Posts Tagged ‘Robertville’

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.

Robert G. Norton, the Sheriff of Beaufort District

June 22, 2019

We’ve talked about Robert G. Norton before. He married Sarah Mosse, whose sister Martha married Alexander James Lawton. I’ve written about A. J. and Martha a fair bit. As nearly as I can reconstruct, he was born in 1788 and died in 1868.

Now that I’m going through the old newspapers, I find that Robert G. Norton was the sheriff of Beaufort District. This was back in the day before it was called Beaufort County.


To Coosawatchie Gaol on the 1st inst. a Negro Man about 20 or 25 years of age, 5 feet 1 inch high, who says his name is DANIEL, and that he was sold in April last by Mr. Reuben Roberts, to Mr. Minor Wooler, of the up country. Daniel has on a brown woolie jacket, Vest and Pantaloons, and professes to be a Shoe Maker. The owner is requested to come forward, prove his property, pay charges and take him away.

Robert G. Norton.

Sept 4


Sheriff Beaufort District.


In 1849, this document was presented regarding the renewal of the charter of the Blackswamp Academy. A body of men signed, including Robert G. Norton. His brother-in-law Alexander James Lawton signed; they were brothers-in-law because they married Mosse sisters. William John Lawton signed; he was the son of William Henry Lawton which made him the nephew of Alexander James Lawton. John Seth Maner’s family intermarried with the Lawtons and others. James Jehu Robert was a cousin to many of these because of his descent from John Robert, the brother of Alexander James Lawton’s mother Sarah Robert Lawton. I can probably find other family connections with the few remaining signers, but I need documentation, and I’m only using my brain power right now.

Blackswamp Academy 1818-1849 P2Blackswamp Academy 1818-1849 P1Blackswamp Academy 1818-1849 P3

Charleston Courier, February 22, 1853.



Charleston Courier, November 27, 1860



Public Meeting at Robertville.

Messrs, Editors:–At a large and enthusiastic meeting of the citizens of St. Peter’s Parish, and other portions of the State, held at Robertville, on Monday, the 19th of November, ROBERT G. NORTON, Esq., was called to the Chair, and EDWARD BOSTICK, Esp., appointed Secretary. The following preamble and resolution were introduced by Col. S. LARTIGUE in a few well-times and pointed remarks:

Whereas, the Federal Government, which was instituted by our fathers, for the protection and security of our citizens, having passed into the hands of a sectional majority, which, by all of its antecedents, and in its present covert or avowed purposed, is pledged to the overthrow of our institutions and the destruction of our equal rights in the Union; and, whereas, the Legislature of South Carolina having unanimously provided for the call of a Convention to disrupt our connection with that Government and establish independence out of it: Be it

Resolved, That the people of St. Peter’s Parish, and other portions of the State here assembled, send to their brothers from the mountains to the seaboard, their congratulations in the auspicious signs of the times, and pledge themselves, heart and soul, in the glorious movement which has been inaugurated, looking to the early organization of a Southern Confederacy.

Mr. A. P. Aldrich, of Barnwell, having been then introduced to the audience, made on of his best efforts in support of the resolution. His speech was at once spirited, bold, defiant, counselling resistance by the State to Abolition rule, “at every hazard, and to the last extremity.” Mr. Aldrich was listened to with wrapt attention and applauded to the echo.

Mr. DeBow, the able editor of the Review, which bears his name, being present, yielded to a very general call to address the meeting. His address was received with most marked attention. Mr. DeBow said that it had been his proud fortune to be present in Charleston when the first Palmetto banner was flung to the breeze, and was received with shouts for a “Southern Confederation,” which went up from a thousand hearts. The time has come indeed, for such a Confederation, if we were worthy of our glorious ancestry; and the eyes of the whole country were now upon South Carolina. If she faltered the day was lost. She was earliest in the field and had never struck her flag.

Had her counsels prevailed, the day of retribution would not have been delayed so long. It had been fashionable to revile South Carolina, and he, one of her sons, had felt in other quarters, what it was to be proscribed on that account; but that day was passed. The glorious services of the old Commonwealth began now to be recognized, and it was perceived that her warnings had been, as it were, an inspiration from heaven. She it was that perceived early in the day the poison that was concealed under the wings of the Federal Government, as Mr. Randolph expressed it. When South Carolina moved, her sisters at the South would which could not even frighten children. With the resources in their hands, which had made this a great nation, a Southern Confederation would, in all of the elements of wealth and power and security, be unmatched in ancient and modern times. We have the Cotton bale, which makes the treaties and determines the diplomacy of the world. Interest, and not sentiment, governed nations; and by that relation of interest we have the world bound hand and foot. The fleets and navies of Britain are ours, if we want them, for without our Cotton, it might be said of them, “Othello’s occupation’s gone.”

