charge of the public school office at Kingstree, and for 
ten consecutive years he conducted the same, being ably as- 
sisted by T. M. Gilland and M. J. Hirsch, his examining 

The amount of the public school money expended by him 
for school purposes during his terms of office, a list of public 
school officers, including the amounts expended in their res- 
pective school districts, and a list of the public school teachers 
of both sexes and races, and the amounts paid to each of them 
in the aggregate, are all given in this chapter, as such are 
believed to be of important information to inquiring and inter- 
ested communities, with the hope that they will be accepted 
in the spirit of truth and not that of adulation in the compila- 
tion of official facts, as they are recorded in a condensed form 
in the books of the now ex-School Commissioner, from which 
they are now copied. 

Public School Trustees. 

In this list there were a few changes made from time to 
time, not from any irregularities in office, but at the option 
of the incumbents. To all, whose acts are as public school 
officers, many thanks are due for their interest in the opera- 
tion of the public school system, for their faithful performance 
Oi' their duties without any money consideration for their ser- 
vices, and for the material aid rendered the School Commis- 
sioner in elevating that system to the harmonious plane which 
it now occupies in the minds of its supporters. 

Williamsburg County. 227 

School District No. i. — E. R. Lesesne, E. P. Mont- 
gomery, S. J. Taylor. 

School District No. 2.— T. E. Salters. J. M. Cook, J. A. 

School District No. 3. — (. ]. Graham. A. W. Chandler, 
W. B. McCulloug-h. 

School District No. 4. — E. j. Parker, A. J. Parsons, R. 
P. Hinnant. 

School District No. 5. — D. Z. Martin, J. W. Marshal, 
W. S. Camlin. 

School District No. 6.— W. H. McElveen, f. B. Price, 
J. M. McClam. 

School District No. 7. — J. A. Nexon, A. J. Smith, Wm. 

School District No. 8.— VV. D. Snowden, J. S. McCul- 
loough. Dr. J. R. Brockinton. 

School District No. 9. — Col. S. T. Cooper, J. C. Josey, 
Rev. J. M. Kirton. 

School District No. 10. — J. McB. Graham, I. P. Epps, 
Rev. Ben Brown. 

School District No. 11. — G. S. Barr, Vv'm. Cooper, Julian 

School District No. 12. — J. F. Carrawav, W. D. Owens, 
J. B. Davis. 

School District No. 13. — W. R. Singeltary. S. Kirby. 

School District No. 14. — D. L. Brown, J. A. H. Cock- 
field, T. E. James. 

School District No. 15. — H. H. Singeltary, M. L. Jones, 
W. J. Hatfield. 

School District No. 16. — W. J. Lee, L Stackley, H. Z. 

School District No. 17. — B. C. Whitehead, R. A. Rouse. 

Amounts of public school expenditures, including teach- 
ers' salaries, building school houses, repairs and rents of old 
ones, maps, charts and other necessary school furniture: 

School District No. I $ 4,920.43 

" n 3,284.87 

" " " III 3,150.00 

" IV 1,821.00 

" " " V 1,922.00 

" "VI 5,386.75 

" " VII 5,841.15 


Reminiscences of 

School District Xo. \ 111 $ 3,422.75 

" iX 3434-25 

" >^ 4.305-50 

" ^^1 3'395-2i 

" XI 1 4,229.40 

■' Xlll 2,904.35 

'■ Xl\ 2,887.00 

" X\' 650.62 

" XVI 642.00 

XMI 196.00 


List of White Teachers and Amounts Received. 

Mrs. E. T. Allsbrook $167.00 

G. K. Anderson 80.00 

R. T. B. Abrams 50.00 

I. L. Barley 220.00 

Mrs. S. L. Barrineau 289.00 

Miss Sue T. IJarr 286.00 

W. L. Bass 1 10.62 

Miss C. A. Blackwell 260.00 

Miss M. A. Brockinton 331.00 

Miss L. A. Brockinton. . . .' 209.00 

Miss Italine Brockinton 60.00 

Mrs. M. E. Brockinton 75-00 

Dr. I. R. Brockinton 72.00 

Miss M. P. Burgess 75-00 

Miss D. F'rig-htman 60.00 

Miss F. W. liritton 287.00 

Mrs. A. E. E. Britten 107.00 

W. R. Brown 786.50 

J. J. Brown 285.00 

R. A. Brown i45-00 

Mrs. M. K. Brunson 60.00 

Mrs. J. H. Bryan 60.00 

H. D. Bryan 60.00 

Mrs. M. A. Carter 311.00 

Mrs. S. L. Cannon i93-00 

Miss Dora V. Chandler 240.00 

E. G. Chandler 80.00 

J. M. Chandler 170.00 

Williamsburg County. 229 

Mrs. Ella Collette 330.00 

Mrs. M. E. Cockfield 2,7 -•'^>^ 

Miss J. M. Cockfield 50.00 

Miss Mutie Cooper 33i-00 

Miss Denie Cooper 162.50 

Miss Ellen J. Conyers 10.00 

Miss Julia W. Conyers 10.00 

Miss M. E. Coward 95-oo 

Mrs. E. Clarkson 160.00 

Mrs. C. S. Crose 89.00 

Miss A. E. Cunningham 78.00 

H. S. Cunningham 22.50 

W. H. Curry loo.oo 

Mrs. W. H. Campbell 50.00 

Mrs. M. J. Durant 34.00 

Mrs. J. Hall Davis 50.00 

Mrs. H. R. Davis 45-00 

Miss Carrie Davis 45-00 

Miss Mollie Epps 357-00 

Airs. C. S. Epps 35-00 

Isaac Epps 345.00 

Rev. Martin Eaddy 381.14 

Miss L. N. Ervin 359-00 

Miss S. M. Ervvin 224.00 

Miss L. A. Elliott 219.00 

J. T. Frierson 197.00 

W. M. Frierson 24.00 

W. A. Feagin i37-00 

Mrs. Orpha Floyd 35-00 

Mrs. C. A. Fulton 80.00 

Miss E. D. Fulton i35-00 

Mrs. M. A. Gist i35-oo 

Mrs. S. I. Garner 96.00 

Miss M. \'. Graham 215.50 

Miss Lilly Graham 84.00 

Dr. I. W.' Graham 21.86 

W. S. Grayson 57-oo 

D. E. Gordon 1 20.00 

I. E. Grier 120.00 

Mrs. M. E. Hammet i5-00 

Mrs. A. J. Haynesworth 38.75 

Mrs. Nettie H. Hanna 48.00 

230 Reminiscences ot 

Miss Laurena Holliman 80.00 

Miss A. M. Henry 570.00 

Miss H. C. Henry 72.00 

Miss N. C. Holt 100.00 

W. M. Haselden 60.00 

I. H. Hill 62.00 

I. D. Hill 92.00 

A. B. Hemming^vay 78.00 

C. G. Harmon 12.00 

I. S. Heyward 11 5.00 

A. L. Hiddleston 88.00 

Miss Corie Hendrix 108.00 

Miss Mary B. James 60.00 

J. C. James 60.00 

S. W. James 180.00 

A. W. Jackson 289.00 

O. A. Jackson 20.00 

W. C. Jefferson 85.00 

A. J. Joye 60.00 

J. E. Johnson 40.00 

Miss E. E. Jones 80.00 

Miss E. A. Keels 130.00 

Miss Sue R. Keels 364.00 

Miss C. P. Keels 60.00 

Miss M. E. Keels 393.00 

Miss A. H. Kennedy 60.00 

Miss E. L. King 20.00 

Miss M. R. Lifrage 284.00 

Miss E. V. Lucas 48.00 

N. D. Lesesne 432.00 

Miss Augusta McConnell 285.00 

Miss M. L. McConnell 82.00 

Mrs. M. B. McConnell 263.00 

J. Z. McConnell 216.00 

Miss E. F. McCutchen 50.00 

Miss Manette McCutchen 72.00 

Mrs. H. J. McCutchen 44.00 

T. M. McCutchen. 360.00 

C. W. McClam i75-oo 

J. O. McLendon 125.00 

W. J. McAlister 125.00 

Miss Ella R. McElveen 60.00 

Williamsburg County. 231 

R. C. McElvecn i95-00 

Miss M. A. Miscally 198.00 

Miss Lizzie McDuffie 69.50 

Rev. D. McDuffie 96.00 

Miss Jho McGill 35-00 

Miss A. S. May i35-00 

Miss Ida McCormack 115.00 

Miss Addie McMillan 40.00 

Robert McGourvey 45 -oo 

Miss Myrtie Merritte 72.00 

J. G. McCulloug-h 80.00 

I. N. Mathews 97-50 

W. W. Mathews 305-oo 

H. A. Munn 37.50 

D. K. Mouzon 60.00 

T. R. Mouzon i45-00 

Miss M. L. Montgomery 55^.75 

Miss A. H. Montgomerv' 120.00 

S. I. Montgomery 11 5.00 

J. J. B. Montgomery 291.00 

Miss M. L. Newsom 102.00 

Mrs. S. A. Nelson 207.00 

J. W. Nelson 690.00 

W. E. Nesmith 276.00 

W. P. Nesmith 271.00 

G. W. Nesmith 1 15.00 

J. F. Nesmith 132.50 

T. B. Neil 60.00 

VV. E. Nettles 50.00 

Miss Lottie S. Olney 48.00 

Miss A. A. Parsons 85.00 

Miss L. A. Paxton 1 10.00 

Miss M. P. Pearson 75-00 

Miss E. A. Pope 37-50 

Miss Sue M. Price 72.00 

Mrs. N. (). Poston 284.00 

T. H. Parker 140.00 

Miss Jessie P. Richardson 50-75 

J. T. Richardson 60.00 

R. B. Roper 40.00 

A. W. Rodgers 90.00 

Mrs. S. M. Salters 293.00 

232 Reminiscences of 

Miss Jane M. Salters 94.00 

Miss Lizzie Sanders 80.00 

Miss E. E. Scott 101.00 

Miss Corine Scott i45-00 

T. M. Scott 226.00 

J. C. Shelly 45-00 

Rev. J. W. Sliell 396.00 

E. J. Smith 623.00 

G. W. Smith 20.00 

Albert Singleton 653.00 

Miss H. S. Singeltary 250.00 

I. W. Singeltary 48.00 

J. P. Shaw 795-00 

J. M. Shaw 30.00 

Mrs. A. L. Simmons 310.00 

Miss E. S. J. Simmons 108.00 

j. W. SinnncMis 423.50 

J. J. Snow 26.18 

S. J. Snowden 372.00 

W. E. Snowden 48.00 

Miss L. C. Stuart 80.00 

Miss L. j. Steele 158.00 

W. V. Stonehouse 25.00 

J. W. Sturgeon 35-00 

Miss Gussie Teppie 48.00 

J. J. Thomas 108.00 

J. Y. Tisdale 160.00 

Miss M. A. Wallace 50.00 

T.J. Walker 48.00 

Jas. F. Watson 204.00 

W. Sands Wagner 1 10.00 

L. J. Wall. .. ."; 12.00 

Miss Ida Wlntehead 40.00 

Miss S. E. Wilson 108.00 

Mrs. Ann Wilson 124.00 

Miss Anne N. Wilson i54-00 

D. I. Wilson 48.00 

Miss A. K. White 50.00 

Miss Minnie L. White 40.00 

Miss Lucile Williams loo.oo 

E. H. Williams 160.00 

S. W. Williams 150.00 

Williamsburg County. 233 

1. 'i". Wilder 250.00 

Miss Ida G. VVitherspoon 60.00 

Miss Florence Workman 288.00 

Mrs. Ida M. Wolfe 60.00 

Mrs. E. P. Wolfe 240.00 

C. W. Wolfe 72.00 

W. M. Venters 105.00 

List of Colored Teachers and Amounts Received. 

W. W. Anderson $ :20.oo 

Miss Lou Bradley 40.00 

Augustus Brown 625.00 

M. Blakeley 90.00 

Rev. C. R. Brown 20.00 

Henry Bozzard i35-00 

J. D. Ban- 33^-00 

J. S. Cooper 565.0c- 

Mrs. L. M. Cooper 261.00 

B. L. Cooper 242.00 

L. 1''. Cooper 32.00 

Rev. R. A. Cottinghani 140.00 

Richard Uavis 45-00 

William Dozier 48.00 

H. H. Evans i59-00 

Miss P. A. Fordham 75-00 

1'. J. Felix 130.00 

M. S. Felix 45-00 

D. C. Fulton 711 .00 

J. S. Fulmore 1,203.00 

Jack Gordon 862.00 

L. D. Graham 180.00 

Mrs. Hariot Hanna 493.00 

W. M. Hanna 587.00 

S. S. Hanna i .355.60 

Miss E. E. Hanna 36.00 

Miss A. J. Hanna 40.00 

Miss N. A. Harper 481.00 

Miss Eugenia Howard 75-00 

W. F. Holmes 72.00 

Miss Camilla Johnson 48.00 

B. Lewallen 30.00 

Miss M. E. Mouzon 934.00 

234 Reminiscences of 

II. H. Mouzoii 415.00 

M. M. Mouzon 509.00 

R. R. Mouzon 135.00 

Levi Mouzon 40.00 

F. A. Maxwell i95-00 

J. C. Martin 11 2.00 

C. C. McPherson 108.00 

Miss M. E. Murrell 11.00 

M. D. McBride 245.00 

J. C. McEaddy 130.00 

Sam McClary 26.5^,. 

James McEaddy 206.00 

S. W. McCottry 48.00 

Miss R. Z. Montgomery 37i-0(- 

Miss L. M. Paris 45-00 

Miss M. j. Peterson 48.00 

Miss S. A. Pendergrass 45-00 

Jeff. Pendergrass 1 10.00 

J. ('. Pendergrass 320.00 

W. j. Parsons 304.00 

Rev. A. Ransom i35-00 

Mrs. M. A. Ransom 455-00 

E. R. Roberts 100.00 

S. B. Shaw 80.00 

D. D. Shaw 20.00 

E. G. Smalls 20.00 

Dick Salters 760.00 

J. E. Singletary 422.00 

Fred Scott 66.00 

C. S. Scott 145.75 

W. C. Scott 164.00 

W. D. Scott 250.00 

Mrs. J. X. Thompson 1 18.00 

Miss Lizzie Witherspoon 76.00 

J. C. Williams 120.00 

Miss Rebecca \'^augn 60.00 

PL J. Thorp 60.00 

G. K. Summersett 2 11. 00 

F. J. Kershaw 120.00 

W. G. Wilson 280.00 

G. F. Warden 78.00 

Williamsburg County. 235 

Amt. to Samuel D. McGill, School Commissioner. .$6,675.00 

" T. M. Gilland, member Ex. Board 105.00 

" M. J. Hirsch, member Ex. Board 105.00 

" Williamsburg- Herald 85.00 

" Williamsburg Tattler 2.50 

" County Record 86.25 

Rent Bulah Lodge Hall 14.00 

Jas. Thorp, hauling' boxes 2.00 

Amt. to Miss Mollie Epps by Legislative Act on old 

school claim 105.00 

Amt. to W. D. Knox by Legislative Act on old 

school claim 1 1 .91 


The efforts made to offer a full and intelligent presenta- 
tion of all money matters connected with public school ex- 
penditures from 1st November, 1880, to ist November, 1890, 
have been of easy result, inasmuch as they had been condensed 
in a separate school book before they were turned over to 
Capt. S. J. Snowden, my successor in ofifice. 

The above claims were our leg"itimate obligations, and 
they have been discharged. Besides all the old school claims 
contracted in Radical times were paid by the half poll of '79 
and '80, and all claims contracted during the two first years 
of our Democratic rule have been paid out of unexpended 
balances, authorized by Legislative acts, and yet $721 were 
left at my successor's disposal when I retired from the School 
Office, Januar}', 1891. 

Before the dismissal of the public school affairs, the 
time and manner of the occupancy of the School Office claim 
some reference. In Williamsburg County in 1876, in the 
Hampton campaign, we failed to carry the County offfcers, 
though succeeded with the State ticket, but in 1878 we elected 
our County of^cers by caucus, in convention, and at the gen- 
eral election, in November. In 1880 the opinion pretty gen- 
erally prevailed that Dr. McGill was well qualified for the 
School Ofifice, and he was accordingly approached. Chief 
among- his objections was the fact that he was not suflficiently 
known throughout the County, and, telling his friends that, 
while he felt sure of the vote of his intimate acciuaintances, 
yet he was satisfied he did not personally know one-half of 

236 Reminiscences of 

his fellow-citizens. However, his friends assured him that, 
with the vote of his personal friends, they could elect him at 
the various voting precincts. Among his numerous solicitors 
none was more positive of his election than his friend and 
next neighbor, Mr. E. S. Sauls. He would say: "Doctor, 
do what you can for yourself; I'll carry my former neighbors 
in the upper Lake portion of our County, where you are not 
known, and Sam Kirby will assist me." Sure enough, he 
carried that whole upper country in four subsequent cam- 
paigns. Without Mr. Sauls' influence and his untiring efforts 
in my interest there are doubts as to the handsome majorities 
1 received each election year. One of his arguments in Dr. 
McGill's favor was full of weight, as he said to his friends: 
"When I lived up here with you I had Sam Kirby for a neigh- 
bor. When I moved away to White Oak I found another 
Sam my neighbor, in the person of Sam McGill. Now, I am 
partial to the name of 'Sam,' for these two Sams are as good 
men as 1 ever knew." 

In the campaign of i888 there were three other candidates 
in tlie field for the School Commissioner's ollice, and there 
were some fears entertained as to its results. "Tw^as then Mr. 
Sauls took the field for me, and, knowing this, I could not 
refrain from referring to him in a well-prepared written docu- 
ment used at the various campaign meetings of that year. 
Here is what was read in that public school document: 

"Before taking charge of the school office its officer-elect 
is recjuired to give a bond of a thousand dollars for the faith- 
ful discharge of its public affairs. It is unpleasant at all times 
to ask a friend to stand ^s security for a debt, but doubly so 
to ask him to go on an official bond. In this case, I was for- 
tunate, and was spared that unpleasantness. A friend, m 
easy and affluent circumstances, influential and intelligent, 
came to my relief, by offering to be my bondsman, this time 
and all subsecjuent favoring elections, on condition that I 
would not run the County in debt as a school officer. These 
exacted promises have been fulfilled and the conditions strictly 
complied with, as wall appear in the sequel. This friend is 
brought to the front that he may be accountable for the large 
cash balances on hand, which did accrue year after year, and 
to show appreciation of favors and fidelity to a bondsman." 

This written document embraced school statistics of the 
last seven years' operations, the amount of taxes collected 

Williamsburg County. 237 

and made applicable to school claims, their disbursements and 
balances each year — all j^iven in an extended yet summary 
way. These were very tedious and uninteresting, and the 

reader overhearing a bystander say: "Great G ; surely he 

ain't going to read all that is in that book!" he became cjuite 
dumbfounded. Yet on these records were placed my hopes 
of a re-election, and at the close of that document two senti- 
ments were given, thus changing the phase of the whole 
thing, the latter of which materially enhanced his prospects 
of success : 

"Aside from my ofBcial public school record, there is 
another claim in my favor which circumstances cannot efifect. 
It is embalmed in the affections of many persons yet living, and 
iias been demonstrated on many former occasions, and is 
demonstrable to-day. In my earlier years, amid the scenes 
of my boyhood and later days, when T was a teacher, favora- 
bly known and accepted as such, both at home and abroad. 
A register of the names of the scholars who attended my 
school at different times and places in Williamsburg Comity 
fixes a number over two hundred and fifty-five. Out of this 
number, over one hundred are dead or have removed from 
the County. The others, with one or two exceptions, are 
friends; three are Comity ofificials. and many are engaged in 
school-keeping under me. In my official visits through and 
around the County I meet with many of my pupils, old men 
and women now. and there is a cordial shake of the hand 
and many expressions in manner and words of tender regard 
and imfading attachment. In the interview and in parting 
that pleasantness which characterized our connection as that 
of teacher and pupil long years ago 

"Dances in our eyes all the while. 
And on our lips it lingers a loving smile." 

