VARIOUS Families in Fairfield County
South Carolina History by Ederington

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Page 38

.News & Herald, June 18, 1901


Rev. James Rogers was for many years Principal of Monticello Academy in its early existence. He first married a Miss Boyd; they had one son, John. After her death he married Miss Celia Davis, sister of Colonel John Davis; she left no children. Rev. James Rogers was for many years pastor of the Presbyterian Church near Kincaid's Bridge, called the Brick Church. He died at White Hall, where Mr. Thomas Mcgill now lives, about the year 1830. Colonel Hugh Stevenson afterwards lived and died in the same house.

Colonel Jonathan Davis was a son of James Davis, who came from York County a short time after the Revolutionary War, and married Miss Mollie Ederington. He became a Baptist preacher about the year 1835. He was a man of liberal education and a rigid disciplinarian in church government. He served Rock Creek, Little River, and other churches for many years, even after he became a cripple. He was much devoted to the causes of his Master, and died near Monticello about the year 1860 in full assurance of eternal bliss. I should have mentioned before that Colonel Jonathan Davis married Miss Rebecca Kincaid, a daughter of Captain James Kincaid, one of the most pious women I ever knew. While I boarded with them in 1822, she became a cripple for life. She bore her affliction with Christian fortitude and lived many years afterwards. She died at the home of her son-in-law, the Rev. James C. Furman, in Greenville, South Carolina, having been blessed with along life. No purer woman ever lived. Colonel Jonathan had nine children, six sons and three daughters.

Dr. James B. Davis married a Miss Scott, practiced medicine in Winnsboro, then he became a large planter where he lived near Monticello. He afterward spent five years in Turkey in the interest of the Sultan in regard to producing cotton in his Empire. He returned to South Carolina with his family about the year 1845, and died soon after in Fairfield. William K. Davis married a Miss Zimmerman of Darlington County, South Carolina, and was a planter near Monticello for many years. He afterwards moved to Charleston; he did not remain in the city long before he returned to Fairfield, and died about 1871. He read law in Union County at Mr. John Welshs, but never practiced that profession. He was a very intelligent and well-read man, a devoted husband and father and much beloved by all who knew him. He has a son in Charleston, having his wife's name, Zimmerman. He was Colonel of the 5th South Carolina Cavalry in Butler's Brigade, Confederate States Army. W. K. Davis had three sons and two daughters; Major William J., and Clinn C. Davis, of Louisville, Ky., and Glenn E. Davis of Charleston, S. C. One of his daughters married a Miss Adams, moved to Mississippi and there died. He was regarded as a skillful physician and was a man of more than ordinary calibre. Jonathan Davis moved to California.

Colonel J. Bunyan Davis, fifth son of Colonel John Davis, was a brave and efficient officer in our late war. He raised the first company in Fairfield after the State seceded. He was colonel of the 15th Regiment of South Carolina Volunteers and did good service in both state and Virginia. After the war he married a Miss Fuller of the low country, Beaufort, S.C. She died a few years ago, leaving two sons and two daughters, and after hear death, Colonel Davis went to Texas a few years, but he returned to his native country and is now engaged in practicing medicine and teaching school near Monticello.

Nathan Davis, a son of Colonel Jon. Davis, is living in Greenville, S.C. Harriet was he oldest daughter of Colonel Davis. She married the Rev. J. C. Furman, and died not long after. The second daughter, Rebecca, died quite young. Mary Glenn Davis was the youngest child; she maried her brother-in-law, Rev. James C. Furman. He is now president of Furman University in Greenville, S.C. He and his wife are leading lives of great usefulness to the present and succeeding generations.

I will here make a quotation from "Mills' Statistics of South Carolina", published in 1826, by an act of the Legislature; "Jacob Gibson removed to this State from North Carolina in 1762. He was a minister of the Baptist persuasion and a teacher. There is no calculating the good which resulted from his labors of love and patience. He was an excellent scholar and a sound, practical preacher. St. Parre esteems the individual who introduces a new species of fruit which may afford support to man, as more useful to his country, and more deserving of its gratitude than the laurelled chieftan of victorious armies. Still more, we might add, is to be esteemed he who spends, as Mr. Gibson did, forty years of his life in devotion to the propagation of the gospel and in sowing the seeds of literature and refinement in a new and scarcely civilized settlement. Mr. Gibson died about the year 1796, but his memory is held in profound veneration by many who remember his exemplary worth."

