South Carolina Pioneers

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Henry Farmer House in Beaufort

Henry Farmer HouseDuring the 1790s the long staple sea-island cotton and cotton gin became a popular and lucrative crop in the State of South Carolina. Ultimately, it was widely planted in coastal regions. Henry Farmer was one of the planters who knew prosperity from growing cotton. He built his home on 412 East Street in Beaufort, South Carolina. Some of the materials used were wooden pegs and imported copper nails.

Second European Landing on the American Continent

Although the Spanish landed twice on the island of St. Helena off the Carolina coast, they did not settle there. All that they did was take some peaceful Indians to use as slaves. When Jean Ribault landed on Parris Island with his French Huguenots in 1562 a French gentleman said of them "they had the means to achieve some notable thing, worthy of eternal memory." On May 27th, 1562, Ribault anchored in ten fathoms of water off what is known today as Parris Island, just a few miles from Port Royal. " Ribault and his men landed, and while they walked through the forest, flocks of wild turkey flew above their heads, and around they beheld partridges and stags. Upon returning to the ships, they cast their nets in the bay, and caught fishes in numbers so wonderful that two draughts of the net supplied enough for a day's food for the crews of both ships." Ribault built a fort which he named Charlesfort before returning to France to report his discovery, leaving behind a garrison of twenty-six men. Three years later another French ship landed at Port Royal but the Spanish had already destroyed the fort. The Spanish built a fort for themselves which the Indians destroyed and another fort in 1677. The latter fort was constructed of cedar posts and tabby because two years later two American officers found the outlines of an old fort of tabby and cedar which they believed to be Ribault's fort. In 1732, the English built their fort. An old house still stands in Beaufort, more than two hundred years old which appears to be built over the fort. It includes a large porch and pillar, and the lower portion built with tabby in which there are loop-holes for rifles and beneath them a stone ledge for ammunition. Source:Beaufort County, South Carolina by N. L. Willet.

Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head IslandHilton Head Island is named for the English sea captain William Hilton who was hired by a syndicate of Barbadian planters. He sighted the high bluffs of the island in August of 1663 while exploring the Port Royal Sound, and named it "Hilton Head," which referenced the visible head lands of uncharted waters. Upon the onset of the American Revolutionary War, the colonists on Hilton Head sided with the patriots. During the war he British frequently raided Hilton Head Island from their stronghold located on Daufuskie Island, capturing slaves later selling them in the West Indies. The raids were constant throughout the war, even continuing after the surrender of Lord Cornwallis. Sea Island Cotton was grown on the banks of the Beaufort River as a lucrative crop. Once again, during the War of 1812 the British invaded Hilton Head Island and burned the town and most of the beautiful sea island homes. Thus, the old county records were lost.

Scottish Settlers to Port Royal were Flogged by the Spanish

Claverhouse In 1683 a few Scotch families were brought to Port Royal by Lord Cardross where they established a settlement. Those were the cruel days of Claverhouse in Scotland, and a scheme was entertained for bringing 10,000 sturdy Covenanters to Carolina. Claverhouse (near Dundee) was owned by John Graham, 1st Viscount Dundee. The scheme came to nothing. Cardross managed to encounter difficulties with the people at Charleston, and returned to Scotland in disgust. In 1686, in time of peace, a Spanish force pounced upon Port Royal and murdered some of the Scotchmen, while flogging others within an inch of their lives. The Spanish carried off what booty they could find and left the place a smoking ruin. As a result, the men of Charleston boarded two stout ships with 400 men to sail against St. Augustine, but the newly appointed Governor Colleton arrived upon the scene and forbade their sailing. His mandate was obeyed with growls and curses, however, the governor was upheld by the lords proprietors.

The Location of Old Village

Port Royal Historically, the boundaries of Port Royal were defined by Beaufort to the North, the Beaufort River to the East, Parris Island to the South, and Battery Creek to the West.

Map of Beaufort County South Carolina

Beaufort County Genealogy: Wills and Land Grants

Beaufort County, South Carolina Beaufort County was formed in 1769 from the parishes of Prince William, St. Luke, St. Peter and St. Helena. The county and county seat were named for Sir Henry Somerset, Duke of Beaufort (1684-1714), one of the Lords Proprietors of Carolina. French explorers first visited this area long with the English arriving in 1562 to establish a fort. Later, in 1566, the Spanish established a temporary fort on this site The town of Beaufort was founded in 1710 and is the second oldest town in South Carolina. It was visited by pirates, including Blackbeard who is thought to have hidden some of his treasure nearby. Large and rice and sea island cotton plantations later enhanced its economy. During the War Between the States, Federal troops occupied Beaufort in December 1861.

Among the earliest settlers were: Alexander Garden (ca. 1730-1791), Stephen Elliott (1771-1830) and Robert Smalls (1839-1915).

Beaufort County Probate Records Available to members of South Carolina Pioneers

  • Deloach, Jesse, 1785 Land Grant
  • Deloach, Jesse, 1785 plat
  • Goette, Henry, distribution of slaves. Bond of David Horton (1 Feb 1841)
  • Lawton, Sarah LWT 1832
  • Lawton, Joseph LWT
  • Nielson, Nicholas of Hilton Head Island, LWT


  • Hilton Head Cemetery

Then there is the Case of the Beaufort County Records

Beaufort County Court House According to one of our researchers the oldest court house records for Beaufort County, South Carolina are housed o the second floor and kept by "Miss Grace". But the day of the visit, "Miss Grace" was not there and the two young girls knew absolutely nothing. Guess we need to expect delays.

People who do Good Things

computer man The genealogy community is busy at work, collecting and conserving old records and tracing lineages for their posterity. They do not waste their time and energy parading around the country protesting something. Instead, great energy is expended towards the discovery of family members who helped to make America great and leaving a proper heritage for their children. Because if the children have knowledge of the battles and experiences of their ancestors, then they possess a distinctly special awareness of themselves and the importance of doing good things. Something they will not get from public schools.