Migrations into Spartanburg Co.

By Frank Scott

In searching for the origins of your Spartanburg County ancestors, a general idea of the migration patterns into the county could give you the clue as to where to look. The very earliest of the settlers, of whom we know very little, came when the land was still controlled by the Cherokee Indians. Mostly they were either traders or roughed frontiersmen. It is doubtful that they stayed very long in anyone place given their own natures and their business. The second group to come to Spartanburg County came after the land was secured from the Indians between 1765 and 1770. A third group came after the American Revolution. There were others who came to the area either as individuals or in small groups in between these two major migrations or shortly afterwards. By 1810 the county was completely settled and the phrase "bordered by vacant land" is not found in the deeds.

The earliest groups of settlers in Spartanburg County were able-bodied pioneers who moved inland from Charleston. Indian traders, such as John Parris, followed the edge of the mountains from Virginia to Carolina. Of these earliest people there are few families that have survived in the county until the present. Mostly we are familiar with them since a number of streams and place names bear witness to their having lived here. Ferguson Creek, Lawson's Fork, Tyger River, Motlow, Ben's Creek (Paris Mountain in Greenville County) are among those streams and places that bear the names of the earliest settlers. Although the land in Spartanburg County was not settled by the Cherokee and used as a buffer between them and the Catawbas, it was still their land. There were times when they did not take kindly to the intrusions of the white settlers and retaliated. The Hammond, Hampton and, later, Bishop massacres acted to deter further encroachment.

After the French and Indian War, the Snow Campaign and a treaty that ceded the Cherokee's claim to Spartanburg County, the area was finally opened to permanent settlement. It was at this time between 1765 and 1770 that thousands of pioneers moved along the "Big Road" into the county. When you travel I -85 from Charlotte to Atlanta you are parallel to this ancient Indian trail. The trail ran from the coast of southern VA into what is now the Greensboro area, skirting that town much as the Interstate does today, and making a straight line to present day Charlotte. From there it cuts diagonally across the up-state crossing Cherokee County, the Pacolett River, Lawson's fork, Spartanburg Countyand on to Greenville and Atlanta. By the time the first white settlers came into Spartanburg County, SC, the road was wide enough for two wagons to pass.

With the opening of the Cherokee lands, the Rhodes, Bobos, and Woffords came down a trail that followed the same general route as US 20 through VA from Orange Co., VA to Orange Co., NC which was just north of present day Greensboro. It was from there that they took the "big road" on thier migration into Spartanburg County, South Carolana J.B.O. LANDRUM in his History of Spartanburg County stated that the first flood of migrants to the area were from Pennsylvania and Virginia, mostly from Virginia. Basically, the families from Pennsylvania that came were Presbyterians. They settled and built Shiloh Presbyterian Church near old Fort Prince on Fairforest Creek west of the present-day city of Spartanburg near the small town of Duncan. The Moores, Bomers, Andersons, Montgomeries, etc. were the families that settled in that area. Dr. George Howe in The Scotch Irish and their First Settlement on the Tyger River gives information on these Presbyterian settlers. Rev. J.D. Bailey in his History of Grindal Shoals gives information of those families that settled along the Pacolett River -- Clark, Fowler, Hampton, Henderson, Littlejohn, Kuckolls, Potter, Wood and others.

On the land grant maps prepared by the Union County Historical Society (A copy of these maps is in the Gaffney Library, Gaffney, SC) the size and dates of the grants that were given during this time can be found. These early grants were given by the British Colonial Governor and, usually, for service or supplies during the French and Indian War. Several of the families that come to Spartanburg Country during this time were "relatives, friends and neighbors" and had been for several generations. The Rhodes, Grizzel, Couch, Barbee and Nichols families started the journey from Middlesex Co., VA. They moved to Orange Co., VA, where the Bobo family, who had moved from Maryland to eastern Virginia, joined them and the Wofford family that had left Prince George's Co., MD. These families moved from there to Orange Co., NC, and in 1765 when Spartanburg County, SC, was opened for settlement they migrated to land granted to them on Two Mile Creek and the Enoree River. These families left people along the way. There are many marriages among these families and with other families from each of the areas where they settled. Some of them moved on from South Carolina into Georgia at this time and later. To illustrate how much these families intermarried; there is one child in Georgia who was named -- Wofford Bobo Rhodes. It would appear that in tracing other families who settled in this same area at this time, the most logical places to look would be along this same route.

