EDERINGTON Family of Fairfield County
South Carolina History by Ederington

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Page 38

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 near 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 themselves 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 eldest 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 now 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 too 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

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