Mother Cat Comes to Call

October 19, 2014

That’s a bit of a spoiler.  Prepare for a surprise ending.

*****

One Saturday summer evening, I was almost home from work.  It was a twilight time of day, a magical time of day, when the lightning bugs are out, and the warm summer smells of growing things are in the air.

I turned left onto my little road, and just ahead on the right, at the end of my driveway, I saw Jackie sitting, waiting for me to come home.

Or was it Jackie?  It looked like her in the dusk.  It had her markings, but when the beams of the headlamps shone on her, for a quick second, there was a reflection of both eyes before the cat ran back onto the driveway and climbed over my gate.  Where was Jackie going in such a hurry?  Why was she running from me?  And did my eyes deceive me, for Jackie only has one eye.

I parked at the gate, and when I went through it, Jackie was sitting on the other side, waiting for some canned food.

*****

The next morning was a bright Sunday.  I threw open the door, and in the clearing directly in front of the door, two small dark shapes scrambled away in a panic, in such a hurry that I couldn’t tell what they were.  What they left behind was clear enough.  He was a small orange fluffyish kitten.

He looked at me with one sad eye, and meowed a tiny squeak.

Good Lord.  What was happening here?  How had he gotten here?  He let me pick him up and put him on the picnic table where I feed the cats.

*****

I have a system for feeding the cats here.  I got a huge donation of dry and canned food earlier this year.  I shimmied the picnic table under the awning a bit so that half of the table was under the awning and half was out.  I caught Packett several times standing on the table eating cat food right out of the cat feeder, so I put a medium-sized crate on the table and put the gravity feeder inside the crate.  One or two cats could get in the crate at the same time to dine, and the crate protected the dry food from rain and falling leaves and pine needles, and Packett couldn’t get into the crate to get the food.  There was a problem when serving up the canned, though.

Too many dirty bowls.  I tried to put out enough bowls to hold enough canned food for all the cats.  The cats have a different opinion about how things play out, and sometimes they all crowd around one small bowl for no good reason.  Then there’s the flies.  They love canned food, too, so I had to learn about how many cans to open so there wasn’t a breeding ground with a food supply for insects.

The answer was a plastic chip-and-dip tray with divided sections.  Easy cleanup.  Shared portions.  They are cheap, and you can get them at the grocery store, and they come in fun colors.  ‘Cause cats love them some fun party trays.

*****

The little orange fluffy guy joined the other guys immediately.  He pushed his way to the food tray.  Later in the day I saw two more kittens in the undergrowth.  So there were three!

And later yet I saw another one.

Then during the evening, I went outside, and a large cat that looked JUST LIKE JACKIE flew off the picnic table, and dashed down the path to the shed, holding her left front leg out straight in front of her.

Apparently I have a mother who has brought her 4 babies right slap over the chain-link fence to safety and food.  Except that when I do a kitten headcount, I see one more unaccounted-for kitten.

Five.  FIVE.  Plus a mother.

The time is now officially TEN PAST CRAZY.

*****

Welcome to Catcatcher Corner.

Little Orange is a sweet boy, but everyone else is feral.  FE’ ReALz.

Little Orange goes to the vet to be seen for his problem eye.  I start a course of ointment and clavamox, but it’s hard to scoop him up and medicate him twice a day.  If you’ve ever tried to medicate a cat, you’ll understand, and even if you haven’t, you have an imagination.  You’re imagining the cursing I’m doing.

A few weeks of fattening up happens, and I leave town for 2 ½ days, and Sugar reports that the cats are gone.  When I return, they return, and they do this cycle one more time, minus one gray tabby kitten, before it seems they are settled here.

So now it’s time to trap.

The first baby goes to the vet, and she weighs about 2.8 pounds so she’s almost three months, and she is spayed.

Little Orange gets a home, along with Darlin’ Baby (sorry for the spoiler), with a SugarCousin.

Little Peachy gets neutered.

Little Torti gets spayed.

In between the trapping of Little Peachy and Little Torti, the Mama goes into the trap, so yay me!  And yay Mama!  No more babies to worry about.

*****

I put a towel down in the back of Old Yeller, set the covered trap with Mama in it, and head to the vet.

When we get there, and I unload the trap, I notice that there is bright blood on the towel, but not blood like she is in heat.  This was odd.  She is still protecting her left front paw, although I had seen her use it if she is walking carefully, but never when she is moving fast.

