Monday, March 27, 2017

Robert Faries (Farries,Faris, Ferris) - A man of many names

1734 – 1803
Family Lineage: 1 Robert Faries, 2 Moses Faires, 3 John Farris, 4 Ann Jane Farris, 5 Charles Mabry Copeland, 6 Charles Thomas Copeland, Sr., 7 Charles Thomas Copeland, Jr.

By any definition, Robert was a Scots-Irish man, thanks to his ancestors who had migrated from Dumfries, Scotland to Ballymena in Antrim County, Ireland.  It was there that the story began for both Robert and the Adairs featured in earlier posts.

Like a number of his friends and family members, Robert had no intention of settling in Antrim for life, especially after hearing about the possibilities existing for ambitious young men in the New World.  However, there was a large obstacle standing between him and his dreams: money! 

The answer to his dilemma came when he learned that the captain of one of the ships in the harbor  was recruiting people willing to sell themselves to Americans for a defined period of time.  In return, their fares would be paid and, at the end of the contract, they would receive a small stipend and some land of their own. Despite  legitimate concerns he might have had about the character of the man who would hold his life in his hands for five to seven years, Robert knew he was strong and healthy, and convinced himself that the reward would be worth  the cost.  

After hearing the captain's “spiel” and taking him at his word, he sold himself to William Smith of New Castle, Delaware for "a period not to exceed 7 years". What probably helped to sweeten the deal was knowing that close family members already lived in Delaware. And typical of a 19 or 20 year old, he was confident he'd be able to handle whatever challenges that might come along.

But those dreams were soon shattered!  Although nothing has been written about the hardships he endured as a slave, it is obvious that life was not at all as promised by the ship's captain and, in fact, it eventually became so painful that a weakened and fearful Robert was forced to run away from Mr. Smith's plantation and go into hiding. 

However, his angry owner was determined to recover his valuable asset and make him pay dearly for his desertion!  On December 5, 1754, a wanted ad was posted in the “Pennsylvania Gazette” asking for information leading to the return of 20 year old Robert Faries, a "servant, convict or apprentice” who had run away on a Sunday 11 days before.  An award of 1.5 pounds (a lot of money at the time) was offered. There is no record of whether-or-not he was caught and had to finish out his obligation. It seems possible, however, that he would have received help from the Farries and/or Adair families living in Delaware until he could make his way further south.

Little is known about Robert's life during the next 20 years other than:
  •  he built Bethel Plantation and planted crops in the York District of South Carolina
  • at age 41, he married Hannah Miller, a Massachusetts girl with whom he would have 9 children; and
  • after war broke out in his adopted country – he  joined in the fight.

There were two Robert Farises listed as participants in the  Roster of South Carolina Patriots in the American Revolution   Both served their adopted country honorably and well. 

The first Robert Faris listed in the "Roster" held the position as  commissary from 1779 through 1783 and, in that role, was responsible for supplying much needed food supplies such as flour and bacon to the militia.

Revolutionary War PatriotThe second Robert Faris, whose service was described in much greater detail in The American Revolution in South Carolina - Captain Robert Faris, served as  Captain in both the First Spartan Regiment from 1775 to 1777 and - after it was dismantled - the Second Spartan Regiment from 1777 to 1781.  These regiments were composed of men from the "upcountry", or northwest corner, of South Carolina. 

Their first official action, "The Snow Campaign", was given that title because of the heavy snowfall which complicated the fighting in the later stages of the battle.  This was actually the first major military operation to take place in the southern colonies, with about 3,000 patriots marching against the loyalist recruiting centers which had sprung up in South Carolina. 

More than 50 battles and skirmishes were fought by these two  regiments which included "King Mountain", "Cowpens", "The Siege of Charleston" and the “Great Cane Brake” (which took place while a truce was being negotiated between the militia and the loyalists).

Twenty years after the horrific war finally ended, 69 year old Robert Farries dictated his wishes and signed his Last Will and Testament on June 16, 1803, which granted a specific award to each of his children and gave  his wife, Hannah, possession of the plantation in which to live until she either died or re-married, in which case it would pass to their son, John.  

Interestingly he also bequeathed  his indentured servant, James Biggers, a horse and saddle which he was to receive after completing his term of indenture.  Hannah, her brother, John, and son Moses were named as executors of the estate.  The Will was probated December 5, 1803.

