The History of the. Sumpter. Family

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1 The History of the Sumpter Family

2 The History of the Sumpter Family Including Accounts of the Following Families Atherton Blackorby Broyles Calvert Carver Cloninger Collard Copher Doty Fleischmann Gordon Graves Hemphill Hill Hinkle Kitson Marsh Nodding Potter Shuck Standish Stetson Toll Turnbaugh Turner Turpin Warren Watson Winslow Wright by Roger D. Hunt Copyright 2004 All Rights Reserved

3 Roger D. Hunt Sunset Springs Dr Oregon City, OR

4 Acknowledgments The preparation of a book such as this would not be possible without the assistance of many. I am deeply indebted to the numerous friendly, helpful individuals in libraries, county courthouses, state archives, museums and all the other places I found to scrounge just one more record about the Sumpter and related families. With most of them, I never knew their names; but without their help, the content of this book would be sorely lacking. I am deeply indebted to other researchers from whose efforts I have benefitted. A special thanks to Jane Sumpter Malone, Jim Landrum, Darrell Potter, Gordon Seyffert, Rick Hamilton, Lewis Finley, Jimmy Young, Donald Ricks, Shirley Graham, Ellen Hathaway, Patt Roach, Jim G. Faulconer, E. Jack Prather, Mary Atherton Baccus, Thoren Tolle Meyers, Dani Lee McGowan, the Graves Family Association and other researchers for their contribution to this work. A posthumous thank you must also go to people who are no longer here to accept my gratitude. The notebook kept by Alexander Sumpter Jr., who died in 1916, recorded detailed memories about his father's life that has proved invaluable to researching the early Sumpter and Prather families. Nina (Toll) Sumpter, who died in 2002, kept a scrapbook for years that had family records and old photos that were priceless. I am equally indebted to those who personally provided information to me about some of the families which appear in this work. Those include Joyce Hamilton, Don Sumpter, Claude Shatto, Clarence Wilson, Melvin Sumpter, Maxine Montgomery, Sylvia Bendickson, Dennis R. Rainey, Marie Rankin, Lorraine Hunt and many others. Thank you for your help. Also a big thank you to Ray Toll, Marie Rankin, Lewis Finley, Dani Lee McGowan and Milford Potter for the use of photos in their possession.

5 TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction Part I The Sumpter Family... 1 The Sumpter Name... 2 Our Earliest Sumpter Ancestor... 3 General Thomas Sumter... 5 First Generation - Henry Sumpter... 8 The Children of Henry Sumpter Second Generation - George Washington Sumpter The Children of George Washington Sumpter Third Generation - Alexander Sumpter The Prather Family Alexander Sumpter in Missouri Alexander Sumpter & the Gold Rush The Sumpter Family Moves to Oregon The Sumpter Family in Oregon The Sumpter Family Moves to Washington Alexander Sumpter s Last Years Alexander & Nancy Sumpter s Children Elizabeth Sumpter Malinda Sumpter Sarah Jane Sumpter Nancy Sumpter Drucilla Ann Sumpter Lucinda Sumpter Susan E. Sumpter Mary Lavina Sumpter Alice Jepthina Sumpter Alexander Sumpter Jr John Brown Sumpter George Washington Sumpter Fourth Generation - William Jasper Sumpter Jasper & Elvira Sumpter s Children Perry Otto Sumpter Era Sumpter Callie Mae Sumpter Clyde Preston Sumpter

6 Henry Theodore Sumpter Bessie Lee Sumpter Ada Sumpter Ray George Sumpter Ralph Sumpter Lisle Sumpter Fifth Generation - William Roy Sumpter Roy & Bertha Sumpter s Children Homer Vernon Sumpter Joe V. Sumpter Sixth Generation - Virgil Roy Sumpter Part II The Copher and Related Families Stone Family Bowen Family Gordon Family Day Family Preston Family Stetson Family Hampton Family Chillingsworth Family Foster Family Carver Family Clarke Family The Mayflower Doty Family Standish Family Warren Family Snow Family Waterman Family Winslow Family Rogers and Hudson Families James Family Collard and Hatfield Families Turner Family Graves Family Wright Family Copher Family

7 Part III The Potter and Related Families The Germanna Colony of Virginia Nodding Family Calvert Family Keller Family Schnell Family Castler Family Klug Family Yowell Family Fleischmann Family Schelling Family Hill Family Broyles Family Hinkle Family Potter Family Part IV The Hemphill and Related Families Watson Family Wilson Family Marsh Family Hobson Family Atherton Family Turnbaugh Family Sapp Family McLain Family Cloninger Family Turpin Family Hemphill Family Part V The Toll and Related Families Blackorby Family Shuck Family Kitson Family Toll Family Index