We get the trap on the table, and tip it slightly to one side, and that’s when we see it.  A growth, as large as a grape, on the base of her left front paw.  Keep in mind that she is an average-sized cat, and her paw is about the size of a grape.

The growth is infected, and smelly with rot, and bloody and oozing pus.

Even if I could handle her, which I cannot, I would have to medicate her BY MOUTH twice a day and clean her wound at least once a day.  And I would have to keep her confined for the duration, and I have no good solution for that.

She’s a wild cat.  The obstacles for me are technically insurmountable, and even if surgery is successful, if it’s cancer, she’ll lose her leg, and there’s a possibility that the cancer could be throughout her body.

Sorry as I am about all this, it seems that she has brought her family to me, to safety, and that it’s time to let her go.

She went to sleep peacefully, not rotting away in the wild.

Good night, Mama Cat.  You sacrificed what any mother would sacrifice.

 

Under the trees, she holds her left paw off the ground.  Now I know why.

Under the trees, she holds her left paw off the ground. Now I know why.

Darlin’ Baby Goes to Visit Sugar

October 12, 2014

So I’m carrying the Darlin’ around in a crate.  Sometimes I go see Sugar, and this means the Darlin’ must go, too, ’cause everybody loves Sugar.

Darlin’ Baby is still not eating canned food, and by this time he’s about 8 weeks old.  He should have started eating yummy soft food by 5 weeks, but he doesn’t know about that law of averages.  Clearly he’s not going to major in math.  He loves his ba-ba, and boy, am I going through some kitten formula.  (My formula of choice is KMR – Kitten Milk Replacer – thankyouforasking.)

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He still doesn’t know how to retract his claws.  He’s a slow learner, so he fits in well with me.  But he does know how to scream for his ba-ba.

Soon we’re off to the grocery store, all three of us.  Because he’s been carried around his whole life and spent a lot of time being handled, he’s *great* in a crate.  He walks in his crate like a little child loves a blanket fort.

He’s the baby-est baby.

Darlin’ Baby Goes to the Beach

October 10, 2014

Y’all already know that I bottlefeed kittens.  It seems like I’m one of two people in the area that does this for the shelter.

A lot of them don’t make it.  There’s a thing called Fading Kitten Syndrome, and they just slip away from you.  With me, they all get an equal chance to make it or not.  Without someone like me, they wouldn’t even have that chance.

So the problem becomes this:  what do you do when you need to go to the beach?

See, it’s hardly a problem.  The kittens are so tiny that they practically live in the crate.  This batch was a mixed bunch.  There was a litter of three.  One died in 24 hours.  When I’d get a random single, I just pop them into the batch.  Babies need tactile warmth.  This particular snapshot of time has the two remaining littermates and a slightly bigger single.

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I call this one Darlin’ Baby.  That’s not his name; that’s what I call him.  I don’t “name” any of them, because they either die or go back to the shelter where they are given a name.  I had gotten this darlin’ about 1 week earlier, and I estimated him and his siblings to be about 2 weeks old at the time.  In the background, you can see a little gray head of Darlin’s sibling, and another random bigger single who I kept for a short amount of time.  The bigger boy was ready to go from the bottle to canned food, which is the mile marker that I use to know when to return them to the shelter.

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Can you tell we’re at the beach?  It was a lovely May day, not too hot, and breezy.  Both my BabyGirl and my BabyBoy were there.  The BabyGirl brought her little doggie, and the BabyBoy brought a dog that he was taking care of (sorry for the prepositional ending).  BabyBoy also brought his handy tent/shelter which he got from Target for $30.  Best $30 he ever spent.

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There’s a blue and white cooler in the shelter with some cold drinks in it and of course the baby bottle.  The crate is stashed in the corner behind the cooler, so you can’t actually see the babies.

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Yes, these dogs have access to fresh water.

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Wow.  What a great day.  Look for further installments of the Darlin’ Baby’s adventures.

To Feed A Dog: Part Three

October 9, 2014

I sat on the  passenger’s side of the van, staring in disbelief as the door to the trailer opened slowly inwards, a pale hand clutching the knob.  A middle-aged woman appeared and leaned on the door frame. Her right foot was encased in a cast.

I hissed, “There’s somebody there!” to Sugar, and he looked up, one sole of his shoe still with dog poop on it.

