Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Revenge of "Bloody Bill" Cunningham - Laurens Co. SC Wills, Estates #genealogy #southcarolinapioneersnet

The Revenge of "Bloody Bill" Cunningham
By Jeannette Holland Austin
Jeannette Holland Austin
After Lord Cornwallis surrendered in Virginia, Major William "Bloody Bill" Cunningham and a large force of Loyalist militia attacked a group of patriot militia that were resting in the home of their commander, Colonel Joseph Hayes. The Tories torched the home and the Patriots surrendered. However, "Bloody Bill" continued on, personally killing every prisoner in cold blood. Joseph Hayes owned a tavern adjacent to Edgehill Station, which was a stop along the local stage coach line. As he and his men sat down to a meal, Captain John Owens rode up and informed the men that smoke was coming out of the nearby plantation house of the widow of the late Brigadier General James Williams. Colonel Hayes promptly followed Owens out of the tavern and up a small hill to meet at an old Cherokee War Block House. From that vantage, they had a view of the home of the widow. But they found themselves surrounded by "Bloody Bill" and about 300 Loyalists. Colonel Hayes and his men ran into the small block house, but it was soon torched, so they threw down their arms and surrendered. But "Bloody Bill" forced them back inside the block house where their hands were tied behind them and attached to a long rope. However, as soon as the last man was attached to the long rope, Cunningham started hanging them, and then his men dismembered fourteen of them. Cunningham then rode off, leaving scattered body parts. 

James Tinsley had fought with Captain Hayes and General Sumter in 1780 and fought at Blackstocks and Ninety-Six. Originally, he volunteered in behalf of another soldier, but as the war wore on, was more active in soldiering. He was with Captain Hayes in November of 1781 at Edgehill Station (or Hayes Station) where he was taken prisoner. That evening, before the massacre, he managed to escape and went on an expedition into Cherokee country. His brother was killed in the conflict, and Tinsley was promoted to captain. The pension records are replete with interesting stories and tales. Actually, the pensions, combined with research from census and county records, assembles great stories to be passed down throughout the ages and remembered. 

Laurens County Probate Records

Laurens County SC Court HouseLaurens County Governor's MansionLaurens County Governor's MansionLaurens County SC octagon houseLaurens County was established in 1785 as part of the Ninety Six District. It was named for Revolutionary War leader Henry Laurens (1724-1792). Settlers were Scotch-Irish and English immigrants who came in the early eighteenth century. When Revolutionary War battles such as the battle of Musgroves Mill on August 18 of 1780 were fought in the county, it was discovered that many of its residents were loyalists.

Early Settlers: McCain, Drew, Kellett, Miller, Millwee, Hellans, Allison, Prather, McNight, Logan, Cunningham, Ferguson, Adair, Baugh, Lewis, Starnes, Musgrove, Fowler, Arnall, Armstrong, Walker, Akins, Fowler, Garner, Dunlap, Simmons, Bailey, Griffin, Montgomery, Mahaffy, Coker, McCrary, Green, East, Crage, Stevens, Johnson, Goodman, Pollock, Garrot, Holcomb, Day and Middleton.

Wills and Estates Available to Members of South Carolina Pioneers

Abstracts of Last Wills and Testaments
  • Laurens County Will Book A (1787-1789), abstracts
  • Laurens County Will Book C (1797-1807), abstracts
  • Laurens County Will Book D (1799-1817), abstracts
  • Laurens County Will Book E (1819-1825), abstracts
  • Index to Laurens County Will Book A (1766-1802)
  • Index to Laurens County Will Book F (1826-1834)
Digital Images of Wills, Book E, 1836-1839
Names of Testators: Allen, Sally ; Anderson, David ; Beal, Even ; Bell, David ; Blakely, James ; Calhoun, John ; Cheek, Ellis ; Cole, Mary ; Cummings, John ; Dunlap, Matthew ; Goodwin, William ; Hamilton, Jane ; Jones, Edward ; Leek, Bryant ; Leeman, Hugh ; McClintock, Martha ; McCoy, John ; McMeese, Robert ; Middlesperger, Abraham ; Pool, James ; Poole, Seth ; Potts, William ; Reece, William ; Robeson, Bennet ; Simpson, Sarah; Swan, Rebecca ; Wait, John ; Watson, Elijah
Misc. Laurens County, South Carolina Wills and Estates (images and transcripts)
  • Bailey, James, LWT, 1825, transcript
  • Bennett Richard, LWT, 1820
  • Brazeale, Enoch, LWT, 1825, transcript
  • Brown, Roger, LWT, 1825, transcript
  • Burnside, Thomas, 1825, transcript
  • Burnside, William, 1825, transcript
  • Carter, Robert, LWT, 1825, transcript
  • Cason, John, Sr., LWT
  • Garey, Charles, LWT, 1805
  • Garrett, Ambrose, LWT, 1840
  • Garrett, Hannah, LWT, 1821
  • Garrett, Jesse, LWT, 1853
  • Garrett, John, LWT, 1806
  • Garrot, Edward, LWT, 1794
  • Glenn, Alexander, LWT, 1825, transcript
  • Gordon, Ann, LWT, 1825, transcript
  • Holcombe, Richard, LWT, 1804
  • Jones, Joseph, 1825, transcript
  • Knight, Ephraim, 1825, transcript
  • Man, Susannah, LWT, 1797, transcript
  • Mathews, John, 1825, transcript
  • McCurley, John, 1825, transcript
  • McDaniel, Archibald, 1825, transcript
  • McGrady, William, 1825, transcript
  • Meadors, Susannah, 1825, transcript
  • Mitchel, Judith, 1825, transcript
  • Nickle, Chortis, 1825, transcript
  • Osborne, Daniel, 1825, transcript
  • Owings, Robert, LWT, 1840
  • Pinson, Aaron, LWT, transcript, 1803
  • Teague, Elijah, 1825, transcript
  • Wilson, John, 1825, transcript
  • Map of Laurens County
  • Veterans of Laurens District in 1818 and 1832

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