No - it's not your imagination or careless spelling of Robert's last name on my part!  Actually it seems the name has endured many changes over the years - sometimes even in the same document. The reason might have simply depended on who was writing it at the time.  Whether the differences were due to illiteracy or simply an attempt to spell it the way it sounded no one knows. But there is no question that it can be confusing to see the name spelled Farries at the beginning and the end of Robert's life, while, as a "runaway servant", he was Robert Faries and Robert Faris as a participant in the Revolution.  This confusion was even evident in his will.  Hundreds of years later it seems the accepted spelling is Farris - or maybe Ferris.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Augustus Cory Lane - The survivor of a massacre

1832 – 1916
Family Lineage: 1 Augustus Cory Lane; 2 Sarah Elizabeth Lane;  3 Estella Elizabeth Foss;  
4 Harold Victor Hayward; 5Judith Ann Hayward

Little is known about Amos and Lucy Sanders Lane other than that they were born in Vermont and  raised their eight children in Cattaraugus County New York - as did Theophilus and Susan Sykes Fairbanks, with whom they would maintain close ties from generation to generation. 

The story of their oldest son, Augustus Cory Lane, began when he turned 21 and heeded the call of Horace Greeley to "Go west young man, go west".  His desire to explore the upper half of the country may also have fit in with his family's dreams to build a new life in an unsettled part of the country which would offer plenty of open land on which to raise their families.  This dream had been upgraded after learning of the massive land deal which had recently been negotiated between the Sioux Indians and the United States.

And so it was that the young man packed up some food and a few belongings, kissed his recently widowed mother goodbye and perhaps even hugged Elizabeth Fairbanks, a 13 year old girl destined to become his wife someday, and set off on an adventure that was to change his life and the lives of those he loved forever.

 During the next several years,  Augustus worked his way around the Great Lakes until finally reaching Oshkosh, Wisconsin, an area he and his family were to return to often.  But it wasn't until he arrived in the newly chartered state of Minnesota in 1860 that he knew he had finally found a place he could wholeheartedly recommend to the families back in Upstate New York and returned home to make his case. 

It had only been nine years since the Dakota Sioux Indians had sold 24 million acres of their land to the United States for $3,750,000 (or $12 an acre).  Now that land had been opened up for settlement to people like the Lanes and Fairbanks, who - after hearing Augustus' report -  sold their homes and property in New York and headed West with new dreams and expectations.

During the seven years Augustus had been traveling, 13 year old Elizabeth Foss had  become a 20 year old woman who agreed to marry him after their wagon train arrived in Waupun, Wisconsin.  Following their wedding  on the 4th of July 1860, the young couple moved to Blue Earth, Minnesota where they they built a log cabin to house their growing family, a barn and a windmill.

Tragically, peace on the plains ended a year after the Lanes arrived and only 10 years after the contract transferring 24 million acres of Indian land to the United States had been signed.  Upon reviewing the contract, the tribal leadership had begun to suspect that not only had they been cheated out of $2,085,000 still owed them but that deletions and changes had been made to the original terms of the contract without their approval.

The timing of this crisis couldn't have been worse!  While the feelings of betrayal were beginning to boil over in the tribes, the "War Between the States" was heating up in the lower states and many Minnesota men were leaving home to join either the Union or Confederate army, thus leaving their families unprotected and struggling to care for their farms.
Chief Little Crow

As that war loomed, the Dakota leadership appointed their highly respected Chief Little Crow to lead a delegation to Washington in an attempt to amicably correct issues such as the:
  • timing and amounts actually paid on the contract;
  • tinkering with the original terms of the contract; and 
  • encroachment of whites onto Indian property.
 Despite all their effort, however, the Indians were no match for the professional negotiators they faced, and they actually ended up with less land and no rights to mine a quarry which had originally been theirs.  Adding insult to injury, Indian families were moved into small and uncomfortable brick houses.  Not surprisingly, in a very short time, most of the Indians had returned to their teepees and used the brick buildings only for storage.

Anger continued to build up during the particularly hard winter of 1861 when the promised payments (annuities) which would have enabled the Indians to buy food and supplies did not arrive, thus forcing them to revert to using their hunting skills to keep from starving or freezing to death.  Making matters worse, even after an Indian agent was finally authorized to handle all transactions in a timely manner, the traders didn't trust him and still refused to deliver any supplies to the desperate tribes. 

