Posts Tagged ‘John Smith’

John Smith of South Carolina, Georgia, and England

September 6, 2019

This title might be a stretch. I don’t know for a fact that John Smith came from England. I do know that his granddaughter Mary Anne Cowper said in her will that her grandfather came over with Oglethorpe on the second voyage. She was parceling out properties to family members, and mentioned several prime Savannah properties on the bay and in what would now be in the historic district. So I’m stretching that to say that the grandfather she means is John Smith, not the father of her father Basil Cowper. Basil was born in Scotland, and I can’t find who his father is nor proof that he ever came to the Americas. So today, that is my theory. That could change since I’m still out of work due to the Hurricane Dorian (which didn’t actually happen), plus I have the world edition of ancestry. Par-tay in the making.

I have found several newspaper items from the Georgia Gazette that mention John Smith. What a common name. I suppose there could be other John Smiths in the area, but in order to be sure that this is the John Smith that I’m researching, I need to find him in conjunction with family, associates, and/or neighbors.

Savannah, May 13, 1794

On Wednesday the 25th of June next, will be sold, at public auction, at Red Bluff, New River, South Carolina, at the plantation of the late Mr. John, deceased.

THE Personal Estate of the said John Smith, consisting of 14 Negroes, a stock of cattle, two chair horses, a riding chair, a sulky, two carts, and plantation tools, some household furniture, and a few books. The Negroes to be sold in families. Conditions of sale cash.

And on the usual day of sale at Coosawhatchie Courthouse, the first week in July, will be sold,

A few pieces of household furniture, a mill for grinding rice with quern stones, and a rice fan.


May 12, 1794.

We know that the aforementioned John Smith is our John Smith. His wife was Elizabeth who had inherited a plantation called Red Bluff, so the plantation is not for sale.

The bulk of what I find about John Smith is in Savannah, Georgia. I haven’t found a will, but I do suppose that there was a will, since Elizabeth Smith is called his Executrix, and the assignment of a person as an executor or executrix seems to be a feature of a will.

The first mention that I found of John Smith, which started me down this Smith road, was a plat in the Lawton Family collection in the South Caroliniana Library. I have no definitive answer as to why this plat is in the Lawton collection unless it is because the property because part of a Lawton plantation.

John Smith deeds 100 acres to Sarah Smith.

South Carolina

Pursuant to an Order of Council to me directed Dated this day XXX hereby Certify for Sarah Smith a Tract of (Svrd for her the 28th of Augt 1769) Containing One Hundred Acres Situate near Black Swamp Bounded So ward by John Smith’s Land, all other sides by vacant Land, and hath such shape, form and marks as above Plat represents.

Given under my Hand this 5th Day of Jany, 1770.

John Bremar

D. Sur. Genl.

John Linder

Dep. Survr

John Bremar is the Deputy Surveyor General, and John Linder is the Deputy Surveyor.

When we went to Colonial Park Cemetery in Savannah, Leslie found the grave of John Smith.



the memory of


who died

November 1793

Aged 75 years

Blessed are the dead

Who die in the Lord;

they rest from their labors,

and their works do follow them.

So now we have gone full circle-ish from the beginning of finding John Smith owning property in St. Peter’s Parish to the end at Colonial Park Cemetery.

I’ve traced John’s wife, his children, and some of his grandchildren. This could go on for days and weeks, but I draw this to a close. Of course, if I find more about John and his family, I’ll take up the subject again.

As for now, there are Robertville stories in the making. Leslie has been asking when we can return to Robertville, figuratively. He wanted to sort out some stories about John Robert, and so I sat down with the South Carolina Department of Archives and History online records, and my goodness, what rich records. But first, I want to wind up the chapter on the plats and records that I requested from Caroliniana most recently, and that means a side trip to Catherine Maner Lawton’s plat in 1840.

This just goes to show that there is never an end to this hobby, this obsession, called genealogy research.