Mr. DeBow continued this course of reasoning at considerable length, and closed with an eulogium upon the men of 1776, who knew how to defend their liberties, and who were not represented in 1860, thank Heaven, by descendants who would prove unworthy of them. Better this quick death, if that be needful, of the brave man, than the gradual sapping of our life-blood, which could only be the result of further adhesion to a Government which had now fallen into the hands of those who have given every evidence of vindinctive hostility to us, greater than ever before was felt by one people for another.

At the conclusion of Mr. DeBow’s remarks, it is scarcely necessary to say the resolution was unanimously adopted.

A resolution was then passed requesting the Charleston Courier, Mercury, and Beaufort Enterprise, to publish the proceedings.



Many daughters of Carolina graced the occasion with their presence, and lent inspiration not to the speakers only, but to all around them.

It appears that Robert G. Norton was a man of local and national politics. Leslie and I had not heard that he was the Sheriff of Beaufort District. At that time, Beaufort District would have covered a large territory. The Coosawhatchie jail is not near Beaufort or Robertville, so our best guess is that Robert Norton did not attend to the daily business of running the jail. Presumably a jailer did that, although I don’t have proof of that.

The people of old Robertville continue to surprise me.

The 1828 Response by St. Peter’s Parish to the Tariff Act

May 27, 2019


From the Charleston Courier, July 30, 1828.


From the Beaufort (S. C.) Gazette.

To the Citizens of Beaufort District.

Your fellow-citizens of St. Peters Parish, having convened at Robertville, on the 8th inst. to express their feelings in relation to the passage of the late Tariff Act, united in a vote disapproving thereof, as being unjust in principle, injurious in policy, and in violation of the spirit of the Constitution. Regarding the operation of this act, as highly oppressive to the interests and welfare of the Southern States, they deemed it a duty they owed to themselves and to their country, to resort to every measure sanctioned by the Constitution for counteracting its intended effect, and procuring its ultimate repeal. They believe that these objects will be more successfully pursued and readily attained by concentration of strength and unity of action; under this impression they have concluded to invite the co-operation of the whole of Beaufort District, in this patriotic work. They therefore recommend a general meeting of the inhabitants of Beaufort District, to be held at the Court House in Coosawhatchie, on Monday, the first day of September next, to take these subjects into consideration, and deliberate on the measures proper to be adopted to guard against approaching evils; and it is hoped that every citizen, who feels an interest in his country’s welfare, will give his attendance and the aid of his counsels. In recommending this meeting, your fellow citizens of St. Peters Parish are actuated by no spirit of disaffection to the Government of their choice. They cling to the Constitution with unshaken devotion and affection; and they rely with undiminished confidence upon the redeeming influence of its principles to check the progress of usurpation. but they believe that in order to make others just to us, it is necessary that we should be true to ourselves. That the blessings of liberty and prosperity are not to be enjoyed by a people sluggishly indifferent to them, and that those who value their rights must be active in asserting and securing them. They believe that the baleful operation of the late Tariff upon the already drooping prosperity of the Southern States, calls for vigorous and animated, but constitutional remonstrance; and that until we receive redress from the equal principles of the Constitution, it behoves us to counteract the effects of an intended monopoly by living within ourselves, by establishing domestic manufactures within our own borders, (?) our consumption to our own productions, fostering a spirit of industry, encouraging enterprize and promoting economy, we shall lea the burthen of the Tariff upon its authors, and secure our own safety and independence.

JOHN S. MANER, President

ALEX. J. LAWTON, Secretary

Robertville, July 10, 1828.

What was this tariff that got everyone in Robertville and St. Peter’s Parish all stirred up?

On this date, the Tariff of 1828—better known as the Tariff of Abominations—passed the House of Representatives, 105 to 94. The tariff sought to protect northern and western agricultural products from competition with foreign imports; however, the resulting tax on foreign goods would raise the cost of living in the South and would cut into the profits of New England’s industrialists. Nevertheless, President John Quincy Adams approved the bill on May 19, 1828, helping to seal his loss to Andrew Jackson in the 1828 presidential election.

The Tariff of Abominations? No, thank you.

Back to the Past: Robert’s Rules of Order

May 18, 2019

My first year at college, back in the day, found me joining a committee called the Concert Committee. Since I had some musical background, I thought this was a good choice for me.

