EDERINGTON Family of Fairfield County
South Carolina History by Ederington

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News & Herald, June 10, 1901


Inasmuch as it is expected that the author of a work should in some degree be known to its readers, either personally or historically, I will endeavor to sketch a short account of my family. As to my ancestry, I have but meager knowledge, such as I recollect from my father's detail and one or two other sources. My paternal grandfather, William Ederington, emigrated from Wales in the early settlement of Virginia, and located in what was afterwards called King George County. He later moved to Stafford County, Virginia. He married a Helm. He, or she, was related to the Metcalfs, Fitz Hughs, and other distinguished families, I have heard my father as well as my Virginia correspondent, state, whose letters were destroyed with my dwelling in February 1865, by Sherman's army.

Our family furnished two governors for Kentucky, Governors Helm and Metcalf. My grandfather, as I heard my father say, was a member of the House of Burgesses in Virginia, before the Revolutionary War. He rode to South Carolina before the war and surveyed and entered a large tract of land on Rock Creek, Fairfield County, near Broad River, returned to Virginia, and not long afterwards he died. My grandmother removed shortly after his death, with several of her sons and daughters, and settled on this tract in South Carolina.

My paternal uncles were all engaged in the Revolutionary War. My father being the youngest, did not engage in it until hear its close. I heard him say that he volunteered at the age of sixteen under Captain Charnal Durham and encamped at Four Holes for some time awaiting orders, but soon after, Sir Henry Clinton evacuated Charleston, and the corps was disbanded, and the soldiers all left for their homes and nearly starved before they reached their destination, being afraid to call at any house, or allow them- selves to be seen, the country through which they had to pass being infested with Tories.

Peace was soon after declared. Three of my uncles remained in Virginia until after the war, then moved to South Carolina and settled on the land their father had bought. My uncle James Ederington, remained only a few years, then moved to Kentucky and many years after, to Mississippi, and there died, upwards of a hundred years old. My father was the only one of five brothers who remained on the old home-stead, and his grandson, A. L. Ederington, is now living there. My grandmother married a second time during the Revolutionary War, John Davis, FromYork District, and her oldest daughter married his son, James Davis, who lived near Monticello and died there in 1822. One of my aunts married Ephraim Lyles, son of Ephraim, the first settler, near Lyles Ford. Another aunt married a Furney and another married a McManus. Two of my uncles married in Virginia, the others in this state.

My father married Frances Crosswhite of Newberry County. Her mother was a widow when she left Culpepper County, Virginia and moved to South Carolina before the Revolutionary War, and settled on Little River in Newberry County. She afterward married George Griffin, who moved on Broad River near Ashford Ferry, where both died. My father moved to a plantation he bought for my brother, but exchanged his old homestead for it in 1821, and died there on Beaver Creek where his remains are interred. He died in June 1824, aged sixty years. His small plantation was devised to me after the death of my mother, but she allowed me to sell it and I bought land of Major Thomas Lyles in 1827, and moved to it, where she died April 1829, at the age of sixty-two.

My eldest brother , Jesse, married Elizabeth Webb in 1810, an estimable and pious lady. He and she both died in 1863. Their eldest son, William H. Ederington married in Mississippi, lived in Louisiana, and after the late war, died in Vicksburgh, Mississippi, of yellow fever in 1881. He had been a wealthy planter, had two sons, William and Henry Clay, the latter now living in Fort Worth, Texas, a wealthy banker. James P. Ederington, my brother's second son is also living in Fort Worth, a dealer in landed estate. Henry C. has a family, but James F. never married. Robert J., his third son, died in Waco, Texas about 1850. My brother John, moved to Kentucky about 1815 and married and died there. My oldest brother, Francis never married. He died about 1832 in Union County.

My oldest sister, Mildred, married William Fant in 1817, and moved to Union County in 1821. He died in 1854, she afterwards lived in Fairfield with her son Dr. F. H. Fant, and died there in 18- - at the advanced age of ninety-one. Her oldest son O. H. P. Fant, is living in Laurens County, a planter and merchant. He married Lizzie Jones an intelligent and estimable lady. They have five children alive, two married. The oldest daughter married a wealthy Kentuckian, William Arnold, who is living near Richmond, Kentucky, and has but one child, a promising daughter. The second daughter, Jessie, married Dr. James K. Cilder of Newberry, an intelligent gentleman and worthy citizen of that town. F. W. Fant, the eldests son, married in Kentucky. He is a lawyer and settled in Spartanburg, S.C. The other two sons, John and Willie, are young, the former in his father's store in Newberry, the latter at school in Spartanburg. Dr. F. M. E. Fant was born in Union, S. C., practiced medicine successfully for many years, and moved in 1867 to the place where I had been burnt out by the Yankees. He still follows his avocation and is besides a good practical planter. Dr. Sam Fant, my sister's third son, practiced medicine several years in Union and Laurens Counties. He moved to Newberry not long after the civil war and was engaged in the drug business until his death, October 8, 1886. In 1871 he married Fannie Lyles, granddaughter of Major Lyles of Newberry, an intelligent and estimable lady. They have four promising children, three daughters and a son.