Sarah Smith Wright of Georgia, South Carolina, and Britain

September 3, 2019

There’s a method when you are researching families. It is called FAN. You research FRIENDS, ACQUAINTANCES, and NEIGHBORS. I have loosely used this method for years, not knowing that it was a thing. I skip around to people that are mentioned in conjunction with my main research topic, like a frog leaping from lilypad to lilypad. Sometimes I fall in the pond and become immersed.

So I started out 2 months ago by viewing the Lawton Family collection in the South Caroliniana Library. I requested 4 documents and/or plats. I haven’t gotten past the first 3 because I have discovered a whole area of research that hasn’t been discussed in my world. I am anxious to get back on track, but these people are pulling at me.

Take Sarah Smith. There is an early plat where John Smith deeds 100 acres to Sarah Smith.

South Carolina

Pursuant to an Order of Council to me directed Dated this day XXX hereby Certify for Sarah Smith a Tract of (Svrd for her the 28th of Augt 1769) Containing One Hundred Acres Situate near Black Swamp Bounded So ward by John Smith’s Land, all other sides by vacant Land, and hath such shape, form and marks as above Plat represents.

Given under my Hand this 5th Day of Jany, 1770.

John Bremar

D. Sur. Genl.

John Linder

Dep. Survr

In the Georgia Gazette, Savannah, Georgia, on January 18, 1781, the newspaper announced the marriage of Sarah Smith for Major James Wright. That explains the relationship regarding the land survey.

SmithJohnAndSarah Royal_Georgia_Gazette_1781-01-18_[3]


Sir James Wright isn’t just anybody. Google him. (Insert lilypad for stability.)

Once I had established that I should also be looking for John Smith in Georgia, there were lots of lilypads to leap onto. He had other children. He died in 1793.

Let’s jump back to Sarah Smith Wright, who died in Little Ealing, County of Middlesex, near London, England. Why is she in Britain, you ask? Because she married a Loyalist.

If you are a slave researcher, you can trace the slaves that she inherited from her mother Elizabeth Williamson Smith on through her will to other family members.

WrightSarahSmith Will P1

Little Ealing — 

County of Middlesex 

In the name of God Amen I Sarah Wright Wife of Sir James Wright Baronet of LIttle Ealing & County aforesaid being of sound mind and memory do make this my last Will and Testament. 

Imprimis after paying the Debts if any there are against my property — 

I give & bequeath to my nephew John McQueen of Georgia, North America, my Lot and Houses in Savannah bequeathed to me by my mother’s Will and likewise to the said John McQueen my part of Red Bluff left me by my mother — 

2dly I give to my Neice Margaret McQueen the following Slaves viz: Ishmael & Minty his Wife and Son Adam — 

3dly I give to my Neice Mary Anne Cowper the Slaves Diana and all her children likewise June and his Wife Hagar and their Children viz Jack Paul and Jacob their Daughter Tenah I shall hearafter mention 

4thly I give to my Neice Eliza Mackay, the Slave Jesse, son of June and Hagar. 

5thly and to Mary Anne Mackay My great Neice I give the Negro girl Tenah for her waiting maid. 

6thly I bequeath to my Neice Sarah Williamson the Slaves Joe and Jessey sons of Ishmael & Minty. The Silver Cup left me by my Mother I likewise give to her — 

And I desire before the Property is divided it shall furnish the Sum of fifty guineas for a Watch and likewise the Sum of Ten guineas /or a Seal I give to my Nephew James Wright 

WrightSarahSmith Will P2

As a small token of my affection for him 

I leave to my Friend Mrs Heron five guineas for a Mourning Ring. 

My own Watch I give to my Neice Catharine Bourke as her Sister has one – and to my Neice Elizabeth Bourke my gold chain and Locket with my Fathers & Mothers Hair in it 

All my other Toilets I leave to Mary Anne Cowper — 

To Mary Anne Mackay I give a Bible at 10 guineas value 

But in case these my Slaves are already Disposed of by my Attorney John McQueen which I gave him full power to do if he saw fit 

I do, then hereby give the value of each Slave before named – agreeable to the average sum they sold for viz. 