I had no idea what these people were talking about. This committee was in charge of arranging for bands to perform on campus. Not garage bands, not marching bands, but musical groups of the day, like Little Feat, Linda Ronstadt, Steve Miller Band, the Eagles. This seemed way over my head that a group of college kids would be in charge of entertainment for a university. How would we even know who to contact? How do we know what to say?

The chair of the committee was a guy named John who had the most amazing head of hair, long wavy blondish hair parted in the middle. He wore wire-rimmed glasses and was very intense. Imagine your prototypical 1970’s radical; that might be a photo of John. He was going to do things right.

I think it was probably at the first meeting that it was brought up that we were going to follow Robert’s Rules of Order. I bought a paperback copy at the campus bookstore. I didn’t know who Robert was. I didn’t know that someday through strange twists of time and fate that I would live near his birthplace.

From GenealogyBank, the State newspaper, Columbia, SC, Sunday, May 05, 1985, Page: 223.


Author of Robert’s Rules

Hundreds of South Carolinians abide by his rules, but not many people except history buffs know that Henry Martyn Robert, author of Robert’s Rules of Order, was a South Carolina native. Even fewer know anything about the man himself.

Anyone who has gaveled a meeting to order knows the value of Robert’s little brown pocket volume of rules. First published more than 100 years ago, it is recognized as America’s highest authority on parliamentary law.

The author fully realized the importance of his project as he labored over it through the years, but little did he know how far-reaching his efforts would be, The publishers, Scott, Foresman and Company of Glenview, Ill., have received orders from Argentina, China, France, India, Japan, Mexico, Syria and South Africa. The publishers also have distribution points in Great Britain, Canada and the Philippines. And the blind have a Braille edition of Robert’s Rules of Order.

To date 3.4 million copies have been printed, the latest edition carrying a 1981 copyright.

Henry Martyn Robert, the man who started this groundswell of interest in parliamentary procedure, was born May 2, 1837, on his grandfather’s flourishing plantation near Robertville, in what is now Jasper County. He was the second of the four children of Dr. Joseph T. Robert and his wife Adeline, “a lady of remarkable intellectual ability,” whose family, the Lawtons, lived on a neighboring plantation.

Six years earlier, Robert’s father had given up a successful medical practice in the Robertville area to enter the Baptist ministry. Dr. Robert’s extensive education incuded a degree from Brown University, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa; two years of graduate study at Yale and a medical degree from Charleston Medical College (now the Medical University of South Carolina). Already perhaps one of the best educated ministers in the denomination, Dr. Robert, nevertheless, buckled down to study for a degree in theology from Furman Theological Seminary. There he became known as “a very correct, critical and thorough scholar.”

Dr. Robert was ordained pastor of the Black Swamp Baptist Church in his home community. The beautiful, tall-steepled church, carpeted throughout and boasting an organ, was considered the finest country church in the state. It is easy to imagine baby Henry starting Sunday School here, dressed in the starched white apron and little black hightop button-up shoes of the times, following in the footsteps of his pious ancestors.

Robert’s religious heritage went back several generations. He was the sixth lineal descendant of Pasteur Pierre Robert, who had led a band of brave Huguenots into the New World in 1686 in search of religious peace. Pierre Robert, whose homeland was Switzerland, was the first pastor of the colony which settled in the lush quiet of St. James, Santee. His descendants later moved south and acquired lands close to the Savannah River and founded the village of Robertville.

Dr. Robert’s early schooling was at Robertville Academy, at that time considered one of the best in state. But before young Henry was old enough to start school there, his family moved to Kentucky, where his father had accepted the pastorate of the First Baptist Church at Covington. Later the family moved to Lebanon, Ohio, where Dr. Robert became pastor of “one of the oldest, wealthiest and most influential churches in the state.”

When Robert was nine years old, in 1846, the family came home again to Robertville. Soon afterward Dr. Robert accepted the pastorate of the First Baptist Church of Savannah. As often as possible he accepted invitations to fill the pulpit of his old home church, Black Swamp. Baptist history shows that he baptized young Henry at 13, along with his brother, a year older, while the congregation gathered under a magnificent moss-draped magnolia nearby. This must have been at Black Swamp, though records are incomplete because the church was burned by marauders from Sherman’s army in its march from Savannah to Columbia in early 1865.

After serving the Savannah church a little more than four years, Dr. Robert returned with his family to the North “to further the college education of his children,” three sons and a daughter. He taught at Burlington University in Iowa


and later became president. After his wife died, he returned South, where his “kin and friends” were.