And in these visits there were many calls made on the 
soldiers in our "late war," who together had endured the 
hardships of camp for three winters in and around George- 
town. It was our fortune to have been slighted by the Yan- 
kees, as we did not see one during our camps, thotigh we 
were in daily expectation of them. In one of Sam's first 
official visits as a County School Commissioner he ascer- 
tained that, by going a little out of his route, he could see 

238 Reminiscences of 

his old friend and comrade in arms, Mr. Alex. M. Mathews, 
with whom an endearment arose in camp, and it was hardly 
possible to separate them. Mr. Mathews, who belonged to 
the old family of the Lake Mathews, was a pleasant com- 

Dr. McGill, calling- on his old friend late one afternoon, 
only to salute him, was not permitted to go away until he was 
escorted into his house and introduced to his wife and chil- 
dren as his old friend and Captain in the war. Leaving, and 
while at his yard gate. Dr. McGill, kindly laying his hands 
on his friend's shoulders, said: "Mathews, old fellow, we did 
some good fighting in Georgetown," when the old man, 
straightening up himself, said: "Well, sir; we went there to 
do it;"' which was answered with: "And I expect we would 
have done it." "There is no expect in the case, I know we 
would," was Mathews' reply. 

A retrospection of the exciting war times brings up the 
horrors of them along with a sentimental enjoyment in their 
present scenes, as, passing in our undisturbed campaigns 
during the war around Georgetown. While most of the sol- 
diers with us made recreation of spirits in the novelty of their 
situation in the enjoyment of jokes, yet a few others, moved 
with the importance of keeping sober and ready at any and 
all times to do our duty, assumed a silence and a dignity, if 
not worthy of a Roman soldier, it was indicative of the valor 
of an American citizen. Of the latter was Mr. E. J. Parker, 
of Sutton's, formerly of North Carolina, whom Sam, observ- 
ing, an acquaintance was made in camps, extending through 
his public school terms, and, visiting Mr. Parker, in his offi- 
cial capacity as "friend and co-laborer in the office of Clerk 
of the Board of School Trustees for Sutton's School District, 
No. 4." 

A belief that camp life exhibited the natural dispositions 
of the soldier and his habits at home may have been gen- 
erally entertained. Wliile there were many soldiers in our 
regiment who observed the Sabbath and prayer-meetings in 
their own streets, yet there was one who. making no very out- 
ward signs of our Christian obligations as, for instance, Mr. 
E. J. C. Mathews, better known as Calvin Mathews, when 
missed on our street after night, could be found in some other 
street, where a prayer-meeting was in progress, seated off in 
the dark, silent and attentive, and as soon as the meeting 

WiivUAMSBURG County. 239 

was over, he would take up his Httle bench and carry it back 
to his tent, till another prayer-meeting is announced. 

For these three digressions from the account of the de- 
livery of my written and well-studied campaign speech of 
1888, made to increase my prospects as my own successor, 
the following sentiment was given. The close of my statistical 
document being reached, much to the joy and satisfaction of 
the audience, and, closing my book from which I had been 
reading and holding it behind me, I spoke with that natural 
ease, if not oratory, as the choking of the utterances of cer- 
tain words in the sentiment permitted expressions of them: 

"Such are the records filed in the school office in Kings- 
tree, and such are my official acts. A review of their enact- 
ments brings no regrets, and they would be re-acted under 
like circumstances. Err6rs there were, but of no serious 
magnitude. 'To err is human; to forgive is divine.' A con- 
tinuance of your support will be an indorsement of these acts. 
Otherwise, if you so determine, there will not be any 
abatement of that sentiment of 'partial' affection which I im- 
bibed with my earliest breath, and which was instilled while 
yet a boy. 

"As oft as memory shall recall my connection with the 
school office, there will arise a pleasurable emotion in the 
reflection that my best efforts have been used to advance the 
educational interest of the children of Williamsburg, and in 
my retirement carry with me an endearing comfort in the 
belief that I have rendered some service to a County in which 
I first saw the light, and where I hope to be when that light 
goes out forever." 

Our primary election being duly held, the ardent friends 
of old Dr. McGill were jubilant over the majority of votes 
cast in his favor. He entered on his fifth term as a public 
school officer, and continued to fill the expectations of his 
old-time friends and those of later attachments. On the first 
of January, 1891, he voluntarily retired from that office, the 
duties of which had so completely absorbed his time that a 
short respite from such labors was necessary to relieve his 
mind from the burden of ten years' responsibilities. His 
motto being: "Do nothing by halves." and that expression once 
used, in our common parlance, "if you be a thing, be a thing." 
After turning over the school office to his successor. Capt. 
S. J. Snowden, a soldier in our late war, pupil, friend and 

240 Reminiscences of 

supporter, Dr. McGill. thoug-h aside from the office, yet is 
not apart from the operations of our public schools. 



This incidental withdrawal from the ten years' cares as a 
public servant only increased the attachment for Kingstree and 
its people, though it was observant that the latter seemed to 
have tired in the prolonged presence of that officer. In his 
tri-weekly official visits, Kingstree did not wholly engage his 
favor and attention, as all along the roads thither there was 
much to mterest and divert the mind, as, having choice of 
roads, one of them would be taken in the morning and the 
other in the evening of liis homeward return. In the school 
office, true to his early imbibed habits, obtained from Aesop's 
advice to the boys witli bow and arrows, one hour at a time 
was g-iven to the duties of the office, when he would seek out- 
door exercise, either ds a tramp or an observer of passing 
events, or, in a meditative mood, standing at the court house 
.'teps, the scenes of earlier days would flit across the mind, 
and the people stand before him in all the uncultured elegance 
of our primeval ages. 

The inmiense crowd filled the court house, even its gallery. 
In the court house the Constables were ever crying "silence 
m court," because of the tread of heavy shoes in the aisle, and 
seeing to "hats ofT" in the presence of the Court. In the after- 
noon, when Court adjourned, then was the signal for the in- 
clinations of our people in and around the grog -shop, who 
obstructed the street and thronged the doorway ot the store, 
keeping half a dozen clerks passing decanters and tumblers 
to the men and receiving the money. The Santee boys were 
there, who, flapping their arms and crowing like game cocks, 
soon attract attention. There was loud talking on every side, 
and soon disputes arose, and when about to engage, friends 
interfered and separated the combatants. Perhaps the great- 
est pacificator among- us was Joseph W. Gamble, who by 
his commanding- voice and bold language could quiet the 
"ignoble strife." He possessed influence and courage, inher- 

Williamsburg County. 241 

ited not alone from the heroic stock of the Gambles, but also 
from the Jameses, Conyers and McCottrys. In the evening 
most of the crowd left for camps outside of the town limits, 
whooping, shouting and brandishing a "black betty" or two, 
and attempt to walk the narrow footlogs extending across 
Kingstree branch, while a few plunge through the water, 
splashing it above their heads. 

In those times many of our people would surely attend 
Court, and when asked their business would answer: "There 
wouldn't be any Court if I didn't come." 

Our Judges were entertained in highest honor and yet 
with greatest fear. Everybody denominated them as the "old 
Judge," whom we supposed to possess unlimited power to 
send a man to jail at his pleasure. On one occasion, Judge 
Richardson, coming down the court house steps, had to walk 
round a drunken man lying on the ground, and, seeing yet 
another lying at a little distance, ' he exclaimed in a loud 
voice: "Oh, gentlemen, this looks badly for Williamsburg." 

Such things lasted though, with apparent diminution every 
year, made so by progressive literature, the influences of the 
Sons of Temperance, the building of large stores and the in- 
flux of the learned professions in the town, so much so that 
when the war came on we were highly advanced. These old 
scenes have passed away, and are but dimly remembered by 
those who once enjoyed those incongruous hilarities. 

Once in our history there were no licenses granted to sell 
spirituous liquors, and our people, true to their ancestral char- 
acter, soon invented a substitute. Some one residing on 
Black River, caught a large live alligator, and, dragging him 
to Kingstree, securely placed him in a back room in the Mc- 
Elveen and McWilliams tailor shop, and exhibited the alli- 
gator as a show and threw in a drink for every sight of him. 
This show soon became a popular resort, and crowds of men 
attended this exhibition. Those whoi lingered until they were 
made to see double were remarked upon as being full of the 
alligator soup. 

Mr. Joseph P. McElveen, an old citizen of Kingstree, who 
bought Peter J. Gourdon's house, lived and died there. He 
was highly esteemed. He married a daughter of Mr. George 
Gamble, on Santee, and raised two sons — George and Henry 
— the latter of whom was killed in our war. His only daugh- 

242 Rkminiscences of 

ter married George Arms, of Kingstree, and still resides 

In the first stride towards the improvement of Kings- 
tree, several large storehouses were erected on Main street. 
Hon. Joseph R. Fulmore was the first to build two fine stores. 
His brick store and residence has lately yielded its claim to 
the grand mansion of Richard H. Kellahan. Here Mr. Ful- 
more. accumulated a fortune in merchandising, married a Miss 
Burgess in his latter days and left this County. In his stores 
he had Peter B. Mouzon as clerk and partner, and he has the 
credit of first importing a stove for his store. An old country 
gentleman, somewhat in his cups, while admiring the stove 
and warming himself, put his hands on the pipe and got 
them burned. He shouted at the top of his voice: "Joe! Joe! 
Cut down that d d spindle of hell!" 

These two merchants, known as the firm of F'ulmore and 
Mouzon, were well mated in the enjoyment of the oddities 
of life, as were seen in the peculiarities of certain people, and 
they affected their natural tendencies. Hence their store was 
the resort of the most notable country characters when they 
came to town. On a certain day Capt. Ebb Singeltary and 
Maj. John Harllee were there in their best humors. They 
engaged in conversation, and soon they began to wrangle. 
The Major, in his usual pleasantry, said some things to the 
old Captain which much irritated him, and he said: "If it was 
not for the law I would maul hell out of you!" The Major 
calmly replied: "Yes; more men are governed by their fears 
than by their principles." Here the Captain attempted to 
get in reach, saying: "Let me at him." The bystanders, with 
much effort, wrenched his stick away and with some diffi- 
culty they brought about a reconciliation, as the old Major, 
losing his temper, exclaimed: "Clear the way and let the 
North Carolina bull get at him!" 

Before Fulmore & Mouzon built the fine store and resi- 
dence at the corner, they sold their storehouse and residence, 
situated immediately in front of the court house, to Samuel 
P. Mathews, who entered the mercantile business, and, having 
many strong and influential friends and relatives, he expected 
to do a large business. He married a Miss Bell, from Sumter, 
by whom he had one son, who received his father's name. 
After the war this young man came back to his native town, 
and became quite a celebrated surveyor. Being of such en- 

Williamsburg County. 243 

tertaining address, he delighted the people whithersoever lie 
went by his intelligent conversation. He moved away into 
Texas, as a broader field for his profession, and his friends 
here have predicted a bright future for him. 

At or before this time Mr. Bond, of Fayetteville, N. 

C, moved into the town, and, forming a copartnership with 
his brother-in-law. Dr. Richard Jarrott, a physician and public 
spirited citizen, opened a full assortment of merchandise in 
the old court house, while he and his family resided in the 
upper story. With Mr. Bond's immigration came also the 
Misses Jarrott, bringing additional charms to the Kingstree 
society. Also, there was Mr. John M. Jarrott, who opened 
a workshop, principally gins and their fixtures, in the old jail, 
assisted by William and Frederick Marsiners, from Charles- 
ton. Mr. Jarrott married Miss Georgianna Witherspoon, only 
daughter of the late Capt. George Witherspoon. Years be- 
fore our war the Jarrott family emigrated to Florida. 

Kingstree had another workshop, conducted by Robert 
J. Patterson, assisted by Robert Flinn, whose principal busi- 
ness was the making of riding chairs and sulkies. 

After awhile two other large stores were erected, one by 
Col. J. J. Tisdale, kept for rent purposes, and the other by 
S. J. Strong and T. Jefif. Strong, brothers, who, opening a 
large stock of goods and giving attention and civility to cus- 
tomers, attracted much patronage. 

John Armstrong, a Virginian by birth, did a large bu'-'i- 
ness in handling costly articles and general merchandise, kept 
in the Mathews' store. Our ladies and gentlemen 'r^ely 
patronized our old town and promenaded the streets, and the 
country people traded in the stores who, in the past years, 
declared "they had no use for Kingstree." 

Daniel H. Jones, an Englishman, was a merchant tailor 
who, together with his interesting family, added much to the 
elevation of our old County seat. He occupied a fine store, 
and residence in front of the court house. He and his wife, 
too, of English birth, are buried in the Williamsburg grave- 
yard. Their two sons — Daniel and Charley — were early called 
away to the other world. They have been already mentioned 
as volunteers in the Bull Run fight. The elder brother opened 
a factorage business in Charleston just after the war. Their 
only daughter, Charlotte, was unfortunate in her first mar- 
riage, but afterwards, marrying E. G. Chandler, the accom- 

244 Reminiscences of 

plished and Christian gentleman of high hterary attainments, 
she is now possessed of easy means, and became postmistress 
at Kingstree. 

The family of old Mr. Samuel Adams still hold their old 
homestead in the village, and are well received throughout 
this County. The eldest daughter, Eliza Adams, buried four 
husbands: First, her marriage with Augustus Burgess, a 
rich old bachelor; her second husband was che Hon. James 
L. Mouzon, who was one of nature's noblemen, never sur- 
passed in Williamsburg County. By her union with James 
L. Mouzon she had one child, named J. Lawrence Mou;^on. 
After Mouzon's death, she married Samuel P. Mathews, and, 
burying him, she married old Mr. James Staggers. Surviv- 
ing her fourth husband, she died in 1894. 

There were two prominent lawyers in Kingstree during 
this time — Col. N. G. Rich, known as a No. i equity lawyer, 
and E. J. Porter, the Irishman accepted as a business man in 
his office and his companionship ever desirable. With his 
pen he was a power, whether in the elegance of his manu- 
scripts or his correspondence with the journals of that day. 
Coming to Kingstree when a young man, with letters of 
recommendation from prominent gentlemen in Charleston, 
and being in every way agreeable, he was soon in the heart 
of the people. He married a Miss Lesesne, who was a sister 
of Hon. E. R. Lesesne and of Charlie Lesesne. Mr. Porter's 
residence is yet the homestead of his family, and his son, 
James Porter, is the cjuiet merchant of Kingstree who to know 
is to love. 

Dr. T. Murritt Mouzon graduated in the South Carolina 
Medical College in the spring of 1847, opened a drug store 
in Kingstree and began the practice of medicine at this place. 
He was considered to be of unusual qualifications as a citizen 
and physician. He first settled the place over the Kings- 
tree Branch, and his house still stands and represents the 
somewhat inordinate taste of its original projector. He mar- 
ried Miss Emma Lesesne, who, dying, left one son and two 
daughters. In compliment to his brother, Peter B. Mouzon, 
who had ediicated him and settled him in business, Dr. Mou- 
zon named his son Peter Bonheau Mouzon, for him. After 
the doctor's death his son was taken and cared for by his 
uncle Peter, and to distinguish them he was called "Little 

Williamsburg County. 245 

Gen. William F. Ervin, Surveyor General of the State, 
settled the place now owned by S. A. Swails, and remained 
with us till after the war. This situation, on the brow of the 
hill of the Kingstree Branch, commanding the meadows be- 
low and the track of the Northeastern Railroad, really en- 
gages the eye as viewed from the village. Its magnificent 
shade trees present a scene as that of a picture, yet far more 
pleasurable in its reality. 

The first year General Ervin settled in Kingstree he at- 
tended a Fourth of July dinner given in the grove back of 
the Fulmore store. After dinner was served, and the regu- 
lar toasts were given, responded to and applauded, a special 
toast, embracing patriotic sentiments, prepared by Hon. 
James L. Mouzon and Dr. Samuel D. McGill, was given to 
General Ervin as a descendant of the family of Gen. Francis 
Marion, to whose heroism Williamsburg district acknowl- 
edges an obligation for his services and those of Marion's 
men, in the old Revolutionary war. John G. Pressley, orator 
of the day, responded to a toast given in his honor. During 
the evening Hon. A. Isaac McKnight was called. He de- 
nounced the South Carolina College and its professors. James 
McCutchen, then a student of that college, arose as soon as 
McKnight took his seat, and addressed the audience, rebutting 
the accusations and nobly defending the right. 

Dr. D. M. Mason, a native of York district, success- 
fully practiced medicine for many years. He was fond of poli- 
tics, and was the author of the preambles and resolutions 
passed at our public gatherings. He built a residence on 
Vinegar Flill, but, marrying a Miss Chaney, on Santee, and 
the bulk of his practice being in that section, he left Kings- 
tree and settled on Santee. He died in full manhood and left 
a family. 

Dr. Richard Jarrott, a most remarkable man for his in- 
telligence and dignity, was for many years the most promi- 
nent among our physicians. He married a Miss Shaw, of 
ample property, and built the handsome residence on Vinegar 
Hill. Fie moved to Florida, accompanied by his brother 
John, who married Miss Georgia Anna Witherspoon, and by 
her brother, Robert McCothy Witherspoon, who was a son 
of George Witherspoon, the great character of his day. Aside 
from the influence of his name, his own natural qualities en- 

246 Reminiscences of 

cleared him in this County, and he Hved and died in the Tax 
Collector's office. 

Dr. B. Warburton Bradley, of noble birth and of distinct- 
ive qualities, has been already introduced, who, like Dr. John 
W. Staggers, of the stock of the old Gambles and Mouzons, 
was not content to remain in Kingstree, but engaged much 
of their time in Columbia, one in the Legislative halls, the 
other at the commencement balls at our Capital. These two 
young men were pronounced the two handsomest gentlemen 
in Columbia. 

There were three lawyers of native growth who, settling 
in Kingstree, built fine residences. A. Isaac McKnight 
has a place in this narrative in connection with the establish- 
ment of "The Kingstree Star." John G. Pressley, after his 
graduation in the South Carolina Military Academy, in 
Charleston, opened a law office in Kingstree. He was soon 
doing a fine business. Marrying a Miss Burkmyer, of Charles- 
ton, he built the residence now owned by M. J. Hirsch, Esq., 
and, being popular, became a member of our Legislature. In 
our war he served as Colonel of the Twenty-fifth Regiment of 
South Carolina Volunteers through the campaigns in Vir- 
ginia, and in one of the battles he lost an arm. Just after 
the war he moved to California, together with his mother, 
Mrs. Sarah PreSsley; his brother, Dr. James F. Pressley, and 
Mr. Dwight Bare, who had married in the Pressley family. 
Dr. James F. Pressley, also a graduate in the same military 

school as his brother, was Colonel of the Regiment of 

South Carolina Volunteers, and served in the Western Army 
till just at the end of the war, and he, too, was wounded in 
the arm. Samuel W. Maurice, a young man, opened a law 
office in Kingstree. His extraordinary intelligence soon at- 
tracted attention, and he was elected to the Legislature. He 
married Miss Louisa Nelson, of Kingstree, and built the 
first house in Kingstree of modern architecture, the front yard 
tastefully adorned with flowers and evergreens. He left an 
only child, now Mrs. Ella Koger, and his widow is now the 
wife of Capt. J. J. Steele. 