To Margaret McQueen I give the value of Two Slaves — 

To Sarah Williamson I give the value of Three Slaves 

To Eliza Mackay the value of one Slave and to Mary Anne Mackay the value of One slave 

To Mary Anne Cowper the value of the six Slaves left to her – making in all together the number of Thirteen Slaves mentioned in my Mother’s Will, except Diana and her Family which remains the same to her Mary Anne Cowper — 

In case of any Deficiency to supply these bequests to the value of one Salve less – that must be taken out of the number I left to Mary Anne Cowper from Hagars children. 

All the above mentioned property being bequeathed to me by my Mother’s Will under the restriction of leaving the same to some one or more of her own Family is the  

Reason of my not mentioning my Husband herein this my Last Will and Testament is made conforma There-to – Written with my own hand the year of our Lord one Thousand eight Hundred and Thirteen; the twenty sixth day of August – and I do here by nominate and appoint John McQueen Esqr of Georgia North America my sole Executor of the same — 

Sarah Wright 



In the Court of Ordinary Chambers 

26 April 1816 

Present the honourable John P. Williamson & Oliver Sturges Justices of the Inferior Court 

Personally appeared Archibald Smith of Savannah merchant, when being duly sworn saith he is well acquainted with the hand writing of Lady Wright decd who has signed the foregoing instrument of writing purporting to be her will, having frequently saw her write and been for many years a correspondent with her – that the said instrument purporting to be the will of the said Sarah Wright is in her own hand writing & the signature “Sarah Wright” thereto subscribed is the proper hand writing & signature of the said Sarah Wright. 

Archd Smith 

Sworn in open Court 

26 April 1816 

Saml M Bond 

Clk Co Ordy  

WrightSarahSmith Will P3

May 1816 Appeared John McQueen Esquire one of the executors named in the will of Sarah Wright deceased and qualified as such by taking the required by law.

S M Bond

Clk Co Ordy

No. 114

Will of Mrs. Sarah Wright

Filed 25 March 1816.

Bond clk

Recorded Book

  1. folio 348.–


Researching this family has made me order 2 books. Y’all, I don’t order books. I downsize. I give away. I recycle. I reuse. I blog and archive old photos and documents.

But now?? This family is making me achieve a new FAN level of lilypad behavior.

Mary Smith Cowper of South Carolina

August 25, 2019

I’ve been looking at some old plats from the South Caroliniana Library for an area that was known as St. Peter’s Parish, Beaufort District, in the mid-1800s. Before it was St. Peter’s Parish, it was known as part of Granville County, Province of South Carolina.

There is a particular plat where John Smith deeds part of his land to his daughter Sarah Smith. 100 acres to be exact. It is a square shape which borders John’s land on one side, and vacant land on the other three sides.

But who is John Smith, and why is this plat in the Lawton Family Collection? I don’t have real answers, but I am guessing that this plat of land later became part of a Lawton plantation.

When I look for answers as to whom John Smith was, I check the old newspapers on GenealogyBank. I find two marriage announcements: one where his daughter Sarah Smith is marrying Sir James Wright, a loyalist in Savannah, and another daughter Mary is marrying Basil Cowper. I found a good bit about Mary, so let’s start with her.

Here are some probate records from Savannah. Mary’s husband Basil was banished from the colony of South Carolina, and his estate was confiscated. He died in Jamaica in 1802, but it appears that Mary didn’t go with him. They had two daughters. Mary Anne and Margaret, who also stayed in what became the United States.

The first two images appear to be out of order, and the handwriting is smeary, like a rough draft. She sorts it all out, and the third image starts to make sense. Turns out, she wrote it in pencil, and then in a later court document after her death, her brother Archibald Smith certifies that it is her true handwriting and signature.