My second sister, Elizabeth, married William Vance of Laurens County, in 1821. He lived and died near Milton. He was industrious, honest and economical a successful planter and worthy citizen. He died about 1827, leaving nine children, quite a charge for my sister, but she brought them up to labor, and taught them lessons of morality and economy. She moved to Mississippi about the year 1857 and died there a few years afterwards. Her children moved to the west also, except the youngest Susan, who married Richard Satterwhite, and lived in Newberry, where he died since the war. Carr E. Vance's only daughter, Mrs. Kinard, died in Newberry County in 1885. She was an estimable lady and left only one son, who is at school in Newberry. One of her brothers, L.K., is on the farm she left; the other, Carr E., is living in Texas.

My third sister, Sallie, married David Vance, and lived near Milton, Laurens County, and died there in 1832. She left four sons, all are now dead except the oldest, Rosborough, who is living in Rosseur Parish, Louisiana. He never married. Another son, Whitfield, lived and died in the same parish in Louisiana. He married twice, both times to Gilmers. He died a few years ago, leaving two children, I believe. The reader will pardon this lengthy mention of my family, I hope, when I assure him that it is not intended so much for the general reader as for my own family and relatives. I will not give a little sketch of my own life.

I was born at my father's old homestead on Rock Creek, in Fairfield County, S. C., February 10, 1803. I was sent to Oldfield School Masters, where I learned but little until 1816, when I was sent to James R. Wood, of Newberry County who was an efficient teacher. I afterwards went to him in Monticello and boarded with him, intending to prepare myself for a teacher of the English branches. I returned home at the end of the year and secured a school worth $300 and board. I was dissuaded from this enterprise by my friends. Dr. George B. Pearson, and Dr. Harris, promising to make an M.D. of me if I would attend Mr. Hodge's Latin school about ten months, which I did in 1822, but after I returned I had to attend to my father's farm, which required all of my time and care.

I have never had cause to regret not reading and practicing the healing art, but I would have done so had I had the means. As I before stated, my father soon after died, and I moved in 1827 to where I am living now, and engaged in mercantile enterprise with John Smith as partner, and also ran a farm. John Smith soon after, died. He was estimable, high-toned gentleman from the Wateree settlement; he had formerly been a partner in a store with Major Thomas Lyles. My school and classmates at the Monticello School in 1822, when I took my first course in Latin, were William P. Hutchison, Daniel Dansby, and Franklin Davis. The old course of Latin was a tardy one compared with present, and I could almost have gone through with all the classics in ten months in the way Latin is now taught. I studied assiduously, determined to leave my class as soon as possible, which I did, and enter the next highest with students who had been some two and some three years in that study. I had as classmates William B. Means, Robert Means, James B. Davis, William K. Davis, and C. DeGraffenreid. I recited with these until October and said an extra lesson every morning in Cicero. These, together with William M. Nyers, Thomas B. Woodward, James A. Woodward, Cullen Powell, John H. Means, and myself, were boarding with Colonel Jonathan Davis, and our sleeping department was in his old store-house recently fitted up for that purpose.

Being the greater part of the time from under the observation of our host and tutor, the reader may well imagine we had a nice time of it, yet the larger number of us were quite studious. This was the first school, strange as it may appear, in which any of us studied geography, although several of the students were fair Greek scholars. Our tutor, Mr. Hodges, a graduate of the South Carolina College, urged us to the importance of geography and wrote to Columbia for Cumming's Geography and Atlas for us; a small book and atlas that would be laughed at by the students of the present day. The maps were not colored; I borrowed a paint box and painted mine, the only colored one in school. Silas H. Heller, afterwards a lawyer and a member of our legislature, was also one of our students, well advanced in the classics. He was from Newberry County and boarded with Mr. Phillip Pearsh, Sr.

I must not forget an unpleasant obstacle in our progress, Viz: The Bible lessons! We, of our own accord, received Bible lessons on Sunday evenings. Mr. Hodges, after a while, neglected to come, and wished to hear the recitations on Monday morning. We rebelled against that and he suspended us for two weeks. At the expiration of the given time, only two returned to his school, S. H. Heller, and myself. We came back on our own terms, viz: To drop the Bible lessons, and the five who did not return caused the school to wane and no doubt Mr. Hodges regretted the rash act he adopted. He was a native of Abbeville County, and a contemporary of John C. Calhoun, and I think they were in the South Carolina College together. Mr. Hodges afterwards became an eminent Baptist preacher. I closed my mercantile life in 1840, and bought land on Broad River, and conducted two farms until 1867, when I had become to feeble from old age to manage free labor, and sold both plantations to my nephew, Dr. F. M. Fant, to whom I was in debt. I then taught free schools until 1881 when I was compelled from debility to discontinue. I again ask pardon of the reader for trespassing on his patience in giving the uninteresting history of my long life. It has been a rugged journey to pass through, more so in consequence of ill health in my early and middle life, which I give as an excuse for never having married.

There are no remarkable characteristics in our family to notice; as a general thing we are industrious, honest, candid and impatient. Some of the descendants of the stock who emigrated from Virginia are physicians and only one lawyer. I have never known one of the family to run for office. When I was a member of the Buckhead troop of cavalry, I was the only exception. A vacancy occurred for cornetist, and I found my name posted on the old Buckhead store for that office, without consultation with me. I was elected by a nearly unanimous vote, receiving seventy out of seventy-three. The location of our muster ground was not long after removed and I resigned my commission, the first and last I ever held. It was handed to me by General John H. Means.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 not 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.

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