Believing that but few persons in the county have a history of Fairfield, I again quote from "Mills' Statistics," "Colonel Aromanus Lyles, Col. John Winn, John Gray, Benjamin May, William Strother, JohnStrother, William Kirkland, Joseph Kirkland, Robert Hancock. John Buchanan, William McMorris, John Cook, Capt. Balar, Capt. Watson and Edward Martin, who were among the brave defenders of their country, suffered in her cause, and closed in honor, their mortal careers."

General John Pearson was a native of Richland County, he was a well educated and influential gentleman, and at the first alarm flew like a faithful son to his country's standard. He rose to the rank of Major in the militia, was incessant in his exertions to fulfill his duty to the State, and bore the character of a brave and skillful officer. He was chosen colonel of Fairfield (which at the time made but a single regiment), by a popular election shortly after the war, and was afterwards brigadier-general. General Pearson filled many civil offices to the entire satisfaction of the people. He died in 1817." General John Pearson was a member of Congress in Jefferson's administration and received from him a donation ($100) to Monticello Academy, which was named for Jefferson's residence near Charlottesville, Virginia.

I saw General Pearson at a regimental muster ground when I was a boy, during the War of 1812. I recollect him as he sat upon a large horse in his uniform, as a man of low, well-formed stature, of dark complexion. I know his sons Philip and John; the latter married first, my cousin Nancy Furney. They had several children. After planting on Beaver Creek several years, he moved to Alabama about the year 1830. This was after he married his second wife, Sallie Hill, who lived a few miles above old Buckhead. Philip moved to Union County where he died.

General Pearson's daughter, Martha, married James Rush about the yeara 1825, who kept a hotel in "Cotton Town" first, and then lower down in Columbia, S.C. One daughter, married Richard O'Neal, Sr., well known as a merchant and cotton buyer in Columbia, for more than fifty years. Gen. Pearson's other daughters married the following named gentlemen: James Elkin, Mr. McCarny, Thompson Mayo, and another, Benjamin V. Lakin. James Elkin had several children. David John Ford's daughter (words missing?). I knew but one of his children, Bayliss, who died not long since, near Ridgeway; he was a member at one time of the State Legislature. Rev. William Elkin, a Baptist minister, is now living at Walhalla. One of James Elkin's daughters married her cousin, Major Elliott Elkins. Both are dead. They left several children. David E. Elkins is a merchant at Alston. J. Bunyan Elkins is living in Green-ville, S. C.

Grace Pearson married Benjamin V. Lakin, an intelligent and useful citizen from Faquier County, Virginia. He died some years since, a pious and consistent member of the Baptist Church. His widow died a few years ago at the advanced age of ninety-nine years. She also was a good Baptist
In this connection I will mention Major Henry W. Parr, a nephew of B. V. Lakin, from the same State and County. He died at the old homestead of Gen. John Pearson. This house was built during the Revolutionary War, or just after.

The eldest daughter of Gen. Pearson married Dr. Smith of Columbia, who was a half brother of B.V. Lakin. They left several children, two of them were physicians.

I again quote from "Mills' Statistics", "James Kincaid was a native of Ireland. In the Revolution he took that 'better part' which so many others, natives and foreigners, thought at the time was a hazardous enterprise, and would in the end be stigmatized and punished as a rebellion. MR. Kincaid commanded a troop of cavalry at the Battle of Eutaw, in which affair he greatly distinguished himself. He was after the return of better times, a member from Fairfield, for many years, of the State Legislature. He was the first purchaser of cotton in the up-country and did more than any other individual to enrich it by giving encouragement to the production of that great staple of South Carolina. Captain Kincaid died of a malignant fever in Charleston in 1800."

History awards the invention of the cotton gin to Whitney, but is seems wrongfully, from the following paragraph published in the Columbia Register during the New Orleans Exposition:

"Among the South Carolina exhibits at New Orleans will be the original letters patent of parchment, signed by G. Washington, President, and granted to H. Holmes of South Carolina, for a cotton gin. A letter accompanies the patent written by Mr. George H. McMaster, of Winnsboro, S.C., which expressed the belief that Whitney filched the invention from Holmes, and that 'James Kincaid, a soldier of the Revolution, being told by his friend, Holmes, who lived near Hamburg, in this State, that he had invented a cotton gin, agreed to take the gin and try it at his mill which was located in the western part of Fairfield County. He did so, and while the mill was closed for a few hours, in the absence of Kincaid, a young man rode to the house and requested of Mrs. Kincaid permission to examine the mill. She, forgetting the injunction of her husband not to permit anyone to enter the mill during his absence, gave the key to the young man, who returned it in a short time and rode off."