In covering the origins of settlers in this lower part of Spartanburg County before the Revolution the following are known or suspected of being from Orange, Culpeper or neighboring counties in Virginia:

  • Roebuck (Orange, Madison);
  • Reynolds (Culpeper, Orange, Halifax, Co., NC)
  • Casey (Randolph Casey was born in Virginia);
  • McIhenney; (Orange);
  • Salmon (Culpeper, Orange); and
  • Willis (Orange, Madison).
Again in the mid-1700's, the Quakers in Pennsylvania had started to migrate into other areas of the country for reasons similar to their Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist neighbors. A major Quaker settlement was at New Garden, NC, in Guilford, County. This village still exists as part of Greensboro, NC, and is home of the Quaker's Guilford College. As mentioned the Indian trail led into South Carolina from this area. The largest community in upstate South Carolina was Bush River Meeting in Newberry Co., SC. Among these early settlers were those that formed the Tyger River Meeting in Spartanburg County and Padgette's Creek Meeting just over the county line in Union Co., SC. The Friends left by 1810 because of their disagreement with slavery in the South. Most of them moved to Miami of Ohio. Their records are listed in William Wade Henshaw's book, The Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, which gives information on these families. Another source of information that contains information from Henshaw was edited by Rev S. Emmett Lucas called Quakers in South Carolina. Some of the Quakers had changed their religion in order to fight against the King in the Revolution. Most of these patriots remained in South Carolina. These families along with their meeting houses were invariably taken over by the Baptist. Just as the Quakers had migrated to the area with other Friends, most of these families migrated to Spartanburg County with relatives, friends and neighbors. Among the families that are mentioned as being Quakers were the following: Addinton, Ballinger, Battin, Bridges, Brown, Brooks, Cammack, Chandler, Chapman, Cook, Coppock, Cooper, Cox, Duncan, Edmundson, Elleman, Elmore, Embree, Evans, Fincher, Floyd, Furnace, Gaunt, Gilbert, Haskins, Hawkins, Haworth, Henderson, Herbert, Hollinsworth, Hunt, Insom, Jay, Jenkins, Jones, Kelly, Lamb, McCool, Merrick, Miles, Milhouse, Minton, Moore, Neal, Nelson, Nilson, O'Neal, Parnel, Pearson, Pemberton, Pugh, Randel, Ruble, Russell, Spray, Smith, Stedman, Stiddon, Taylor, Thomas, Thompson, Thornton, Wilson and Wright.

Of the soldiers listed with Col. Roebuck in the Spartan Regiment that appear to have known Quaker names are the following: Brooks, Brown, Chandler, Duncan, Floyd, Fountain, Henderson, Jones, Isom, Miles, Pearson, Randel. Taylor, Thomas, and Thompson.

Among these families the given names tend to be Old Testament for the men, including Enoch, Jeremiah, Abraham, Isaac, etc., and for the women -- Elizabeth, Susan and Sarah. The following families in Spartanburg County were probably descended from the Quakers at either Tyger River or Padgette's Creek: Coppock, James Wofford married Kathy Coppock; Cox; Duncan; Embree; Fincher; Floyd is proven a Quaker family; Hunt; Kelly; Lamb; McCool; Miles, Pearson; and one set of Wrights.

There were a few families that came directly from Europe to Spartanburg Co. and settled in the Tyger River area. Francis and Edmond Ward, younger sons of Sir Francis Ward of Ireland, came directly to this area. Francis married Tame Doe who was the sister of Chief Oconostota. After he was banished from the Cherokee Nation, he married another Ward, assumedly the widow of his brother, Edmund. Nancy Ward, the daughter of Francis and Tame Doe married Lt. Bryant Ward, nephew of Francis Ward. Nancy and Francis both owned property along the Tyger River in Spartanburg County. Samuel Cathcart (var. Kithcart), Alexander and Annie McRoro Alexander, Isaac Crow were other Irish settlers on the Tyger River.

Another minor migration group of which there are a few families that settled along the Enoree River was of Huguenot descent. These families probably came from the Charleston or the Abbeville area and not directly from France. The Buice, Burdette, DeShield are families with Huguenot ancestry. The Ballew (var. Belue, Bellew, etc.) was another Huguenot family started by Rene Balleau who settled in what is present day Cherokee Co., SC.