CowperMary Probate P1


1818 from James Cuthbert’s Estate. Settled as due to Mary Cowper by Mr. McQueen

Viz — $7225.89

1 Jany 1819 due to ditto.

From my mother’s Estate XXX etc ten Negroes — $3500

Interest thereon – 1680


This at my own disposal

I give to my niece Eliza Mackay out of the above sum four thousand Dollars said Money next XXX is my bequest to my Daughter Margaret McQueen.

I bequeath to Sidney Anderson out of this pound 200 Sterling if she is living and to be paid her as soon as maybe after my death free of all charges or deduction the sum of 200 pound Sterling aforesaid.

I bequeath to Jesse Lamont 200 pound Sterling likewise out of this fund under the same injunction of the sum entire base of diminution

As part of the portion XXX up to her of the half I have of the Jamaica property.

Whatever has accrued of Interest upon my said separate property to the time of my death I leave to Mary for her self & to go toward the Judgment or fulfilment of my said Will herein specifyed of which I constitute & appoint herself & Mrs. Eliza Mackay executors.

Mary Cowper

Jany 18th 1821

I intend to write this in Ink if I can best of time & ability herewith it XXX the Sense is clear enough & must stand.

To Mrs Margaret McQueen from my mother’s property, Maurice, Nancy, Lucinda, William, from Jane’s property to Mary Anne Cowper – Molly & her three sons viz. George, Sam, & Harry, My Tankard etc is for Mary viz Silver ware viz silver forks, spoons. Also my bed stead beddings & other household furniture & table & bed linnen for Mary as she may have occasion for it & is unprovided.

Jany 18th 1821 and Feb 22d 1821

When I now give & bequeath to Mary Anne Mackay the Sum of Sixty pounds Sterling for a watch or however she may please to dispose of it.

Mary Cowper

CowperMary Probate P2

To my daughter Margaret McQueen I give & bequeath one thousand dollars out of this oney accounted to me by John McQueen Esqr as executor of James Cuthbert’s estate & likewise my attorney to receive my mother’s legacy to me that is to say out of the said sum specified of $12,405.89 – over and above one thousand dollars from the land at Red Bluff left me by my mother or what ever sum it sold for be it more or less – which land I gave to her & them mentioned to confirm it.

I give and bequeath to my daughter Mary Anne Cowper the residue of the above mentioned property be it more or less to her to have and to hold at her own disposal – this day of Mrch the twentieth one thousand eight hundred and twenty.

Mary Cowper

Whereas the portion I am entitled to of my Husband’s Estate reverts at my death to my two daughters Mary Anne Cowper and Margaret McQueen equally divided between them but the interest accruing there on that is to say upon my said portion or third part what ever it may be at my death. I desire it may go towards the payment of my debt to Sidney Anderson and any deficiency to make up that Sum. Mary Anne will supply it to discharge the same out of the half to reverting to her and the half lot of land I leave to Mary desiring it may be taken

CowperMary Probate P3

1818 from Jams. Suthberts Estate Settled and due

to Mary Cowper (by Mr. McQueen) viz $7225.89.–

1st Jany 1819 Due to Ditto from my Mother’s

Estate (XXX the ten Negroes)  $3500.–.–

Interest Thereon  $1680.–.–

(This at my own disposal)  $12,405.89.

I give to my Niece Eliza Mackay out of the above Sum four thousand Dollars of Said Money XXX XXX is my bequest to my Daughter M. McQueen

I bequeath to Sidney Anderson out of this fund 200 pound Sterling – if she is living, & to be paid her as soon as may be after my death, free of all charges or deductions of the sum of two hundred pounds Sterling aforesaid.

I bequeath to Jess. Lamont two hundred pounds Sterling likewise out of this fund, under the same injunction of the sum entire free of diminution.