The simmering anger finally came to a head on August 17, 1862 as four young braves returning from an unsuccessful hunting trip started complaining about both the settlers and their tribal leaders who they believed had let them down (which was true).  As they neared home, one spotted a nest of hens eggs and started to gather them.  Warnings from his friends that he could get into trouble if he got caught stealing food from the farmer inflamed feelings that were already smoldering.  So - after successfully daring his friends to join him - they  raced into the farmyard where they attacked and killed not only the farmer, his wife and daughter, but also two of their neighbors.

While still riding the high wave of emotion and blood lust, the young men loaded food and supplies onto the farmers' horses and headed for home, where they expected to be  congratulated and honored.  Instead, the chiefs of the tribe expressed anger that they had forgotten the unwritten law governing the Old West which sentenced anyone caught stealing a horse to immediate hanging without a trial.  

Not only was that bad news for the young braves, but the murder of five settlers created very real danger for the whole tribe. After hearing the unedited story from the now thoroughly frightened young men, an emergency meeting of the tribal council was called to decide the best solution to a very bad problem. After hearing all the bitter arguments raised that night, the chiefs finally decided that instead of turning the reckless young men over to the military for immediate execution, they would declare war against the whites by simply doing nothing.
As the chiefs debated back and forth that night, Little Crow was the only one to speak strongly against going to war.  But, after being overruled, he agreed to lead the warriors because he knew he was the only leader in the tribe with the skills to possibly overcome the settlers.

He also knew that their only chance of success was to take the whites by surprise, so that very morning, he led an attack on a government agency housed in Redwood Falls.  It was a popular decision! The agency had been largely responsible for delaying payment of the annuities and, as a result of their inefficiency and/or malice, many Indians had died of starvation and disease. 

The sudden violent attack did take the farmers, missionaries and settlers by complete surprise, especially because most of them had convinced themselves that they had shown nothing but kindness and friendship to the Indians (while ignoring all signs to the contrary).  By the time the dust cleared, most of the inhabitants had been killed simply because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.   

With that success, all the pent up anger which had accumulated over the years erupted and the massacres intensified.  Over the next couple of months, the Sioux Indians attacked and killed every white person in their path.  And as they heard the stories and their panic increased, the settlers began to believe - with good reason - that only God could save them. 

New Ulm Massacre
The next town in line to be destroyed was New Ulm the largest settlement on the reservation.  Although there was probably little hope that they would survive a vicious attack, the settlers were not going to give up without a fight.  So, after gathering whatever tools or guns they could use as weapons, the townspeople formed a circle, in the center of which they placed their children whom they covered up as best they could.  

As the warriors raced into town, half of them broke off to attack the settlers while the rest started setting fire to the buildings which served as businesses and homes. 

It was at that point that God seemed to say "ENOUGH"!   Heavy  clouds suddenly formed in the previously clear sky and let loose a torrent of rain on the burning town.  While the rain was quenching many of the fires, heavy smoke alerted settlers and militia in the nearby towns, who hurried to their defense. 

Since they were well aware that they hadn't completely destroyed the town and its people, a much larger contingent of Indians returned five days later with the goal of finishing the job they had started.  But by that time, reinforcements had arrived who eventually were able to drive the Indians away. 

Between those two battles, 190 structures had been destroyed, leaving only 49 residences to house 2,500 survivors.  Not surprisingly, the towns people packed up their few remaining belongings and left the ashes of their town behind until peace was restored and they could safely re-build the lovely town that stands today.

Ironically, the Fairbanks family had a part in the story. Family history says that they were living nearby and had witnessed the massacre and devastation of New Ulm.   

The "Indian War" which began in August 1862 (thanks to the stupidity of four young braves) ended four months later after over 2,000 angry Indians had joined the fight, 392 were tried and 307 sentenced to death. The largest one-day execution in American history took place on December 26 when 38 Dakota warriors were hanged simultaneously in the town of Mankato, Minnesota. 
Ironically, Chief Little Crow, who had  managed to escape, was eventually recognized and shot to death by a local farmer.
After the war ended, the Lanes replaced their log cabin with a large comfortable home in Blue Earth, where they lived for 40 years and raised their five children.  After Elizabeth's death in 1904, Augustus first went to live with his youngest son, Charles,and then his only living daughter, Sarah, but never sold the home he and Elizabeth had built.  He joined Elizabeth 12 years later, and was buried next to her in the Verona Cemetery in Faribault County, Minnesota. 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Francis Posey (aka Fancois Poschet)