Mr. Kincaid subsequently learned that the young man was Whitney, and this is believed by Kincaid's descendants, who still own the mill site. The old, original cotton gin was burned, along with the mill, at the time of Sherman's destructive march through the State. Dr. William Cloud, who married a daughter of Holmes, preserved the parchments. Accepting it as true that the cotton gin was the invention of a South Carolinian, it will be seen that she has led all the States in everything connected with the great southern staple. She invented the cotton gin, and her legislature was the first to pay a royalty for its use. The only improvement on the gin saw has recently been patented by a South Carolinian, and the "Cotton Harvester" is a South Carolina invention."

I have heard my father say that the first cotton gin he ever saw was one owned by Capt. James Kincaid and propelled by waterpower. There was no cotton presses then, now for many years afterward. What little there was produced, was, after being ginned, packed and bound in bales. The process was this: A circular hole was made in the gin house floor, the bagging sewed together, making a round bale about six feet long, and two and a half in diameter. This bag was confined at the top around the circular hole, into which the cotton was put from above in small quantities at a time, and trodden down by a heavy man, having a maul, or often a crowbar, to pack it with. Another person was on the ground below, whose office it was to keep the bag wet outside by means of a tub of water and a broom. The bales weighed from two hundred and fifty pounds to three hundred.

The first cotton presses, (then called screws) were used about the year 1810 or 1812. The common weight of a bale of cotton prior to 1828 was three hundred pounds.

Captain James Kincaid had several daughters and one son. Daniel McMahon, of Pinckneyville, I think, married the oldest daughter. I knew their sons, James, Daniel and John. James went to the west. Daniel remained in Union for many years. He practiced medicine and planted there. John after graduating in medicine, practiced his profession for a few years, and turned his attention to planting. He married Miss Sue Haynesworth, of Sumter, in 1858, and died at his home near Ashford's Ferry in 1865 of typhoid fever. His widow, two daughters and son, are now living in Columbia. His son, John, graduated this year at the South Carolina University with high honors. One of Capt. Kincaid's daughters married Dr. Ervin, of Greenville, another Colonel Hill of Alabama, one a Mr. Harris of Mississippi, and I think one married Colonel John Glenn of Newberry County. A Mr. Pope of Edgefield also married a daughter of Capt. Kincaid. She did not live long and left one son, James Pope. Another daughter, Nancy, married Col. Alexander H. Hall, of York County. They lived near my father's. Colonel Hill was a tailor, the only one in the vicinity. He was fond of a joke and kept a tavern on the Chester and Winnsboro Road. They had two daughters, Mary, the elder, died in the bloom of youth, a beautiful girl, Jane, the other daughter, married James B. Mobley, in 1821 and died soon after.

Colonel William Kincaid, the only son, married a Miss Calmus. He lived at his father's homestead and was an extensive and (words missing). He built a large brick barn and stables, reared his horses, mules, cattle, hogs, and sheep. He owned a mill propelled by water power, and ground grain as well as sawed lumber. He was noted for his industrious and economical habits. He kept a store in which he sold general merchandise. He bought cotton in the seed and ginned. He was the owner of a landed estate and many slaves. He commanded a company of militia during the War of 1812. He died in Charleston in the year 1835. His widow lived many years afterwards and proved to be an efficient manager of her planting interests. Colonel Kincaid left four sons and many daughters. The eldest, Elizabeth, married Mr. Edward Anderson, of Charleston, a nephew of John Kirkpatrick, factor and commission merchant. He died not long after their union and she never married again. She was a very intellectual and estimable lady and died a few years ago, leaving an only son, Thomas. He managed her farm and mill many years, and is at present an agent on the Columbia Canal. Nancy Kincaid married a Mr. Hastings. She died in 1886, leaving no children. One daughter of Capt. Kincaid married a Mrs. Armstrong who died not long after, leaving a son and daughter.

Text probably missing here

Page 42

News & Herald, Friday, July 5, 1901

of John's Island, S.C., and their children were: James Henry, William Samuel, Kirkland and Marian Kennan. James Henry died when a child, and Marian Kennan, than whom no braver, more lovable young man ever lived, fell mortally wounded at the battle of South Mountain, Maryland, September 1863. Nothing more was ever learned of his fate. Colonel W. S. Alston is the only surviving child of this marriage. He married Miss Elizabeth Matthews of John's Island; they had two children, both of whom are now dead. Colonel and Mrs. Alston moved to North Carolina about fifteen years ago and now live in Hendersonville.