Let me say here that Sugar is one of the shyest persons you could ever meet.  We were so busted, sitting right in this woman’s driveway, and rather than slamming the doors and speeding away, Sugar stepped up to the plate, so to speak, and hit a home run.

Sugar:  Oh, hello, maybe you can help me.

Woman:  Hello.

Sugar:  Does Mr. (insert random name from his mail route here) still live here?

Woman:  No, nobody by that name has ever lived here.  This is my place.

Sugar:  Oh, he used to live over there (waving his hand Miz-Florrie-style), but he told me he was moving over here.

Woman:  No, nobody lives here but me. Sometimes my nephew stays here.

Sugar:  Oh, okay, thanks.  By the way, is that your dog?  He’s a nice dog.

Woman:  No, that’s my nephew’s dog.  I can’t get around so I can’t take care of him.  Sometimes he needs food and water, but I can’t do anything about it.  My nephew comes and goes.

Sugar:  Okay.  Well, thank you.  Sorry to bother you.

*****

Well, this was awkward.  So apparently someone DOES live here, someone without a car who is unable to get the mail out of the box.  But she didn’t recognize Sugar as her mail carrier.

The next part of the plan became to visit the dog on Sunday mornings, and when Sugar was on his mail route, he thought he could stop perhaps on Thursday afternoon.  It was a long time for the dog to go without proper food and water, but it was the best we could figure out.

So on Sunday mornings, we went into stealth mode.  We drove slowly down the dirt road, so as not to stir up much dust, and we drove by the trailer to the next driveway, which was where this whole dog episode started.  We backed in the driveway of the abandoned trailer, which incidentally was now sporting a bright green notice that back taxes were due on the property, and slid open the back right door of the van. There at the ready were a container of water and an already-bagged-up bag of food.   Sugar would grab the food and water, walk across the yard, down into a drainage ditch, and back up the other side of the ditch to where the dog was tied.  If the food bowl was not there, he simply dumped food on the ground. We didn’t want it to look like someone had been there, because people don’t always take too kindly to others tending to their business, crappy as though it seemed.  I set the timer each time to see if he was shaving off any time during the process.

As time went by, he noticed the the blinds on that corner of the trailer were being left up.  If the blinds were up, he did not stop while on his route.  Sundays seemed safer because we were parked on the next driveway, and there were lots of trees between the vehicle and the trailer.

When Sugar would drive by on his mail route, the dog recognized his truck now, and would bark and prance happily when he drove by.  One day the dog broke loose somehow, and ran after his mail truck, barking and wagging to the end of the dirt road and back.  Sugar heard a man call after him in an effort to get the dog back, and he learned that the dog’s name was Bruiser.

At some point this has to come to an end.  I was driving my car, a bright yellow jot of color, like we had convinced ourselves that we didn’t need to be seen in the same vehicle all the time.  I had pulled into the driveway just past the trailer, and Sugar slipped through the trees with food and water.  He came hustling back in a panic and said that he’d been caught. He got as far down in the floor as he could get, and it looked like I was just out and about on a Sunday drive.

I started the car, and attempted to back up when the car died and I had to start it again.  Fortunately, the engine held that time, and I puttered on past Bruiser’s trailer, where two men in hunter’s garb stood on the front deck.  I looked at them, they looked at me, and I kept driving.  We were on solid pavement before Sugar crawled up out of the floorboards.

Not long after that, Sugar reported that Bruiser was gone.  We never saw where he was turned in to the shelter, so maybe the nephew moved away for good and took Bruiser with him.

And we hope that, if only for a brief moment in his shabby life, Bruiser knew that he was loved.

To Feed A Dog: Part Two

October 8, 2014

What were we supposed to do with all these dogs?  Should we just take the sick one?  And where would we take it?  The shelter was closed.  And even if the shelter was open, what would we say?  That we found the dog?  But then what would happen if a missing dog report turned up?  How do we explain that?

It seemed like the best thing to do was to report the entire situation to the animal control officer.  Me? I’m afraid of the ACO.  Once, I shared a situation on a social media site.  It was a situation of some puppies that had been abused, according to the report I saw.  The ACO came to my workplace and reprimanded me for sharing.  She said that no one knew anything about that situation, and where had I gotten my information?  She said that someone had contacted her department about my post – my shared post – and that it was making her look bad, and that I didn’t know how hard she had worked and that I had destroyed all her hard work.

So Sugar is going to have to make the call.

The following day was Monday, his day off.  He made the call to the ACO, who told him that she was going to be in court all day and could not investigate his claim until the following day.