To my Daughter Margaret McQueen I give & bequeath one thousand Dollars out of the money accounted to me by Jno. McQueen Esqr as Executor of Jno. Cuthberts Estate – and likewise my attorney to receive my Mother’s Legacy to me – that is to say out of the same sum specified of $12405.89.– over & above one Thousand Dollars from the Land at Red Bluff left me by my Mother – or whatever Sum it sold for, be it more or less – which Land I gave to her & this is mentioned to confirm it —

CowperMary Probate P4

I give and bequeath to my Daughter Mary Anne Cowper the residue of the abovementioned property be it more or less, to her to have and to hold at her own disposal. This day of March the twentieth, one Thousand Eight hundred & twenty


Mary Cowper

Whereas the portion I am entitled to of my Husbands Estate, reverts at my death to my two Daughters Mary Anne Cowper & Margaret McQueen equally divided between them – but the interest accruing thereon – that is to say, upon any said portion or third part whatever it may be at my death, I desire it may go towards the payment of my debt to Sidney Anderson – & any deficiency to make XXX Sum Mary Anne will supply it to discharge the same out of the half so reverting to her – and the half Lott of Land I have to Mary – desiring it may be taken as part of the portion reverting to her, of the part I have of the Jamaica property.

Whatever has accrued of Interest upon any said separate property to the time of my death I leave to Mary for herself and to go towards the payment as fulfilment of my said will herein specified of which I constitute & appoint herself and Mrs. Eliza Mackay Executors.


Mary Cowper

January 18th 1821

I intend to write this in Ink if I can, but if time and ability permits it not – the sense is clear enough, and must Stand.

To Mrs. Margaret McQueen – Maurice from my Mothers property – Nancy, Lucinda, William from Jama. Property.

To Mary Anne Cowper – Molly, and her three Sons, viz, George, Sam, and Harry. My Tankard etc is for Mary – viz Silver Forks and Spoons – Bedsteads – Bedding and other Household furniture and Table & Bed Linens also for Mary, as she may have occasions for it & is unprovided.

Jany 18th 1821 and Feby 22d 1821  Where I now give and bequeath to Mary Anne Mackay the Sum of Sixty pounds Sterling for a watch or however She may please to dispose of it.


Mary Cowper

A true Copy Errors Excepted

CowperMary Probate P5

State of Georgia

Chatham County

In the Court of Ordinary Chambers. 24 April 1823.

Present the honorable Thomas N. Moul & Edward Harden Justices of the Inferior Court of Chatham County sitting for ordinary purposes. Personally appeared Archibald Smith of Savannah Esquire, who being duly sworn doth depose declare and say that the annexed paper written with pencil and signed “Mary Cowper”, purporting to be the last will and testament of the said Mary Cowper, late of Savannah widow deceased bearing date the twentieth day of March one thousand eight hundred and twenty, also an addition to the same, also in pencil writing, signed “Mary Cowper”, & dated the Eighteenth day of January one thousand eight hundred and twenty one – and a further addition to the same signed “Mary Cowper” also in pencil writing, dated the last mentioned day, and also on the twenty-second day of February one thousand eight hundred and twenty one, is and are, all in the handwriting, and of the signature of the said Mary Cowper, well known to him the deponent for years past, as the deceased was the sister of this deponent. And further the said Archibald Smith, saith, that the Transcript of the said will hereto annexed and written with ink is a true and litteral copy of the said will written in pencil

CowperMary Probate P6

And has been copied by and is in the hand writing of Mary Ann Cowper, daughter of the said Mary Cowper one of the Executrixes named in the will aforesaid, and further that at the time of the several dates of the said will and long afterwards and until the death of the said Mary Cowper which took place on the XXX day of XXX, Eighteen hundred and twenty one the said Mary Cowper was & continued to be in her perfect senses and of sound, disposing & intelligent mind.

