The American Revolution
South Carolina History

The first flag for South Carolina independence designed by Colonel William Moultrie, which was flown over Fort Sullivan, S. C., June1776 [image courtesy of Son of the Revolution. Copyright (c) 1998 SR.]
The revolutionary navy flag of South Carolina from 1776 until 1790
 [image courtesy of Son of the Revolution. Copyright (c) 1998 SR.]

South Carolina was a major player in the role toward American independence from England. There were several contingence of individuals here with different views of what independence meant and whether George III, King of England who reigned from 1760 to 1820, was responsible for their problems. The people of Charles Town (now Charleston) were particularly unhappy about the taxation of goods being imported into the colonies since they had large numbers of traders. The more remote areas of western South Carolina were more concerned about protection from the indians and were not impacted so much by the taxes on importation since they were largely self-sufficient. They also may have felt that the British as their protectors deserved to tax for this service. The history that I will develop here is how my own relatives survived and dealt with the hardship and changes of the times.

The Nonassociators were a group of South Carolina legislators that had decided not go along with the call for independence. The Nonassociators, also known as the Counter-Association, had believed that King George "had not acted inconsistent with subversive of the principles of the Constitution of the British Empire," and that they saw no reason to "take up arms against him" or to renounce allegiance to him. [McMaster 36]

Moses Kirkland was one of the individuals who had originally signed up for the South Carolina Militia and resigned his commission to fight on the side of the British. As William Henry Drayton and Reverend William Tennet went around the countryside trying to whip up support for the Provincial Congress Moses Kirkland followed to give his views and convinced many that it was against their best interests to get involved with the call for independence. He carried word of support back to the Governor of South Carolina of support in the wilderness areas and helped convince the British that South Carolina could win the fight to retain the connection to the mother country. Moses Kirkland was sent north with this message but was captured with his young son. His documents and letters were seized and published making him an enemy of the revolutionary forces. He and his son were imprisoned near Baltimore but later escaped to Jamaica.

It seems certain regions were either for or against the cause for separation. Edgefield county, the home of the Kirkland families, seems to have been a center for non-separation or for the British whereas Laurens, Greenville, and Abbeville counties seemed to have more need for independence. According to Edward McChady "History of South Carolina",

Several of my other families were involved with the revolutionary cause. Both Adam Crain Jones and Thomas Camp Sr.'s families seem to be in the thick of things. Adam Crain Jones was involved quite early in the cause eventually becoming a Captain and perhaps loosing two sons during the war. Some of these individuals fought in the battles of King's Mountain in September of 1780 and in the cattle-grazing area known as Cowpens in October 1780. The battle Kings Mountain saw the defeat of the left wing of Cornwallis' army and the loyalist win of the Cowpens enraged Cornwallis even further. This battle is the battle shown in the recent Mel Gibson's film, "The Patriot". Thomas Camp Jr. enlisted for the cause and probably fought at the battle of Kings Mountain. Lt. John Camp may have been here at King's Mountain but there are some documents that indicate he may have fought for the British. Reverend Joseph Camp was arrested as a spy by General Cornwallis. Nathaniel Camp was said to be at King's Mountain and perhaps killed the British General Ferguson. Nathaniel's son had Ferguson's conch shell battle horn which later became part of the collection of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Thomas Sr. was probably too old but did provide supplies to the revolution and was said to have had his mill and house at Island Ford on the Broad River taken over by the British and burned. After the revolution Thomas's land was seized because he was considered a traitor. Thomas' brothers were also supporters of the revolution. Wm. C. Camp wrote much later, "many of the early settlers of the up-country were of English extraction and dissenters of the Established Church of the mother country."

Other relatives involved in the Continental army or militia include Henry Machen, of Greenville County, who served with Capt. Moses Wood's company of Horse in Colonel Roebuck's regiment of the South Carolina Militia. At least one of his sons, John Seaborn Machen, also served in the militia. Adam C. Jones was commanding a company of 2 officers, 2 sergeants, and 22 privates at a fortified camp in the Ninety-Six district on Sunday, November 19, 1775. [Chapman 57] Maurice Ronie served as a Sgt. with the Second Dragoons under Captain Francis Moore, Col. Myddleton and Gen. Sumter during 1781. He also served as a footman and was wounded in the battle of Eutaw Springs. He was also present at the battle of Guilford Courthouse in N.C. [Roll 128 and on frame 8699 at the National Archives]

Less formal organizations were created for mutual protection than the revolutionary army. Some researchers have in the past listed one of these as organized by Hewlett Sullivan, although he would have only been about 18 years old.  See the article opposing this research by Deason Smith on the Sullivan Independent Volunteers.  

Some individual stories give some idea of horrors involved in the rebellion against the British or Loyalists. Although we still don't have a complete name for our Graydon family ancestor. Family stories tell that "Grandfather Graydon had gone in to his home for this purpose. In some way the Tories, who were very active in that section, found out that he was home. They surrounded the house, took him prisoner and hung him in his own doorway. They stood guard till they knew he was dead, then rode off, leaving his family to take him down and bury him." See his the rest of the story on his page. Graydon

At the conclusion of the war much work had to be done to form a new government. Adam Crain Jones was elected as a delegate from Abbeville, South Carolina to the South Carolina Constitutional Convention which met in Charleston from May 12, 1788 until it was adopted FRIDAY, May 23, 1788.

More on the Battle of Cowpens and Kings Mountain.

Revolutionary Soldiers or Militia

Thomas Camp , John Camp, Adam C. Jones,
Henry Machen, Maurice Roney, ancestor Graydon

Tory Soldiers

Moses Kirkland, James, John, Benjamin and Aaron Kirkland


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web pages created by Elroy Christenson- - last updated 8/10/10