At or before these times of persons and things pertain- 
ing to historic Kingstree, say fifty-five years ago, a scene 
was enacted in our court house, during a term of session, 
which claims a place in this narrative, and without its pre- 
sentation its author would fail in its primary object, which 

Williamsburg County. 247 

was to give facts without any dissimilation or disguise, yet 
holding in his mind always to look on the bright side of 
things. A case of litigation, as remembered, was brought to 
the Court by citizens of and around Lawrence's Bridge, on 
Lynch's Creek, indicting certain citizens living lower down 
on the creek, in a neighborhood called the Neck, for ob- 
structing the free passage of shad and other fish by reason 
of their nets and seines, continuously stretched across the 
channel of that stream. It so happened that Mr. Eli Poston, 
residing in this Neck, was an unwilling witness against his 
neighbors, and the manner in which he avoided an implica- 
tion which might involve them in the case was so peculiar, 
in his testimony on the stand, that the Court, including the 
Judge and spectators, was highly interested, and with dififi- 
culty the Constables' command, "silence in Court," was ob- 
served. When Mr. Eli Poston was put on the witness stand 
the lawyer asked his name. He answered inaudibly. The 
lawyer repeated the question and his answer was yet indis- 
tinct. The Judge interposed and said: "Please speak a little 
louder." Mr. Poston, turning towards the Judge, answered 
by spelling his name, letter by letter. During the examina- 
tion, in which the lawyer had failed to get anything satisfac- 
tory, he asked: "Mr. Poston, can you tell where you live?" 
"Yes; I can." "Well, tell the Court where it is." Poston 
replied: "I live in my house when I live at home." By this 
time the Judge could hardly retain his dignity, and said: 
"Mr. Poston, give direct and positive answers to the ques- 
tions and the lawyer will not tease you so much." The wit- 
ness, with an assured importance, gave a significant side nod, 
and, answering the Judge, said: "Fve seen, lawyers before 
to-day." Here the Court lost all control for a few moments, 
and everybody indulged in a loud laugh. 

Kingstree was largely indebted for its social improvement 
by the removal of Capt. Isaac Nelson, from his plantation, 
three miles below the village, in, 1835, who opened the Fluitt 
House, then an imposing structure. Being well connected, 
fat and jovial, he had many friends, and his house was fully 
patronized. He married Miss Martha Fluitt, daughter of 
the venerable Samuel Fluitt, who owned the greater part of 
Kingstree, and well settled his five children. Dr. John Fluitt 
and his brothers, Burrell and Benjamin, and his two daugh- 
ters, Martha and Mariah, who married Van Tromp Wither- 

248 ReminiscExNces of 

spoon. Now only the families of Mrs. Nelson and Dr. John 
Fluitt are in this County, as are seen in Mrs. Ann Patience 
Thorn, and her only son, Philip Boone Thorn, the energetic 
man of Kingstree, and G. Pervis Nelson and James H. Fluitt. 

A few years after the migration of Capt. Isaac Nelson to 
Kingstree, with his wife, two daughters and his eight sons, 
Francis, William, Samuel, Isaac, Covest, Peden, Pervis and 
James, old Mr. Joseph Scott, residing on his plantation on 
Rutledge Bay, and being the owner of the first steam saw 
mill put in operation in this section, built a large dwelling in 
Kingstree, and thither he and family removed for educational 
advantages. The house was constructed after the old fash- 
ioned style of our well-to-do citizens, and stands to-day as a 
memorial of ancient economy and comfort. He had two 
sons, Samuel McBride and Edward Branard, and two daugh- 
ters, Elizabeth B. and Susan Theresa. Three of these children 
have families in Kingtree, but the youngest child, Edward 
Branard, died before full maturity. He was killed in Con- 
federate service, far away from home, and when the report of 
his death reached his beloved father, the old gentleman said: 
"Would to God I had did for thee. Oh, Branard, my son, my 

The ten years' rule of the Republicans, or from the ad- 
ministration of the reconstruction Acts, did not congregate 
our people, but Democratic possession of our government in 
1876 brought us again gleefully to our Court, as in ante- 
bellum days. The pleasure of meeting each other after our 
great sufferance, amid our enforced submission, and our 
greetings of respect, and our affiliations in the past, as we 
hastened to be reunited at our court house steps, can well be 

We see our fellow-citizen, Mr. R. E. Cade, coming up 
to our crowd, with face aglow with smiles, as he gives his 
hands right and left, and says: "I am here; if anything arises, 
I'm on hand." This Mr. Cade was everywhere known as Raz 
Cade by his friends, who loved him and were ever pleased to 
be in his company, remarkable for his humor, ready wit and 
intelligence, his flow of language and the command of words 
suited to the subject of the present conversation, in which he 
was the recognized leader. He possessed the most amiable 
disposition, was versed in the political topics of the day and 
a sincere professor of religion. Of marked and distinctive 

Williamsburg County. 249 

features, there was a friendship established not in name, but 
in enduring figures, to the end of his life. 

On a Monday of a certain week the two friends, a Meth- 
odist and Presbyterian, visited Kingstree together. After 
nightfall they started homeward, and, the night being all 
that could be desired, they threw their buggy lines over the 
splash board of the buggy, and enjoyed themselves in a pro- 
digious way in the funny tales and merry laughs, only alight- 
ing a few times to relax their stiffened limbs, eat oranges or 
sardines and snowflakes, and arrived at the nearer home of 
the two friends, in the Cade section, in the small hours of 
the next day. To continue this innocent pleasure, on Tues- 
day they v/ere again in Kingstree, and the very same scenes 
of the preceding night were re-enacted on the road. On 
Wednesday they were once more in Kingstree, but both 
wisely concluded to adopt the Latin idiom, "Ne quid nemis," 
and they were soon on their homeward trip, in the early after- 
noon of their third day's recreation, and the elder of the two 
friends, arriving at his home, made satisfactory excuses for 
his improvised absence from his family. On Thursday he 
wrote to his friend, beginning in this wise: "I feel to-day, like 
that of yesterday, with a little variation, and a slight modifi- 
cation of the hilarity of the previous day. I'm afraid, Mr. 
Cade, that, in leaping over the moon with our jokes and sun- 
beam faces, we will fall on the other side into an abyss be- 
low, from which there is no redemption. Let us in the future 
throw ourselves on good behavior. Fm afraid, Mr. Cade." 
In a few days his answer was received. The letter was 
lengthy, but only eight lines are at hand, enough to show 
his unexampled benevolent spirit and a vein of humor which 
cannot be surpassed: 

"Afraid of what? Such noble souls as you and I 
Couldn't get to hell were we to try; 
And when in Heaven you ope your eyes, ' 

Should I be present, don't be surprised. 
And there, with sunbeam faces and plenty of jokes. 
We'll take our seats with the rest of the folks; 
And there, from laughter's pleasant store 
We'll keep them fellows all in a roar." 

Here is one more instance of Mr. Raz Cade's comple- 
ment to instruct and amuse his companions: He used to tell 

250 Reminiscences of 

of a good old Methodist exhorter who was stout in frame and 
very positive in his remarks. Among other things he was 
very denunciatory of sinners, and one of his congregation 
complained to him because he carried sinners down to hell 
and left them there. On the following Sabbath he referred 
to this complaint, and said: "I'll have this congregation to 
know that I'll preach the Lord Jesus Christ and him crucified 
if hell was at the door." Mr. R. Erasmus Cade, together 
with his brother, Andrew F. Cade, was a house carpenter by 
trade, was a great observer, being a constant reader of news- 
papers, and well posted in political issues. He was an ad- 
mirer of Mr. Calhoun and his followers. He readily enter- 
tained his doctrines and eagerly espoused the cause of seces- 
sion, and was early enlisted for the war in the Confederate 
ranks. His ardor to whip the Yankees overleaped his dis- 
cretion, and ere the close of our long and heated war his 
constitution yielded to the strain, and he returned home a 
mere wreck of his former self. The waste of his physical 
powers were ever visible in the subsequent years of his life. 
After the war he resided with his widowed sister, and at- 
tended to the business of her plantation and near there he 
died, in 1887. His bronchial disease was of several months' 
duration, and when his end was approaching he was undis- 
turbed and resigned, and he breathed his last in the love of 
God. Mr. Cade's sister. Airs. Agnes Brown, widow of Mr. 
Brown Graham, residing two miles below Cade's depot, 
Northeastern Railroad, was an esteemed Christian lady, and 
her home was ever open to her friends. The ministers of 
her church found a pleasant home around her hospitable fire- 
side. Her only child, Julius Graham, dying ere his full man- 
hood, she was comfortless, yet she was blessed in the society 
of her sister's children, who had been raised amid affluence 
at Fayetteville, N. C. At the beginning of our war they came 
to make their home with their Aunt Agnes Graham. These 
four motherless children were Misses Laura, A-Iinnie, Maggie 
and Lizzie Cade, the latter of whom was yet a child. They 
were ladies of education and of great musical attainments. 
During the war they, assisted by Mrs. Lizzie Brockinton and 
other ladies of the neighborhood, rendered great service to our 
soldiers in the field by their concerts, held chiefly in the court 
house at Kingstree, the proceeds of which were contributed 
to our Confederate cause. The Cade girls are all married 


now and have left this County, two of whom are wives of 
Methodist preachers. 



The Rev. Daniel Baker, D. D., one of the greatest theo- 
logians in the United States, honored Williamsburg district 
with a visit and held a week's meeting in the Presbyterian 
Church at Kingstree, in August, 1852, and our people at- 
tended each day. The pews, benches and chairs placed in 
its aisles and at its doors were insufficient to seat the im- 
mense congregation. Many carriages and other vehicles were 
driven into the church yard and placed at the windows of 
the church, from which their occupants could see and hear 
this great divine. 

Mr. Baker was known as an evangelist of national fame, 
and his sermons, as in the capacity of chaplain in the halls 
of our Congress, were said to have been so impressive that 
the members were held in breathless silence during their de- 
livery, by which many were converted. Among them, it was 
said, was the Hon. Henry Clay, of Kentucky. While Mr. 
Baker's sermons brought tears and prayers at the time of 
their delivery, and their imprints remained in our minds for 
many years, yet the lapse of time has modified our ardor, but 
it has not effaced their impressions. There was one burst of 
eloquence, and the enforcing manner of delivery, which this 
writer remembers, though forty-twO' years have passed. His 
stentorian voice was an unaffected reflex of the outer man, 
alike in the formation of his mind and person. His clear, 
forcible and comprehensive words were distinctly impressed 
and his sentences clothed in simple language and constructed 
to suit the intellectual endowments of the vast assembly be- 
fore him. 

In one particular sermon Mr. Baker drew mental pic- 
tures of the conditions attending the ungodly and the right- 
eous in this life, representing the one as walking in the mire, 
seizing the present and sinful enjoyments and hastening to 
eternal damnation; the other as walking on the King's high- 

252 Reminiscences of 

way of holiness, seeking eternal salvation. Various common 
articles were made to represent the pursuits of these two 
travelers to eternity, and their preferences for these articles 
were compared and their values and appearances of them 
placed side by side. Closing, he said: "What would you 
think of a man who would prefer rags to robes, pebbles to 
jewels, the shadow to the substance? Would you not call 
such a man a fool? Not remarkably wise, I would say." 

In one of Mr. Baker's afternoon sermons he earnestly 
requested every one within the hearing of his voice to unite 
in a concert of prayer "at the going down of this day's sun," 
wherever we may be and under all and every circumstance, 
for the outpouring of God's spirit upon this meeting. The 
term, "at the going down of the sun," was new to many of 
us, and it became of general usage after that, and we thought 
it more elegant than our old term, "at sundown." 

All during the various recesses of the day's preaching 
Mr. Baker mingled in the crowd, with the sole inquiry, "Is 
there anyone here under religious impressions," and upon 
finding one, they repaired to the session house, where there 
were many persons already assembled in accordance with 
his invitations given out from the pulpit as under religious 
impressions. Here Mr. Baker addressed each one according 
to answers to his first questions to them. To one gentleman 
he said: "Brother, how do you feel?" who, answering, "I 
have made my peace," he merely said, "Thank God!" and 
passed on to the next, saying, "And, sister, how is it with 
you?" who answered by saying, "I have hopes." "Oh, my 
dear sister, hopes are delusive," expatiating on the happy 
effects of hope in this world, and giving instances as coming 
under his observation and experience of the delusive effects 
of hope as a means of salvation, he substantiated the fact 
that hope is delusive. Thus he interrogated, criticized and ex- 
plained to the hour of his services expected in the Church, 
and announced by the blowing of a horn provided for that 
purpose. Of the many intensely interested converts made on 
this occasion by Mr. Baker, none manifested greater con- 
cern than Col. N. G. Rich, of Kingstree, who earnestly en- 
gaged this theologian in conversation during recesses, relative 
to his conversion and future progress. In many of Mr. 
Baker's sermons he frequently exclaimed, with great force 
of sentiment and effect: "Allelujah! Allelujah! The Lord 

Williamsburg County. 253 

God Omnipotent reigneth! AUelujah! Allelujah!" Col. 
Rich, moved with affection, inquired how such excellence 
could be obtained. The answer given, if rightly remembered, 
was, "It must be cultivated." However much we deplore the 
sad end of our friend and citizen, it can truthfully be said he 
died in the faith of his election, and in the atoning blood of 
Jesus Christ, shed for the remission of his sins. 

During one of the midday intermissions, when the crowd 
of people was largest, old Mr. Samuel Scott, an elder in the 
Indiantown Presbyterian Church, was seen to slowly stroll 
about among the people, leaning on the arm of a young 
friend. When seated on a bench in the Church yard, he 
was asked if he had ever seen such a crowd at this Church 
in all his life — now extended into the eighties — and, answer- 
ing in the negative, he remarked, "And in this big crowd I 
can't find a single person who was here when I was a boy." 

The sermons were, closed with the understanding that 
he preached the following week in the Indiantown Presby- 
terian Church, with like results. 

At this time the members of the Williamsburg Presby- 
terian Church were wealthy Christian people, refined and 
cultured in their general appearance, equipages and splendid 
horses. This congregation embraced the country reaching for 
ten or twelve miles on both sides of Black River, and hence 
this Church was foremost in the land, and its former grandeur 
and usefulness are .yet of sacred remembrance. "Over the 
river" were Capt. John A. Salters, Col. S. J. Montgomery, 
William Montgomery, Mrs. Sally Gamble, Mrs. Polly Mc- 
Gill, Thomas Chaney, Joseph Scott, Jr., Capt. John Watson, 
Mrs. Covert, Mr. William Lifrage, Mr. John A. Gordon, an 
elder, Mr. Joseph Chandler, Mr. John A. McCuUough. Below 
the Church were Messrs. H. D. Shaw, an elder; Samuel, John 
and William Tisdale; Robert Strong, William Camlin, an 
elder; Jack, Samuel and Sidney McClary ; Thomas Duke, John 
Knox and John Murphy. Above the Church were Mrs. 
Eliza Brockinton, Mrs. Martha F. Mouzon, John Kinder, 
Samuel G. McClary, W. G. Gamble, Mrs. Tyson Fulton, Ben- 
jamin R. and brother, John Moore Pendergrass, Mrs. M. L. 
Singleton; also, Mrs. Mary S. Wilson, Dr. James Bradley, 
an elder; Mrs. Susan Mathews, Joseph Scott, Dr. J. F. Brock- 
inton and George Witherspoon's family ; from the village were 
William Staggers, Isaac Nelson, Dr. D. M. Mason, Dr. T. 

254 Reminicensces of 

M. Mouzon, John Ferguson, Col. N. G. Rich, Joseph R. Ful- 
more, Samuel Fluitt and Daniel H. Jones. The above list is 
not a full one, and, of course, there are many others of equal 
devotion and zeal in the maintenance of that mother church, 
and while each of the gentlemen included in the list should 
receive special notices, yet only a few will be undertaken, with 
the hope that these will suffice to express the color of their 
social and religious position at home and abroad. 

Mr. James E. Fulton, eldest son of Mr. Samuel E. Fulton, 
whom he succeeded in the eldership of the Williamsburg 
Presbyterian Church, did honor to that position in our Pres- 
byteries. He was connected with the Ervins of accepted no- 
bility of character and Christian exaltations. He resided on 
upper Broad Swamp in the midst of one of the most fertile 
and extensive plantations in our district, and which William 
P. McGill now owns and where he resides. Besides this real 
property, Mr. Fulton was the owner of very large personal 
estate. He was one of our most wealthy and liberal citizens. 
His poorer neighbors, residing miles away and needing assis- 
tance, received help from him in sending his able-bodied ne- 
gro men to maul rails and notch up houses for them, without 
any intention of securing popularity. 

Mr. P\ilton married Miss Eliza Dollard, daughter of Dr. 
Dollard, of old Willtown notoriety, and dying, left a son and a 
daughter named William Dollard and Annie Fulton. Of the 
son, mention has already been made. His davighter. Miss 
Annie Fulton, after her mother's death, remained constantly 
at his side. 

Mrs. Mary S. Wilson, daughter of Mr. William Wil- 
son, who married Martha McGill, daughter of Roger McGill, 
at Indiantown, and~tEey settled that place near ICingstree, now 
owned by Mr. W. K. Kinder, where they died. This couple 
were leaders in the Williamsburg Presbyterian Church and 
were careful to give their three children good education. Their 
eldest son, Roger McGill Wilson, died while a student at the 
South Carolina College. Their second son, William James 
Wilson, graduated in the South Carolina College and studied 
for the ministry. He received a call from the Salem Brick 
Church, and during his pastoral charge died at the begin- 
ning of his usefulness. He lies entombed by the side of his 
parents and his brother, Roger McGill Wilson, in the Wil- 
liamsburg Presbyterian Church yard. Their only daughter, 

Williamsburg County. 255 

Mary Stuart Wilson, received that education which quaUfied 
her to perform the church duties which were her pleasure. 
She married Robert Wilson, a relative, and at her parents' 
death, she inherited their large possessions. Her husband 
died in early manhood, leaving two daughters and a son. Her 
usefulness in her church and her presbytery, her zeal and de- 
votion to enlarge the ministerial obligations and sanctified con- 
dition of its members, seemed far in advance of others who 
had preceded her, or present with her on her bended knees at 
the throne of grace in private and public exercises, at home 
and in church. Her eldest daughter, Martha Wilson, married 
Dr. Ezra Green, of Georgetown, and after a few years they 
moved away into upper Georgia. Her second daughter, An- 
nie Stuart Wilson, of uncommon beauty, and intelligence, 
married a Mr. Williamson, of Darlington, who was reputed to 
be very wealthy. Her only son, Laurens E. Wilson, was a 
graduate in the South Carolina College, studied law and 
practiced in Kingstree for a short time, and he and his mother 
selling out in 1850, moved out into upper Georgia, and then 
rejoined Dr. Green and family. At the beginning of the war, 
Laurens Wilson raised a company in Georgia and was killed 
in battle. About this time his mother, Mrs. Mary Stuart Wil- 
son, died, and being brought back to Williamsburg, she was 
buried in the Williamsburg Presbyterian Church yard by the 
side of her husband. 

The Wilson families, once so numerous at Indiantown 
and around Kingstree, who were ever prominent in church 
and State, yet have representatives in the Indiantown com- 
munity. The descendants of Col. David D. Wilson, already 
spoken of in this narrative, are seen in the children of his 
four sons, viz.: R. Harvey Wilson, Dr. D. Edward Wilson, J. 
Calvin Wilson, Franklin Wilson and S. Itley Wilson. 

The W ilson descendants as connected with Roger McGill, 
their grandfather, and the children of Capt. William Brown, 
George S. Burrows and Robert D. Wilson, whose two sons 
of the last named, WilHamM. and Robert J.Wilson, were killed 
in our Confederate war, and whose other son by his last wife, 
Alex D. Wilson, does so well personify the endearing quali- 
ties of his father, Robert D. Wilson, married Miss Jane Mc- 
Fadden, whose daughters inherited their parent's graces as are 
seen in Mrs. Eliza Ann Cole, Miss Sue Gamble and Mrs. 
Martha Snowden. By his second marriage with Miss Mar- 

256 Reminiscences of 

garet Daniel there were two children, Alex and Annie Wilson, 
who are living at the old homestead. 

In the settlement of this country, the Bradley name has 
ever been represented as foremost. Many of the old Bradleys 
early moved up into Sumter district, and there established 
their family distinctive qualities as practiced in social, political 
and financial circles. Old Dr. James Bradley was born, edu- 
cated and died in Williamsburg. It was his to mingle in 
the turbulent sea of politics, and he was honored with a seat 
in our Legislative halls. In early manhood he attended the 
South Carolina College, and he has been heard to say he had 
to carry his mattress and bed in a cart all the way to Colum- 
bia. After graduation he studied medicine, and was known among 
us as an old sober-sided physician, with his clove teas and 
mustard plasters and blue mass, and yet he was skilled in the 
art of healing. He married a Miss Pendergrass, sister of Mrs. 
Samuel E. Fulton and Mrs. W. G. Gamble, each possessing 
attractions in the beauty of their persons and their elegance in 
manners. He was long an elder of the Williamsburg Presbyte- 
rian Church, and after his death he was succeeded by his son, 
Samuel James Bradley. 

