My plan was to take up the family history in 1800. But all the southern/Ted’s branch lived in South Carolina and I want to go back a bit to set the stage.
I am reading a wonderful book, “A History of the Upper Country of South Carolina ..” by John H. Logan, published in 1859. He was writing about the same time as Charles Dickens, a lovely time in English literature. Logan travels majestically through the landscape of pre-Colonial Piedmont, with mouth-watering descriptions of the Garden of Eden landscape and abundant game — buffalo, deer, elk, birds, fish, rich cane fields for pasture. His account of how settlement destroyed the native culture and polluted the rivers and killed the game could be written by a 21st century ecological activist.
When he finally arrives at the coming of settlers he is often able to quote from an old man who listened as a boy to an old man who was an original settler, thus making the history vivid and personal. I must quote a bit:
“The English were at this time conducting a lucrative commerce with the Chickasaws and a portion of the Creeks; Lachlan (a Scotch lad of 16 in Charleston) while strolling over the town came upon the busy quarters of the traders in the western suburbs, and beheld with astonishment hundreds of pack-horses, pack-saddles, and curious looking men in half-savage garbs, together with huge piles of packed merchandize, ready for conveyance to the Indian country. He became a pack-horse driver on the spot.”
I have not yet reached the part of his book dealing with actual settlers — “tillers of the soil”. First there are the Indian traders. Then cattle drivers. (Cowpens, SC). From the gradual picture he develops it becomes clear that this was the new frontier.
The early colonists who arrived before 1700 had come with a purpose. Crossing the ocean was a great commitment in terms of money or indebtedness. By the early 1700s, however, there was a significant population of settlers along the coast. Although the areas beyond settlement were dangerous, it was possible for a man to shoulder a weapon and strike out on foot. Some of these men were drawn by the adventure of pushing into the wilderness, seeking pelts in trade or just the Indian lifestyle. The trade quickly escalated and became more cutthroat competition. Logan denounces the men who cheated the Indians and drove them to revolt.
The other pattern which emerges from his book is of the importance of Indian trails and rivers as the pathways to settlement. He writes of the first trade in pelts being carried as packs by Indians along narrow trails. As the trade increased, the packtrains which lured young Lachlan widened the roads. Pirogues sailed up the rivers to the fall line. Forts/trading posts were built to protect these routes. All was ready for the great influx of settlers between 1740-1760.