Expansion of South Carolina 1729 - 1765
by Robert Lee Meriwether, 1890-1958
Southern Publishers, Inc...1940
 

South Carolina Genealogy Trails
Transcribed by Dena Whitesell


CHAPTER XII
The Dutch Fork and Upper Broad River

The valley of Broad River, the largest in the South Carolina piedmont, opened upon the Congaree gateway, the most important interior point in the province. Its development, however, was somewhat slower than that of the basins of either the Saluda or Wateree, for it had neither township nor Indian trade path from Charleston to attract settlers and to direct them along its course. Furthermore, its lower portion for twenty miles or more, like that of the Saluda, is generally narrow, with small creek valleys opening from it, and the soil, derived from the prevailing slate, is neither so fertile nor so easily cultivated as the red clay land beyond.1

On the Saluda, above Twelve Mile Creek and the scantily settled corner of Saxe Gotha, a certain John Gibson and several Germans established themselves between 1747 and 1749. Michael Taylor, one of the Virginians who petitioned in 1746 for the purchase of the Ninety Six lands, described himself in 1749 as a weaver and had his plat surveyed on the south bank of the Saluda. On the same day two other Virginians, James Scott and William Jenkins, applied for tracts on the south bank, and Scott apparently kept a boat for the convenience of travellers who came by the path approaching the northern side. Samuel Lines, a native of the province who in 1745 was living on Raifords Creek, moved to Beaverdam Creek, near Scott's home.2

The first settlement between the Broad and the Saluda was the result of the partial exhaustion by the bounty immigrants of the good land in Saxe Gotha, and in 1749 other Germans appear near the earlier settlers. Farther up the Saluda, on High Hill Creek and on Bear Creek, two Germans and several Englishmen had plats surveyed, among them Robert Steill, the Congaree trader, and two soldiers recently discharged from the independent companies.5 On the west bank of the Broad, at a ford and island four miles above its mouth, Thomas Brown had two hundred and fifty acres surveyed. Samuel Hollenshed, a blacksmith from New Jersey and Virginia, made his home and carried on his trade on the west side of the river at the mouth of the creek which came to be known by his name, and by 1750 a dozen Germans had settled on both sides of the river below Cedar Creek, one of them having three slaves in his headrights.4

There was no great attraction for settlers on the lower Broad, however, and hardly had the handful of earlier immigrants brought the settlements as far as Little River than other newcomers overran the red clay lands above quite to the Tyger.6 Purmont Carey and John Hughes, former companions-in-arms in one of the independent companies, now chose to be neighbors, settling themselves at the mouth of Little River, while Daniel Rees, a blacksmith from Pennsylvania, obtained a warrant for three hundred acres and settled higher up on the same stream. Likewise to this river there came during the 'fifties Solomon McGraw, Richard Spencer and James Leslie, former settlers on Raifords Creek, and James Andrews who had been some years in the province.6 Near Wilkinsons Creek, a few miles above, Thomas Conoway of Virginia, who declared he had been living on the north side of the Broad for four years, and Conrad Alder, who had two slaves and said he had been long a resident of the colony, had tracts surveyed on warrants issued in 1749.7 Two Penn-sylvanians, Thomas Owen and Lawrence Free, and Free's "former acquaintance" Jacob Canomore, in 1752 petitioned for land on the creek. Three years later Owen had a tract with a mill on it surveyed adjoining his land.

Here settled Ann Hancock, after being barbarously treated by her husband in Virginia and finally deserted by him.8

On the south side of the Broad, Wateree Creek was the first large stream which settlers found in their northward movement. Elisha Atkinson and John Taylor, recently discharged soldiers who had to sign their names by mark, Alexander Deley, who had lately married a German immigrant, and Mary King, widow of a corporal in the garrison of the new Con-garee fort, were given warrants which were surveyed on or near this creek.9 Immediately above two similar streams invited immigrants. On the nearest John Gregory from New Jersey and his illiterate son Benjamin settled in 1748, the latter planning to make flour. Peter Crim had a survey on the Santee in Amelia in 1738. Five years later he engaged in a Cherokee mine venture, and was reported to be overseer of the work. In 1750 he applied for two hundred and fifty acres which was surveyed at the mouth of the creek adjoining Benjamin Gregory, and the stream thereafter was known as Crims Creek. Andrew Holman, a foreign Protestant who came by way of Philadelphia the same year, in like manner gave his name to a tributary a mile above, where he said he planted three kinds of wheat. In the wide lowland at the mouth of Cannons Creek Herman Geiger of the Congarees in 1749 had a tract surveyed, and an adjoining plat run out the next year for Hans Jacob Morf was crossed by a path to Geiger's cowpen. In February 1750 John Cannon petitioned for land on the headrights of nine children, a servant, his wife and himself. The survey two months later showed two houses on the land.10