He left five sons and two daughters. His eldest son, the 
late Dr. B. Warburton Bradley, was of marked ability. He 
was a graduate of the South Carolina College. Following in 
the steps of his father, he was a successful practitioner, and 
was honored as his father had been. He thought aloud and 
frecjuently expressed the whirl of them in his mind, as he dis- 
puted certain theories advanced in certain books. At his 
death, occurring in 1886 at Capt. Willie Cooper's, at Indian- 
town, the Bradley name went out in Williamsburg. Yet, the 
many grand children of old Dr. James Bradley, as reflected in 
the children of Hon. Isaac McKnight and Mr. W. Dollard 
Fulton, personify the noble qualities of their great progenitor. 

In the memory of Sam's earlier days of recognition of 
famiUes, the Scott name was foremost in number in the va- 
rious branches. There were Big John Scott and Capt. John 
Scott, old Joe Scott, young Joe Scott and Alligator Joe Scott, 
which soubriquet may have been given to^ him as a great hun- 
ter for that amphibious animal. Many the descendants of this 
once populous and wealthy family moved away to Sumter, the 
West and Florida, but we yet have with us John E. Scott and 
S. McBride Scott. The elder of these in antebellum days was 

Williamsburg County. 257 

the patriot in aiding public observances, lavish of the ample 
means at his control. The younger now in latter days is found 
in Kingstree each day, and being fond of reading, gives the 
latest political news to the countryman, who on arriving in 
town beats around tO' his friend's office. 

Dr. David C. Scott, son of Capt. John E. Scott, residing 
m Kingstree, is the friend and benefactor to the Williamsburg 
people; he is lovable in all the virtues that go to make up 
a successful physician and tenable of all the virtues that go to 
make up the Christian, elegant and useful citizen. 

We also have William G. Scott and John A. Scott and 
the children of J. William Scott, of a later generation of the 
old Scott progenitors of this county, who carry their name 
with credit to themselves. 

A case of the people's estimation of the old-time Scott 
family in this district can be seen in one of her favored sons. 
William R. Scott, nephew of the Hon. Joseph Scott and 
brother of our good old John E. Scott, was a school master 
in his earlier days. He was elected to the oi^ce of sheriff, 
then to the office of clerk of the court, and lastly was appoin- 
ted commissioner in equity, in which office he died in. He 
was a remarkable man ; in a crowd he didn't appear to be pop- 
ular, and was reserved. He was popular without an effort 
and did not know his own strength. On the 24th April, 1834, 
he married Miss Jane Caroline McGill, and on the same night 
James G. Burgess married the elder sister, Mary McCottry 
McGill. He settled the place on the road six miles below 
Kingstree now owned by William S. Thompson. After his 
death his widow and her two sons and daughter moved to Ar- 
kansas in 1857 with her brother, Minto W. McGill. During 
the war she and her daughter died, and her elder son, McGill 
Scott, being in the Vicksburg garrison, died before he reached 
his home. Her youngest son, David Lowry Scott, was a va- 
liant soldier, is now an exemplary Christian gentleman and a 
Presbyterian elder in Arkansas. 

In i860, Mr. Scott purchased a plantation in Arkansas, and 
in moving there he died on the way, but his family succeeded 
in making the arduous trip in wagons from the Mississippi 
River to Hemplind county. His widow, now in her 88th year, 
blind, deaf and helpless, lives with her son, Samuel A. Scott, 
at Prescott. Only a few years ago she wrote a letter to her 
South Carolina "budder," in her own handwriting. Her 

258 Reminiscences of 

daughter,, Mrs. Betsie Woodberry, and her family Hve near 
her. Her youngest son, Brad Scott, has the wealth of the two 
families. Miss Olivia Woodberry, whom this good. Christian 
old lady raised, is ever at the side of her dear, old grand- 
ma. When Mr. Scott left this country, there remained here 
his youngest daughter, Mary Ann Scott, who had married 
Collins Martin, at Britton's Ferry. They are both dead, leav- 
ing one son, James, and daughters, Mellie, , now 

Mrs. Mangum, in Florida, Mrs. Owens, Mrs. Haselden, Mrs. 
Britton and Mrs. Mattie Scott. The latter was highly edu- 
cated by Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Moore, of North Carolina, 
doing a large turpentine business. 

She has been both blessed and unfortunate, and in every 
circumstance her kind benefactors still acted her friend and 
well-wisher. Tho' Mrs. Mattie J. Scott has been seriously af- 
flicted, she is now a bright and intelligent typewriter and 
stenographer in Atlanta, Ga. Her letters to her dear old Uncle 
Sam are full of information, interest and comfort to him in his 
old age. 

In the long distant days men of wealth in this district 
were considered benefactors to their less fortunate neighbors, 
at times when their property was likely to be sacrificed under 
the sheriff's hammer, and, too, to the district at large by the 
heavy taxes they paid for the support of our government. 
Among these biggest taxpayers and benefactors was old Mr. 
William Staggers, who resided in. Kingstree, and was posses- 
sor of the greater part of that village. On one occasion in 
Staggers' Hotel, the tax collector was receiving taxes. This 
writer was in the hall when Mr. Staggers came in to pay his 
taxes, who, seating himself by the collector's table, began to 
count out his money, carefully placing the bills in a half dozen 
piles, amounting to over $400. While the money was yet ly- 
ing on the table awaiting the collector's readiness to receive 
it, a man standing around and knowing Mr. Staggers tight in 
money matters, said: "Mr. Staggers, don't you hate to pay all 
that money away for taxes?" "No," quickly replied the old 
man; "I wish it was double." 

On days of sheriff's sales, Mr. Staggers' benevolence and 
wealth made him the most conspicuous person in our district. 
During the sales of that day a delay in the auction of the prop- 
erty was often made to get his presence, as frequently some 
persons w^ere dispatched to bring him, and in some cases they 

Williamsburg County. 259 

implored him tO' buy the whole family. He would do so, much 
to the gratification of the former owner and to the spectators, 
It was the most pleasing sight after the sale to hear and see 
the gratitude and happy faces of that family, when told Mr. 
Staggers had bought them, because he was considered a kind 
and benevolent master, and they knew they had a home for 
life. Mr. Staggers married Miss Susan Gamble, who, like the 
old Gamble stock, was renowned for beauty. After giving 
birth to five children, Mrs. Staggers died; of them Dr. John 
W. Staggers alone is with us. 

Before the war, we could boast of many wealthy planters, 
obtained by their own energies on their plantations by en- 
larging them and holding on to their inheritance. By com- 
mon consent Mr. Hugh McCutchen was considered second or 
third best in the amount of taxes paid intO' our treasury. His 
wealth was acquired mainly by his close attention to his farm- 
ing interests. Mr. McCutchen's eldest son, Thomas M. Mc- 
Cutchen, is pleasantly received, as due to his native modesty 
and unerring ways. Everywhere among those of his native 
district and our beloved old State, capable of appreciating 
present and past services, stands Mr. McCutchen's youngest 
son, Col. James McCutchen, a graduate of the South Carolina 
College, a thrifty, energetic and scientific planter and promi- 
nent in all church exercises. He is the representative of the 
refined and Christian gentleman, and ever is the central figure 
observed in our congregations, whether religious or political. 
Before the war he was our Representative in our Legislature. 
Yet by a common understanding among us Mr. Wilham Bur- 
rows, residing on his immense plantations on Turkey Creek, 
was considered as the second best taxpayer after the death 
of his uncle, George Burrows, thus inheriting his large estate 
of lands and negroes. Mr. William Burrows was wealthy, in- 
telligent and liberal. At or before maturity of age he made 
his home in New York, returning home in the first forty years 
of this century. For many years after his return his house 
was open and his many friends accepted his hospitality, made 
charming by his cheerful entertainments in the variety of his 
New York dishes and by the glare of double cut flint decanters 
and tumblers, prepared and presented by George, his faithful 
and trusty colored servant. 

Frequently Mr. Burrows entertained his New York 
friends, and we country fellows learned something of the New 

260 Reminiscences of 

York phrases and New York songs. But Jack Singeltary, 
whom Mr. Burrows and friends dehghted to see, was as much 
of a curiosity to them, as their Yankee slang was thrown back 
to them with a hearty laugh all around. To add to the delight- 
ful visits made to Mr. Burrows was the construction of his ice 
house and his supply lasting through the month of May. The 
sight of ice on a hot day was a new source of pleasure to us. 
Mr. William Burrows was very popular with everybody, and 
he easily obtained a seat in our legislative halls. He had a 
summer place at Bradford Springs where he spent his sum- 
mers, and after his marriage with a Miss Fludd, of Orange- 
burg, he made his Bradford Springs place his abode, keeping 
agents and overseers down on his Williamsburg plantations. 

The Thompson family was one among the most wealthy 
in the Indiantown section. They lost their property by an epi- 
demic. Mr. Hugh McGill, the eldest son of Roger McGill, 
married Miss Jennet Thompson. The Thompson women and 
the Misses Peggie and Suckie Jolly, living in the same neigh- 
borhood, used to walk to the Indiantown Church on Sundays, 
and washing their feet on a log extending across a deep pond 
of water a few hundred yards from the church, they nicely 
fixed themselves before going up into the church yard. After- 
wards the Thompsons moved on Ties' Lake. Not so was our 
inimitable Joseph A. Thompson, as you see him to-day so he 
was sixty years ago. Being of an active body and pushing 
and energetic mind, of pleasant and agreeable manners and of 
affable address, and while yet a boy he found a pleasant and 
profitable home with Col. William Cooper, and these two 
were ever endeared and endearing friends. After the death of 
our friend's first wife, leaving three sons and three daughters, 
he married in Charleston. Meeting him shortly afterwards, 
this inquiry was made of him: "Joe, why did you go to 
Charleston to get a wife?" "Oh," said Joe, "an old coon 
knows where to go to get the best mutton corn." Time has 
verified Joe Thompson's good sense. 

In the good old times of ease and prosperity, derivable 
fcom wealth and contentment, there were money lenders in 
every neighborhood, only asking for one or two friends on the 
note to secure the payment of the loan. The building of com- 
modious residences and additions to those already erected to 
keep in line with the fashion, for the entertainment of visitors 
and the progress of educational advantages, more attainable in 

Williamsburg County. 261 

outside academies and colleges, accepted as "sent off to 
school," was now the spirit of our people. On all large plan- 
tations there were "jobbin carpenters" sufficient to build good 
outhouses, but fine carpenters who had served their appren- 
ticeship were needed for the building of fine residences. They 
were generally of the negro race, and a few of them monopolized 
the business. Being in demand and feeling themselves to be 
of consequence, they were respected accordingly. Such negro 
men were Gamble's Zeik and Louis, and McCullough's An- 
thony, and Colclough's bricklayer, Jim, and Mouzon's Ben, and 
a few others of less notoriety. In the construction of the 
screws of cotton presses and the cog wheels and running gear 
of a gin house and grits mill, old Mr. John Murphy, gen- 
erally employed many. The gin and its attachments gave a 
distinctive name to this building and was everywhere called 
the "machine" house. 

Mr. Robert B. Green was considered our most promi- 
nent house carpenter and was the builder of Staggers' Hotel 
in Kingstree. He, like Mr. John Murphy, was connected with 
the famous Andrew Patterson. He left two sons, James and 
John A. Green, the latter of whom resides in Lake City and 
ably holds and administers his duty as a trial justice of the 
peace and county courts. 

The heroism of the McCants family, as exemplified in the 
Nullification excitement in 1832, has already been given, main- 
ly in the persons of Thomas and Samuel McCants, brothers, in 
Kingstree, and as exhibited in the defense of Union princi- 
ples whether offences given tO' them in direct words or by in- 
sinuations. The love of country, and desiring no reform of 
our present administration of public affairs, was made manifest 
during the State campaign at Kingstree in 1890. A descend- 
ant of the old stock of McCants could not be silent, as Mr. 
Tillman from the stand denounced our present Democratic 
government. Standing in the immense crowd of a highly ex- 
cited people, and unable to keep down a surging spirit, he 
bitterly abused Tillman. His friend and neighbor, Mr. E. S. 
Sauls, following him around through the crowd, could barely 
prevail over him to keep quiet and to put up his knife, now 
open and drawn, as this young man refused aloud: "Do let 
me go. I want to cut Tillman's d — goozle out." Others of 
this family interested in the Farmers' Alliance joined the Far- 
mers' movement, now the ruling organization of this State, 

262 Reminiscences of 

and are in public positions, and such are Mr. W. J. Singeltary 
in the legislative hall, and Mr. Henry M. Burrows in the cor- 
oner's office. 

Another branch of the McCants family resided in the Ce- 
dar Swamp section of this county, and were born in the last 
years of the last century, or at the beginning of the present 
one. Of these there was a brother Robert and sisters Sarah 
and Janie McCants. Mr. McCants moved into Charleston dis- 
trict, and settling above the old Bigham Church, opened a 
house of entertainment on the great thoroughfare road to the 
city of Charleston. Sarah married a Mr. McLaughlin, a car- 
penter by trade, who dying, left four children, Eveline, 
Thomas, Robert and Henry. Henry moved into Darlington 
district and has done well. Her daughter, Eveline, of remark- 
able intelligence, married Mr. John James Burrows, in White 
Oak, and hence are the families of William Salters Burrows 
and our accommodating, social, mechanical and intellectual 
Henry M. Burrows, it is no wonder he won his first public race 
and became our county coroner in 1892. He is worthy of the 
position and no doubt intelligently and correctly performs his 
duties, however unpleasant some of them may be and compli- 
cated the causes which induced the death of the person lying 
before him. He is now considered an expert officer and prob- 
ably will be retained in office. 

After the death of Mr. McLaulin, the widow married Mr. 
John Murphy, who was a noted gunsmith and a mechanic in 
the useful trade of sharpening saw gins, making running gear 
for the machines, and also' framing and putting up cotton 
presses, lately introduced in the district. They had three sons, 
John, Calvin and Robert, the latter alone survives, and he is 
our indefatigable Robert A. Murphy, residing two miles below 
Kingstree, whose well of water near the public road with its 
horse trough, its easy drawing, and gourd dipper under the 
shelter over the V\^ell, are very inviting" and accommodating to 
the travelers, who ought to reciprocate these favors. Their 
two daughters, Sarah and Mary, were of great beauty, and 
James L. Brown, living in sight of his Uncle Robert Murphy, 
is a son of the former. He, too, is a mechanic. The other Mc- 
Cants sister married Mr. Abner Brown, and raised one daugh- 
ter and five sons, and besides a granddaughter and grandson 
of the Patterson name. Old Mrs. Jinnie Brown was the 
most remarkable woman, a pattern of industry and economy, 

Williamsburg County. 263 

who fully filled the sphere of household and housewifery. Pos- 
sessed of a fine memory and powers of observation, it was 
amusing and profitable, too, to be in her society and to hear 
her narrate the funny incidents as they were made in her girl- 
hood days. 

She had her breakfast at candle light, and while awaiting 
the readiness of the family, the johnycake board held the cen- 
tre of the hearth of the hall fire, supported by smoothing irons, 
while much of the other portions of the breakfast meal were 
placed near the fire to keep them hot. Her dishes were clean 
and glossy, her tin pans bright and shining white, her piggins 
and hand tubs and water buckets, made of red cedar at home, 
showed the waste of the wood between the wooden hoops 
caused by the frequent scrubbing. The floor of her house had 
not a greasy spot, as it was wiped over every daw and at other 
times scrubbed with the scouring brush, made of shucks with a 
long pine handle, and so oft repeated, in the absence of any floor 
carpet or cover, that the heads of the nails driven into it were 
raised above the level. At her door steps a shuck mat was 
placed at the bottom and a rug was placed on the door step, 
and you were expected to scrape and wipe until there was a 
sign of nothing on your shoes before you entered the house. 

Old Mrs. Jinnie Brown is held in sacred remembrance, 
as Sam and' Sarah had just fixed up their first habitation when 
this good old friend, in company with old Mrs. Esther Mc- 
Cottry, sisters-in-law, each in their own old chairs, came rid- 
ing up to their house, bringing as a present to them, a new 
and most beautiful table brush made of the gaudy feathers of a 
peacock, and among other things, a hen with twelve little 
chickens, thus intending to give them a start in this life. They 
felt proud, as indicating that friendship which never received 
a blur in after life, and the rising fortune looming up before 
their delighted visions. 

Old Mrs. Jinnie Brown raised one daughter, who married 
Robert J. Patterson at Kingstree, and five sons, William, Asa, 
Dickey, Robert and Permenas. To be with these boys was 
one of the treats of this life. Interesting in their descriptions 
of persons and things and jovial at all times, they were the fun- 
makers in our society. They all left families, except the 
youngest, who moved away in the early part of his life. 

Old Mrs. Esther McCottry was highly esteemed. The 
neatness of her household, and the preparations of a sumptu- 

264 Reminiscences of 

ous and inviting table, was the talk of the community. She 
left an only son, Robert Friendly McCottry. 

Such friends and kind considerations as those of old Mrs. 
Jinnie Brown and old Mrs. Esther McCottry, were also had 
in the friendship of old Mr. William Camlin, elder of the Wil- 
liamsburg Presbyterian Church and neighbor, and of his fam- 
ily, acting a neighbor's part to young beginners. Of their 
children, Hon. William S. Camlin, who was elected to our 
Legislature, and their descendants are also in the families of 
William D. Terry and Capt. Samuel Crapps, in Anderson 
Township, in this county. 

Among our money lenders were such men as are here 
written: At Indiantown was old Mr. Benjamin Britton, of 
large estate, and at his death his widow, and their two sons, 
Thomas M. and F. Marion Britton, and their daughter, Mrs. 
Ann D. Carraway, were well settled in life. At Black Mingo, 
Mr. Cleland Belin, succeeding in the mercantile business and 
fiat bottom boats, running Black Mingo Creek with bales of 
cotton to Georgetown and the farmers' freights back, lett his 
two daughters at his death in easy circumstances, as are seen 
to-day in the children of Dr. Byrd, of Scranton, and George 
Graham, of Indiantown. Also at Black Mingo was old 
Mr. Thomas McConnell, who dying without any immediate 
heirs, left the bulk of his large estate and an elegant residence 
to his niece, Miss Maggie McConnell, who marrying Col. E. 
H. Miller m 1838, they began life with the highest prospects. 
This old gentleman did not forget the other children of his 
brother, and left personal property to young Thomas McCon- 
nell, in White Oak, and to Misses Mary and Eliza, his sisters, 
who married Capt. John F. D. Britton and Mr. John B. Miller 
respectively. He also bequeathed a yearly dower to Mrs. Big 
Thomas McConnell and her half sister, Miss Mariah McCon- 
nell, who married Mr. Samuel V. King, of Georgetown. 

Mr. Lemuel W. Nesmith, of Turkey Creek, rendered 
much assistance in the money line to his friends and neigh- 
bors. Old Mr. James INIcFadden, on Cedar Svvamp, could not 
resist the importunities of his rich friends and relatives in 
Sumter district, and hence much of his money was carried 
away by the Simiter people, yet we managed to get some of it. 
Mr. John A. McCollough was known throughout the district 
as a monied man. He married Miss Maggie Miller, of Black 
Mingo, and when he died, his children were considered 

Williamsburg County. 265 

wealthy. These possess great moral and Christian traits of 
character, as are now ostensibly reflected in the popularity and 
in the elegant and dignified citizen and friend, W. Bennet Mc- 
Collough, and his brother, John McCollough. 

Mr. John D. Eaddy, of Lynche's Creek, when requested 
to lend money, only asked: "How much you want?" 