Archd. Smith

Sworn to in open court

This 24th April 1823

S M Bond

Clk Co Ord

24th April 1823. Then appeared Mary Ann Cowper & was duly qualified Executrix of the annexed will of Mrs. Mary Cowper decd by taking the oath presented by Law recds letters Testamentary etc accordingly.

Bond CCO


Let’s go to Savannah! And wander through Colonial Park Cemetery looking for the grave of Mary Cowper.

There is spotty cell service in the Cemetery. When I try to find the memorial on, I have zero service. We walk a bit a look at the flat stones, because I remember that Mary has a flat stone, not an upright marker or a box grave. Finally the cell service gives me enough of a signal that I can access the website on the cellphone, and I see in one of the photos that there is a corner of another flat stone next to Mary, so let’s look for at least two stones side by side.


U. S. Corps of Topographical Engineers

Died May 31st 1818

Aged 42 years

In the Blessed Hope

of Salvation through Christ.






BORN IN 1773;

DIED IN 1822.

Here may the treasured dust repose,

Till God shall bid the dead arise.

And then, with kindred spirits, round

Obtain a mansion in the skies.

To the dear memory of

an Excellent and most beloved Mother


widow of


Daughter of

Jno. & Elizabeth Smith

Born in South Carolina

Died the 10th April 1821,

aged 69 years.

This stone is place by her children

Nature mourns! but Faith rejoices!

The perishable marble will but a little

while endure to record her name or worth

here, and those who read it, and those who

inscribe, shall also be mouldered  into dust.

Happy they who have, “Their names

written in the book of life,” whose hope

like hers, is fixed on high.

Should aught beguile us on the road.

When we are walking back to God,

For strangers into life we come,

And dying is but going home.

Welcome, sweet hour of full discharge

That sets our longing souls at large,

Unbind our chains, breaks up our cell

And gives us with our God to dwell.


to the Memory of


who departed this life 24 March 1809

Thrice welcome death!

Which after many a painful bleeding step

Conducts us to our home.

And lands us safe on the long wished-for-shore.

Prodigious change! Our bane turned to a blessing

Death disarm’d, loses its terror quite

All thanks to Him who scourg’d the venom out.

The happy Soul anticipating Heaven

Freed from the thraldom of encumbering clay

Spring into Liberty, and Light, and Life.


by his sorrowing Family

Whose only consolation is their trust

that their loss is his gain.

This XXX

Sacred to the memory of


who died XXX

aged 21 years 11 months & 18 days


(The rest is illegible)

Sacred to the memory of a Sister

Here lie the remains of


Daughter of John Morel Esq. dec.

who was kill’d by a fall from a horse

the 5th of April 1790

Aged 11 years 11 months & 15 days.

Fair was the flower; soft the vernal sky,

Elate with hope we deem’d no tempest nigh;

When lo! A whirlwind’s instantaneous gust

Left all its beauties withering in the dust.


the memory of


who died

November 1793

Aged 75 years

Blessed are the dead

Who die in the Lord;

they rest from their labors,

and their works do follow them.

Would you like to find these folks? They are across the sidewalk from the marker of Edward Greene Malbone.

Where is Mary’s mother Elizabeth Williamson? Her father John Smith is here, along with other family members.

I’m going to poke around the internet. I’ll be back.

Basil Cowper, a Loyalist in South Carolina and Georgia

August 20, 2019

I’m looking at several old plats that I received from the South Caroliniana Library. These are in reference to the Lawton Family Collection.

One plat created in 1809 for John Robert mentions the confiscated estate of Basil Cowper. Another plat mentions that John Smith has deeded 100 acres to Sarah Smith on January 5, 1770.

This was going to cause me to tumble down a rabbit hole in search of answers.


From GenealogyBank, Georgia Gazette, February 23, 1769.

MARRIED.] Mr. Basil Cowper, merchant, to Miss Polly Smith, daughter of John Smith, Esq. a beautiful and accomplished young lady.