 1615 - 1654

1 Francis Posey, 2 John Posey, 3 Susanna Posey, 4 Edward Philpott, 5 Charles Philpott, 6 David Philpott, 7 Enos Philpott, ,Rebecca Philpott , 9 Lula Jane Johnson, , 10 Charles Thomas Copeland, Sr., 11, Charles Thomas Copeland, Jr.
While some genealogists believe that he was named Francois Pouchet and born in Cambrai France, an attractive town with a rich history going back to Roman times, others are convinced that he was an Englishman named Francis Posey, born somewhere in England.  I,  however, have found myself with a foot planted solidly in each argument, and have come to believe that Francois and Francis are actually one and the same man whose name was changed to fit the circumstances he encountered throughout his life. 

Many of the pieces of my theory seem to fall into place when one simply accepts the supposition that Francois was born in France to the Poschets, a Huguenot family forced to flee their home because of escalating religious persecution which threatened their very existence.

John Calvin
Their Huguenot (aka "French Protestant") religion had been founded by John Calvin, an influential French theologian who preached a message critical of many of the religious practices of the Roman Catholic church (the official religion of France at that time). 
Although Calvin's message resonated with up to a million followers in just 100 years, it was reviled by the royal and religious powers of France.  Even after Calvin's death in the mid-1500s, his followers continued to  strongly criticize the French King for the hardships he and the Roman Catholic Church imposed on the Protestant population. 

So it isn't surprising that eventually young King Louis XIII lost whatever patience he had and imposed terrible penalties on the Huguenots, such as the loss of their homes and whatever privileges they might have attained over the years.  However, they were assured that all they had lost would be restored to them when and if they accepted the “one true church” and pledged their loyalty to the King. 

Despite those continuing threats and promises, however, most of the Huguenots remained steadfast in their faith and refused to accept Catholicism, a position which finally forced them to flee their homes and seek safety in another country.

The Poschets were among those who refused to give up their faith.  Such a stand involved great sacrifice, including selling or giving away all their possessions before they fled France forever. They were desperate people who probably believed that they would be able to rebuild their lives and fortunes simply by crossing the English Channel. But that was not to be!  Life in England could also be dangerous - as they discovered the hard way.

History is unclear about what happened to the Pouchet family after they left France, but it couldn't have been good!  What is known is that a 12 or 13 year old boy now known as Francis Posey was living on the streets of London either as a beggar - or thief - or both. 

Although the name Francis Posey seems at first glance to be very different than the one he had been given at birth,  it's likely that the change came about either because the English couldn't spell or pronounce "Francois Pouchet" correctly or he was illiterate and simply didn't know how to write the name he had been given.  It's even possible that this was his way of leaving his French heritage behind and turning himself into an Englishman.
Bridewell Prison and Hospital
Supporting the assertion that Francis was in serious trouble with the English authorities before turning 13, his name can be found in the "Minute Book of Governors in London".  The entry was dated July 19, 1628 and signed by Sir Richard Deane, the Lord Mayor of London.   It reveals that a Francis Posey was to be imprisoned in Bridewell Prison and Hospital until attaining the age of 21.  (Although Bridewell had originally served as a royal palace, by the 1600s it was used solely to house  both the disorderly poor accused of petty crimes and the homeless children found on the streets of London.).  Francis could have been either or both of those, but sadly there is no record clarifying the reason for such a sentence.
In the meantime, the authorities obviously weren't all that thrilled about putting freed inmates like Francis back on the streets where they would probably revert to their old ways.  An answer to that dilemma seemed to rest in what they considered their "dumping ground", aka America - a place where they could get rid of their "refuse yearning to be free . . ."

They even worked out a way to get rid of  those prisoners without having to spend much, if anything. That answer came in the form of American settlers who desperately needed more bodies to work their land and build their homes.  These colonists were willing to pay the fares of non-violent prisoners in return for not only refreshing their supply of laborers, but also obtaining additional land of their choosing.

It was a good deal for both of the  contracting parties, but not  necessarily that great for the prisoners who had been hoping to be freed after serving their sentences in Bridewell.

So, with contracts signed and money paid, Francis Posey and 39 of his fellow Bridewell prisoners were marched onto a ship which would eventually dump them off on the shores of America.  The journey had been arduous and dangerous, with many of the prisoners falling ill or dying before even setting foot on land. 