The Enoree and the Tyger, for some miles above the points at which they empty themselves into Broad River, have narrow and steep valleys, but at six or seven miles distance one comes to Kings Creek on the Enoree, the first of a series of tributaries. Early settlers evidently found this network of small valleys with their clear streams and fertile cane-covered bottoms unusually inviting. "The canebrake" was the name given to one of the tracts first settled on the west side of the Enoree just above the mouth of Indian Creek. Easy access to this region was offered by the ford over the Broad a mile and a half above the mouth of the Enoree—at first called John Lee's ford, but later Lyles's.11 In or about 1748 a settler named King made his new home on the north side of the Enoree near the mouth of Indian Creek. He soon died and his widow Mary, rendered uneasy by surveys near her, in 1750 applied for a warrant on the headrights of herself and six children. In consideration of her poverty this was given her without requiring her appearance in Charleston. The plat showed her house set on the edge of the low ground of the river and near a spring. On "Collins River" as the Enoree was known for several years, Samuel Collins applied for land in September 1750, stating that he had already made improvements to provide for his wife and six children whom he expected shortly by sea from New Jersey.12

A path to John Linvell's, traced on a plat surveyed for John Heigler on the north side of the Enoree in 1750, indicates the origin of the name Linvells River by which the Tyger was first known.13 Jacob Pennington and Gilbert Gilder came from Pennsylvania and in February 1749 obtained warrants which were surveyed, the one in the cane-covered Enoree river bottom, the other on the Broad; Gilder however made his home on or near Indian Creek. Abraham Pennington, brother of Jacob, settled opposite Samuel Collins perhaps as early as 1750, and in March of that year Nicholas Boater asked for four hundred and fifty acres to enable him to plant wheat, the occupation to which he had been bred; his survey included the mouth of Indian Creek.14 Duncans Creek, the next of the numerous western tributaries above Indian Creek, apparently received its name from a certain Duncan who was living there at least as early as August 1752. The first of the name to apply for land was John Duncan in 1754. Two plats on the Tyger surveyed in 1753 showed North Carolina grants adjoining.15

Thus between 1749 and 1751 settlers from the Carolina low country and from the north, two or three to each creek, had staked off the upper Broad region for the white man, but the Indian troubles during the latter year reduced to a handful the number who came to the region above Crims Creek and Little River. In 1752 settlement began again, but the chief accessions for the next few years were not from the British colonies to the north, but from the German states, the continuation of a movement having its beginnings in 1749. John Jacob Riemensperger, undaunted by the disastrous outcome of his first return to Europe in 1740 as immigration agent, four years later offered to make another trip to bring back some of his Swiss countrymen. He asked the provincial administration to pay the passages of the expected immigrants, but nothing came of his application until he renewed it in 1748 after the close of the Austrian Succession War. He was then promised payment of his own passage to England,  fifteen guineas for purchase of clothes for himself, and one shilling sterling a head for all foreign Protestants whom he should get to settle in South Carolina. In April he announced that he had forty letters from the Germans to their friends and relatives, and was ready to depart.18

In October 1749 Riemensperger arrived with a hundred and thirty-two German Protestants who came as freemen, besides others who had to become servants in payment of their passage. "Palatines" they were called, but they probably were part of the six hundred Wiirttemberg Lutherans for whom he had vainly besought aid from the British government. Riemensperger declared to the governor and assembly that from Germany and Switzerland he had engaged upwards of three thousand persons, but had, by a series of misadventures, lost most of them to other places, chiefly Pennsylvania. In London he had asked for his party the privilege of settling above Saxe Gotha "where land is better", doubtless having in mind the Crims Creek section, the first large body of very desirable land on the Broad, and a region already known to the promoter.17 The crown discouraged his suggestion, but the South Carolina governor and council gave his immigrants, along with the bounty, warrants for land "in or near Saxe Gotha" which carried the ten-year exemption from quit rents, despite the fact that none of them was surveyed in the township. John Adam Epting and ten others, with headrights amounting to forty-seven persons, chose Crims Creek; another settled on Wateree Creek, three miles below.18