In the early years of the eighteen hundred fifties, a new 
spirit of enterprise was infused among our people. Our im- 
mense forests of long leaf pines were hitherto unavailable, ex- 
cept to make fence rails, boards made by the whip saw and 
shingles. There had been but one steam saw mill put up in 
operation by old Mr. Joseph Scott on Findley and Rutledge 
bays, and its machinery was a great curiosity, and people 
came from a distance to look at it and hear the whistle of the 
engine, being the first ever brought in this part of the district. 
Now there came down from North Carolina many gentlemen 
of wealth and experience, who buying much of our pine lands 
at nominal prices, soon established large turpentine farms and 
turpentine distilleries. These North Carolinians brought down 
with them many old turpentine hands and hired many of our 
strong, ablebodied negro men at prices ranging from $125 to 
$175 a year, and thus money soon became plentiful. Many 
of these turpentine men settled with us and were good Confed- 
erate soldiers in our regiments. After the war these same 
North Carolinians having credit abroad reassumed the turpen- 
tine business and thus supplied hundreds of people in work. 
These were recruited by other North Carolinians, acting with 
like results. 

We no longer designate them as "Tar Heels." The latter 
by their thrift and example have overcome our indolence and 
by their intelligence and fixed principles have subdued our 
ideas of supposed high blood. Now Williamsburg county has 
the credit of such North Carolinians or their families living 
and dong business on her soil, and such are I. F. Carraway, 
P. H. Bufkin, Isom Hinson, R. P. Hinnant, Gus Haddock, 
John, James and Edwin Harper, James, William and Walter 
Bryan, James E. Davis, James Edwards, Edward and Henry 
B. Johnson, S. B. Newsome, S. W. Mills, Handy Holliman, 
Samuel Moore, W. I. Lee, R. H. Kellahan, N. G. Pitman, 
Gus Perkins, E. J. Parker, Jesse Turner, F. Rhem and sons, 
Capt. Tavlor, W. T. Willoughbv, Cicero and Hazard Whit- 

266 Reminiscences of 

These men have claims on our generosity and we ought 
to be wilHng to complement the mterests they have among 
us and appreciate the favors they made to us at a time we were 
unable to help ourselves. W. K. Lane, Jr., another North 
Carolinian, was of greatest wealth, backed by an immensely 
rich uncle in North Carohna, and was of much esteem and 
benefit around Kingstree. He died in Georgia and left no 
family. I. R. Lambson was another turpentine man. He was 
from Maryland, and was a young lawyer of marked ability, 
and espousing our Confederate cause, received a severe wound 
in one of its battles. He settled in Williamsburg county and 
opened a law office at Kingstree, but other more lucretive 
fields opening around him, he engaged in them and employed 
his seemingly unlimited means in the interest of his adopted 
State. Besides, he was true and foremost in our Democratic 
ranks, and spared neither time nor money to elevate its stand- 
ard. A man of deep thought and patriotism, he was chosen 
our Democratic county chairman, which position he held and 
carried us safely through our Hampton campaign in 1876. Af- 
ter serving us in our legislative halls in Columbia, he declined 
in health and died without leaving a family. 

At one time many of our native young men essayed to 
enter into the turpentine business, but none seemed to* suc- 
ceed except Sam Peter Brockinton, now engaged in the mer- 
cantile business in Kingstree in his large and commodious 
new store on Academy street, and B. Wallace Jones, who has 
established a reputation as a great cotton buyer in Lake City, 
in connection with his mercantile business. In late years Lake 
City has grown to great mercantile importance, and hence it is 
now the principal city of our county. None has effected this 
distinction more than Mr. Samuel M. Askins, who settling 
there when it was only Graham's Cross Roads of no preten- 
sions, has had the satisfaction of remarking its yearly eleva- 
tion. His wholesale and retail stores are well supplied with 
goods. Here all country produce find a ready and profitable 
market. The purchase of cotton at city prices in cash or mer- 
chandise amounts to thousands of bales during the year, being 
3,490 in one season. Mr. Samuel M. Askins is a native of an 
adjoining county, yet Williamsburg claims him as her own, 
as in addition to his sterling worth his mother was born and 
raised in this countv, whose maiden name was Miss Annie 

Williamsburg County. 267 

Hewitt, than of whose family we never had a greater one in the 
enjoyment of a good name. 

Just after the close of our war, Mr. William H. Kennedy, 
of Sumter county, came down into Williamsburg on a visit, 
and admiring one of her fair daughters, won his suit and led 
Miss Julia Scott, the accomplished daughter of our noble 
Capt. John E. Scott, to the hymenial altar. Mr. Kennedy set- 
tled among us, and was soon recognized as a bold champion 
of the right, and was ever in the lead by words and acts in its 
establishment. He bought the McCrea old plantation and 
erected thereon a handsome residence and commodious stores, 
and has made a success in life, being now rich and indepen- 
dent, accjuired alone by the knowledge and practice of his 
profession. Capt. Kennedy is known everywhere as a iirst- 
class merchant. He has an interesting family of girls whom he 
has highly educated. 

To refer to our young merchants in a second notice, after 
an extended one of Mr. Kennedy and Mr, Askins, is not to 
cast insinuations of their superior claims to our consideration. 
Mr. Brockinton and Mr. Jones are tooi well and favorably 
known to ask any preferred marks in their behalf. We can 
only anticipate their rising steps in the future, the one inher- 
ited sublimity of thought and imprints of honest acts, the other 
inherited ennobling characteristics of the old Cockfield^ fami- 
lies, whose mother was of that name and stock, full of energy 
and of decided preferences and pluck to uphold and maintain 
them. Besides these two mercantile gentlemen we have an- 
other merchant in the person of John McClary Nixson, who 
resides four miles below Kingstree on Boggy Swamp, in an 
elegant residence erected by him, as also his large mercantile 
store house. He inherited his intelligence from his deceased 
father, John A. Nixson, and his superior business manage- 
ment from his mother, who was a descendant of the old Rev- 
olutionary John McClary. 

Amisng the many North Carolinians settled among us, 
none holds a higher place in our affections than William J. 
Lee, who came to this State before the war and engaged in 
the turpentine business, which was then in its infancy in Wil- 
liamsburg county. At the close of the war he moved into 
Kingstree and immediately began the improvement of the un- 
inviting town, by building new store houses and residences. 
Possessed of pleasant manners and of decisive and outspoken 

268 Reminiscences of 

political preferences, he was soon the distinguished town offi- 
cer, merchant and interesting and energetic townsman in busi- 
ness relations. 

A few years ago Mr. Lee formed a copartnership with the 
most wealthy and enterprising Richard H. Kellahan, another 
native of North Carolina, and buying out the Coleman Hotel, 
soon xvir. Lee surprised the people with the improvements and 
preparations for entertainment in their late purchase. As a 
hotel keeper, Mr. Lee cannot be surpassed, as is often ex- 
pressed by drummers for large mercantile houses in cities. 
We countrymen readily consume a fifty cent dinner, and 
more so when a "blind tiger" has been found, before seating 
ourselves around the inviting table, which being done, the ac- 
commodating attendants are kept on the watch during the 
process, and accept a wink as we rise, which being interpreted, 
means a drink the first chance we have. 

Notwithstanding the general courtesies of the proprietors 
of the hotel, yet this writer has observed a degree of affection 
which is s'hown when two North Carolinians meet. This is as 
it should be, we are attached to those who first breathed the 
same air with us, as we shouted our advent at birth and im- 
bibed the first impressions made on our minds in the same 
family or community. All early associations are ever promi- 
nent before our astonished eyes and we love our early friends 
because they loved us. 

Such are the affections seen in far off Arkansas among 
the South Carolinians. Minto W. McGill, residing in that 
State, during his visit to Williamsburg county, his native place, 
made in 1880, said, so great is our endearments to each other 
that we go to see a new South Carolinian settler twenty or 
thirty miles away, even in adjacent counties, and if only ten or 
fifteen miles away, we carry our families. So they are South 
Carolinians is all we want to know, and so great is our spirit 
of nationality that we try to support the same ticket at elec- 
tions without any grumbling. 

There was the firm of Cooper Bros., composed of William 
J. B., John M. and Geo. S. Cooper, who owning large tracts 
of forest lands into which no turpentine axe had yet been laid. 
these gentlemen engaged in the turpentine business. At this 
time, 18 — , spirits of turpentine commanded remunerative 
prices, but in a few years the price declined, and Mr. William 
J. B. Cooper dying, this firm was dissolved. Another firm of 

Williamsburg County. 269 

Cooper Bros., sons of W. J. B. Cooper, named Hugh M., 
James F. and Thomas Cooper, who purchasing the old and 
commodious White Oak Church, began in mercantile business 
in connection with their extensive cotton and corn plantations, 
and to which they added by purchase old Mr. James McFad- 
den's Cedar Swamp plantation. This firm has yearly in- 
creased its trade. In addition to their untarnished reputation 
as merchants and business men, they are professed Christians. 
Dr. John F. Brockinton, already mentioned in this narrative, 
whether considered as a doctor, planter, steam mill or turpen- 
tine man, made life a success, and never experienced a serious 
failure. In these successes he was aided by his wife, Mrs. Eliza- 
beth B. Brockinton. These two noble personages were the 
parents of our Joseph E. Brockinton, who inherited their 
qualities of head and heart, and personified their energy and 
go-ahead progressiveness, but perhaps a little more so. Who 
in Williamsburg county has never seen or been in Joe Brock- 
inton's company, has lost the treat of his life. If you ask of 
him a bone he will certainly give you a fish, as was exempli- 
fied when the publication of this narrative was told to him, he 
instantly replied: "I'll take two copies." When told that 
the price of the book may be five dollars a book, he as quickly 
said: "Well, I'll take two copies at these figures," but when 
told that there might be a necessity to put the book at $io per 
copy, he instantly declared, 'T can't take but one book." The 
conclusion is friend Joe is good for $io on the book. 

It was during the year of 1856, that a new era in the his- 
tory of old and famous Williamsburg district dawned. Now 
it was that Mr. Joseph E. McKnight, of the manor born, a 
younger brother of the early lamented Hon. A. Isaac Mc- 
Knight, of wonderful gifts and accepted usefulness in our leg- 
islative halls and at the bar of our judicial courts, introduced 
a printing press in Kingstree, and edited "The Kingstree 
Star." His office was situated below Staggers' Hotel, on the 
main street leading down to Kingstree bridge across Black 
River. It was a plain building, known as the house of Mr. 
Solomon, possessing no outside attractions, but as Mr. Mc- 
Knight evidenced unusual intellectual endowments and was 
of fine educational advantages, the people of the district 
flocked into his office to see a printing press. All was new 
to us, and while we were reading, admiring and compliment- 
ing the first issue of The Kingstree Star, the printer, Mr. R. C. 

270 Reminiscences of 

Logan, yet at his desk, turned to us and said: "Gentlemen, 
subscribe to your district paper." 

Hon. A. Isaac McKnight deserves more than a passing 
notice of him. He was a graduate at Davidson College, North 
Carolina, along with John M. and Robert M. Cooper, broth- 
ers, and with C. Chalmers Barr, all of the Indiantown com- 
munity. McKnight studied law and soon became a lawyer. 
He settled in Kingstree, built a convenient residence on Acad- 
emy street in 1850. He was fluent of speech, and everywhere 
was received as a gifted and intelligent man. Indeed, our late 
Col. N. Gustavus Rich, who in his best days was our authority 
in law, our model in ethics and representative of the good 
and the wise, used to say, that the Barrineau family of people 
was the most intelligent family he had observed in Williams- 
burg, his adopted home. It can safely be said that Mr. Isaac 
Barrineau, who resided on Santee, was a man of means, in- 
fluence and intelligence. These qualities are apparent in his 
descendants, "William G. McKnight, a brother of our honored 
and heroic A. Isaac, in the children of the Hon. Samuel E. 
Graham, renowned for his patriotism, now reflected by Dr. 
Isaac W. Graham and his brother, John J. Graham, in the 
children of Mr. J. P. Gamble, and in the family of Mr. C. Chal- 
mers Barr, deceased. Among them is our intellectual giant 
and possessor of many social endearments which he uncon- 
sciously exhibits to his friends wherever they are received in 
the company of George S. Barr. 

The printer of "The Kingstree Star," Mr. R. C. Logan, 
then a young man and native of Sumter district, and of dis- 
tinguished family connections, was early associated with the 
printing press. He married a daughter of the Hon. Joseph 
Scott, of Kingstree. He became concerned in the best interest 
of this district, and our people have not been slow to recognize 
him for his high tone as a gentleman, for his intelligence and 
his faithful discharge of the duties of commissioner of equity, 
to which office he was elected at Columbia. Who of us doesn't 
experience a thrill as we meet him in the street and receive 
the cordial shake of his extended hand, and observe his impas- 
sioned feelings at the recital or intimation of the present dis- 
turbed condition of the afifairs of our State, and his tearful 
eyes at the distress of his friends in their sad and irretrievable 
losses of life time. Following Mr. Logan, then came his three 
brothers, G. Washington, Texas B. and Calhoun Logan. 

Williamsburg County. 271 

They were well received, and became interested in the perpet- 
uation of "The Kingstree Star." 

"The Kingstree Star" had collapsed during the war, but 
was revived when peace was restored, with excellent pros- 
pects of success. Messrs. Samuel W. Maurice, R. C. Logan, 
James H. Heyward, Herbert S. Cunningham and E. Girar- 
deau Chandler managed its editorial columns. During all that 
time Mr. Calhoun Logan was steadfast at the printer's desk, 
and in which occupation he is now engaged as printer of "The 
County Record," a weekly newspaper started and edited by 
Mr. R. C. Logan in 1885 at Kingstree. As a business he 
clings to his printing trade, and being retired in his manners 
he seldom mixes up in a crowd. He is only seen in the street 
after his day's work, when he amuses his friends by a recital of 
the events of a day as observed by him from his office window. 

At another time, he can be seen with fishing tackle wend- 
ing his way to the river to engage in the fisherman's most 
pleasing amusement. Mr. Calhoun Logan was a gallant sol- 
dier in our Confederate w^ar and was closely allied with Ju- 
nius E. Scott, son of Capt. John E. Scott. In all their battles 
in Virginia, they fought side by side. He was near by when 
his friend, in a fight around Petersburg in 1864, received a se- 
rious wound in his breast. However, Scott lived and became a 
prisoner, his life being spared by Providential act, the enemy's 
bullet being diverted from his heart by first striking an old 
volume and other papers carried in the pocket of his old Con- 
federate jacket. 

Black River has ever been noted for its fine trout, blue 
bream and other fish. Its sequestered nooks near Kingstree, 
long have been a favorite resort for fishermen. Here the wa- 
ter is deep and its surface unruffled only by the play of the 
many fish, as they leap up into the air or swim along the 
shallow edges. The shore is gentle in its descent and its sandy 
banks, amid the cool, dark and gloomy shades of the iron 
wood tier, with its festoons of moss hanging low, and gently 
waving to the whispering winds, invite the retreat of the fish- 
erman, the poet and the philosopher. Here John Rich and 
Calhoun Logan at different periods, desirous of ease, amuse- 
ment and mental recreation, sat, angled and philosophized. 
Antecedent to these two was Maj. John Harllee, the eldest 
brother of the Harllee family at Marion Court House, who 
disengaged from school keeping over the river and land sur- 

272 Reminlscences of 

veying, of which he was of prominence and teacher of many 
young surveyors in this county, sought Kingstree village to 
spend his holidays at this fishing spot to catch fish. Tho' fond 
of all kinds of fish, he claimed the cat fish stew as his favorite 
dish, and on a certain occasion he fixed up his cat lines and 
soon he was at the fishing ground. Quickly he hooked a large 
trout, which pleased him much, as he said to a friend standing 
nearby: "Isn't he a noble fellow. By jucks, he'll do." Feel- 
ing sure of his prize he brought him up, and when about to 
gill hirn, the trout made a desperate flounce with his tail, broke 
the line and soon disappeared. This bad luck did not long dis- 
turb the old gentleman's first conclusions about his trout, as 
he thus philosophized at the unexpected turn in the affair, as 
he said: "Go, go; I'll call for you at another time. To-day I 
am fishing for cats, and when I go a catin', I go a catin'." 

In 1857 the track of the North Eastern Railroad was 
completed to Kingstree and the company established a depot 
at the crossing of the public road near the Kingstree branch. 
For many months a railroad box car was used for the depot, 
and Peter B. Mouzon was appointed agent, which position he 
ever held till his death. New life was infused among the peo- 
ple and there was much rejoicing. One of our old citizens, 
having an eye to the economy of our fathers, remarked, 
"Charleston is now too convenient; we must have a beefsteak 
every day for dinner." The railroad advantages were so ap- 
parent, perhaps more so in the purchase of plantation imple- 
ments, which eventually shut off many wood and blacksmith 
shop , once considered a necessity in every neighborhood. 
Now there was a market for our poultry and eggs, and any 
produce not needed on the plantations. Great quantities of 
beef cattle were shipped down to Charleston, to the great 
relief of cattle owners, who when driving them down gener- 
ally lost a few in the Santee swamp. Williamsburg was con- 
sidered a stock raising district, and it was not unusual for one 
man to own seventy-five or one hundred head in his home 
range for cattle, while such stock raisers as Samuel, John and 
William Tisdale, brothers, marked in one spring a number of 
calves, besides many calves of their home stock, and the firm 
of William Lifrage on Black river, and Samuel E. Graham 
on Santee, marked jointly a very large number of calves at 
one time. 

The year preceding our memorable Secession Ordinance 

Williamsburg County. 273 

Williamsburg district was exercised over the introduction of 
two Yankee schoolmasters into our schools by some of our 
most prominent citizens as made by Dr. James Bradley and 
Mr. John A. Gordon. Dodd and Hamilton were their names, 
and while they may have been silent through policy on the 
slave question, now in disputation, yet we looked on all Yan- 
kees with more or less suspicion. They were watched, and 
soon they became apparently offensive, and steps were taken 
to make them fly the country. After receiving their orders 
to leave, one of the teachers, Mr. Dodd, called on an old native 
teacher at his home, whom he had before met, and after dis- 
claiming any evil intention and declaring his innocence of the 
preferred charges, he asked this old teacher to interpose in his 
behalf. Moved with a "fellow feeling," this would-be friend 
met a large crowd of indignant citizens, on a designated day, 
assembled in the court house at Kingstree. The old native 
teacher undertook to appease the tumultuous cry against 
these foreigners, but he was soon silenced by his friends, 
being led in person by Dr. James S. Brockinton, who was 
quickly supported by Dr. S. D. M. Byrd with his Graham 
X Road company, and all that was now left for the old native 
schoolmaster to do was to hasten to tell Mr. Dodd to get away 
in a hurry. The followingfall, at the general election, Drs. Byrd, 
and Brockinton, now household words, were sent to our Leg- 
islature at Columbia, while Dr. Jos. A. James, being solicited 
and urged to represent the conservative element of the W^il- 
liamsburg people, was overwhelmed by the large majority 
vote cast in favor of Byrd and Brockinton. 

Dr. S. D. M. Byrd is a native of Darlington county, and 
coming down into Williamsburg when quite a young man, 
at the beginning of his medical career, he located at Gra- 
ham's X Roads. He married a daughter of our esteemed 
N. Myers Graham of Scranton. He was soon distinguished 
in his profession, and in his usefulness as a citizen, and a bold 
defender of Southern rights as were then entertained. Of 
commanding appearance and of high tone in mind and ad- 
dress, he was prominent and foremost in our Hampton cam- 
paign in '76 in the dethronement of the rule and ruin policy 
of the Radicals as flourished in South Carolina. The people 
of this county were solicitous in his preferment, and soon hon- 
ored him with the highest political position in their gift. He 
is yet a terror among evil doers, and his name is a synonym 


274 Reminiscences of 

of courage, honesty and intelligence throughout his beloved 

Dr. James S. Brockinton, a native of this county, was 
graduated in the Medical College of South Carolina in 1851, 
and setthng in Kingstree and forming a copartnership with his 
brother, Dr. John F. Brockinton, already located there, he 
was soon ingratiated in the affections of all the people. His 
devotion to his profession, his social cjualities, his integrity 
of character and honesty of purpose, and his readiness r.nd 
willingness to do good ever bearing date to the day of his 
death. He left his family in easy circumstances — a widow of 
unsurpassed graces and refinement and children of rich inher- 
itance, as are seen in Mrs. Thomas M. Gilland and Rev. Mrs. 
W. S. Martin, and his only surviving son, Dr. W. V. Brockin- 
ton, at Kingstree, whose usefulness adds to the importance of 
tliat time-honored town. 

