Zephaniah Kingsley, a Loyalist in South Carolina

Because one thing leads to another…

I’m reviewing some of the old plats in the Lawton Family collection in the South Caroliniana Library in Columbia, SC. You can take photos for free if you use your cellphone or camera without a flash. The last time I was able to view this collection was in September of 2017. I didn’t take photos then but planned to take advantage of that on my latest visit.

I started with the beginning of the oversized documents that went back to the 1700s. Much of it confused me. There were names I didn’t know, like where John Smith deeds land to Sarah Smith, but I took photos of the documents anyway. Eventually there were names I knew: Joseph Lawton, Elias Robert, then John Robert which was a happy bonus for me. I didn’t expect him in this collection, even though his sister Sarah married Joseph Lawton. I took about 30 photos all total. I would have taken more but the parking meter would be running out of time across campus.

Once I got home, I spent a bit of time reviewing my photos. The earliest for John Robert was a plat of his land in 1782 which was part of the confiscated estate of Basil Cowper, and bordering on the land of Zephaniah Kingsley. Confiscated estate? What could this mean?

from the Lawton Family Papers

Courtesy of the South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, S. C.

I found reference to South Carolina Estate Confiscation Lists. I was being sucked into a black hole of history.

I found several kinds of documentation on ancestry.com.

One was a summarization of Kingsley’s case.

KingsleyZephaniah - FLHG_AmericanMigrations1765-1799-0722

Kingsley, Zephaniah. Memorials: Charleston, SC, 1782; London 1784; now of St. John, NB, merchant, sworn London 1787; by attorney, London, 1788. The claimant made a handsome fortune as a trader by importing British goods. He obtained permission to remain in Charleston with his family until the town surrendered to the Army in 1780 but, at the evacuation, was obliged to leave with them. Before he came away he sold a plantation for 5,000 pound sterling. Claim for a house and lot in Broad St; a house and lot in King St; two lots in Beaufort; 554 acres on Port Royal Island; 1,800 acres known as Black Swamp in St. Peter’s Parish, Granville Co; a house and lot in Frederica, St. James’s Parish, GA; a store at Indian Land; 1,000 acres on Long Came Road, Berkley Co. Conveyance of March 1778 from John Cox of SC, planter, t the claimant of 20 acres in Prince William Parish. Supporting memorial by John Shoolbred of London, merchant, 1788. Letter to the Commission from the claimant, London 1784: he has a large family in England and intends to sail shortly for NS. (12/46/314, 92/1a, 99/260, 109/184; 13/104/103, 130/256-292, 137/418-419).

He was a Quaker, and was affiliated with a group in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This document is from 1780, courtesy of ancestryDOTcom.

KingsleyZephaniah 1780 Charles Town SC

On the 14th: of the 12th: mo: 1780 Present 17 Members, our Friends David Brook & Seth Coffin from No. Carolina, and John Forman.

Two Letters from Isaac Peace & Zephaniah Kingsley of Charles Town So: Carolina, dated 5th: 9th: mo: & 18th: 10th: mo: past having lately come to hand, giving some account of their Care of Friends Meeting House & Ground, and the Papers relative thereto, were now read & refer’d to be considered at our next monthly meeting.

 

I also found 44 pages of his claim. There are several different accounts of the description of the Black Swamp property, in addition to every single thing that he owned. Scroll on down to the 39th page for a description of the Blackswamp property if you can’t read cursive, because I have transcribed the property description. At some point I’ll possibly transcribe the other descriptions of his properties, because this guy had some money, influence, power, and property. These images are also from ancestryDOTcom.

LoyalistClaims P01

To the Hon. the Commissioners Appointed by Act of Parliament for enquiring into the Losses and Levies of the American Loyalists.

The memorial of Zeph. Kingsley late of So. Carolina

Humbly Sheweth.

That your Memorialist had for many Years previous to the commencement of the late unhappy war resided in Charlestown & carried on an extensive Trade there being concerned in the Importation of British Goods whereby he had accumulated a very liberal & handsome fortune.

That during the time of the Usurp’d Government he met with much persecution from the Rebels, being three different times imprisioned & otherwise ill treated both in person & property on account of his attachment to the British Government, but being anxious at least to preserve Sufficient of his Effects to enable him to discharge his just Debts; Your Memorialist with great difficulty gained permission to remain with the Family in Charles town till the Town Surrendered to the King’s Army in the Year One thousand Seven hundred & Eighty.

That your Memorialist happy in that event & flattered with the pleasing prospect of being again restored to the Blessings of that Government under which he was born & had lived in Ease & affluence, till those unfortunate disputes took place; exerted every influence he had in endeavouring to reconcile the needs of the disaffected in those parts to Yield Submission to the Government of their lawfull King, that he thereby incurred the resentment of the Americans to Such a degree, that a Sentence of Banishment accompanied with the confiscation of the whole of his property were passed against him.

