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Why Genealogists Need to Identify the Neighbors

Tips by Jeannette Holland Austin

Genealogy Books by Jeannette Holland Austin The tax digest is a solid means of identifying the neighbors of ancestors. Each district has a representative (usually a captain) who lists the names and acreage in his neighborhood. And it is certainly worth the effort to make a copy of this neighborhood, because these people will confirm that you have the correct ancestor. Example. Suppose that your ancestor was one of the John Smith's in the county. A search of the deeds, wills, estates and marriages could easily create a disaster. That is why the names of the neighbors are so important. They witnessed documents, deeded properties, and married daughters and sons. A deed for John Smith which contains some of the names from your ancestor's district will help clarify that you have the correct John Smith. Common names were frequently used in the old days and it is easy to get confused. Now, suppose there is a daughter who married a John Smith. It is very important to ascertain his exact birth and death dates, and the local church graveyard is a good source for this. One must be exacting in the details, because confusion is always nearby!

1940s Cartoon

The Battle of Musgroves Mill

During the Revolutionary War a battle was fought at Musgrove Mill on August 19, 1780 at a ford of the Enoree River, near the borders of Spartanburg, Laurens and Union Counties. About two hundred Patriots under the command of General Elijah Clarke defeated approximately 300 Loyalists. The Loyalists, encamped at Musgroves Mill, guarded a ford on the Enoree and thus controlled the local grain supplies. The story is told that a local farmer warned the Patriots that the Tories were recently reinforced by about one hundred militia and two hundred provincial regulars who were en route to join the British Major Patrick Ferguson. But the position of Patriots was already compromised and the horses requiring rest, so the patriots were compelled to make a stand and fight despite the odds. They formed a breastwork of brush and timber on top of a ridge across the road leading down to the mill and a band of about twenty men under the leadership of Captain Shadrach Inman crossed the Enoree and engaged the enemy. Feigning confusion they retreated back toward the line of ambush until the Loyalists were nearly on the Patriot line. When the Loyalists spotted the Patriot line, they fired too early. Meanwhile, the Patriots held their fire until the Loyalists were within the killing range of their muskets. But that did not hold back the Tory regulars who nearly overwhelmed the right flank of the Patriots with a bayonet charge. Captain Isaac Shelby jumped into action and caused his reserve of the "Overmountain Men" to rush into battle while shrieking Indian war cries. A number of the Tory officers went down and while the militia wavered, the Patriots broke through, running, yelling and shooting. Sixty-three Tories were killed and seventy taken prisoner while the Patriots lost only four men, and twelve wounded.

Battle of Musgrove Mill
By John Foxe - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5613036

Gold Mine Discovered in Union District

"A Gold Mine has been discovered in Union District, South Carolina, in the waters of Tyger River. The ore is said to be of such extent as to afford employment to 500 hands at good wages. A speciman of the gold has been pronounced by Dr. Cooper, equal in purity to say he ever saw. A company is expected that the members of the company formed to work the gold mines of North Carolina, have divided each $3000." Source: Southern Recorder, Milledgeville, Georgia August 13, 1827.

Map of Union County South Carolina

Thomas Blackstock

Blackstock House Thomas Blackstock was born in Belfast, Ireland and died in Union County, South Carolina; buried on the old Blackstock Plantation. He came down through Pennsylvania before finally settling in Union County. The home of his son, William Berry Blackstock is shown.

Union County Wills and Cemeteries

Battle of Blackstock Union County was created from Ninety Six District in 1785 and was part of the Pinckney District from 1791 to 1800 when it became a separate district. Later, in 1897, part of it went to form Cherokee County. It was named for the old Union Church, which served both the Presbyterian and Episcopal congregations in the area. The church was erected in 1765 near the present day town of Union, the county seat. 1800 and became a separate district when Pinckney was dissolved in 1800.

The first settlers to this area were migrating Scotch-Irish families from Virginia and Pennsylvania.

During the Revolutionary war, many skirmishes occurred in the county, including the battle of Musgrove's Mill on August 18, 1780 and the battle of Blackstocks on November 20, 1780.

Early settlers: Francis Welchel, Dominic Hollan, Francis Hollam, Robert Lusk, Phillip Holcom, Thomas Brandon (1741-1802), Joseph McJunkin (1755-1846), William Henry Wallace (1827-1905), and others.

Wills and Estates, Records Available to Members of South Carolina Pioneers

Indexes to Union County Probate Records

  • Index to Union County Minute Book A of the Probate Court (1783-1791)
  • Index to Union County Will Book A (1777-1814)
  • Index to Union County Will Book A (1815-1849)

Transcripts of Union County Wills (1777-1800)

Testators: William Blackstock, Joseph Hughes, Thomas B. Hunt, James Kennedy,Joseph Lee, Daniel Prince, David Prince, James Savage, Capt. John Savage, Adam Fincher, Benjamin Holcombe, Benjamin Johnson, Benjamin Woodson, Charles Clanton, Charles Thompson, Daniel Comer, Daniel Howell, Daniel McBride, Daniel Nogher, David Chisolm, David Stockton, Edward Porter, Elijah Cooper, Elizabeth Cooper, Elizabeth Miller, Ephram Pucket, Francis Drake, George Crosley, George Harland, George Norman, Henry Clark, Isaac Gregory, James Addington, James Bankhead, James Benford, James Gibbs, James Hawkins, James Parnell, James Sims, James Thomas, James Townsend, James Woodson, Jeremiah Cooper, Jesse Paty, John Buford, John Clark, John Cole, John Harington, John Huey, John Jasper, John Taylor, John Wilson, Magnus Simonson, Mary Frost, Moses Weldon, Nathaniel Dabbs, Nathaniel Davis, Randolph Alexander, Rebecca Fincher, Renney Belue, Renney Belue, Jr., Robert Good, Robert Wallace, Samuel Cooper, Samuel Torbert, Solomon Whitsen, Susannah Bailey, Thomas Harris, Thomas Haslewood, Thomas Henderson, Thomas Layton, Thomas McDonald, Thomas Wright, Thomas Young, Turner Rountree, William Farr, William Hendley, William Lee, William McJunkin and William Plummer.


  • Union County Cemeteries (burials)
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