Dr. Joe Allston James was born in Sumter county, and 
graduating in medicine in Charleston, he early came down 
into Williamsburg in pursuit of a location, and was quickly 
recognized among us, chief of whom was Col. Wilham Cooper 
of Indiantown, who had been coeval with this young doctor's 
father, and who offered board and other assistance. In due 
time Dr. James married Miss Sarah Baxter McCutchen, 
daughter of Mr. Hugh McCutchen, thus enabling him to 
settle among us. He purchased the elegant, extensive and 
desirable plantation on White Oak. The people, remember- 
ing the records of the James family as the pioneers of this 
country, the heroic deeds of Maj. John James m the old Rev- 
olutionary War and the judicial services of his son. Judge 
W. D. James, this young doctor's grandfather, he was gladly 
received and compliments given and returned. Dr. James' 
manners bespoke his brith, his affability with his immediate 
friends, and his medical knowledge, coupled with his intelli- 
gence, made him the pride in his circle of friends. In our 
war he was a surgeon, and being of prominence he rose to a 
division surgeon, and remained at his post to the end of our 
struggle. In our different political crises he was not a suc- 
cessful candidate, ever adopting Henry Clay's motto, "1 would 
i^ther be right than President of the United States." Dr. 
James removed to Cheraw, and there has a fine line of prac- 
tice around him and is very popular as a physician. His chil- 
dren are of marked ability, and while there are promises in 

Williamsburg County. 275 

Willie D. James as a planter, and Joseph A. James, Jr., as a 
railroad man, in the interim the Williamsburg people are anx- 
iously and confidently awaiting the promotion of his son, 
J. Capers James, into that elevated seat in the judiciary which 
his forefather held with much satisfactory mental ability. 





Historical sketches, actual and traditional, relative to the 
early settlement of Williamsburg district, as have been nar- 
rated, are attempted to be given with such speculations as 
the circumstances seem to warrant. 

After the first permanent settlement of the city of 
Charleston, made in i68o, it is reasonable to conclude that 
many other immigrants, actuated by representation of the 
delightful climate and the thrift everywhere visible, followed 
their friends from "across the water" and extended their farms 
of rice, indigo and tar kilns up to Goose creek, and perhaps 

276 Reminiscences of 

to the bluffs of the Santee river. Beyond this river nothing 
of the country was known. A spirit of adventure seized upon 
two of their young men, who, providing themselves with 
guns, ammunition, hatchet and frying pan, crossed over the 
Santee river and explored the country lying between this river 
and the great Pee Dee river, passing through the heart of our 
present Williamsburg county, as is supposed. We can im- 
agine their friends' surprise when they returned and described 
the whole country lying between these rivers as "one impen- 
etrable swamp." 'Tis likely these two adventurers blazed 
their way through two large bays of thickest and heaviest 
growth of trees, vines, etc., beginning four miles below our 
present Kingstree town and extending several miles to the 
present Cade station on the North Eastern railroad, as shortly 
afterwards two gentlemen of means, named Finley and Rut- 
ledge, attempted to reclaim these bays, as their canals and 
smaller ditches therein are yet discernible. Nothing is known 
of the results of their enterprise amid this trackless wilderness, 
only their names are left us in Finley and Rutledge bays. 
These two bays are separated by a bank of sand, densely cov- 
ered with magnificent oak and hickory growth, called the 
Inlet, it being a hundred yards or more in width and a mile 
or more in length. The elevation of this Inlet makes it desir- 
able for residences which would command full views of both 
bays when brought under cultivation. The waters of Finley 
bay course their way into Broad Swamp through W. P. Mc- 
Gill's plantation, and a lower portion of the land of that bay is 
now in cultivation by Joseph E. Brockinton and Alonzo W. 
Flagler, while the waters of Rutledge bay from the source of 
the principal branch of the Lake Swamp and some of the 
lands are in successful operation by John Frierson, Eli Sauls 
and the Newsom lands around Cade's railroad station, where 
a slight elevation begins and extending and increasing east- 
ward, forms the beautiful sandy loam ridge where J. Peter 
Epps resides and cultivates these lands. All the lands lying on 
the west side of these bays, reaching to Broad Swamp, a mile 
away, are of great fertility, and those unreclaimed and yet in 
their primitive state, afford the richest grasses, said to be equal 
to western prairies for stock raising. 

The eastern bank of Finley bay was brought to a state of 
cultivation in the first years of the present century, by Mr. 
John Mathews, called Primrose Mathews, to distingush his 

Williamsburg County. 277 

name from long John Mathews. If we may judge from the 
many old ditches as now seen along the pubhc road, he had 
great energy at that time. He married Miss Susan McGill, 
and their spirit has been descended to their posterity, as 
marked in the children of Mr. Joseph Scott, Samuel G. Mc- 
Clary and Samuel McGill Mathews. The eastern bank of Rut- 
ledge Bay constitutes the sandy ridge lying between this bay 
and the White Oak Swamp, and being of easy cultivation, they 
are in that state at present. The crops as grown by Henry 
Williamson, Stephen B. Rodgers and John P. McElveen and 
some colored people, bespeak the fertility of these sandy soils 
under proper treatment, chiefly the plantation of Mr. William- 

The year 1732 marks the era in which the first permanent 
settlement was made in our Williamsburg county. This was 
done by a colony of Scotch Irish Presbyterians, who, cross- 
ing the Atlantic Ocean, and passing the Georgetown bar, as- 
cended Black River, and landed at Potatoe Ferry. Ignorant 
of their destination, these people sent out a company of men 
to explore the country and decide upon a place to settle. The 
high and dry lands around Kingstree was selected. Returning 
to their friends, the colony set out on their journey of twenty 
or thirty miles through the wild, trackless wilderness. We 
have heard of them on this journey, sending ahead the most 
hardy of their men to blaze the way and to fell trees across 
ponds, branches and swamps several hundred yards wide, on 
which logs their wives, children and the old men and women 
crossed. Sometimes these engineering pioneers would be 
some distance in the advance. Those in the rear would be 
left in doubt and fear. The following incident relative to their 
condition was told by one of the Wilson matrons of the com- 
pany, and which has been handed down by her descendants 
to the late Dr. David E. Wilson, and told by him. The old 
lady thus described the situation: "When we were out of 
sight of the foremost men we would 'whoop' to find out where 
they were, and pricking our ears, we got their answers as they 
helloed back to us, 'Follow the bleezes.' " Even now we can 
draw mental pictures of them with their clothes swung across 
their shoulders and their babies on the backs of the older chil- 
dren, assisted by the old and infirm left behind as their con- 
ductors and "following the bleezes." 

278 Reminiscences of 

A short time after these people had been housed either by 
poles or in clay houses, there was a funny incident connected 
with their adventures among the wolves and bears sneaking 
about, which will bear repetition to those familiar with the 
story, and create a smile from those who never heard it. It 
was early morning when a whole family of these immigrants 
were thrown into fearful alarm, as a young bear was discov- 
ered in the yard. After much ado, they succeeded in killing 
the animal. In the midst of their jollitications, a neighbor ar- 
rived, dispelled the joy and quieted their boasting display of 
heroism as claimed, when he told them it is only a big he pos- 
sum they had killed. 

History (Dr. Howe's) makes mention of this colony, and 
other small colonies coming over in 1734, and again in 1745. 
Tis probable some of these settled and strengthened the 
Kingstree colony, while many more, actuated by a spirit of 
further adventure and charmed with the fertility of the ham- 
mocks of land lying along the banks of many large swamps, 
settled plantations on what are now known as Cedar, Paisley, 
Boggy Indiantown, Mingo and Lake Swamps and Lynche s 
Creek. In 1760, these primitive settlers, living many miles 
apart, in the midst of dens of wild beasts, organized a church 
society, and built the Indiantown Presbyterian Church. The 
following names are among the founders of that church, viz.: 
Maj. John James, Robert and David Wilson were its first el- 
ders. The male members of the original organization were 
William Cooper, Sr., and William Cooper, Jr., Robert Mc- 
Cottry, Robert Dick, John Gordon, James Daniel, Roger Mc- 
Gill, George McCutchen, George Barr, Thomas McCrea, John 
James and Robert Witherspoon, and some twelve or fifteen 
others whose names are not given. 

Revolutionary War Items. 

We next hear of these grand old sires during the time of 
the great Revolutionary war. No doubt many of them yet 
loved old England, probably desired to retain their allegiance 
to the mother country. It is presumed they acted under such 
feelings when they sent one of their number, John James, 
down to Georgetown, then garrisoned by the British, to pre- 
sent their sentiments before they would openly and defiantly 
revolt from the English government, and have recourse to 

Williamsburg County. 279 

arms. James hastened, presented himself to the commander 
of the post at Georgetown and explained the object of his 
mission. When told the conditions, he replied by saying, the 
men I have the honor to represent will not submit to such 
terms; when the ofificer replied: "What you represent, you 
d — rebel; I'll have you swung up to the mast of my ship." 
Here John James hastily arose, brandished his chair over the 
head of the officer, who wore a sword, and going out at the 
back door and mounting his horse, he was soon out of 

After the surrender of Charleston to the British in May, 
1780, Francis Marion and Peter Horry escaped out of the en- 
emy's line, pulled through Charleston district, and crossing 
over the Santee River, Horry continued on over into the coun- 
try lying beyond the Pee Dee River, while Marion stopped in 
Willianisburg county. Here he was active and persevering 
among the Scotch-Irish and Huguenot settlements and quickly 
raised five volunteer companies within her domain. Soon these 
companies organized and selected the following officers, viz.: 
Capt. John James, of the Lake; Capt. McCottry, Capt. Con- 
yers, Capt. Mouzon and Capt. McCauley. They chose John 
James, of Indiantown, as their major, and thus history records 
two John Jameses, the one at Indiantown, the other at the 
Lake, eight or ten miles distant. They were cousins, and the 
latter John and his four brothers Vi^ere Marion's scouts. It is 
not recorded what official positions Col. Brown and Col. Gor- 
don held in Marion's little army. 

Soon these five companies were in the open field of battle, 
and tho' General Marion was unable to take possession of the 
country, yet he checked Col. Tarleton, the British officer, in 
devastating the whole country and burning houses, not even 
sparing our churches, which Tarleton denominated "Sedition 
Shops." The British were harassed day and night by these 
patriot bands and fired into and killed and wounded in swamps 
and covert places. Skirmish battles were fought all along the 
roads. It seems Tarleton was a wily officer, and our men 
could not easily entrap him, though no doubt he often cursed 
Marion as a wily swamp fox, as he could not surround him, 
but was attacked by him in places least suited for an engage- 
ment, thus rendering the deployment of the British superior 
army unavailable, superior in numbers, in guns and ammuni- 
tion and other military equipages. Our men had the pluck to 

280 Reminiscences of 

defend their homes, and devotion to their country's cause, then 
bleeding by the orders of Lord CornwalHs issued to the com- 
manders of his various posts just after their victory in the bat- 
tle at Camden in August of this year. 

The subjugation of Williamsburg district throughout its 
length and breadth, extending" from Lynche's creek to Santee 
river, seems to have been the supreme determination of Col. 
Tarleton, acting under Lord CornwalHs. Her citizens had 
exhibited a unanimous and decisive spirit of rebellion. Over 
Black river there were many encounters with the enemies, 
and that at Wiboo swamp, as given by Judge James in his 
life of Gen. Marion, is copied verbatim: "By one of his rapid 
marches he (G. L Marion) met Watson at Wiboo, about mid- 
way between Nelson's and Murray's ferry, and at this swamp 
commenced his arduous contest with Watson. Col. Peter 
Horry was placed in advance at the swamp, while the General, 
with his cavalry and remainder of his brigade, amounting to 
about four hundred men, lay in reserve. Horry made con- 
siderable impression on the Tories in advance, but Watson, 
with two field pieces at the head of his column of "regulars," 
dislodged him from the swamp, and the Tory cavalry, under 
Harrison, pursued. As they advanced, Gavin James, a private 
of gigantic size and spirit, mounted on a large, strong gray 
horse, and armed with a musket and bayonet, threw himself 
in their way. He first deliberately fired upon the column, and 
one man fell. The causeway was narrow, and this occasioned 
a pause, in which a volley was fired at him without effect. 
One dragoon advanced, and was struck off his horse by the 
bayonet. A second came to his aid and shared a like fate. 
In falling, he laid hold of the musket near the muzzle to jerk 
it away, and James dragged him forty or fifty paces." 

History also records other heroism of the five brothers 
of the Jameses as being Marion's men, first in battle and last 
in the retreat. 

Judged by the following story, Alajor John James was 
the one man of whose life the Tories were bent on despoil- 
ing. After his rescue from impending death made by his 
friends, he exercised great caution in every future visit to his 
wife and children by keeping his horse saddled and hitched 
at the door of his dwelling. He was at home, and observed by 
the Tories, who, taking off the cover of the Indiantown swamp 
bridge and placing themselves between his house and the 

Williamsburg County. 281 

swamp, supposed they had Major James this time. But James, 
too, observed them, and mounting" his horse he dashed away, 
and coming to the bridge, his only way of escape, he and his 
horse leaped from butment to butment, being twenty-five or 
thirty feet over the channel, and thus escaped the clutches of 
the Tories, who were in full pursuit, but were impeded by the 
obstructions they had made which the Major overleaped. 

There is a story of a woman's spirit of resistance of of- 
fended modesty, as follows: 

At one time, the British was encamped in and 
around Mr. Witlierspoon's house and plantation at the 
Lower bridge, spanning Black river at this place. Now it 
happened that Miss Witherspoon, whose father was with Ma- 
rion and his men, had to endure the presence of the enemies. 
She was the beloved of our Capt. Conyers, and perhaps his 
affianced bride. Often, if not daily, this daring, courageous 
and now insulted officer would show himself at the head of 
the Witherspoon avenue or along its path and wave to his 
sweetheart. A British officer, observing this as a challenge, 
and fearing Capt. Conyers and his men in ambush, spoke dis- 
paragingly to her of her lover, when she, in a disdainful manner 
said to him, as Conyers stood on his charger in defiance in 
the avenue, without a comrade and in full view, "Don't talk 
to me; go meet him, you coward." There is one item bear- 
ing on Maj. John James as a terror to the Tories which in- 
fested the country and caused the patriots to use severe means 
to keep them away by way of retaliation for ill treatment to 
families. These Tories came from adjoining sections of coun- 
try. On one occasion Maj. John James was with his family 
in his humble house of boards filled in, situated over Indian- 
town swamp on the Lynche's creek road, when his house was 
surrounded by Tories and the bullets were lodged in the walls. 
Instantly he was overpowered by them rushing into the house. 
Fastening a rope around his neck, they dragged him out 
under a large mulberry tree in his yard. Just as the Tories 
were ready to swing the Major to a limb, a small party of his 
followers came dashing up and fired into the crowd, which 
scattered in every direction. The bullet holes in his house 
long remained, and the old tree stood up as a memorial for 
more than a half century. Up to this time traces of its stump 
and roots can be pointed out, after the lapse of another half 

282 Reminiscences oh 

Another story is in the case of Col. James Brown, who 
was an officer under Gen. Marion, and resided on the Lake 
swamp. Col. Brown and his company were secreting them- 
selves in White Oak swamp, head waters of Paisley swamp, 
by which they expected to avoid an attack by the cruel Col. 
Tarleton. The British officer and his men observed a bright 
light in the darkness of the night in the direction of Brown's 
house, and it proved to be his dwelling house burning down, 
together with everything therein save his family, who had 
fled for their lives. This was done by Tories from over 
Lynche's creek, which infested the country and destroyed the 
property of the starving "Marion's men." In Brown's case 
the "big pot" was carried away and hidden in a pond near by. 
These were some of the hardships our patriots endured, who, 
not daring to encounter the overwhelming British army in 
open field, succeeded in cutting off their supplies, and heading 
their skirmishers, they fought them in ambush in every suit- 
able swamp and advantageous position. Thus they fought 
and endured till the 8th September, 1781, when the great 
battle at Eutaw Springs was fought, in which, it has been 
said, all Williamsburg was engaged, and at which, after the 
battle had been fought all day, our soldiers, composed of our 
fathers, nearly overpowered with heat and thirst, threw them- 
selves flat pell mell over e?ch other in and around the spring 
only to get one drink ot water to ease their parched tongues 
and their exhausted bodies. Col. James Brown left two sons, 
William and Robert Brown, who, with their families, were 
members of the Indiantown Presbyterian church. 

Many places along our roads, byways and in our swamps 
have been battle grounds, and stained with the blood of our 
fathers, which, if observed by us, would scarcely receive the 
tribute of a sigh. Let us hunt up our history in that war as 
made in Williamsburg, Georgetown and Charleston districts, 
and thus establish the position of "Marion's men" in the 
galaxy of the heavens. Many of us are possessed of tradi- 
tional and reliable items of interest connected with the suffer- 
ings of our mothers and the heroism of our fathers that ought 
to be preserved and put in a tangible form, that we may honor 
the names engaged in the old Revolutionary War. 

The battle of Eutaw Springs was handed down by our 
people to their descendants of the generation of children in the 
early years in which this narrative begins. 

WiiviviAMSBURG County. 283 

Old Mr. John McClary, one of the actors of that mem- 
orable and bloody day of 8th September, 1781, was an elder 
of the Williamsburg Presbyterian church, serving in connec- 
tion with old Mr. William Wilson and old Mr. James Bradley, 
veterans in that light. There was a division of sentiment 
among this trio, and they desired to be unanimous. Old Mr. 
McClary is reported as saying to them: How can we be on 
opposite sides when we fought side by side during the whole 
battle, during the whole day, in different places on the battle 
ground, whether by our own charges or forced back by the 
bayonets of our enemy. No, no, replied Mr. Wilson, and 
Mr. Bradley concurred, using a sentiment somewhat in these 
words : And to add to the horrors of that day's battle, we were 
so busy in loading our guns and firing and defending our- 
selves in the hand to hand fights, that we could not assist our 
comrades in the fight who, wounded at our sides, are falling 
under our feet. 

Surely such wonderfully heroic deeds, made in the spirit 
of devoted patriotism, resulting in the liberties we now pos- 
sess, and surrounding us with blessings and comforts in the 
enjoyment of a free and independent government, ought not 
to die in the breasts of their descendants. "Marion's men," 
commanded by Capt. John James of the Lake, McCottry, 
Conyers, Mouzon and McCauley, are all supposed to have 
been there, directed and controlled by Gen. Marion himself, 
and Maj. John James of recorded valor. Antecedent to this 
battle these were the people who first settled this district, 
erected pole huts for their wives and children, cut roads 
through the boundless wilderness, made bridges across the 
streams of water, and built churches and court houses. 

Oh, let us form associations and meet on the Eutaw battle 
ground, celebrate the deeds of our forefathers in joy and 

In the many battles of the old Revolutionary war, with Gen. 
Marion in the lead, Capt. Henry Mouzon was wounded in one 
of the last engagements and crippled for life. But surely that 
wound was not of sO' great severity and future inconvenience 
as that experienced by John Fowler Mouzon, his great-grand- 
son, under Capt. S. J. Snowden, Gen. M. C. Butler's brigade, 
received in our late war of States. Even after thirty years' 
time elapsing, when seen in the streets of Kingstree, hobblmg 
along on his wooden leg, John Mouzon's crippled condition 

284 Reminiscences of 

excites a willing tear and a regret that Williamsburg county, 
indebted to the Mouzons, has failed to appreciate his condition 
in withholding some of the emoluments of a public position, 
not alone for this misfortune, but for his intrinsic worth as 
a high-minded gentleman. His father, Samuel R. Mouzon, 
son of Capt. Henry Mouzon, left three sons, James Laurence, 
William Covert and Leonard White, by a Miss Nelson, his 
first wife, and also three other sons, John Fowler, Duncan 
King and Samuel Rufifin, by his second wife. Miss ^lartha 
Fowler Pressley. At this writing the four last named sons 
still survive. 