After the American Revolution there was an even greater influx of families into Spartanburg County. The following families are listed in the Overwharton Parish records, which have been published by George King, these families migrated from Stafford Co., VA, to settle along the Pacolett River or in the vicinity of present-day Gaffney, Cherokee Co., South Carolina: Cannon, Cartee, McCarthy, Dunaway, Earle, Farrow, Gowing (var. Goin, Going) Hammett, Oliver, Shumate, and Suddeth. The Garretts in Laurens Co., SC, were also from Stafford Co.,VA. Other families in Stafford Co., that may have Spartanburg County relationships are: Abbott, Allen, Atchinson, Barbee, Berry, Bell, Bridwell, Cash, Cooper, Davis, Davidson, Edwards, Foster, Forrester, Latham, Lunsford, Mathney, Mays, Mountjoy, Murphey, Norman, Patten, Patterson, Phillips, Robinson, Smith, Tolson, Turner, Waters, Wells, Weathers and Withers. This does not mean that a family with one of these sir names in Spartanburg County, SC, necessarily came from Stafford Co., VA. It does mean that if one of these families originally lived along the Pacolett River in Spartanburg County and had one these sir names the most likely place to look for their Virginia origin would be in Stafford County.

The same holds true for the settlers at this time on the South Tyger River. Most of the settlers were from Culpeper County that lived in this area. A great number of them had been converted to the Baptist faith through the influence of Rev. William Mason who was born in Stafford Co., VA, but pastored Mt. Poney Baptist Church in Culpeper County. For the most part they came straight into Spartanburg County, unlike the others who had settled in North Carolina first and then migrated into the county. Two of these were Broderick Mason and Vincent Tapp who appear in the 1790 census. Also, listed in the 1790 census is John Mason. John Mason was the first cousin to Broderick's father and was from Stafford Co., VA. Later James Mason moves to the Tyger River area near his brother Broderick. Francis Mason who was also their brother settled on the Pacolett River with his grandmother and her relatives who were the Cannons and Hammetts from Stafford Co., VA. Sarah Hammett married Christopher Broderick who died within months of their marriage. Within months of his death she married John Cannon. The Cannons and Hammetts moved to the area with other relatives, friends and neighbors from Stafford County. Francis Mason married his cousin Eleanor Hammett and chose to settle with this group although his parents were from Culpeper County. Although Vincent Tapp left Spartanburg County and returned to Culpeper, his son, Moses, and his daughters and their husbands moved into the area. James Mason married Susannah Tapp. Young Scott married Sarah Tapp, and Elias Corder married Ann Tapp.

The 1790 census of Spartanburg County was done in sections. At the beginning of each of these sections, a census Captain is listed. If you can determine the area in which the census taker lived, you can usually conclude the section of the county where the person listed lived and generally who his neighbors, friends and relatives were. From the land records, you can usually determine approximate year of residence. Another consideration that has surfaced in this material is to which denomination and church the person was affiliated. People who settled in a certain area did tend to go to the same church. A large number of those people living in the Cross Anchor section of the county were Methodist and attended Trinity Methodist. The membership there was DeShields, Casey, Rhodes, Farrow, Poole, etc. Those settling around Old Bethel were Baptist and included Woodruff, Pilgrim, Drummond, Brewton, etc. many of whom came to Spartanburg County from central North Carolina.

Shiloh and Old Unity have already been mentioned. For information on Baptist records, those records are held at the Baptist Archives at Furman University at Greenville, SC. Methodist records are held at Wofford College at Spartanburg, SC, and the Presbyterian Records are at Presbyterian College at Clinton, SC. Just as many of the members of Old Unity were converts of Rev William Mason in Culpeper and came to South Carolina together with other relatives, friends and neighbors, the other denominations may have similar migrations.

The two major migrations into the county came down "the big road" from Virginia into North Carolina and then into South Carolina. This ancient Indian trail is on the earliest colonial maps as being well established in the 1600's. Those settlers from the western part of Virginia came down a trail that roughly follows US 20 through Charlottesville and then into North Carolina above the present town of Greensboro. Those migrants from Pennsylvania and Maryland and the eastern counties in Virginia followed a trail that ran through Henrico, Goochland, and Amelia into North Carolina east of Greensboro where they also took the "big road" into Spartanburg County. There were Huguenots that came from Charleston, as well as, immigrants from Ireland and England who landed there and moved inland. There were Quakers who came from Bucks and Westchester Cos., Pennsylvania who came to Guilford, NC and then into South Carolina. For the most part, as J.B.O. LANDRUM stated, most of these settlers came from Virginia.
Aug. 23, 1997 Frank Scott



































































































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Text - Copyright 1996, 1997 Paul R. Sarrett, Jr.
Created: Aug. 23, 1997; Revised: Oct. 10, 1997 by Paul R. Sarrett, Jr.; Last Revised: Tuesday, 06-Jun-2000 10:02:32 MDT by Steve Williams