However, despite their dire circumstances, these former prisoners did have something to live and work for.  That "something" was the assurance they had received that in return for their loyalty and hard work, each of them would eventually be granted not only their freedom, but also 50 acres of land and a small stipend to help them get started wherever they wished.

William Farrar
What a sight it must have been to see these bedraggled and weakened prisoners finally being marched off the ship and introduced to their new owner, William Farrar of Henrico County, Virginia, who - besides receiving new laborers would be granted 2,000 acres of prime land by the government.  

There's little doubt that although these former Bridewell prisoners would have been relieved to finally set their feet on dry land, fear would have trumped relief because: A) they already knew that their lives would not be their own for years to come; and B) they had  no idea how they would be treated - or even if they'd live through the experience.  

And so it was that “ffrancis Posey” (as his name appeared on the manifest) arrived in Virginia, knowing full well that while his new life would probably be hard, it would surely be no harder than it had been when he was an orphaned child on the streets of London or incarcerated in Bridewell.  He had also been warned that his eventual freedom depended on his successfully completing his obligation to Mr. Farrar.  

Based on what we know about his tenure as a slave in Virginia, it is obvious that he was a smart man who used his time to learn everything he could about the land in which he was being planted.  At some point during those early years, his research convinced him that the best place for him to settle would be along the Potomac River in Maryland, and he started planning for that eventuality.

He had even identified the person with whom he wanted to share that life.  Her name was Elizabeth (her last name is unknown).  She had just started her period of indenture for Cuthbert Fenwick, a well known Roman Catholic and former indentured servant himself.  Whatever plans they had, however, would have to wait until Francis could build a home and earn enough money to buy out Elizabeth's contract.

The first stage in that plan was achieved when Francis finally earned his freedom and was awarded a warrant for 100 acres of land, which was double what was usually granted to indentured servants who had completed their contract.  Taking that and the stipend he had been paid for his service, he put his research to good use and bought rich farmland about 100 miles northwest of Henrico, Virginia in Charles County, Maryland.  

That decision possibly meant more to him than simply attaining land on which to build his future.  One has to wonder whether it also brought peace to a man whose family had probably owned land in France before having to leave it all behind because of their religious beliefs. 
During his first several years of freedom he often traveled between Virginia and Maryland in order to hire dependable manpower and begin to build the home of his dreams.  But his strongest tie to Virginia was obviously his deepening relationship with Elizabeth, who still had several years remaining on her indenture contract before she would be free to follow her heart.

It was only after having selected the land and built a home in which to settle his future family that Francis entered negotiations to buy Elizabeth from Mr. Fenwick.  It's obvious that by that time, he had become a skilled negotiator  because when the dust cleared, he not only "owned" and married Elizabeth, whose indenture contract promised a warrant for 50 acres of land, he negotiated to buy Thomas, an indentured manservant who also came with a warrant for 50 acres of land.  With both purchases, Francis, was finally ready to leave France and England behind him and give his heart to America. 

So, after  packing up his expanding family and their few personal possessions, he headed back to Maryland, where he  proceeded to sink his roots and build a productive life.  After all, he no longer had personal ties to France, England - or Virginia -  to hold him back.

To solidify this commitment, he signed an "Oath of Fealty" (aka oath of allegiance) to the “Lord of the Manor and Crown”.   This oath was considered evidence of a person's loyalty to England - even while living in one of the colonies.  Thanks to that commitment, he became a citizen only one year after settling in Maryland.
Francis took his citizenship very seriously, as shown by his willingness to serve on juries and even as a deputy sheriff at one point.  Those commitments must have been especially meaningful to him whenever he remembered the tragedies and heartache in his former life.  In addition, he sank his roots deeper all the time in Maryland through buying 3,450 acres of land on which to grow his tobacco and continued to travel back and forth between Maryland and Virginia in order to honor his commitments.
One of those commitments took the form of his assuming a leadership role in the Virginia House of Burgesses from 1641 to 1650.  (The House of Burgesses was the first legislative assembly of elected representatives in North America. It had been established as a way to encourage English craftsmen to work  in North America, while still  retaining their loyalty to the “Old Country”, thus making conditions in the colony more agreeable and comfortable).