With the first settlers of Williamsburg, who formed the 
Indiantown and Ties Lake community, were their companions 
in arms, in church and social relationship, as were found in the 
following families, thus: The Barrs, Blakeleys, Buttons, 
Browns, Burrows, Coopers, Cunninghams, Daniels, Dicks, 
Douglas, Gordons, Grahams, Hannas,'' Haseldens, James, 
Johnsons, Jollys, Nesmiths, Paisleys, Pressleys"^ Rodgers, 
Scotts, Syigeltarys, Snowdens, Thompsons, Wilsons, Wither- 
spoons, McCants, McCulloughs, McCottrys, McCutchens, 
McCreas, McElveens, McConnells, McFaddins, McGills 'and 
the McKnights. Of these families, with the exception of 
Dicks and Jollys, there are yet representatives in this county, 
all having distinctive characteristics of their primeval an- 
cestry, as are calculated from what we have heard and see. 
They have been known in our works, and many have been 
honored with positions of honor in this county and State, 
which county their fathers erected from the stump and ele- 
vated to the highest niche of social and religious standards. 

A sketch of the lives of the descendants of these illustrious 
forefathers and others of later introduction among us 
throughout this old and favored district, would be attempted, 
were it not that this narrative has exceeded in pages beyond 
the first intention, whereby much that has been written has 
been necessarily excluded. A pardon is asked for the silence 
and a promise is given to do so at a more convenient season, 
if health and circumstances admit of the effort. 

Actuated under the apprehension that the privilege of the 
promise contained in the last sentence may never be granted 
here below, and appreciating the cordial entertainments and 
social dispositions of Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Cunningham, 
the present time has solicited their recognition. Mr. Cun- 

Williamsburg County. 285 

ningham was connected with the old McElveen and Gordon 
families, and hence was his pleasantry, and marrying a Miss 
Gregg of Marion county, a great beauty, refinement and intel- 
ligence, raised an interesting family. His attachment to them 
was remarkable in his constant companionship. His first son, 
Langdon, studied medicine, and after graduation moved West; 
his second son, Joseph, also became a doctor, and remained 
with us, and marrying a Miss Chandler of Sumter, has a fam- 
ily, who no doubt has inherited their father's Christian advan- 
tages, as he is now an elder of the Indiantown Presbyterian 
church. His third son, William, once a pupil of this writer, 
was killed in our war; his fourth son and youngest of the 
family, Herbert, married a Miss Brockinton and settled near 
Kingstree. After editing the "Kingstree Star" for a few years 
he moved away into the upper or middle portions of our State. 
Jane was the only daughter of the family, and possessed of 
charms of person and of mind, and marrying a Mr. Thompson 
of Clarendon, left her native home. 

After the death of Robert Friendly McCottry ana his wid- 
owed wife, Mrs. Mary Ellen McCottry, and the emigration of 
Robert McCottry Witherspoon and family into Florida, these 
names became extinct in Williamsburg district with the first 
settlers, and associated with Gen. Marion's dashing men in 
field and swamp, names revered for our Christian elevation 
and in the embodiment of the causes of our comforts and 
blessings ; names yet cherished for their principles as transmit- 
ted in the family of Mr. and Mrs. George Cooper, the mother 
of one as being of the McCottry stock and name, the mother 
of the other as of the Witherspoon stock and name. Through- 
out this State the McCottry name, of which we have ever been 
proud, is not seen in the affairs of State, but that sadness is 
somewhat dispelled when at our courts of justice at Kings- 
tree we find Judge I. D. Witherspoon on the bench, a de- 
scendant of the Williamsburg first settlers in 1732, and iden- 
tified with us in the first one hundred years of our history, 
as we hasten to meet him and give him the right hand of fel- 

Lost Names. 

On old Mr. Rodger McGill's place, now owned by Percy 
D. Snowden and JuHan Wilson, there is a dam extending 
across the Indiantown swamp of several hundred yards length, 

286 Reminiscences of 

known as the "Mclver" dam, and being judged by the growth 
of trees as adjudged sixty years ago on both sides of the dam, 
it had been formerly used in rice cuhure. On White Oak 
there is an old field on I. A. Black well's place, known as the 
"Gillespie" old field, and on Cooper Bros'. White Oak place 
there is "Orr's" old field. This is a fine plantation and most 
desirable situation. On Black river, ten or twelve miles below 
Kingstree, there are "Manning" pond, "Sims" reach landing 
and "Ashby" hill, now owned by James McClary Brown and 
his aged mother, Mrs. Alary RafQeld Brown, who fifty years 
ago was considered the belle of the country. Their plantations 
are reckoned among the best in their fertility and elevation 
above the surrounding tracts of land. 

If by any means this paragraph should awake an interest 
among the descendants of these illustrious names in our State, 
Mclver, Gillespie, Orr, Manning, Sims and Ashby, and estab- 
Hsh their identity with the Williamsburg forefathers, the object 
of this presentation will have been accomplished, and their 
recognition be accorded, then the fact will be accepted as one 
of the proud inventions contrived at in this "Narrative of 

At the death of old Mr. Gavin James his name became 
extinct on the Lake, as his four brothers migrated and settled 
either in lower Tennessee or upper Alabama or Mississippi, 
yet at that time there was that name in the Indiantown section. 
Capt. John James, son of Maj. John James, settled the place 
where Edward Hanna now resides, while his brother, Samuel 
James, an old batchelor, resided at his father's old home, and 
his other brother, Judge W. D. James, lived and died at 
Stateburg, and is there buried. Tie was an elder in the In- 
diantown Presbyterian church, and was an exemplary Chris- 
tian and neighbor, whose virtues have been attested by old 
Mr. and Mrs. Samuel McGill. His good wife and three chil- 
dren, together with their brother, Samuel James, are buried 
in the Indiantown grave yard, and left three sons and three 
daughters. The eldest son, John James, early married up 
in Sumter, and there settled. The second son, 
the Rev. Robert Wilson James, being well educated in 
his youth in literary and religious courses, chose the ministry 
as his profession. He traveled into foreign lands, and was 
attractive in his sermons and his description of the people 
whom he had visited in heathen countries. In the first years 

Williamsburg County. 287 

of his ministry he was pastor in the Indiantown Presbyterian 
church, m which he had been raised. Afterwards the Salem or 
Brick church community secured his pastoral services, and 
there died in the zenith of his youthfulness, being- recognized 
throughout the country as one of prominence in literary and 
scriptural attainments. 

The youngest son, William Ervin James, preferred the 
home attractions of his father's place, and was devoted to the 
interest of the Indiantown Presbyterian church, serving as an 
elder and Sunday school teacher. His first wife was Miss 
Jane Wilson, oldest daughter of Col. David D. Wilson, who, 
dying in less than a year, Mr. James married a Miss Ervin of 
Darlington, and hither he moved in about 1835, followed by 
his sister. Miss Lavina James, who, being a cripple from early 
youth, remained with her brother. She was a useful member 
of the church and Sunday school. 

His eldest daughter, Miss Mary, married Mr. Samuel 
Green of Georgetown, and raised a large and interesting 
family. Miss Sarah Ann James, the youngest of the family, 
was very attractive and amiable in her disposition. She was 
coeval with Miss Mary McCottry McGill; they were neigh- 
bors, friends and relatives, and were hardly separated long at 
a time. In 1834 she acted as bridesmaid to her friend when 
she married Mr. James G. Burgess, and in a few months after- 
wards she, too, was led to the hymenial altar by Mr. James 
Green, brother of Mr. Samuel Green and Dr. Ezra Green, 
already mentioned. These Greens were well connected, and 
among others were nephews of Col. David D. Wilson. These 
two friends, Mrs. Green and Mrs. Burgess, moved to Arkan- 
sas with their families at different periods, and in their old age 
lived in visiting distance. 

Five last members of the McGill family of yore. The re- 
cords made by Rogei- McGill in his Bible are in these words: 

"Hugh McGill was married to Sarah Gordon, loth June, 
1732, and departed this life 30th June, 1755, in the 50th year 
of his age, and was married 23 years, to Sarah Gordon, his 

Their Children. 

"John McGill was born ist April, 1734. 
"Mary McGill was born 20th January, 1738. 
"Jean McGill was born 12th September, 1740. 

288 Reminiscences of 

^^ "Roger McGill was born 28th August, 1742. 

"J^mes McGill was born 28th October, 1744. 

"Samuel McGill was born 12th September, 1747. 

"Sarah McGill was born i5tli August, 1750. 

"Sarah Dicky departed this life December 24th, 1759, 
aged 49. This day, July 24th, 1794, taken a true copy and 
certified by Roger McGill." 

Sarah Dicky, as above, must have been Hugh McGill's 
widow, and after his death married a Mr. Dicky. The de- 
scendants of Roger and Samuel McGill, brothers, are yet in 
Williamsburg, S. C. And oh, that the birth insertions of the 
other five children may generate inquiries into these facts 
and thereby establish the claims of these descendants to their 
birthrights with the descendants of the old line. 

Also in Roger McGill's family Bible are the records of 
his own family, written in his own handwriting, fully re- 
markable for the regularity of the births of his nine children, 
coming into the world every other year: 

"Roger McGill, the son of Hugh McGill and Elizabeth 
Westbury, was married 23rd February, 1767. 

Their Children. 

"Hugh McGill was born 30th December, 1767. 

"Jean McGill was born 8th September, 1769. 

"Martha McGill was born 8th August, 1771. 

"ist Mary McGill (died yoimg) was born 28th May, 


"Elizabeth McGill (died young) was born 14th January, 


"Burr McGill (died young) was born 23rd February, 

"John McGill was born 2nd January, 1779. 

"Samuel McGill was born 25th February, 1781. 

"2nd Mary McGill was born 7th January, 1783. 

"Elizabeth McGill, the wife of Roger McGill, departed 
this life 24th July, 1787, in child bed of two sons, and they 
departed the' same time. 

"No monument her virtues can supply, 
In the cold grave her fair body lies." 

Williamsburg County. 289 


In 1805 in a house at Kingstree a dance was in full oper- 
ation. The girls were on the floor in a line, with their part- 
ners before them in another line awaiting their turn in the 
reel. Just then twO' strange young men entered the hall, 
■ and immediately all eyes were turned on them, because they 
were shorn of their long cues and their heads cut close. Now 
a new figure was started at the head of the dance, and there 
was a balk in the execution of it, and one of the young 
strangers, seeing this, hastened to get a partner, and taking 
the head of the dance went through the whole figure. 

During this time Miss Mary Ann Sanders, on the floor, 
turned to her friend. Miss McElveen, on her right, and whis- 
pered, "What shave pate men are they?" She being unable 
to tell, turned to Miss Mary McGill and asked who those two 
young men were, who replied, the one standing in the crowd 
is my brother Sam and the other at the head of the dance is 
my brother John. In the long after years old Mrs. Mary Ann 
McGill often repeated this circumstance, and added a decla- 
ration that John McGill was the best dancer she had ever 

These two McGills, having served their seven years' appren- 
ticeship under Col. David Gordon, a house carpenter, were 
at this time engaged in building houses in Sumter district, 
and spending much of their time among relatives and friends 
up there, they seldom revisited their old Indiantown home, 
now almost deserted by the marriages of the members of the 
family. Sumter district has ever been spoken of as ahead 
of Williamsburg district. The new fashion of close cut hair had 
first been introduced here, and these tw^o young men coming 
down into Williamsburg were objects of wonder and remarks. 
They had the credit of the introduction of close cut hair 
among us, which displaced the long cues of the gentlemen. 
These cues were neatly plaited and secured at the ends with 
ribbons and hung down between the shoulders. They were 
of long standing, and the one fashion of the old English 

In 1806, on 2 1 St August, the marriage of Samuel McGill 

290 Reminiscences of 

and Mary Ann Sanders was solemnized at Samuel Wilson's 
house on Muddy creek, having Joseph Scott and Miss Nancy 
McCottry as their waiters, a term now used as groomsman 
and bridesmaid. Shortly after this the newly married couple 
received a letter from Mr. John Sanders, the bride's father, 
who had moved away into Georgia and settled near Bruns- 
wick, asking them to visit him. Accordingly they set out on 
horseback to make this journey of over two hundred miles. 
When they arrived at Mr. Sanders' home they saw a vast ex- 
panse of water. The bride, who before this journey knew 
only the country lying between Lynche's creek ferry. Muddy 
creek and Kingstree, said, "It looked like I had got to the 
end of the world," while the groom in after life declared, "A 
woman riding on a side saddle on a long journey cannot fail 
to hurt a horse's back." Here Mrs. McGill met her half 
1)rother, Philip Sanders, who was now nearly grown. Her 
father first married Janie James, who, dying after giving birth 
to Mary Ann, and her father again marrying and moving 
?way, her daughter w'as placed under the care and protection 
of her relatives. In this visit to Georgia to see her father she 
was given $500, three bales of cotton, and two young negroes 
just landed from Africa. They were named Nero and Victo- 
ria, and though grown, were of a diminutive stature and 
were husband and wife. Their importation intO' Williamsburg 
district was a new feature, and being the only native Africans 
in that section of country, Nero and Tory, as they were then 
called, were interesting objects, and more so in their inability 
to speak our language; and their two children, Nancy and 
Sentry, were of superior bodies and mind, due, perhaps, to 
the care of them in infancy. Besides, they were faithful ser- 
vants and devout Christians. After the birth of these two 
children this African couple separated, and Tory marrying a 
negro man belonging to Capt. John James, a neighbor, with 
the consent of Nero, sleeping in his own house in another 
room, raised a large family of negroes, having four children 
at two births. Indeed, Tory (Victoria) claimed to have been 
of distinction in her country, as she said she wore grand 
dresses and gold beads. The names Nero and Tory are fa- 
miliai^ ones in their families. Ned Snowden, at Indiantown, 
now about eighty, alone survives from the original African 

A few years after the return of Mr. and Mrs. McGill from 

Williamsburg County. 291 

Georgia they were informed of the death of Mr. John San- 
ders and wife, and following came the news of the death of 
Philip Sanders, with a notification that Mr. McGill come to 
Brunswick and claim his property. His answer is character- 
istic of a McGill, when, remembering his trip in 1806, he said: 
"I wouldn't undertake that trip for the property." A few 
years afterwards there came a man direct from Brunswick, 
and after telling the amount of the little property, as he rep- 
resented it, got a letter from Mr. McGill giving him the 
power of an attorney to close up the estate, and that was the 
last of Philip Sanders' property in Bruns\vick, Georgia, as far 
as the McGills were concerned. 

Of the other three participators in the Kingstree dance, 
introduced at the beginning of the appendix, a brief account 
has been suggested to the mind. Miss Betsy McElveen mar- 
ried Mr. John Price, the famous singing school master, and 
their descendants formerly lived in this county. Miss Mary 
McGill married Mr. Bradley of Sumter, and their daughter, 
Lizzie, married Mr. Harvey Wilson of that section. Their 
visit to their Uncle Samuel McGill at Indiantown in the early 
years of his life is yet remembered, and their descendants are 
living near Maysville. Mr. John McGill was a jolly compan- 
ion, and fortune smiled on him. He married Miss Selina Mc- 
Clary, living on the Sand Hills above Kingstree when he 
was in middle age. A few years after the big storm he moved 
into Alabama and settled in Lowndes county, and there, too, 
he was prosperous. At his death he left his family in good 
circumstances. His daughters, Margaret and Louisa, married 
Mr. May and Mr. Walton, but they have not been heard from 
since the war. 

In 1 81 9 old Mr. Gavin James, the batchelor, residing on 
the Lake, died, and bequeathed his entire property to his 
niece, Mrs. Mary Ann McGill, and her children. The land 
was afterwards sold tO' Mr. William Brown, who gave it to 
Mr. James Cooper, his son in law. The large stock of cattle 
was sold, and Samuel McGill, as usual in his lifetime, was 
never able to collect the amount, while the negro' family, con- 
sisting of Carolina and his wife Lucy, with their large family 
of children, were removed to his home at Indiantown, making 
quite an acquisition to his estate, as were found in the persons 
of big Caesar, Jack, Sam, Cain, Tom- and Joe, and two 
daughters. Sue and Betty. These were a remarkably intelli- 

292 Reminiscences of 

gent and civil family, which traits of character have been 
transmitted to their children, as are seen in the present day, 
Carolina Brown and his brother. Rev. Ben Brown, sons of 
Sue, and in Adam and Paul McKnight, sons of Betsy, as also 
m Tom Burgess' family on White Oak, They have never 
failed to show affection and kind attention to the members* 
of the McGill family of old and the present generation. 

In the years 1848 and '49 Carolina came to live with his 
young master at the Indiantown academy, who exacted of 
him the services of waiting man and mill boy on Saturdays. 
Being a truthful and trustworthy old negro, his young master 
obtained from him the following items relative to his early 

During the Revolutionary War he was a good-sized lad, 
and frequently accompanied his master in the war as waiting 
boy for the company, and was with them in a few skirmishes 
in this district. Whenever they met the British or Tories the 
cry was shouted: "Quarters and no quarters," and here the 
old man would go through a mimic battle, with his stick as 
his sword, and repeat the curses of one side, saying, "You 
d — rebel," and of the other side as shouting at the top of their 
voices, "Oh, you d — Tory, you d — son of a bitch." It was 
truly horrifying to see his manoevers as in a battle, and their 
horses tramping down the wounded and dying. He claimed 
to have been an actor with his old master, Gavin James, at 
different times and places, who, he said, by reason of his great 
frame and strength, came out of the battles with many bruises, 
but none serious. 

In addition to the above probable historical sketches this 
old man, Carolina, told the story of the manner in which he 
got Lucy for his wife. Ten or fifteen years after the close of 
the war, he being fully grown and in vigorous manhood, told 
his master he. wanted a wife, and as a speculator with negro 
men and women from Virginia was stopping at their house, 
he asked his master to buy him a wife among the gang. His 
master kindly told him to select one of the women, and if she 
was willing to marry him, and was sound and healthy, he 
would buy her. How he approached Lucy and examined her 
is as novel as it is funny, and it is enough to say no horse 
jockey more carefully examined a nag which he was about to 
purchase than Carolina did the handsome young filly which 

Williamsburg County. 293 

he wanted to possess, who reporting favorably in her case, 
Lucy was purchased and became CaroHna's wife. 

Of CaroHna's offspring there are two of them worthy of 
special notice. His son Cain became the property of Mr. 
John T. Scott by marriage into- the McGill family in 1826, 
and Cain moved with the family to Arkansas in i860. During 
Republican rule in that State he refused to join the Radicals, 
but united himself with his white people, whom he never de- 
serted, but voted with them in supporting the Democrats. 
In last accounts of ten or fifteen years ago Cain was in good 
circumstances. In this, Williamsburg county, there is Gus 
McCottry, who was the property of Sidney S. McGill, and 
after his death in 1848 that of Robert F. McCottry. Many of 
us are familiar with his services in our Democratic ranks, in 
which he has been firm, though standing almost alone among 
his own color. In the McCottry family he was steadfast in 
his services, and at Mrs. McCottry's death he was not forgot- 
ten. Gus McCottry is the son of Betty McKnight, who was 
the youngest child of Carolina and Lucy. 