Surely this is the same John Smith marrying away his daughter. But Polly? I remembered that is a nickname for Mary, and this would serve me well to remember, because she isn’t referred to as Polly again.

The following screenshot from the Georgia Historical Society’s website show a collection referring to Cowper. He was in business in Savannah with the Telfair brothers , Edward and William. For a while he was a Patriot, then a Loyalist, which didn’t change even when he was banished and his lands confiscated.



Imagine that you congratulated Cornwallis on his victory at Camden and got blacklisted. The Rebel forces apparently kept a grudge. Below is another screenshot. Basil Cowper is is Class IV, #2.


This report is from ancestry regarding the Cornwallis Papers of the Virginia Colonial Records Project.


So what else can we find out about Basil Cowper? Using the newspapers alone for the year 1769, I find numerous references. He was a merchant, a real estate agent, and a slave holder. I’m using the year 1769 because that was the year he married Mary Smith, and we can get a snapshot of that colonial time period.


From the Georgia Gazette, March 1, 1769.


A RICE PLANTATION, consisting of 1050 acres of River Swamp, on the Carolina side of Savannah river, nearly opposite the town of Savannah, formerly belonging to Mr. John Smith, having a spacious barn 120 feet long, including a walk of 40 feet square for the cattle that work the machine, which is of the best kind and quite new, with a wharf before the door. The land has 100 acres cleared and under good dams, which has produced a plentiful crop of rice this year. It may be taken possession of in February next. Enquire of Basil Cowper or Cowper and Telfairs in Savannah.


April 19, 1769

RUN AWAY, on Monday the 27th ult. A NEGROE FELLOW, named JACK, about five feet nine inches high, of a yellowish complexion, has a large scar on the left side of his head cut by a hanger, and a scar upon his ear by the same stroke, and several cuts upon his body; he speaks good English, and will endeavour to pass as a free man. A reward of ten shillings, if taken within ten miles of Savannah, and twenty shillings, if a further distance, on a delivery to


Savannah April 4, 1769.


July 12, 1769


WHEREAS the Provost Marshal of this province, by virtue of a writ of attachment to him directed, did attach the lands, tenements, goods, chattels, monies, debts, and books of account, of Thomas Little, who is absent from and without the limits of the said province, in the hands and possession of Basil Cowper, at the suit of William Moore; AND WHEREAS the said Basil Cowper , as a creditor in possession, hath, agreeable to the direction of the Attachment Law, filed his declaration in his Majesty’s General Court of Pleas against the said Thomas Little, and hath obtained the following rule, viz.

Cowper, Creditor in possession,



30th July, 1768.

ORDERED, that the defendant do appear and plead within a year and a day, otherwise judgment.

By the court,


Notice is therefore hereby given, That, unless the said Thomas Little do appear and plead agreeable to the aforesaid rule or order, judgment will be entered against him accordingly.

GREY ELLIOTT, Attorney for the creditor in possession.


September 20, 1769

JUST IMPORTED, in the ship Polly and Betsey,


And to be sold on the most reasonable terms at their store on the Bay,

A NEAT ASSORTMENT of EUROPEAN  and EAST-INDIA GOODS, suitable for the season.


How did Cowper get property in Black Swamp in the province of South Carolina? From his father-in-law John Smith? In 1770 John Smith deeds 100 acres to his daughter Sarah Smith, so why not to his other daughter?


I also found a bill of sale at this website for a Negro man named Sam.

It is also dated in 1769 on February 24.


I found a court document on ancestry that has that format with a party of the first part, party of the second part, and party of the third part. It seems similar to another document that I found in the Lawton collection that lists the marriage of Joseph Lawton and Martha Stoney Barksdale Lawton, except theirs list all the slaves on two different plantations on Hilton Head. First I found the index page, and because the entire documents are not transcribed online, I scrolled through multiple pages until I came to the right case.