Enter more weirdness.

She called him the following day to say that the property owners were friends of hers, and that she had called them to let them know she had a complaint about their property being abandoned, including the animals.  The property owners became agitated, and stated that the complaint was a lie, that they were at the property every day, and that they had complained to the ACO’s superiors, because clearly they were being targeted and harassed.  So by the time the ACO actually went to inspect the property, there were food and water dishes for each dog, and she could not determine who actually had cared for the dogs.  She told Sugar that he should have taken photos, and for him not to trespass again.

So I suppose we should have used a zoom lens in order not to trespass.

When Sugar asked the ACO what he should do when he sees a case where a dog has not been cared for in days, she said that he did the right thing, but not to trespass again.

The next day when he went back out on his route, the dogs were gone.

*****

About a month later, he had another issue with another dog on his route.  This particular dog was at the property NEXT DOOR to the one that had the four dogs.

This dog was also tied, and also had a shelter, although it was a dog house turned away from where the dog could actually get into it.  This dog had bowls lying round about, but none every appeared to have food or water in them.  There was a five-gallon bucket by the dog house, too far away for the dog to reach, and the problem with a deep bucket is that, if there is only a little water in the bottom, the dog cannot reach the water easily, and usually overturns the bucket.

The plan was the same.  We will go on a Sunday morning, and it will be a quick in-and-out.  Sugar watched the trailer to see if there were signs of life.  There were none, there were no cars there ever, and the mail was piling up in the mailbox.

What could possibly go wrong?

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Sugar became bold and inattentive to the time.  He was busy concentrating on the dog.  He had found two sawed-off buckets lying in the ditch that he used for food and water bowls, and he scooted the house around so the dog could get into it.  He checked the outside faucet for water, which worked, and he filled the water bowl.  He became even bolder and pounded on the front door, then went back over to where the dog was.

The clock was ticking, and I told him his 5 minutes was up.  I got back in the van on the passenger side, and started twitching.  He opened the driver’s door, and started cleaning his shoes, because of course there was poop all over the place from the dog.  That’s when I looked up, and saw the door of the trailer swinging inward…

To Feed A Dog: Part One

October 8, 2014

To trespass, or not to trespass?

Sugar used to deliver the mail on a rural route in little Hardlyville.  It’s hard to be a rural carrier.

It’s a stressful job.  There’s the stress associated with the job, then there’s the outside stress.  Cold, heat, dust, rain, bad roads, angry customers, crazy people, car trouble, flat tires, you name it.

Then there’s the animals.

Dead animals on the road, wounded wild animals, litters of kittens and puppies, dogs tied up as watchdogs, dogs penned up, starving strays, cat populations out of control.

And while he’s delivering the mail, his animals are at home on the furniture in a climate-controlled environment, waiting for their specialty dinners.

Once, a particular case was weighing heavy on his mind, and he told me about it.

There was a certain house, a ramshackle trailer set back under the trees, that had dogs tied in the yard. He hadn’t seen anyone at the house in several days, and he noted that the location of the overturned bowls had stayed the same.

So he made a plan.  We would go on a Sunday morning, when fewer people would be out and about, and feed and water these dogs.

*****

We pulled up mid-morning into the driveway.  I had never seen this place before, and I was disgusted and depressed at the appearance.  The house and grounds were surrounded by junk.  Not just trash, but junk. Old furniture, car parts, household items, wood and bits of lumber, boat parts, appliances, all ruined and decaying.  The smell of moldering metal, wood, and fabric hung in the air.

We were pretty nervous.  After all, we would be trespassing if we were caught, although it didn’t appear that anyone lived here.  But what if someone drove up?  We knew that animal control wouldn’t be out on the weekend, but could we still get in trouble for being good Samaritans?  Probably.  I said that I wouldn’t take any photos to document that we had been here.

There was a dog tied at each of the two front corners of the property.  A small, flimsy wood structure consisting of 4 thin posts and a little roof, lay overturned by one dog.  The 2nd dog had a 55 gallon barrel on its side.  The first dog was a sweet hound who let us pet her.  The second dog was an enthusiastic pit mix who leaped great bounds to try to get to us.  We had to be careful to put the food and water bowls just far enough for her to get to them; otherwise, she’d knock them about with all her leaping and dragging the chain.

There was a third dog at the back corner on the right.  He barked a bit, but was glad to get the food and water.