LoyalistClaims P02

That your Memorialist’s Wife & Family of Six Children are now remaining in America, bereft of every species of support save what the Mercy of the Ending may afford them.

That your Memorialist’s property amounted to Twenty thousand pounds Sterling & upwards, as by the annexed Schedule appears, & the Americans had before he came away Sold a Principal well Settled plantation belonging to your Memorialist for Five thousand pounds Sterling & upwards; These unhappy & distressfull circumstances have not only rendered your Memorialist incapable of satisfying his Creditors To whom he now stands justly indebted to the Amount of full Ten thousand pounds (Duly at an Interest of Five pounds percent per Annum) but have (illegible) left him totally destitute of any present means of (illegible).

Zeph: Kingsley

LoyalistClaims P03LoyalistClaims P04LoyalistClaims P05LoyalistClaims P06LoyalistClaims P07LoyalistClaims P08

LoyalistClaims P09LoyalistClaims P10LoyalistClaims P11LoyalistClaims P12LoyalistClaims P13LoyalistClaims P14LoyalistClaims P15LoyalistClaims P16LoyalistClaims P17LoyalistClaims P18

LoyalistClaims P19LoyalistClaims P20LoyalistClaims P21LoyalistClaims P22LoyalistClaims P23LoyalistClaims P24LoyalistClaims P25LoyalistClaims P26LoyalistClaims P27LoyalistClaims P28LoyalistClaims P29LoyalistClaims P30LoyalistClaims P31LoyalistClaims P32LoyalistClaims P33LoyalistClaims P34LoyalistClaims P35LoyalistClaims P36LoyalistClaims P37LoyalistClaims P38LoyalistClaims P39

A Tract of Land known by the name of Black Swamp in Saint Peters Parish Granvil County near Savannah River formerly John Smith Esqs on which he lived many years. Contains about 1800 acres of which about 1100 acres are rich Rice swamp and the remainder good high land, an exceeding good Garden and Orchard, Containing a great number of good fruit Trees, a tolerable good dwelling house, an exceeding good Kitchen, a Saw mill, a large Compleat rice machine which is worked with water, a Black smiths and a Carpenters Shop. A very large and almost new Barn, some Stables, and overseers house and negro houses for at least 150 Negroes and several other buildings. I sold this place for 4500 pound Sterling but the Purchaser on account of the Destructive war was obliged to give it up the title Deeds which he returned are now in the hands of Lieutenant Governor Bull. This Tract of Land with the Buildings &c were (as I was informed by one of the Purchasors) sold before I left Charles Town by the Americans for upwards of 5000 pound Sterling now valued by the appraisers at 4000 pound Sterling.

 

LoyalistClaims P40LoyalistClaims P41

Bristol a good cooper
Kelsey a good carpenter
Jack a waiting man
Flora a cook
Fanny ditto
Jennett a house maid
Lucie an (?) good washer
One Mulatto girl
One Negro do

LoyalistClaims P42LoyalistClaims P43LoyalistClaims P44

By 1782, Basil Cowper’s estate is confiscated, and Zephaniah Kingsley’s is in the process.

I’m actually surprised about this. There’s also another name on the plat, that of Thomas Patterson, and it stands to reason that he is most probably a Loyalist also.

I found a marriage announcement of John Smith’s daughter Sarah Smith who married a Loyalist, Major James Wright, which was announced in the Royal Georgia Gazette, Savannah, Georgia, on January 18, 1781.

SmithJohnAndSarah Royal_Georgia_Gazette_1781-01-18_[3]

Kingsley’s account says that John Smith lived on the property for many years, and looking at the extent of the development of a rich rice plantation and all the outbuildings, the place was well-developed, and that doesn’t happen quickly. Could we guess that John Smith was there for at least 10 years?

The oral history of the area says that the Maner brothers served with Francis Marion, and while in the area, they hid horses and slaves in the swamps – hid them from the British. They liked the area so much that they settled there after the war, and are noted as some of the earliest settlers. But it looks to me that the British were already there, the Loyalist Americans.

Why would I say that?

Because there’s yet another historical document in the Lawton Family papers at Caroliniana Library that states that Samuel Maner, a farmer of Coosawhatchie, purchased a portion of the Kingsley property.

What a fascinating story! And it’s right in my backyard.

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One Response to “Zephaniah Kingsley, a Loyalist in South Carolina”

  1. Catherine Maner Lawton and Her 1840 Plat | Ruthrawls's Blog Says:

    […] Kingsley Tract? It must be formerly belonging to Loyalist Zephaniah Kingsley, and the land was confiscated in 1782, a full 58 years earlier. Kingsley referred to the property […]

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