8 INTRODUCTION This book came into existence at the request of Lorraine Hunt, my sister-in-law. She had asked for some help in finding out more information concerning the Sumpter family. I agreed to look into it. I initially thought the project might entail, at most, a few hours of work on the Internet. But early successes produced a large family tree, which required further checking, and I quickly became a victim of my own success. Hours turned into days, days into weeks, weeks into months. An expedition to the Family History Library for more detailed information ensued. Trips throughout Oregon, Washington and Idaho were planned and taken. Musty deed books in numerous courthouses were opened. Libraries and archives were visited. Hundreds of phone calls were dialed. Cemeteries were trudged. Grave markers were photographed. This book is the result. Having read a great many genealogical documents, I can personally attest to their general dryness and lack of emotion. Perhaps it is not possible to instill a feeling of excitement into any historical work, let alone a family history, but I have attempted to document the historical beginnings of the Sumpter and related families by including not just the necessary who-begat-whom data but also information about what was occurring at the time and other relevant information about the everyday lives of these people. When a Sumpter ancestor was involved in an event of some historical significance, e.g., participating in an Indian War, the conditions that led up to that event will be described to add to the reader s understanding of the event and the reason the ancestor was involved. As a suggestion to the reader, keep a good atlas handy while reading this book. Knowing where some of the events occurred which are described in this work will heighten the reader's enjoyment. But even with a good atlas, the location of many of the places described in this book cannot be easily pinpointed. As a result, locations of such things as small country cemeteries or land where certain ancestors once lived will sometimes be indicated with GPS (Global Positioning System) coordinates. Together with a computer and map software, or just a fairly inexpensive GPS unit, such coordinates will allow the reader to pinpoint described locations with great accuracy. Except for dates given in quoted sources, the reader will find that most dates are given in the format most commonly used in genealogy, i.e., in a day-month-year format. Therefore, dates are written as 11 Dec 1834" or 11 December 1834" instead of December 11, 1834, for example. While on the subject of dates, the reader of this work will often encounter a notation such as 12 February 1692/1693 for some early dates. This has to do with the fact that, before 1752, Britain and her colonies used the ecclesiastical Julian calendar. With this calendar, New Years Day fell on March 25th, exactly nine months before Christmas, and celebrated the conception of Jesus. Before 1752, any date between January 1 st and March 25 th could be considered to fall in either of two years depending on whether you have the old or new calendar in mind. Thus if something occurred on 12 February 1692/1693, it would have been in the year 1692 when it occurred, but using the modern calendar, would have been in With land records, the reader may discover a new source of pain never before encountered. A description like the N½ of SW¼ of Sec. 17, T20N, R4W will often be found in this book. This translates into the north half of the southwest quarter of section 17 in township twenty north, range four west. Such legal land descriptions, based on the U.S. government s public land survey system, are mandatory to helping the reader accurately identify the location of an ancestor s land. There are a large number of families mentioned in this book. In some cases, a great deal is known of

9 the families. In other cases, almost nothing is known about them. In a few cases, certain ancestors became quite famous and those families have been extensively researched by others over the years. Thus the amount written about each of the families mentioned in this work is uneven. It would be nice if a moderate amount of history could be provided for each family mentioned, but such is simply not the case. I mentioned famous ancestors. Yes, there are a few of note described in this work. For many, discovering an ancestor who came to America on the Mayflowe represents the ultimate conquest in genealogical research, kind of the holy grail in genealogy. The Mayflower Society has only about 25,000 members who ve been able to document their ancestry to meet modern research requirements. Lorraine and Marie Sumpter can count not one, not two, but three direct ancestors who arrived on the Mayflower. That s pretty rare company. Let s hope, Lorraine and Marie, that it doesn t make you snooty. As with most published genealogical works, this document relies heavily upon the research of others in addition to thousands of hours of research on my own part. In most cases, where the research done by others appeared to be of high quality and generally beyond reproach, the result of that research has been used in this work without comprehensive checking. To the extent that errors exist in these other works, then they exist in this document as well. However, in a number of cases, I have resisted using sources that would have furthered the ancestral tree because such sources appeared poorly documented or were based solely upon family legend. Speaking of family legends, such traditions repeated through generations are notorious for their inaccuracy. Henry Thoreau once wrote the rarest quality in an epitaph is truth. One family legend mentioned by Lorraine was that her Sumpter family had Indian blood. As with many family legends, this one does not hold up to careful inspection. However, I will admit to having a start when I ran across a record of a Fred Sumpter, who was born at Simnasho, Oregon on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation in Since members of the Sumpter family had lived nearby at about the same time, I had to look into this further. But it turns out that Fred Sumpter was born Fred Tsumpti and the name was Anglicized. Sorry, Lorraine, no Indians were found. What was found was a very large and intriguing family tree of European ancestors who, like many of the early arrivals to this continent, fought the Indians, killing them and being killed by them. There were ancestors who came to this country very early. I mentioned the arrivals on the Mayflower, but they were not even the earliest. That honor is reserved for an ancestor who came to the Jamestown Colony in Through other descendants of direct ancestors, Lorraine and Marie are distantly related to presidents, generals, famous actors, and at least one astronaut. I mentioned the family tree is large. I have been able to identify, on behalf of Lorraine and Marie, eight great-grandparents, fifteen great-great-grandparents, 30 great 3 -grandparents, 46 great 4 -grandparents, 56 great 5 -grandparents, and so on. A total of 350 direct ancestors were identified, with the oldest being a man born about the year 1540, who was a great 13 -grandfather. That s thirteen greats. In many cases, little is known about certain ancestors other than when or where they were born, maybe when and whom they married, and when they died or where they were buried. The reader will find, especially with some of the early colonial ancestors, that there is relatively little substance to the lives of these people, other than what seems like a bunch of names and dates. Alas, I wish it were not the case, but in some cases little else is known about some early ancestors other than baptism and burial dates recorded in some early town history. Tedium will begin to settle in for the reader who earnestly