Sugar went on around the house to the far back left corner.  He hustled back to say that something was wrong with the dog, and I hurried back with him.

Imagine that you are tied by a heavy chain to an old boat anchor.  Now imagine that you have circled around and around that boat anchor until you have made a trench in the soft soil.  The chain has become twisted over and over, and so has shortened almost as short as it can go.  And imagine that you are having some kind of inexplicable neurological issue that causes you to lose control of your limbs in a loopy, slow-motion fashion, and you can begin to understand what was happening to this dog.

I’d never seen anything like it.  The dog would stand completely normally, and then slowly his eyes would widen in fear as he anticipated the next episode, and then he would begin another tumble, once even rolling backwards in a somersalt.

This was to only be the beginning.

Robertville, My Rohbuhtvull, Part 7: MEMORIALS OF ROBERTVILLE AND BLACK SWAMP, S.C., by Jane Asenath Maner Bostick

September 20, 2014

(This is the 7th, and final, part of a series of papers compiled by Ora C. Paul, that are held in the Beaufort County Public Library, Beaufort District Collection.)

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(Written for the Hampton Guardian of September the 12th, 1879)

******************

MEMORIALS OF ROBERTVILLE AND BLACK SWAMP, S.C.

dictated (by Jane Asenath Bostick nee Maner)

by Mr. Pierre Robert

for the Hampton Guardian of January 30th, 1880

- – – – – oo – – – – -

Following the road towards Augusta, upon the outskirts

of the village of Robertville, we come to Black Swamp, a

stream about one hundred and fifty yards wide and generally

two feet deep.  It is crossed by a causeway.  Upon this

edge of the swamp, for three miles up, there is a thick

growth of “ti-ti” bushes, excellent for pipe stems.  Know-

ing ones scarcely pass without securing a supply.  Singular

to say with the same kind of soil on both sides of the

swamp, there is not a “ti-ti” on the other.  On the right

of the first bridge is the baptismal ground, or font, which

has been used for generations past as such.  Within reach

stands a magnificent magnolia, its evergreen brances

always entwined with moss; in spring and summer, covered

with its splendid flowers, ten inches or more in diameter.

It is sixty-five feet high, and casts its shadow over the

waters.  After leaving the swamp four hundred yards we

arrive at a large cluster of evergreen trees.  It was here

that General Rutherford, with three hundred troops, was

- 8 –

stationed for a while during The Revolution, to be in

supporting distance of General Lincoln with his main

army of twelve hundred men, at Purysburg.  Among the

latter was the heroic Sergeant Jasper and the chivalrous

gentleman and brilliant soldier, Col. John Laurens, who

was designated by Washington to draw up the terms of

capitulation at Yorktown.  Severely wounded at Coosawhatchie

bridge, finally gave up his life, in an insignificant

skirmish near Charleston, at the early age of twenty-seven.

After the war, in 1785, the place was purchased by

Captain Samuel Maner, who had served as captain under

General Marion.  He erected quite a commodious framed

dwelling.  It was here that the court-house and jail stood –

the county seat of Granville County – probably much

smaller than the counties of our day.  After a few years

he transferred the place to his brother Captain William

Maner, who had also served in the war.  The old house,

with some improvements and additions, stood until thirty

years ago, when it was pulled down by one of the heirs

of Captain William Maner, and a palatial residence erected

in its stead, which was destroyed by Sherman.  The

ancestors of these brothers cam originally from Wales

to Virginia, here they settled, from whence their father

moved to Santee, where he died.  Captain Samuel Maner

and his brother each married the Misses May, two sisters,

and daughters of Mullette by a former marriage.  She with

her daughters came to Carolina from Virginia during the

- 9 –

RevolutionaryWar.  Mrs. Mullette lived to the advanced

age of 106 years, and lies buried above here about two

miles, in a private graveyard.  At the time of her death

her mind was sound,her hearing perfect, sight excellent,

and it is probable that she would have lived several

years longer but for an accidental fall.  Her death

occurred in 1823.