Three years after the arrival of this group of settlers it was learned that Foster, Cunliffe and Sons of Liverpool had taken on board ship about fifteen hundred Germans bound for South Carolina. To the consternation of their Charleston consignees it developed that the English firm and its Rotterdam agents "led into a very great Error by some Officious Person or another", expected to receive the passage money, presumably from the provincial government, when the immigrants were landed. It does not appear that Riemensperger or the other South Carolina German agents were immediately responsible for this migration or the blunder of the shippers, but the circumstances indicate that it was their energetic advertising that started the exodus. The consignees estimated that only one-fourth could be disposed of as indented servants; with this resource quickly exhausted they released the remaining Germans after taking bond for payment.    The immigrants were then entitled to their lands and bounty, but the township fund speedily fell short of the demands upon it, and though a loan of the four hundred pounds in the ship-building bounty in part met the emergency, the later arrivals received, for the time being, only a portion of what was due them.18

From September 1752 to March of the following year the governor and council received the land petitions of these immigrants amounting to twelve hundred and fifty headrights. The clause of the act of 1751 allowing the bounty only to those settling within forty miles of the coast had been repealed on the governor's request and the warrants were given for lands throughout the western half of the province, some of them in the townships. Despite the fact that only the township settlers were given the ten-year exemption from quit rents, the great majority settled outside; these were allowed, however, the provincial exemption for ten years from taxes.

Four of the petitioners stated that they came from Wurttemberg or nearby, one that he was from the upper parts of Germany, and another that he was from Germany, but the rest were silent as to their origin. In 1846 a Lutheran minister, after thirteen years residence in the Saluda valley, stated that the oldest inhabitants declared "their ancestors chiefly came from the neighborhood of the Rhine, Baden and Wurten-berg".20 Some of the petitions gave the purposes of the applicants in coming to South Carolina: a score declared that they came in order to join friends and relatives; a dozen roundly asserted that they had come to live in a country of liberty, or a free Protestant land; a smaller number admitted that the bounty had drawn them; several stated that they came to make their fortune, and Rosina Barbara Ralgebin, the only one of her name and family, said that she was "Desirous to see more of the World". Some, no doubt, anticipated the lot which fell to Barbara Powmin and others. When Adam Hover heard of the arrival of the immigrants on one of the first ships, he came down from his home on Crims Creek with several of his friends "to purchase some of them", and meeting Barbara he forthwith engaged her for marriage.21

Peter Beckeli stated that he was a Catholic, and was informed that he could not get the bounty "unless he renounced the Errors of the Roman", but no apparent objection was made to giving admittance or land to him or to the four other men of his faith who came after him. In the course of the proceedings, the Reverend Mr. Zubly announced that after several conversations with the Catholics four of them had accepted Protestantism, and the others appear to have done likewise, for their grants were marked as being on the bounty.22

In 1755 Joseph Crell, back in the Congarees for a short time, declared that the recent German immigrants to South Carolina were "poor and of the meaner Sort", and asked encouragement for himself as an agent for bringing in a better type of settlers. Crell's charge is supported in 1754 by the complaint of the wardens and vestry of St. Philip's, Charleston, that the great number of beggars in the town was "chiefly occasioned by the Importation of many old and Impotent Palatines . . . , who not being able to get Masters, the Merchants agents had been obliged to take their Bonds and let them go at large". It is clear that the host imported by the Foster-Cunliffe firm lacked the outstanding leaders who came to the townships, and that it contained a far larger proportion of poor and shiftless than did the earlier Swiss migration; nevertheless there is no evidence that the great majority were inferior to the average of the English and Scotch settlers.23

Tracing these twelve or thirteen hundred Germans to their new homes is a difficult task, for the warrants specified no place, and the uncertain rendering of the German names by the English clerks often made effective disguise. However, a check of the plats and grants locates all but forty of the petitioners, who represented only about ten per cent of the immigrants. At least a fourth of the total are discovered in the valleys of the large creeks in the red clay lands west of Broad River. Of these Cannons Creek was the first choice, with Crims Creek, Second Creek immediately above Cannons, and Wateree Creek attracting smaller numbers. With some the desire to be near their friends and relatives obviously outweighed the attractions of land and water, and their plats are found on high ground. There is a hint in this that these were Wiirttembergers, following Hans Adam Epting and his fellows who had come there three years before. Above Second Creek only a few ventured, but Andreas Power and John George Wells had their plats surveyed on Indian Creek, and Christopher Jacob Dues and Jacob Hayle found land on Padgetts Creek and were apparently the first to make South Carolina surveys on that stream.24    The slate land on the west side of the Broad below Wateree Creek was practically ignored, but the north side of the Saluda a few miles away, which had the same type of soil and an equally scanty population of German and English settlers, attracted a tenth or more of the newcomers. This was doubtless due to the fact that the slopes here were gentler and streams somewhat larger than those of the lower Broad. Camping Creek, the largest, was selected by a dozen families. The opposite side of the Saluda received no more than a total of fifty settlers, the north side of the Broad only half as many, and a few others went to other portions of the back country.