At 16, Robert entered West Point, graduating with honors four years later. After teaching philosophy at his alma mater for a year, he was commissioned a second lieutenant and assigned to the Corps of Engineers. His first assignment was to survey a route in the Pacific Northwest for military purposes.

While going through the Panama Canal to his West Coast duty station, Robert contracted malaria. When his condition worsened the following year, he was called back East and assigned as a defense engineer in Washington. War was imminent — a war that saw Lt. Henry Martyn Robert on the opposite side from his mother’s brother, Gen. Alexander Lawtonn, and many others of his South Carolina kin. Gen. Lawton, also a West Point graduate, served the Confederate as a quarter-master-general.

Robert was on duty at Philadelphia and at New Bedford, Massachusetts, and for 10 years following the war, he headed engineering projects in the Military Division of the Pacific. His work involved coastal fortifications specifically harbors and lighthouses, and he met people from all over the world.

It was while on duty in the San Francisco area that Robert recognized the need for some form of standardized parliamentary procedure, but New Bedford has been the scene, some years earlier, of his “first encounter with the problems of parliamentary law.”

Looking impressive in his officer’s gold-trimmed uniform, Robert had found himself elected spontaneously to take charge of a chaotic town meeting. New Bedford citizens, gathered in a Baptist church, were supposed to be discussing how to protect their harbor against a possible attack from the Confederate Navy, but a shouting match had ensued.

In his later writings, Robert doesn’t tell exactly how he brought the noisy mob to order except to say he “plunged in, trusting to Providence that the assembly would behave itself.” “My embarrassment was supreme” he admitted, vowing he would never again try to preside without knowing how.

This disconcerting incident led him to the project which became a consuming passion the rest of his life.

He immediately set out to find the instruction he needed As the only two known treatises on the subject were unavailable, he had to be content with the meager suggestions offered in the familiar one-volume encyclopedia of the day. He jotted down notes on a scrap of paper which he tucked away in his wallet for an emergency.

Later he located Thomas Jefferson’s rules for Congress, but realized they were much too complicated and undemocratic for the average church meeting or town council. Proving even less practical was Massachusetts legislative clerk Luther E. Cushing’s Manual of Parliamentary Practice.

Robert’s duty in California didn’t leave him much time for delving into his favorite topic, but it was constantly on his mind. Logical engineer that he was, he thought through every conceivable parliamentary question to a strong conclusion, trying to anticipate any problem that might arise along the way. California’s diversified population’s suggestions of “That’s the way we did it back home” gave him much to ponder.

By 1869, Robert had written a practical 15-page manual of basic parliamentary procedure. this he had printed at his own expense for his personal use and for close friends.

It was in California, too, that Robert, ever active in the work of his church, took on a personal home missions project. Seeing the plight of the hundreds of discouraged and destitute Chinese who had looked to America in vain for a better life, he found a special Chinese Rescue Mission.

In 1873, he was assigned to the Great Lakes area, where he spent 10 years. There in the cold winters when darkness came early, he at last found time for writing, and his real book of rules began to develop.

By late spring of 1874, more than a dozen years after Robert’s interest in parliamentary law had been kindled and after much writing and revising, he was ready to go to press, but he couldn’t find a publisher. D. Appleton and Company of New York, for example, turned him down in one polite sentence.

Undaunted, Robert decided to pay for printing the book himself. Working with two Milwaukee printing partners, Burdik and Armitage, he selected top quality paper and even paid for new type faces. After months of painstaking indexing, cross-referencing and proofreading every single line himself, Robert rushed home, finished sheets in hand, to share his triumph with his devoted wife Helen, who had encourage him through the years.

Robert shared the outcome of this moment in a letter to a friend years later. It was Helen, he admitted, who suggested a major change in the book after the type had all been set: Why not add examples of exactly how the rules would work? This would make it easier to understand. So back to his writing desk he went.

Next came a search for a publisher to bind the printed pages for 4,000 books, because Robert recognized that he needed a well-known name for promotion if his book were to reach the public. His approach to Chicago publishers S. C. Griggs and Company ended with a response as cold as the February day: He was an unknown author who had written about an unpopular subject, and what could an Army officer possibly know about parliamentary law?

At this, the young major firmly set his jaw and offered the publishers a contract they couldn’t turn down. He would pay for binding the books, an he himself would conduct a promotion campaign with the first thousand copies, sending samples with a questionnaire to legal authorities, legislators, colleges and presidents of church groups and fraternal organizations. This he did, and the response was overwhelming.

