Friday, July 26, 2013

Loyalists in the Bush River area of South Carolina during the Revolution

A lady by the name of Ruby Mundell Barry wrote a book that I read via fiche in my local LDS FHL many years ago.   Ruby Barry did an amazing job of naming the descendents of my 5-gr-grandfather, George McKinsey.  George moved his family from Bush River area in Newberry SC to Warren County, Ohio in the first decade of the 1800s with the mass exodus of the Quaker families out of the south and into the non-slave states of Ohio and Indiana.

Ruby explained that the family lore said that George had served in the Revolution but that she had never been able to find service records nor pension records nor anything at all that supported that family lore.  I made my own searches and had no more luck than Ruby.  Harriet Imrey and I were chatting one night via internet when she found for me the fact that the reason that I had never found anything was that George had been a loyalist!  I was expecting George to have been a patriot.  I had even hoped to find George having served with the Swamp Fox.  What a revelation it was to me to find him on the Loyalist side!  It has opened up my research in many ways!

George was not in the Quaker records of the Bush River area, but he interacted with the Quaker families and lived close to Bush River MM.  His wife was of a Quaker family and I suspect that George's ancestors may have been Quaker ....perhaps in the area around Hopewell MM in the early 1700's.  My gut feeling is that George, like many of the Quaker families, hoped to sit the Revolution out.  The Quakers did not believe in fighting.  But even more than that they felt their first allegiance to God and did not have a strong allegiance to any sort of government agency.

By July 4, 1776 the Patriots had gained control of virtually all territory in the 13 colonies, expelling all
royal officials.  However,  Ms. Clark explains in the beginning of her book, Loyalists in the Southern Campaign, Vol I,  that after Charleston fell to the British in May 12, 1780 it was necessary for the British to re-establish the Loyal Militia.  Sir Henry Clinton established guidelines that called for young men to serve six out of every twelve months.  Thus if one was living in South Carolina in the timeframe that George McKinsey served in the SC militia which was Dec 1780, you were called up by the British who were then in control.  If one did not have strong loyalties one way or the other, it would only makes sense that you would obey the law of the land.  And indeed that is just what George McKinsey did.  He showed up for militia duty from the 14th of June until the 13th of December in 1780.

The map below shows the Dutch Fork which is the area that is is between the Saluda and the Broad River where they fork together, forming the Congaree River.  George McKinsey lived in this area just south of the town of Newberry.

I find him on the pay abstract for Colonel Daniel Clary's Regiment, Dutch Fork Militia, Ninety Six Brigade for soldiers who came to Orangeburgh, SC, with Lieut Colonel John H. Cruger, for 183 days pay from 14 June-13 Dec 1780.  There is quite a long list of men on this list.  Some of the names that I recognize are:  Daniel Regan, John Pearson, John Elmore, William Wyatt, Samuel Dunken, George McKinney, William Elmore.  The Duncan family were next door neighbors to George and his family.

George is found again the next year in the same time frame (14 June- 13 Dec 1781) on Daniel Clary's Regiment, Dutch Fork Militia, Ninety Six Brigade for 183 days pay.  The other men that I recognize during this service are:  John Elmore and Samuel Duncan.

It is quite likely that George McKinsey was present for the battle of Musgrove's Mill:

Musgrove’s Mill Aug 18 or 19th 1780

Edward McCrady notes in his History of South Carolina in the Revolution, 1775-1780, that the camp at Musgrove’s Mill prior to August 19, 1780 was commanded by Major Fraser, and that it also included Captain Abraham DePeyster of the King’s American Regiment, the North Carolina Loyalist David Fanning, and Colonel Daniel Clary’s militia. Clary’s regiment had been ordered to be formed to support Major Patrick Ferguson according to Lambert’s South Carolina Loyalists on page 105.   The park ranger indicated that the men were camped at Musgrove’s Mill with the goal of meeting Ferguson at Kings Mountain. 

It is not absolutely clear that Col Clary’s regiment had reached Musgrove’s Mill by the 18th.  Col Cruger informs Lord Cornwallis that he has ordered Clary to support Ferguson in a letter dated Aug 4th.  It would have taken Col Clary a few days to get his regiment assembled and they they would have had to move out and move to the site.  

However, the patriot detachment was informed by a local when they had moved within a mile of the incampment that the camp had been reinforced the previous evening and that there were now in camp a number closer to 500
It has been noted that most of the wounded and prisoners mentioned were Provincials, so the militia may not have been involved as heavily as the regulars. 

and from Harriet Imrey an explanation of what George McKinsey was doing during his service in 1781:

The Dutch Fork Regiment was not involved in the defense of Fort Ninety-Six.  By Jun 1781, that was the last remaining British outpost in the backcountry.  Gen. Greene and his Continentals had besieged it, but had to retreat when Lord Rawdon brought his newly-arrived Irish regiment up from Charlestown to relieve the fort on 21 Jun 1781.  Rawdon had already decided to abandon the outpost, but his couriers carrying that instruction to Col. Cruger kept getting killed en route.  A major consequence of the retreat was that local Ninety-Six Loyalist forces (and their families) would have no protection from reprisals by the Whig neighbors.  They were all offered refuge within Charlestown, the only small area with enough Loyalist and/or British forces to shelter a large group.  Around 800 militiamen of Ninety-Six District, with families and all moveable possessions, chose evacuation.  They had to make the long march down to Charlestown via Orangeburgh Road, a process that took most of July and involved civilian casualties from illness and exhaustion.  The local militias, including the Dutch Fork Regiment, were mustered to guard the retreat.  That's what George McKinsey was doing in Orangeburgh when Col. Cruger submitted a request for his back pay for the previous year.

I have some information that Harriet Imrey sent me that is helpful that I am not posting today.  I also have a note:

There is an excellent explanation of the Revolution in the Dutch Fork in the years that George was paid for militia duty.  Pp 42-53 in book: The History of Newberry County South Carolina Volume One 1749-1860 by Thomas H. Pope.

I want to read some of the articles at:

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