Save for the upper west side of the Broad, however, Amelia Township offered the chief attraction—the excellent soil, scanty settlement, and exemption from quit rents apparently outweighing the opportunity to live among the three hundred or more of their countrymen on the upper waters. A hundred and sixty or more settled here, and Orangeburg drew half as many. Nearly a hundred were established on the waters of the Coosawhat-chie and Salkehatchie, and a score perhaps below Amelia and Orangeburg.25

Over a third of the Germans who settled in the middle and back country between 1748 and 1759 came in this migration of 1752. Until 1756 they continued to arrive at the rate of two or three hundred a year, but thereafter the number of petitions fell off sharply and, save for the group which came in 1764, practically ceased with the outbreak of the Cherokee War.   The movement of Germans from the north was negligible.

The total number of petitions of the Germans between 1748 and 1759 was slightly over thirteen hundred, representing about thirty-seven hundred headrights. The place of settlement of a fifth of these has not been located but of the remainder sixteen hundred settled on the branches of the Broad and Saluda, nearly seven hundred in Amelia and Orangeburg and immediately below those townships, about three hundred on the Congaree, and an equal number on the Salkehatchie and Coosawhatchie. The Wateree, the upper Savannah and Purrysburg each attracted from twenty-five to fifty. Of the seven hundred or more whose place of settlement is not established a number may have failed to take up their warrants and remained in Charleston; the others, concealed under different renderings of their names, were doubtless distributed throughout the middle and back country in somewhat the same proportions as their brothers.

The compactness of German settlement in the forks of the Broad and Saluda made possible a church organization, and it was for the service of these settlers that the Reverend John Gasser left Switzerland in 1752. Coming by way of Pennsylvania he did not reach Charleston to petition for land until February 1754, but at that time he had agreed with the settlers to preach in two churches, one in the lower part of the fork and the other farther up. He was given the bounty, as was his servant, John Crebs, whom he had recently freed. His fifty acre plat was surveyed about three miles from the mouth of Crims Creek, and about a mile above the junction of Holmans Creek with that stream, a spot convenient for this and the nearby German settlements. The church seems to have been organized at once, but in April Gasser presented a petition, signed by about forty persons, stating that bad crops and the expenses of settlement made it impossible for the people to support a minister and schoolmaster, and asking permission to make a general collection from the province.26 It was probably on account of these troubles that the minister soon after returned to Switzerland.

In 1763, however, Epting and Peter Dickert, as elders of the dissenting congregation on Crims Creek, applied for a hundred acres for a meeting house and glebe for the minister. The warrant was executed on land adjoining Gasser's, the plat showing the church complete with steeple, evidently on or near the site of the present St. John's Lutheran Church, with roads running to it from four directions.27

In 1760 and 1761 a very different group of worshippers, near the mouth of the Saluda, achieved an unenviable notoriety. Jacob Weber was a Switzer, brought up in the Reformed church. After a season of depression, then another of faith and exaltation, he fell into the delusion that he was the Deity. Among the few associates he collected around him one became the Son, another the Holy Spirit, and a third, John George Smith-peter, the devil, whom the others eventually murdered. Weber, Hannah Weber, John Geiger, and Jacob Burghart were tried in Charleston and condemned to death for the crime, but only Jacob Weber was executed. Lutheran and Anglican vied with each other in driving home the lessons of this tale, each using it for his own purpose, and the frenzy of the luckless handful of settlers was dignified into "the Weber heresy".28

The English settlers were first on the ground in nearly all parts of the Broad and Saluda region, but after the German tide set in at any point English settlement nearly or completely ceased. In the lower Saluda valley there were a score of English headrights between 1752 and 1759, on the Broad below Wateree Creek and Cedar Creek, about twice as many.