Colonel William J. Alston married again in 1852 Miss Susan Cook, the beautiful and affable daughter of the late General Philip Cook. They had three children; Philip Cook, a most estimable youth, who died of consumption in 1874; Frances Kirkland, a girl of unusually lovely character; firm yet gentle and patient, who died June 10, 1876 at the home of her guardian, Major T. W. Woodward, endeared by her noble traits to all who knew her.

Joseph Kirkland Alston, the only suviving child of this marriage, was last year admitted to the bar of South Carolina, and is now engaged in the practice of law in Columbia. Mrs. Susan Alston died in 1870 in Spartanburg, whither she had gone to educate her three children.

John Alston, Sr., grandfather of Colonel William J. Alston and Mrs. Pearson, belonged to an English family, though when he came to this country, he came from Scotland. He was a graduate of Glasgow University, and by profession a civil engineer. His commission from the crown as engineer was destroyed in the house of Colonel William J. Alston, which was burned by Sherman's vandals in February 1865. He was married to Mary Boyd April 7, 1768. They had quite a large family. The names of the children were: Charnel, Margaret, Mary, James, David, Jane, Agnes, Anne, John, and several who died in infancy. Samuel was born December 14, 1769 and died July 30, 1834. He was quite a prominent man in the district and lived and died in the house in which he was born, on Cedar Creek. This old brick house was destroyed by Sherman in 1865.

David Alston married and left three sons, John who was for a time principal of Mount Zion College and who died in Winnsboro in 1859; William L. who perished with Fanning's men March 27, 1846, in the Fort Goliad, Texas. James died in 1848. The last two never married.

James Alston married Frances Kirkland; They had but two children: Elizabeth M., who married Dr. G. B. Pearson; and Colonel William J. Alston. James Alston was a man of remarkable firmness of character and strength of mind. He amassed a large property and was ever noted for his charity and general nobility of disposition. He died in 1841, universally respected.

Anne Alston, daughter of John Alston and Mary Boyd, married James Owens and became the mother of Alston, Samuel, James, William, Jesse and Mary Owens. She was a noble hearted woman and lived to an old age. Her children all had sterling qualities of head and heart.

Alston Owens was a young man of great promise, but he died in early life, soon after having graduated in law with distinction.

Samuel H. Owens studied medicine and graduated at the Charleston Medical College. He did not practice his profession long, but became a planter. He served in our State Legislature from 1846 to 1848, in company with E. G. Palmer, J. R. Aiken and W. W. Boyce, being at the head of the ticket in the election. He first married Miss Alice Heath, by whom he has one daughter living, Mrs. J. S. Lewis, of Marion County, Florida. He married a second time in 1847, Miss Mary A. Dantzler, of Orangeburg, a sister of Colin Olin M. Dantzler. There were two children by this marriage, one daughter, now Mrs. J.W. Waldo, and one son, Albert W. Owens, who studied law and has located in Jacksonville, Fla. He is at present State Solicitor in the circuit courts. Colonel Samuel H. Owens and his brother, William, moved to Marion County, Florida, about the year 1864, and were at one time largely engaged in cotton planting. Colonel Owens was elected to the senate (state) and preserved the high stand in his adopted, as he held in that of his nativity. He died December 13, 1886.

Mr. James B. Owens first moved to Mississippi. He afterwards joined his brothers in Florida, and was a member of the Confederate Congress from that State. He was at one time a preacher of the gospel, but had to desist from using his voice in that way on account of bronchial troubles. He was twice married and is low living in the midst of a large and cultured family. He and his brother Samuel are engaged successfully in orange culture and truck farming.

General William A. Owens was a noble, generous man. He died at his home in Marion County, Florida, in 1867, of congestive shills, universally lamented. His sidow, two daughters and a son, still live in the beautiful home he made for them not many miles distant from Orange lake. Jesse, the youngest son of Anne and James Owens, Sr., graduated at the South Carolina College and was at the head of the ticket for representative to the legislature in 1848, having 1,132 votes. He married Miss Sallie W. Woodward, and died in a few years, leaving three daughters and two sons.