On February 19, 1876, Robert’s little nook was offered to the public, and orders could not be filled fast enough. In less than three months the presses has to start rolling again. Robert’s Rules of Order, its title chosen by the publisher, was on its way. Scott, Foresman and Company acquired publication rights shortly thereafter.

Grateful officers of governing bodies and fraternal orders from Maine to California wrote to Robert congratulating him. College presidents and state governors commended him. Even the United Presbyterian Church adopted his rules as standard authority, a form still followed in the Presbyterian Book of Order today.

Besides being practical, Robert’s rule book had the unselfish theme of fairness he so often quoted: “The will of the assembly.” The author held from the beginning that in as assembly (1) the majority must rule; (2) the minority must be heard; (3) the rights of the individuals must be guarded and (4) just and courtesy must prevail.

Robert, who earned the rank of brigadier general, retired from the Army on his birthday in 1901. He spent the rest of his life writing new rules and revising old ones, answering questions on points of order and accepting suggestions, which he incorporated in the later editions of his book. since his death, his family has kept up the revisions and published new editions at the same time retaining his basic principles and the same pocket-sized format he chose so long ago. Only the color has changed. the little brown book is now also available in maroon.

Robert was married twice. Some years after Helen’s death, he married Isabel Hoagland, who also aided him tremendously in his work. He and Helen were the parents of four children. Grandchildren still survive. He died at Oswego, N.Y., May 11, 1923, and was buried with full military honors in Arlington Cemetery.
Robert was described as deeply religious genial, friendly, gracious, quiet, intelligent and efficient. Perhaps a description written of his father more than 50 years earlier would also be fitting: “He combined the courteousness of a Southern gentleman with the indomitable energy of a Yankee.”

Ms. Law is on the journalism faculty of the University of South Carolina-Aiken.

Good night, Mr. Robert. We’re thinking of you.

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.)

016 017 018 019 020

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



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.)



011 012 013 014 015


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


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.



            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


            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 –


Robertville, My Rohbuhtvull: Part 4

September 10, 2014



(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


                /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.)

Robertville, My Rohbuhtvull: Part 3

September 10, 2014






(This is the 3rd in a series.  All images are the courtesy of the Beaufort County Public Library, Beaufort District Collection.  This comes from a booklet compiled by Ora C. Paul.)





Mr. Robert Wright’s Land


(N.B.)  The above plat was annexed to the following grant.



                Persuant to a warrant issued to me, I have

caused to be measured unto James St. John Esq. a

plantation or tract of land containing one thousand

seven hundred & fifty acres situate and being in

the Parish of St. Hellena in Granville County &

province aforesaid butting & bounding to the South

by land laid out to Mr. Thos. Owen the Honble Joseph

Wragg Esq. & Mr. Robert Wright & on the other side

vacant land & hath not make shape butting & bounding

as and expressed in the above delineated platt given

under my hand the 30th day of November one thousand

seven hundred & thirty five 1735.


General Office

Charleston 10 April 1804

I do hereby certify the

above plat to be a true

copy taken from Record

Book Code V, Page 12 &


by Artemas B. Darby


Robertville, My Rohbuhtvull: Part 2

September 7, 2014

(This is the 2nd in a series of notes about Robertville, South Carolina. These notes were compiled by Ora C. Paul, and all images are courtesy of the Beaufort County Public Library, Beaufort District Collection.)

022 021003 004 005

                As near as I can ascertain, the village of Robert-

ville was settled about 1740 or 1750.  From Mr. Salley,

state historian, I have these names of the earliest

settlers:  James Robert, born 1711, on the Santee, married

Sarah Jaudon, also of the Santee.  James died in 1774,

and is buried at Stony Creek Church, Sarah died in 1779,

and is buried near Robertville.  Captain Elias Jaudon,

her brother, was born on the Santee in 1715 and married

Elizabeth Robert, evidently a sister of James.  These

were grandchildren of Rev. Pierre Robert, who emigrated

from France shortly after 1685.

(This information is from the history of Black Swamp

Church, as given in the Savannah River Baptist Association


                The Lawtons were Welsh Dissenters: the Bosticks were

English.  From this church, established by them, have

come two daughter churches, May River church at Bluffton,

and Cypress Creek church in Hampton County.  In 1845,

the Robertville or Black Swamp Church sent delegates to

Augusta to help organize the Southern Baptist Convention.