Captains Samuel and William Maner were men of great

energy, were members of the Legislature at different times

and acquired wealth and influence.  Both were patriots

tried and true.  Their swords had flashed thru the long,

eventful war.  At the first division of parties they sided

with the Federalists, a name since odious to us all, tho,

we think Washinton sided towards that party, with

Hamilton at its head.  No mortal can tell, if their

views had been carried out at that time, whether the South

had been better off than to-day.  Captain Samuel Maner

moved nine miles below this place, where he erected, en-

tirely at his own expense, a neat framed Methodist Church,

resting on a brick foundation.  In a few years he moved

to Mathew’s Bluff, where he again erected another framed

church, at his own expense, which stood until within a

few years past.  Again he moved across Burton’s ferry

into Screven County, Georgia, where after a few years his

indomnitable energy was cut short by death, in the year

1818, at the age of sixty years.  His remains were brought

back and interred at the family graveyard, nine miles

- 10 –

below Robertville.  Not over a dozen of his descendents

now reside in the county but a large number are in

Barnwell and in Screven County, Georgia, with a few in

Savannah, Atlanta, and Dougherty County, Georgia.

Captain William Maner spent the remainder of his

life in this neighborhood.  He was a devoted Christian,

his generous hand was always open to the poor and needy,

and his home was always known to be the headquarters of

ministers of the gospel, which they never left without

receiving substantial aid to further the good cause which

he had so much at heart.  He died in 1820, aged sixty-

three, beloved by all.  He has one daughter, who still

survives, at the age of almost four score, with probably

at this time nearly two hundred descendants, living in

this county and the lower part of Barnwell.

These brothers were well educated and remarkably well

read.  They, no doubt felt, that this was a newly settled

country and that they were pioneers of civilization; that

the first thing to be done, after building their own

houses, was to erect churches’ that the benign and soften-

ing influences of Christianity should be spread around them.

They believed that they were not put here as Drones in the

hive, to eke out a miserable existence, to be of no use

to themselves, their country and mankind, but that they

had a destiny to fulfill in being useful to their country,

their fellow-man and their God.  They both gave liberally,

- 11 –

cheerfully, willingly, and God blessed all they under-

took.  These were the men needed then and we need such

to-day, and the example the have left us is worth of

imitation by all.

********************

- 12 -

And that’s the end of the Robertville Papers.  I’ve got animal stories to tend to.

Robertville, My Rohbuhtvull, Part 6: “MEMORIALS OF ROBERTVILLE, S.C.”, by Pierre Robert

September 15, 2014

(This is the 6th part of a series from a booklet compiled by Ora C. Paul, which is in the archives of the Beaufort County Public Library, Beaufort District Collection.)

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                MEMORIALS OF ROBERTVILLE, S. C.

by Pierre Robert

(Written for the Hampton Guardian – August 24, 1879)

            In a few years we hope to have a centennial celebra-

tion, as this place was settled not long after the

Revolutionary War by the descendants of the Rev. Pierre

Robert, who on account of religious persecution in France,

left his country and with other Huguenots came to this

country, and settled on the Santee, where he was pastor

of the Huguenot church at that place until his death.  He

was the first Huguenot preacher in the State.