The scanty resources of this region make it improbable that any considerable number of English settlers would have chosen it, even if there had been no Germans, but between Wateree Creek and Second Creek, in one of the most desirable spots in the province, only about thirty English head-rights were represented in petitions and plats. There is no evidence of any hostility between the two peoples, nor as yet any migration of the earlier English settlers from the German district, but later comers of either race chose districts inhabited' by settlers speaking their own tongue.

Between 1752 and 1759 a hundred and sixty men of British name applied for land on the waters of the Broad, their headrights amounting to nearly six hundred and fifty persons. Less than fifty of these headrights were for land below Wateree Creek and Cedar Creek. Above these streams Indian Creek was the first choice throughout the period and attracted a hundred settlers; the Enoree itself received about eighty. On Wilkinsons Creek and the other branches on the north side of the Broad, but below Sandy River, were located plats amounting to a hundred and forty headrights, while on the latter stream about forty settlers were established, chiefly in 1758 and 1759. Surveys were made on Tyger River and its tributary Fairforest Creek as early as 1752. By 1759 the headrights on the former were about sixty, while on the latter there were a score.

The English population of the valley of the Broad, as indicated by the land records, was between nine hundred and a thousand.29 They were thus outnumbered two to one by the Germans who had settled among them on the middle waters of this river.

As settlement advanced along the Broad and its branches mills were set up in the manner characteristic of other back country communities. The first mentioned was on Wilkinsons Creek in 1752; the next year Peter Crim had one on Crims Creek, and Isaac Pennington later owned two on the Enoree. Indirect rather than direct evidence indicates that corn was the usual crop, but wheat was commonly grown. Though slaves were few, Pennington bequeathed two and Crim had three.30

The most important of the later settlers was the elder John Pearson, formerly of the Congarees, who was captain of the militia company of the Congaree forks in  1757 and appears to have been living then on  Broad River. When he became bankrupt in 1766 and his thirteen hundred acres was advertised for sale, his home was on the west side of the river above the mouth of Crims Creek, where a high ridge rises from a narrow bottom and affords a splendid view of the valley. Two other former settlers of Raifords Creek—Evan Rees and Philip Raiford, Junior—had plats surveyed on the north side of the river; the latter was living there, near Wilkinsons Creek, in 1755.31

Pearson's letters were well worded though badly spelled, and in the beautiful script of the trained penman of the day; those of his son Philip were nearly as good. Both Philip and his brother John were born after their father settled at the Congarees, and of the latter it was said that "Under the instruction of his father, & with a little school education, he became a very good English scholar." In 1758 John Fairchild surveyed a plat of two hundred acres on a branch of Indian Creek for Abel Anderson, and at one point of the line wrote the word "Schoolhouse". No other reference to the "school" appears, but as the plat was in the midst of the Anderson, Pennington and King settlement, the suggestion is clear that these men sought to provide something more than the simple home instruction which was the only recourse for most of the back country. Between this time and the Revolution references appear to three different streams named Schoolhouse Branch, one flowing into the Tyger, one into Duncans Creek, and a third into Padgets Creek, but none could well have touched Abel Anderson's land.32 Six of the English applicants for land on the Broad and lower Saluda were unable to sign their names and two others who were recorded as signing land petitions, on some other occasion made their marks. Five of the eight signatures to the wills of Mary Pennington and John Cannon were made by mark, although the number must be discounted because of the possible infirmity of the principals.33

On the east side of the Broad a handful of settlers from Pennsylvania, among them Thomas Owen, Jacob Canomore and Lawrence Free, joined by Richard Gregory, from the Wateree valley, with his father and brother, made the nucleus of two small Seventh-Day Baptist congregations of uncertain history and identity, organized probably about the same time. John Pearson, in the absence of an ordained minister, served both churches in the capacity of exhorter or lay preacher. Two letters of Pearson written in 1764 reveal his intense religious interest and activity. In his household he held prayers morning and evening, and on the fifth of May he announced "A Great Meeting" to be held on the next Friday, Saturday and Sunday to which he invited his Raifords Creek kin.34

Another Baptist congregation was organized on Broad River in 1759 or 1760 by the Reverend Philip Mulkey, made up of members said to have come with him from Deep River in North Carolina. In 1762, however, the minister moved to Fairforest Creek, about eight miles above the junction of that stream with Tyger River. His congregation followed him, and the Fairforest Baptist Church quickly became the chief back country center for the Baptist faith.35

 

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