More than 50 white ministers and more than 100 colored

(former slaves) ministers have gone out from Black Swamp


(The following list contains enumerations of some of the

older papers in Mrs. Coleman’s collection.)

                Indenture of Sale, dated 1790, of two tracts of land

including more than 600 acres on the Savannah river, from

Charles and Mary Johnston to Richard Bostick; plat

certified in 178 by John Fenwick.

                Indenture of Sales of land by Richard Bostick to

John Hutchinson in 1792.  The sale was recorded in 1803

and witnessed by Grimball Robert and John H. Robert.

                A deed of land to Seth Stafford by Stephen and

Mary Baldy, date 1806.

                “Subpoena ad Respondendum in Equity”:  William

Stafford and James L. Stafford vs. two members of the

Bostick family and W. H. Lawton; court of Equity at

Coosawhatchie in 1817.

                Letters of administration of estate of A. T.

McKenzie, Coosawhatchie, 1817, by W. M Hutson, Ordinary.

                Sheriff’s sale of 625 acres of land on the Savannah

river to John Kittles in 1801.

                Other interesting papers in Mrs. Coleman’s are:

                A bill for tuition of two sons, Tom and Oliver

Bostick, for three quarters, $75, in 1842.

                Letters written by Oliver Perry Bostick during the

winter of 1861-62 to his mother, when he was encamped

at Purysburg.  In one of these, he says, “The largest

skirmish was at Port Royal.  2000 of our men whipt 3500

Yankees, and drove them back to their boats at point of

bayonet.  Our loss was eight men killed and fifteen

wounded.  I don’t know what their loss was.”

                A contract by O. P. Bostick with the “freed people”

in 1867, mentions furnishing land for cultivation, allow-

inthem them ½ of net proceeds of whole crop, names the work-

ing hours and the ground for their possible discharge.

                Mr. J. C. Tison gave me these names of old planta-

tions which were between Robertville and the Two Sisters

Ferry road, near the present village of Tillman:

                COTTON HILL, belonging to the Lawtons, which later

became Pineland Club.  This adjoined the Carroll planta-

tion, which became the village of Tarboro.

                Below these were TURKEY HILL, belonging to the

Reuben Tisons; HOOVER plantation belonging to a Robert

who married a Bolan; KIRK plantation, and SAUSSY planta-


Robertville, My Rohbuhtvull

September 3, 2014


(All images are the courtesy of the Beaufort County Public Library, Beaufort District Collection.)





001 002



The State of South Carolina

To all to whom these Presents shall come, Greeting.

Know Ye, That in pursuance of an Act of the Legislature,

entitled, “An Act for the establishing the mode of

granting the lands, now vacant in this State, and for

allowing a Commutation to be received for some Lands

that have been granted;” Passed the 19th day of Feb.

1791; We have granted, and by these Presents do grant

unto Eliza Graham her heirs & assigns, a Plantation,

or Tract of Land, containing fifty acres surveyed for

Peter Robert Jun. the 12th day of March 1801, situate

in the District of Beaufort, St. Peter’s Parish,

Waters of Black Swamp, Waters of Savannah River,

Bounded SW, on land granted to Grimball Robert, NW, on

acres (?) of land, NE on Polly Kittles land, having such

Shape, Form and Marks as are represented by a Plat

hereunto annexed, together with all Woods, Trees,

Waters, Water-Courses, Profits, Commodities, Appur-

tenancies and Hereditaments whatsoever, thereunto

belonging:  To Have & To Hold the said Tract of fifty

Acres of Land, and all and singular other the Premises

hereby granted unto the said Eliza Graham, her

Heirs & Assigns, forever, in free & common soccage.

Given under the Great Seal of the State.  Witness,

His Excellency, Charles Pinckney, Governor & Commander

in Chief, in and over the said State at Charleston this

third day of August Anno Domini One Thousand Eight Hundred

Seven and in the thirty-second year of the Independence

of the United States of America.

I do hereby certify, for Eliza Graham a Tract of Land,

containing 50 acres surveyed for Peter Robert, Jun. the

12th Day of Mar. 1801, Situate in the District of Beaufort,

St. Peter’s Parish, Waters of Black Swamp, Waters of

Savannah River, Bounded SW on land granted by Grimball

Robert, NW on Gilereas land, NE on Polly Kittle’s land,

SE on Charles Jaudon.

And hath such form & marks, as the above Plat represents.

Given under my Hand, this 17th day of July 1807.

Dan Jas. Ravenel

Dy. Sur. Gen.

Robert Tanner

Charles Pickney