            Our own recollections extend back comparatively a few

years, but at our elbow we have an old resident whose

recollections extend back many years, he having reached the

three score years allotted to man, and to him we listen

and gather facts, as we would from Hume or Gibbon.  Previous

to the war the people around this place, with very few ex-

ceptions, were in easy circumstances, many owning plantations,

with from fifty to two hundred slaves, and several as many

as five hundred.  Some planters numbered as many as twenty

thousand acres of land in their domain.  Their sons and

daughters were educated at the best Southern and Northern

colleges and seminaries.  Our village then contained one

small neat Episcopal church and a Baptist church.  The

latter was very large, plastered, painted, high-steepled,

had a gallery on three sides, the whole flooring neatly

carpeted, and furnished with an organ.  It was built

fifty years before the war (1812), and is said by those

who knew, to have been the best proportioned and the

finest country church in the State.  Nearly all the

planters living around, with their families attended this

church.  The writer well remembers that during the early

part of the war, when a little boy, his grandfather, being

slightly deaf and a deacon, always sat in the pulpit, and

invariably seated him by his side. ********: Of those I first

remember who were considered advanced in years, but two

now survive.  One of these is an old gentleman eighty-five

years of age, who for a long time was a professor in

Charleston College and afterwards President of Furman

College.  no one in the State has taught so many of her

citizens.  The other is a lady, a widow, now seventy-eight

years of age, who, together with her husband, were always

in latter days the largest contributors to the church.  She

has now eighty-two descendants (living).  Of the

regular pastors of this church five are now D.D’s, and

there is one each in the States of New York, Pennsylvania,

Virginia, Georgia and Missouri.  Of the members of the

congregation and church many are scattered now, and reside

in almost every Southern State of the Union.  In the winter

of 1864, during the passage of the vandal army thru the

State, having crossed the river Savannah from Georgia,

only five miles distant, it was the first village they

-2-

visited, and entirely deserted by every living soul.  The

aged men and women had “refugeed”, the young men were in

the armies, and all was silent as our church graveyard,

which has its monument pointing to heaven, and showing our

first contribution to our country’s cause at the battle of

Manasses.  Others were given at a later date, but the

spot at that time was marked by only a mound.  With all

of our sacred associations, this church, with every build-

ing and all fencing was destroyed by fire.  Since then a

smaller building has been erected on the same site.

******

MEMORIALS OF ROBERTVILLE AND THE VICINITY

            by Mr. Pierre Robert

- – – – -oo- – – – -

            Leaving this place in company of an aged friend, we

will journey in a buggy down the road leading to Purysburg,

which lies all the way near to the savannas or Savannah

river swamp.  Five miles takes us to Tarboro, where con-

siderable turpentine is distilled.  Five miles more takes

us to Hennies crossroads, a precinct where about two

hundred votes are polled, equally divided between whites

and blacks.  The place is rapidly improving.  About the

centre one of our most intelligent and worthy citizens has

recently erected a beautiful residence and store.  Zealous

in his country’s cause, he converted his whole fortune into

confederate bonds and lost.  His prosperity shows us that

- 3 –

men of the right stamina will rise far above pecuniary

misfortunes.  It is here that the old stage road from

Charleston to Savannah crosses, leading to Sister’s

ferry, seven miles distant, then over the river to Georgia –

the left hand leading to Savannah and the right to Augusta.

It was this road that Washington traveled in his carriage

from Savannah to Augusta in 1791.  Seven miles east of

this place is Grahamville depot, on the Charlesotn and

Savannah Railroad.

            Hennies has never, within the recollection of man,

had a post office in or near it.  Our indefatigable

congressman, Tillman, will in short time have an office

established here, with a semi-weekly mail.  The post office

will be called Tillman.******* Pursuing our journey further,

we arrive at the “ARM OAK”, an old landmark, near which,

twenty years ago, one of our most worthy citizens was

struck by lightning.  It was here too that, while under

military rule, one or two negroes were shot, and killed

by unknown parties.  Six miles further takes us to the

spot where, about seventy years ago, a few white men fired

upon and dispersed, a large body of negroes, then in a state

of insurrection.  A number were tried, condemned and executed.

It seems that the insurrection was intended to cover a large

part of the low country.  Their plan was to set the out-

buildings of every white man on fire at a fixed hour upon

a certain night.  The owner rushing out unarmed, would be

- 4 –

slain by a concealed party and his firearms and horses

procure for their own use.  Fortunately for the un-

suspecting whites, the effort made above Purysburg was

premature – one night ahead of the program.  A negro,

the property of a planter near by, upon the very night of

the intended attack informed his owner of their intended

plans, and by his timely caution prevented a fulfillment

of them.  The faithful fellow was bought by the State and

by a special act freed.

            Another miles takes us to the site of old Purysburg,

which is situated immediately on the banks, where the

tide ceases to affect the river, twenty-five miles by

water and eighteen by stage road to Savannah.  Purysburg

was settled before Savannah by a colony of Swiss and

Germans under Pury, to whom large baronies of land were

granted by the king of Great Britain.  The town was laid

out into lots with streets, and called for himself, Purys-

burg.  It was found that large sailing vessels could not

navigate the narrow and crooked river.  Freight had to be

carried down nearer to the sea where it could be loaded

for Foreign ports.  Horse boats had to be constructed

for this purpose.  Large numbers of horses were killed by

this laborious work.  The power of steam was then unknown.

The settlement proved unhealthy.  Fatal malaria fevers

prevailed, and without that great specific, quinine, were

almost as dreaded as yellow fever.  Savannah was soon

- 5 –

after settled.  These causes combined soon carried the

town on its downward course, and to-day scarcely ruins

enough remain to show where it stood, tho quite a

quantity of ranging timber, steamboat wood and turpentine

is still shipped from its wharves.  A large embankment

still stands with live oaks growing on it, probably thrown

up during the Revolutionary War.