CowperBasil 1767-1771 will and probate book

CowperBasil wills and probate

Of course I got sidetracked by other cases. See the ones where Negroes were granted Manumission? I really need to go back and look at those. Which is an entirely different rabbit hole.

I’ve transcribed some excerpts.


IN WITNESS whereof the said parties to these presents have hereunto and to a Duplicate thereof set their Hands and Seals the day & year first above written

Sealed & Delivered (being first duly exempt)

By the within named Basil Cowper & Mary

His wife & Daniel Blake in the presence of

John Ranier  James Wilson

Basil Cowper  LS

Mary Cowper  LS

Henry Middleton  LS

Daniel Blake  LS

Benj Smith LS

Sealed & Delivered by the within named Henry Middleton & Benjamin Smith Esq. Of in Chas Town, So Carolina in the presence of us John Ranier  James Wilson

South Carolina:  Before me John Remington Esquire one of his Majesty’s Justices of the Peace for Berkley County Personally appeared John Ranier & James Wilson the two subscribing Witnesses this Deed who being Duly sworn upon the holy Evangelists of Almighty God make oath and say that they were present in London & said the oath in named Basil Cowper & Mary his wife & Danl Blake Surety Sign Seal & as their act & Deed deliver the within Deed of Land for a Year that they were also present in Chas. Town South Carolina and saw the within named Henry Middleton and Benjamin Smith Esquires severally sign Seal & as their act of Deed XXX the said Lease and that they the Deponents subscribed their names as XXX Thereto.

John Ranier

James Wilson

Signed & Sworn the 28d day

Of May 1770 Before me 

John Remington JP.


KNOW ALL THEN BY THESE PRESENTS that we Basil Cowper late of the Town of Savannah in the Province of Georgia but now in the City of London, Merchant, John Smith of the Town of Savannah Aforesaid Planter are held and firmly bound to the XXX Henry Middleton, Daniel Blake & Benjamin Smith all of Charles Town in the province of South Carolina Esqs in the Sum of Seenteen Thousand and Thirty one pounds good and lawfull money of the said province of South Carolina to be paid to the said Henry Middleton, Danl Blake & Benj Smith, etc. Etc.


….. To Hold the same unto the said Henry Middleton Daniel Blake and Benjamin Smith the Trustees aforesaid and the Survivors and Survivor of them of the Heirs and assigns of such Survivor for Ever, In Trust for the use benefit & XXX of the said Lord William Campbell and Lady Sarah Campbell his wife and their issue according to the Several Tracts, Limitations, Settlements and Estates mentioned and set forth in the marriage Bond & Bonds Indemity recited in the said Indenture of Release and according to the spirit & intent and meaning of the same And whereas the said Mary Cowper, the said wife of the said Basil Cowper, being a Minor at the Time of Executing the said Indentures of Lease and Release could not make any conveyances and assurances in the Law to Bar or preclude herself from her Right of Dower… 


Lord William Campbell is marrying Sarah Izard, and they are referred to in the document as Lord and Lady Campbell. She is the daughter of Ralph Izard, deceased.

The newspapers also note the event of the death for Basil Cowper as dying in Jamaica in 1802.

From the Georgia Gazette, August 12, 1802.

Died on the 28th of June last, in the island of Jamaica, Basil Cowper, Esq. formerly a respectable merchant in this place, and a worthy man.


After poking around a bit more on the internet, I find some court documents on regarding Mary. She will be the subject of the next blog post.

Mary lived for a long time after Basil’s death. Since she was listed as a minor when she married Basil Cowper, does this mean that it was an arranged marriage? Perhaps her father and Basil were business associates since their names are in conjunction in court documents and in the newspapers.

Mary Cowper’s memorial is on findagrave. She’s buried in Savannah at Colonial Park Cemetery.

You know what this means…

We’re going to Savannah.


Zephaniah Kingsley, a Loyalist in South Carolina

August 17, 2019

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

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

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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.