When the old man Carolina died in 1851 his young mas- 
ter cheerfully paid his funeral expenses, though living twenty 
miles away, ever feeling grateful to him for his faithful ser- 


The changes, after the lapse of sixty-five years, were ob- 
servable in a recent visit made by the old man as he crossed 
over the Indiantown branch at its ford, whose current seemed 
to have been changed and the steepness and extension of the 
hills on both sides were barely recognizable. As school boys 
we had the hill on the church side as our foot race course, 
leaping over the branch at low water as the terminus, which 
course must have been between sixty and seventy-five yards. 
Here, too, we had a springboard to make .one jump or leap 
over a stick resting on crutches, and in the latter performance 
we sometimes reached the ground in the head foremost con- 
dition. After a big rain the branch was our bathing place. 
One "12 o'clock" we boys were bathing, when the girls came 
running down towards us, clapping their hands and "soob 
boyin" at us, expecting to scare us away from our- clothes and 
then run off with them, but in this they were disappointed, as 
we ran out of the road over the bushes and through the briars 

294 Reminicensces of 

with our clothes in our arms. On one of these occasions an 
incident occurred which the girls ever modestly and taciturnly 
remembered till their deaths. The largest boy in school used 
to go to the AlcCutchen place tO' get his dinner, but on this 
particular day he was with us washing in the branch. The 
girls, ignorant of his presence, came running down towards 
us as usual, to scare us, at which this big boy, in a stark naked 
condition, run towards them up the hill, when the dear little 
creatures, turning and screaming, ran through the church 
yard over the graves, calling for the teacher, "Pray do come 
to us." 

This ford of the Indiantown branch carries a remem- 
brance of its earlier impressions. A dream is connected with 
that branch, the current of which is flowing and its waters 
ever clear and transparent. Alany years ago this writer, while 
in the land of the dreamy shades, was wading through this 
ford, when he saw something glittering in the sand at its 
bottom. On reaching down it proved to be a silver dollar, 
and on further investigation any amount of silver dollars and 
silver half dollars were under his feet and before and behind 
him. He soon filled all his pockets with the dollars and then 
filled both hands, and yet there was no diminution of them 
sparkling at his feet. While thinking of his good luck, he 
suddenly said, "What if this be a dream?" No, he argued, 
it can't be a dream, for here are the silver dollars in my hand. 
I see tliem and I feel them. Something whispered, it is noth- 
ing but a dream. Well, if it is a dream, I'm going to wake up, 
and I'll have my hands full of the dollars any way. He in- 
stantly awoke and his hands were clinched. However, he was 
not long disconcerted, as awaking his wife and telling her the 
dream, she laughingly said," Ain't you sorry it isn't so?" 
"No, no," he as quickly replied, "it is best that it is so." 

In after life similar resorts were made to falsify many 
dreamy flights, as flying up in the sky, at another time skim- 
ming the earth just above the whole family of snakes, or 
perched up on the bending limb of a tree just beyond the 
grip of the frothy fangs of a mad dog. Or when dreams were 
of the most hideous and horrifying character, he forced the 
conclusion, "it is only a dream," and thereby he awoke just 
in time to delay a dissolution of soul and body. 

Jimmie Gordon's dream, which he told at school one 
Monday morning among hundreds of funny things, so well 

Williamsburg County. 295 

represents the horrors of a bad dream that there seems to be 
no discretion as to its insertion in this Narrative of Reminis- 
cences. He told this story in his usual twang of voice, almost 
as fine as a fiddle. He "dreamt" he was in the "meetin" 
house, and on rising with the congregation, discovered he was 
undressed, except for his Sunday shirt. Soon some one on 
the front bench, pointing at him, said, "Look yonder," and 
he jerked down his shirt in front; then some one on the back 
bench, pointing at him, said "Look younder," and he jerked 
down his shirt behind, and exposed his front. Thus 
he continued to bow and sway back, alternately exposing his 
nakedness, till becoming exhausted, he fell to the floor in a 
lather of perspiration, when he awoke. 

Among the many members of the Indiantown Presbyte- 
rian church, Samuel W. Nesmith and John W. Singeltary 
were the extremes in statue, the one noted for his height and 
for his silent and reserved manners, the other for his diminu- 
tive figure and for the humor and sprightliness of Capt. Ebb 
Singeltary, his father's eldest son. It was Sunday morning, 
just before preaching hour; the male congregation were stand- 
ing at the steps of the church, and these two extremisits were 
in conversation. The contrast being observed, they were 
soon surrounded by curious friends. Singeltary was talking, 
and looking up into Nesmith's face, said, "Sammie, please 
throw me down a chaw tobacco." 

While yet in this humorous mood, another incident arose 
before the mind which occurred in the early thirties of this 
century. At this time there were many deer hunters living 
in the Indiantown neighbrohood, and Saturdays were their 
days for "driving." On one of these days these hunters were 
driving the bays and thickets near the Lake swamp, and their 
dogs having started a deer which eluded their stands, had put 
the deer into swimming water in Tyes lake. While awaiting 
the return of the dogs, which would surely be made on this 
back track, and blowing their horns to assist the hounds in 
locating their masters, these hunters observed some fine water 
melons lying in a field near by. Being heated and thirsty, 
one or two of their number climbed over the fence and pulled 
one or two of the melons and the company dispatched them. 
The owner of these melons soon discovered what had been 
done, and being of a high temper and clinging to his senti- 
ment, "What is mine is mine, and nobody else," he came to 

296 Reminiscences oe 

this church, of which he was a member, after the trespass, 
and complained of it in his characteristic drawl. He said, and 
not in a very pleasant way, but loud enough to be heard all 
over the church yard, thus: "Some people make very light of 
watermillions, but I can tell you, a man can make a very good 
breakfast or a dinner on watermillions." 

Strolling outside of the church yard, trying to locate the 
stopping and hitching places of the members of this church, 
and the little pole stables of the Wilson, Paisley and Mc- 
Cutchen children, the site of the old well of water placed in 
the junction of Col. Cooper and William Burrows roads. 
Here we children hastened to drink water and wash our 
hands after eating our cold dinners. The boys had no hand- 
kerchiefs, but depended on the towels owned by the girls, 
which they refused to boys whose hands were not well 
washed. For these acts the boys would put their yet greasy 
and dirty hands into the horse trough, and locking their 
fingers, scatter the water from them in the faces of the girls, 
who in turn, watching their chance, would dash the dipper 
full of water above the boys' heads, saying, "What goes up 
must come down." All the girls took much pleasure in the 
fun, even the sedate and even-tempered lulina McCutchen, 
Liza Paisley, Elvira and Sarah Daniel, Rebecca and Maggie 
Howard and Sarah Wilson, and, too, the gay and lively Patsy, 
and Jane or Jennet McCutchen, Susan Dozier, Mary Scott 
Barr and Ann McGill; thus the sport continued till we were 
called away to other play grounds. 

The three oldest tombstones placed in the Indiantown 
grave yard, as represented by the epitaphs thereon engraved, 
have been examined. Those epitaphs have been copied, and 
are here given : 

"In memory of Maj. John James, who departed this life 
January 29th, 1791, aged 59 years. 

"In Faith he died, in dust he lies, 
But Faith foresees that dust shall rise. 
When Jesus calls while hope assumes 
And boasts her Joy among the tombs." 

"In memory of Margaret Paisley, wife of Robert Paisley, 
Esq., who departed this life January 12th, 1788, in the 45th 
year of her age. 

Williamsburg County. 297 

"Peaceful sleep out the Sabbath of the tomb and rise 
to raptures in a world to come. 3rd chapter Saint Peter." 

"Sacred to the memory of Elizabeth McGill, wife of 
Roger McGill, who died July 24th, 1787, in the 41st year of 
her age. 

"She was a loving wife, a good and indulgent mother 
and a sincere Christian." 

The following epitaph on the tombstone of Rev. William 
James Wilson, the grandson of old Mrs. EHzabeth McGill, 
can be seen in the Williamsburg Presbyterian grave yard at 
Kingstree, S. C. : 

"This monument is erected by the Presbyterian congre- 
gation of Salem, in Sumter district, as a small token of their 
esteem and afifection for their late beloved pastor, the Revd. 
William James Wilson, who' died the 23rd day of June, A. D. 
1826, aged 28 years, 4 months and 5 days. 

"Beloved in life, in death lamented. The piety, zeal, talents 
and amiableness of manner conspicuous in the servant of 
Christ, promised much usefulness to the church. But it was 
the Lord's will early to remove him from his labours on earth, 
we are persuaded to his rest in Pleaven. 

"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him 
that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace, that bringeth 
good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation, that saith 
unto Zion, 'Thy God reigneth.' 

"Be thou faithful unto death, and I vvill give thee a crown 
of life." 

In the next row of graves, adjoining Mrs. Elizabeth Mc- 
Gill's grave, are the tombs of her son, Samuel McGill, and his 
wife, Mrs. Mary Ann McGill. In addition to the epitaphs 
engraved on their tombs, the following tribute to them is re- 
corded in this writer's family Bible: 

"Samuel McGill, the son of Roger McGill, who was the 
son of Hugh McGill the first, was born 25th February, 1781, 
and died on the loth November, 1840, being in the sixtieth 
year of his age. He lived on the west side of Indiantown 
swamp, and was of an easy and quiet disposition. 

"Mrs. Mary Ann McGill was the mother of fourteen 
living children; was born on Muddy creek, on the 12th De- 

298 Reminiscences of 

cember, 1785, and died on White Oak on the 7th May, 1850, 
after an illness of several days' duration. During these days 
she lay apparently in an unconscious state, only being once 
aroused. Her beloved pastor, the Rev. Mr. McPherson, came 
to see her, and succeeded in getting her attention, when he 
asked her if she wanted any particular chapter in the Bible 
read to her, and in answer she plainly articulated, "14th chap- 
ter of St. John." 

In the recent visit to the Indiantovvn section of country 
its changed appearance was observable from that which it 
really had before this Narrative was undertaken, and even 
distances seemed to have increased. No doubt this delusion 
was caused by the author's mind having been continuously 
and interestingly engaged during the two preceding years in 
collecting up and transcribing in a tangible form the Remi- 
niscences of his early boyhood and school days, as experi- 
enced and observed by him in that section of country, more so 
in and around the Indiantown Presbyterian church, its old 
grave yard, and its session house as his school room. In these 
delightful exercises, forgetting self, he has been carried away, 
and in a measure has neglected his obligations due to his chil- 
dren and neighbors; and so deeply and intensely he had gone 
into that revery that his mind even failed to distinguish the 
sweet voices of those old friends and school children as they 
once called to "Sam" in our visits ar^' on the play ground. 
In this stroll over the grave yard, hunting up the oldest tomb- 
stones for insertion in this Narrative, he read many epitaphs 
of his personal friends. As he tremblingly and cautiously 
trod the sacred ground around the church he was lovingly 
presented to the days of his Sunday school life in that church, 
bringing to his mind Cousin George McCutchen, the Sunday 
school teacher, to whom he repeated Christ's Sermon on the 
Mount from beginning to end without even a balk, and so, 
too, the many easy h}mns. While in the grave yard, one of 
these hymns he repeated as made by the spirit, and seriously 
impressed, he fully realized the certainty of Mr. Watts' sen- 
timent, almost hearing the anxious admonitions of his fathers 
and the dear voices of his friends amid the awful silence of 
their graves. In his tears of repentance he repeats, "Hark 
from the tombs a doleful sound," and when he came to the 
tliird verse he was alarmed and horrified at the certainty of 

Williamsburg County. 299 

the final passage of life over the dark and icy stream of death, 
he exclaims: 

"Great God, is this our certain doom, 
And are we yet secure. 
Still walking downward to the tomb 
And yet prepare no more." 

And believing and trusting in the goodness and mercy of 
God, who doeth all things well, he humbly supplicates, and 
with his heart full to overflowing he prays in sincerity and in 
faith, using the words of Mr. Watts, expressing the sentiments 
of his soul, as are in these lines: 

"Grant us the power of quick'ning grace 
To fit our souls to fly. 
Then, when we quit this dying flesh, 
We'll rise above the sky." 

300 Reminiscences of 


''County Record;' 17th October, 1892. 


"Mrs. McGill, wife of Dr. McGill, died at her home in this 
county, on the 15th inst., of an attack of apoplexy, which she 
survived only a few hours; she had experienced two attacks 
before, but a long period had intervened until the last and 
fatal one. Mrs. McGill was an old lady, and one who had 
lived in the enjoyment of a well spent life, a devoted wife and 
tender mother, kind neighbor and exemplary Christian. Her 
venerable husband, a large number of children and grandchil- 
dren and numerous relatives and friends are sadly bereft. We 
tender our profound sympathy to the family in their great be- 



Mrs. Sarah Elizabeth (Pressley) McGill was born on the 
14th Octber, 1829, at the William Burrows' place on Turkey 
Creek, in this county, and was the only living child of Wil- 
liam J. Pressley and Elizabeth McGill (Gamble) Pressley. Her 
father died when she was two years of age, and left in his will 
his brother, John B. Pressley, as an executor of his estate and 
guardian of his daughter. This trust was successfully man- 
aged and faithfully executed in lier interest, and during all the 
days of her life it was her pleasure to visit her uncle and to 
talk of his goodness to her. At the death of her grandmother, 
Mrs. Mary B. Pressley, occurring in 1849, she was kindly 
remembered by her, whom she so much resembled in dignity 
of person and in the management of household affairs. 

On the Pressley side of her family, there was her aunt, 
Mrs. Martha Fowler (Pressley) Mouzon, wife and widow of 

Williamsburg County. 301 

her grand uncle, Hon. Samuel R. Mouzon, by her mother's 
side of kindred, whose features and address she was likened to 
in youth and womanhood, and whose interests in her beloved 
niece was always apparent in the tender regard for her com- 
forts and in the tokens of love presented on many occasions, 
notably of these was a string of gold beads of old fashion, 
which she ever cherished and preserved as a dear souvenir of 
the Pressleys. With this family she was a special favorite and, 
indeed, with the name of the Mouzons and the Gambles, who 
were the direct ancestors of her mother; and, too, with the 
Brockintons through her father, whose mother's maiden name 
was Brockinton. With the descendants of this branch of her 
family the social relations existing among them were ever of 
the pleasant and distinguishable manner, as she loved and 
courted their society, and all appreciated and happily enter- 
tained the connection as of kindred blood of virtuous inherit- 
ance. Such was a Brockinton of marked and exalted indi- 

After the death of her father in 1831, she removed with 
her widowed mother to her grandfather, James Gamble, resid- 
ing five miles above Kingstree, on the south side of Black 
River, and in the following year her mother married Samuel 
S. Tisdale, a well-to-do farmer, residing seven miles below 
Kingstree on the Black River road, and thither they removed. 
By this marriage she was made happy and tenderly cared 
for by her stepfather, who treated her with no distinction of 
kindness and comforts as made to his own children, her half 
brothers and sisters. She loved and accepted him as a dear 
father, whom she called at home and abroad "My Pah." To 
her mother she gave the unceasing attention creative of the 
affection of her loving heart and the devotional services of a 
constant, dutiful and afifectionate daughter to a noticeable and 
remarkable degree. All of us will ever recall to mind the en- 
dearing epithet she called her mother in the infant tongue as 
"Muddy," which innocent and untutored appellations as "My 
Pah" and "Muddy," learned in her babyhood preferring, she 
used till her eyes closed in death. 

Oh, here was a stepfather! Here was a mother!! Here 
was a daughter ! ! ! 

On the 14th March, 1844, she married Dr. Samuel Davis 
McGill at Kingstree in the residence of Col. N. G. Rich; its 
circumstance and manner of ceremony caused a family dis- 

302 Reminiscences of 

turbance, but it was quickly pacified by the influence of the 
Hon. W. G. Gamble, made in the interest of his young friends 
and respected relatives. And after living- happily forty-eight 
years, seven months and two days with the choice of her 
youthful heart, she died at her pleasant home on White Oak 
on Sunday morning at i o'clock, i6th day of October, 1892. 
Her aged husband sorrows in the loss of his Sarah, the dear, 
faithful and just in all the vicissitudes of their married life, in 
days of hope and hours of despondency. Her eight daughters 
and tw^o sons and her thirty-seven grandchildren, sorrowingly 
feel the bereavement of their affectionate, loving and devoted 
mother, who guarded their infant slumbers and childish plays 
with a mother's ceaseless care and watchfulness, and who min- 
istered to their wants at the first approach of disease whether 
in the broad light of day or in the silence of midnight dark- 

In after years circumstances induced them away from her 
home, but not apart from her accustomed care and protection, 
for they were hardly separated over a month at any time. They 
loved to be with her in sickness and in health, who so cheer- 
fully and sweetly nursed and comforted them and whose pleas- 
ure it was to be with "Mali." She was outspoken in the de- 
fense of a bosom friend. 

As a neighbor, none knew aught than to commend her 
free hand, liberal ways and the interest in their welfare, 
whether of love or charity, and her readiness and willingness 
to extend a helping hand in every time of need as lay in her 
ability. And to the colored friends of her neighborhood and 
to those she knew in other days, she gave that recognition of 
respectful consideration due their present and past services, 
as entitled her to receive their good wishes, to merit their hum- 
ble expressions of gratitude and to come to her for advice and 
home made remedies used in their common ailments and dis- 
eases, a knowledge of which she had to a most wonderful de- 
gree, and a memory of the names and medicinal virtues of 
plants and herbs, and the uses and effects of doctors' physics 
truly astonishing. And as in these, so in others, the good and 
the useful were ever present in her mind. They will long hold 
in sacred remembrance their "Miss Sarah McGill," as was 
evinced by the number of them in attendance, mingling of their 
joys and a ministering angel in their afflicted periods of ex- 
pected distresses. 

Williamsburg County. 303 

Her husband's family and kindred rejoiced in their con- 
nection with her, and extended appreciative tokens of respect 
and tenderness due to the easy elegance of her amiable nature, 
to personal charms for which she was distinguished and to the 
social and Christian qualities of her head and heart. 

Her brothers and sisters of the Tisdale family were ever 
dear to her, and she loved to speak of their goodness to their 
parents and the noble spirit which animated their Uves and 
of their fidelity to their obligations. To each and every one of 
them their "Titter Sarah" and "Saah" was a sister they em- 
braced, as worthy of their most tender affections, and accorded 
to her their most respectful and studious attention; and these 
endearments were repaid by the return of similar brotherhood 
and sisterhood ties, in that they were brothers and sisters of 
one household as truly they were without an interchange of 
harsh words or unkind acts. Thus were the children of Mr. 
and Mrs. Samuel S. Tisdale, who lived in harmony and sweet 

As a friend, she was sincere and faithful to her profes- 
sions of friendship, and was ever ready around her dying bed 
and their after services rendered in the preparation necessary 
for her burial. 

Born of Presbyterian parents and educated in Presbyte- 
rian doctrines, Mrs. McGill, the subject of these memoirs, to- 
gether with her husband, joined the Indiantown Presbyterian 
church in the spring of 1849, ^^'^ lived and died a consistent 
member of the same. As in life, in the possession and enjoy- 
ment of a clean heart and guileless lips, sO' in death she found 
the happy realization of a blessed immortality beyond the 
grave, as was her oft expressed faith in her salvation while she 
was yet with us. 

On a holy Sabbath morning, at the beginning of a new 
day, her angelic spirit winged its flight to the mansipns in the 
skies amid the unutterable cries and lamentations of her sur- 
rounding and weeping family. 

Her funeral services, held on Monday, the 17th day of 
October, in the year of our Lord 1892, in the Indiantown 
Presbyterian church, were conducted by her beloved pastor, 
the Rev. James E. Dunlop, and in attendance were the deep, 
sonorous echoes of the tones of the church organ, and the 
low, modulated voices of her sorrowing friends of the choir, 
using a dirge of thrilling solemnity, expressive of the mourn- 

304 Reminiscences of 

ing feelings of her numerous family, relatives and friends 
present in the church. 

At the grave, the face lid of her casket being removed, 
we made our last look on that face now natural in death, show- 
ing the countenance of one who lies down to pleasant dreams, 
awaiting in faith the coming of her dear ones left behind as she 
crossed over to the other side. 

In the McGill family burying ground, in the Indiantown 
grave yard, where repose the dust of ancestry more than a cen- 
tury ago, Sarah E. McGill, daughter, sister, friend, neighbor, 
mother, wife. Christian, lies entombed by the side of her darl- 
ing first born, Elizabeth Gamble McGill, who had been sepa- 
rated from her more than forty-four years, but now is nestling 
in her bosom, and they in loving embrace in the bosom of Our 
Saviour, God. 

"There anchored safe, her weary soul 

Has found eternal rest, 
Nor storms shall beat, nor billows roll. 

Across her peaceful breast." 

BD 6.8. 




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