Ironically, this French Protestant man - despite all he had suffered during his early life - remained true to his Huguenot faith, even though he once more found himself living among a large population of Catholics in Maryland. Thankfully America - even then - showed its colors of tolerance towards people of different faiths. 

35d Lord Baltimore (1647-1715
This became a point of pride for Francis who publicly declared a few years before his death that despite the heavy Catholic population in the area, the Protestant inhabitants always received fair treatment from the administrator, Lord Baltimore, and had never been forbidden to worship as they pleased (good news indeed for a man whose family had lost everything for proclaiming their faith).

Francis and Elizabeth had only 7 years together before he died at age 42 in 1657, leaving behind his widow, two young sons, (Benjamin and John) and a fine estate on the west side of the Wicomico River.   

Wicomico River
His was truly an American story! Exiled from the land of his  birth, orphaned and living on the streets of London, imprisoned in an old palace, and then enslaved in a foreign land.  Others might have just given up the fight long before those last chapters, but he was obviously a man of great spirit and brilliance who, during his 42 years of life, overcame all adversities and made a huge impact on the lives of others through the example he set for perseverance.

 His children followed in his footsteps. Despite losing their father while they were still young,  the Posey children continued to live where their father and mother had planted them, and become respected family men and planters.  However, in later years, while some of his descendants retained their French identity in both civil and church records, many drifted away from their Huguenot heritage and were eventually assimilated into other Protestant denominations.  

For more information on the Poseys and the Huguenot religion, you might want to check out:  
Colonial and Revolutionary Families of Pennsylvania
Huguenot Society of America

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Joseph Alexander Adair, Sr., Revolutionary soldier and settler in South Carolina

1711 – 1789
1 Joseph Alexander Adair, Sr. 2 Joseph Alexander Adair, Jr., 3 Elizabeth “Betsey” Adair, 4 Elizabeth “Betsey” Jones, 5 Robert Hatten Copeland, 6 Charles Mabry Copeland, 7 Charles Thomas Copeland, Sr., 8 Charles Thomas Copeland, Jr.

History describes Joseph Alexander Adair, Sr. as one of the first settlers of District Ninety-Six (a judicial district established in South Carolina in 1769 and incorporated into Laurens County in 1799).  His other claim to fame?  He was over 69 years old when he became the oldest known soldier to fight for freedom against the very country he had left 50 years before.

Ballymena Castle, Antrim County, Ireland
This member of the Adair family spent the first 18 years of his life in Antrim County, Ireland.  His Scots-Irish family had lived in Ballymena Castle for hundreds of years and proudly claimed as an ancestor the Rev. Patrick Adair, who had fought against the kings of that time for religious freedom in Ireland 100 years before (and featured in an earlier "Legends" post). 

But life for his family changed forever when,  in 1730, they came to the painful conclusion that despite Rev. Patrick's efforts all those years before, religious intolerance, loss of individual rights and repressive taxes still plagued the people of the United Kingdom and it was obvious that things weren't going to get better any time soon.  

Although there were many who accepted the situation or were afraid to change their lifestyle, others – like the Adairs and families featured earlier in this blog (the Copelands and Blakeleys) - had sold almost everything they owned and made arrangements to leave the country they had loved and served for hundreds of years in the hope of building a life which matched their beliefs.  
King George II

An area of deep concern of course was that  despite the distance, America, too, was under the thumb of King George II and his repressive government.  Perhaps they simply had to tuck that worry away in the hope that they would be able to lose themselves in the vast new country.
Joseph was only 19 years old when his entire family gathered whatever they could take with them and left their homeland. The journey was long and dangerous, and perhaps their arrival in America was just as scary!  One can't help but wonder how they felt when they finally neared land and spotted the wilderness that was to become their home. It certainly didn't look anything like the home they had left behind!

After replenishing their supplies, they finally arrived in Chester, Pennsylvania, a community composed of many Scots-Irish families which was situated between the Delaware and Susquehanna Rivers.  It was there that they started to accustom themselves to a totally new way of living.

There was plenty to do during those first two years in America.  After all, fields had to be cleared and houses built.  It was only after things seemed to settle into a routine in this area known as “Little Britain” that 21 year old Joseph married Sarah Lafferty, whose parents had been born in Scotland but had migrated to America before she was born.