The son, James Owens, while on a visit to his uncle's, enlisted in the 6th Florida Battalion, during the late Civil War, and after being in active service under General Finnegan, he went with his command to Virginia. The color bearer having been shot down, he gallantly took up the flag and was instantly killed, at the Battle of Cold Harbor, Virginia, June 1, 1864, not yet eighteen years old. His mortal remains are interred at the Presbyterian churchyard in Winnsboro, S. C. and his grave receives annual tribute of flowers on Memorial Day with the other heroes of the Lost Cause.

Mary, the only daughter of Anne and James Owens, Sr., married Dr. William Smart. They moved to Mississippi, where she died about 1850. She left one child who married Captain Tully S. Gibson, of Sunflower County, Mississippi. She refuged with her cousin, Major T. W. Woodward, in Fairfield, S.C. during the war and on returning home at its close, she and both of her little sons were drowned by the sinking of the boat in the Yazoo River. She was a lovely, warmhearted young woman, and her death caused great grief to her gallant husband and stricken father.

Margaret Alston married Samuel McKinstry. I think they had three children who lived to be grown: John McKinstry, who moved to Alachua County, Florida, Thomas McKinstry who was a good farmer and was one of the representatives in the legislature from Faiarfield during the war, and Nancy, who married Capt. Billy Broom. Mr. Thomas McKinstry died a few years ago. He was a man of sound judgment, sterling integrity, and strong religious faith. He had one promising young son, Sgt. W. D. McKinstry, killed at Spottsylvania Court House Virginia, May 12, 1864 during the Civil War. Three children survive him, Dr. Thomas McKinstry and two married daughters, Mrs. Gibson and Mrs. Cauthen.

During the early lives of the Owens young men, athletics, sports-wresting, etc., were much practiced. William and Sam and Jesse were powerful men and were continually testing their strength with other young men. One family, conspicuous for their size and strength, were Robert Henderson, Dave and Frank Hughes, who were pretty well matched with the Owens. In the area at that time were a number of young lawyers, James Rutland, ..Palmer, William M. Bratton, John M. Buchanan, W. W Boyce, and J. B. McCants. They had great enjoyment putting on each other pratical jokes. No one would have a joke put on him without having his turn.

Rutland would come back at Dr. Sam Owens by getting in a crowd and telling the following: After Sam graduated in medicine and returned home, the first time he came into town, being a wealthy young gentleman, he was dressed in the top of fashion suit - fine beaver, blue broadcloth lizard-tail coat with bright flat brass buttons, buff vest and elegant pants. Having just graduated, he invited all his friends to take a drink with him at Aiken's store. The liquors were kept at the north end of the store on a raised platform, there being a cellar below where the liquors were stored. Owens walked back, and there being a crowd, he stepped behind the counter and aided Rutland who was one of the clerks at that time, to hand out the decanters.

While this was going on Mr. David Aiken looked out of the counting room which was at the south end of the store and said to his son, " Joe, who is that yonder behind the counter with Jim Rutland?" Joe replied, "Sam Owens." Mr. Aiken said, "Joseph, go there and watch him." Joe replied, "But pa, that is Sam Owens.""Well, Joseph, I don't care a damn who he is; just go there and watch him. I tell you I have seen many a fellow dressed just as fine as he is that would steal. You just watch him." This story would always bring the laugh on Owens, who would have to rack his brain to come back on Rutland.

General William Owens was kind hearted and was very popular, but was irascible and sometimes a little overbearing and generally used vigorous language intermixed with profane expletives. On one occasion he had a difficulty with a Mr. Watt from Little River neighborhood. They were both in town on a public day. Owens being on the pavement and Watt in the boa.. piazza, Owens cursed him furiously. Watt did not reply but wal.....down the piazza. After a while John Cockrell, who was about a 200 pounder, as were also Owens and Watt, walked up and said, "Well, Watt, I suppose the timber won't make it." "Yes it will," said Watt, "If I can have fair play." "I'll see to that," said Cockrell, pulling off his coat. Watt and Owens pulled theirs off and went at it. Bystanders said the blows were like miles kicking. After a long struggle it resulted in a drawn battle, to the surprise of all, for Watt had no reputation of being a fighter, and Owens had.

In the friendly tussles of the Owens' they were very rough sometimes. Once when General Bratton was quite a young man, he was riding in a spring wagon when William Owens on a hunt, or a fish, without warning Owens tried to throw him out of the wagon, but Bratton got the turn on him and pitched him headlong out.

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