            Fifty or sixty years ago a large flat was converted

into a steamboat by one of the enterprising citizens of

Purysburg.  It was called the “Cotton Plant”, and ran

regularly for a long time from Savannah to Purysburg – up

one day and down the next.  If all the vessels,of every

description, ever built, was moulded into one and came

flying into Charleston, to-day, it would not create more

wonder and amazement than the “Cotton Plant” did to the

good people of Purysburg and the surrounding country upon

her arrival at the wharf.  Purysburg has always been noted

for the large number of sturgeon caught opposite the town.

In the spring they seem to collect from the uttermost parts

of the sea.  They are not caught with bait, but by fasten-

ing three large iron hooks near the end of a strong cord,

with a heavy sinker at the extreme end, and throwing this

cord from the boat so that the sinker holds it straight

and firm, the fish rubs against the line and always

fastens its flesh in one or more of the three hooks, when

- 6 –

the fisherman hauls his prize into the boat.  These fish

are from four to seven feet long.  It is said to be fine

sport catching them.  If ever opportunity offers the

writer hopes to try his luck at the sport of sturgeon

fishing.

            Three miles from this place is the beautiful little

place of Hardeeville, noted for its healthiness and salu-

brious climate.  Along the route, the country a mile or

two on the swamp is always healthy.

            Two miles further on takes us to the old Hartstein

homestead.  The gallant Lieutenant Hartstein was first

brought prominently into notice under the following

circumstances.  Previous to the late war the British

government fitted out an expedition to find the long-sought

North-western passage.  The commander was compelled to

abandon his vessel and return to England by other means.

About ne year after some Yankees found her drifting in

Bank’s Bay, more than a thousand miles from where she was

abandoned.  They took possession and sold her in Britain

as a prize.  She was bought by the United States, nicely

fitted up and returned, commanded by Lieutenant Hartstein,

to the English government.  Hartstein was afterward made

a commodore in the Confederate service.  One mile takes us

where the railroad crosses the Savannah river, the extreme

end of Hampton County.  Now we retrace our steps, thinking

over times gone by and the instability of human affairs.

- – – – – oo – – – – -

- 7 –

 IMG_7184

Robertville, My Rohbuhtvull, Part 5: The Sale of a Negro Man Named April

September 14, 2014

(This is the 5th part of a series from a booklet compiled by Ora C. Paul, which is in the archives of the Beaufort County Public Library, Beaufort District Collection.)

008

State of South Carolina

Beaufort District

St. Peter’s Parish

Received this 25th day of November in the year

of our Lord 1830 of J. H. Robert, Five Hundred

Dollars, being in full for a negro man named April –

which negro man was deeded to me by my grandfather

Samuel Maner, in a deed commonly called a deed of

gift – dated 28th April 1815.

Samuel M. Robert

Witness:

Wm. H. F. Robert

Thos. H. Dixon

Beaufort District

St. Peter’s Parish

Personally appeared before me, William H. E.

Robert who being duly sworn sayeth that he was present

and saw Wm. Robert sign with instruments and that he

with Thos. H. Dixon were the subscribing witness thereto.

Wm. H. F. Ravenel

Sworn before me

10th Jan. 1831

John Riley

Robertville, My Rohbuhtvull: Part 4

September 10, 2014

007

 

(From Johnson’s Traditions of the Revolution or

War with England date of Settlement 1745.)

                We learned from members of the family of Winburn

Lawton of Charleston that three brothers and one

sister, Beulah, left England after the Monmouth

Rebellion during the reign of Charles II and settled

in old Charleston, then called Oyster Town.  The

brothers held an amount of money sufficient to buy

land.  The youngest brother elected to remain in

Charleston and the sister decided to remain with him.

She married William Seabrook and went with him to

Edisto Island.  She was the grandmother of Whitmarsh

Seabrook, Governor of South Carolina.  Tradition says

that the name was spelled LLawton and that the name

was Welsh.

*****

James Henry Rice says 10 Sept 23:  William Maner was

a captain under Marion.

*****

Jan. 17, 1903

“This is to certify that William Maner was a captain of

horse in the service of the State of South Carolina

in the Revolutionary War, as appears by records in this

office.

                /s/ J. T. Gantt

                                Asst. Secretary of State”

(This is the 4th in a series, and all images are courtesy of the Beaufort County Public Library, Beaufort District Collection.  This collection of notes about Robertville, South Carolina, were compiled by Ora C. Paul.)


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