Their first years together were not exactly relaxing!  Besides building and furnishing their home, raising livestock, planting their fields, and using all their spare cash to invest in parcels of land, they had their first four children to care for. There were also very real fears that they would be attacked by Indians who weren't thrilled about being moved forcibly out of their ancestral lands and often resorted to making raids in the area now known as Pennsylvania.  

But since their spirit of adventure continued to linger despite the hardships they were enduring, it's not surprising that many of the transplanted settlers, including the Adairs, began to wonder what life would be like in another part of this vast country and turned their energies toward planning another big move.

Their journey from Pennsylvania to South Carolina was accomplished mostly on the "Great Wagon Road" which ran through the Shenandoah Valley and North Carolina  before reaching South Carolina.  Since the caravan was made up of people of all ages with all their worldly goods and animals, the journey was often tortuous and took considerably more time than had been anticipated.

Finally, they arrived in an area in South Carolina originally lived in by the Keowee Indians and named District Ninety-Six because of having been settled at the 96th milepost of a trail used by both traders and Indians.  (According to people living in the town today, its unofficial name was and still is "ABC Town" in honor of its first settlers, the Adairs, Blakelys and Copelands, many of whom still live there.)
During his first 37 years as a South Carolinian, Joseph: 
    Duncans Creek Presbyterian Church
    • Built a home for his expanding family;
    • Plowed and planted the fields;
    • Joined the other settlers in clearing 250 acres of land on Duncan's Creek where they built the Duncan Creek Presbyterian Church which is still active;
    • Set aside a portion of that property to serve as a cemetery; 
    • Buried parents and friends;
    • Was the grandfather of Mary Ramage Dillard who became known as a heroine of the American Revolution  because of her bravery; 
    • Lost his wife, Sarah, when their youngest child was 8 years old and eventually married Susanna Long;
    • Prepared for war!
    Mad King George III
    Perhaps these settlers had hoped that the English king would forget them and let them live in peace.  It was not to be. By 1776, "Mad King George III", the son of the late King George II, was making strong demands that his rulings were to be obeyed and taxes paid - no matter how odious those taxes were.  

    It is doubtful that Joseph, who was about 65
    when war was declared, would have ever considered actively joining the fight.   He probably thought that all he could do was pray for the young men going to war and cheer them on from afar. But obviously someone he trusted convinced him that his talent for management was badly needed and he'd be letting down his country if he simply stood on the sidelines and watched his friends and relatives die.  
    He was about 70 years old when he was appointed Commissary under Colonel Levi Casey, who reported to Col/Brig. General  James Wilson and General George Washington.  In this role, Joseph was responsible for the purchase and delivery of food and supplies desperately needed by the  Little River Regiment. It was a very stressful position, given the Revolutionary army’s lack of resources, especially when compared to those available to the British. (Backing him up as Deputy Commissary was his son, Joseph, Jr., who will have his own post one of these days.)

    Col.Wilson was a popular leader and fine soldier, who did things his own way and - after stepping on a number of toes - was accused of very bad behavior by powerful people in the regiment who the rank and file soldiers believed to be "private enemies of our Country in order to hurt Little River Regiment".  

    Pressures mounted to have him completely removed from leadership of his troops until finally his frustrated soldiers, including James, submitted a petition defending him  just before they went into battle at Kings Mountain.  This petition testified to his capabilities by saying (no one said people of that time knew how to spell!): 
    "We know Col. james Williams to havfe been a zealous Patriot from the commencement of the America contest with Briten; and to have allways stood foremost in every occasion when called upon to defience of his country.  l
    Kings Mountain battle
    Despite all the pressure against him, Colonel/Gen Brig Williams continued to lead his men until he was shot in the chest by one of the jealous officers who did not approve of his actions and thought he had gotten off lightly.  Colonel Levi Casey was then assigned to take over the command of the Little River Regiment and James Adair was assigned to support him as he had Col. Williams. ""James Williams: An American Patriot in the Carolina Backcountry" By William T Graves

    During those war years, he fought beside two of his sons (Joseph Jr. and Benjamin), a grandson  and his granddaughter's husband, Capt James Dillard. 

    Upon his death at age 78, Joseph Alexander Adair, a charter member of the church, was buried alongside his loved ones in the Duncan Creek Presbyterian Church Cemetery which he had helped to clear all those years before.

    This  marble tablet which honors the service of the townsmen buried in the Duncan Creek Presbyterian Church cemetery was placed on the wall inside the church by the Daughters of the Revolution in 1988.