10 tries to read this entire work (if you think reading it was tedious, try writing it). But the reader should at least carefully scan all the text, for there are always fascinating nuggets of information to be found here and there. These individuals were not people of great distinction. There were no generals or judges in the family tree. Despite the fact that some became famous years after their deaths, solely because of their very early arrival in this country, these people were just common folks. There was no royalty found in the family tree. And despite the fact that one ancestor traveled back to England and was granted a meeting with the King, the ancestor was so poor and so humbly clothed, the King felt sorry for the man and gave him money. For the most part, the ancestors described in this book were dirt farmers who belonged to militia groups, fighting to protect their homes and for what they believed. They were just common folks, but who nonetheless have an interesting story that needed to be told. Some of the people described in this book were thrown in jail, one fought a duel, some were blind or insane, some had their houses burned by Indians, one lived to be 106, some were persecuted for their religious views, some were slave owners, some were white slaves themselves serving as indentured servants, while some were Quakers who fought against slavery. Some in this book founded churches, others were disowned by their churches. Several married their first cousins, and a couple left wills so strange the documents were rejected by the courts. Many fought in wars; some were shot and some became prisoners-of-war. Some were orphans; others took in orphans. One fled to Ireland to avoid going to debtor s prison. Some came on ships with conditions so awful, many of the passengers starved to death. They were mostly farmers, but there were tanners, coopers, butchers, blacksmiths, weavers, millers, wheelwrights, shoemakers, merchants, pastors, and loggers among these people. The people described in this work died in all kinds of ways. Most died from old age and disease. Several died in mental institutions; another died when he jumped from a moving train; several were killed by horses, and in one case, a mule. Several were killed by trees that either fell on them or they fell out of; several drowned. Several were killed in runaway accidents; one apparently died in an earthquake; one infant died as a result of witchcraft and the woman held responsible was hanged; a Civil War spy was shot but as he lay dying could not tell others which side shot him; one died in an explosion in a munitions factory. Many were killed by Indians; quite a few killed their share of Indians. One direct ancestor died when he became lost in the snow. In one case, a distant relative described in this book was stabbed to death by another relative, his brother-in-law. As I said, just common folks! The number of hours that have gone into the research and writing of this book, as well as the expenses incurred in its preparation, are more numerous that I like to think about. But as anyone who has attempted a work such as this knows, it is a labor of love. I only hope that the reader receives a fraction of the pleasure in reading this book as I had in preparing it. October 5, 2004 Roger D. Hunt 1060 Mordred Ct. Tillamook, OR (503)

11 Part I The Sumpter Family

12 The Sumpter Name The name Sumpter is quite old and seems to be of English origin. English surnames, in the sense of hereditary names handed down from generation to generation, started around the year Before that, surprisingly few different names were used, the most popular being William, Richard and Robert. There was such a scarcity of names that, during the Norman period, the church began to introduce biblical and nonbiblical saints names, such as Stephen, John, Mary, Thomas, Elizabeth, James and Catherine. These names were added to Norman names already in use. When it became increasingly difficult to distinguish one person from another with the same name, identifiers were added. Most of these denoted personal characteristics or a person s residence: William The Pious, Thomas The Bald, John de Sutton, etc. By the end of the 12 th century, hereditary names had become common in England, although even by 1450 they were not yet universally accepted. But during the reign of Edward V, a law was passed to compel people to adopt surnames: They shall take unto them a Surname, either of some Town, or some Colour, as Blacke or Brown, or some Art or Science, as Smyth or Carpenter, or some Office, as Cooke or Butler. Thus it shouldn t be surprising that, classified by their origin, most surnames fall into four general classes: (1) those formed from the given name of the father, (2) those arising from personal characteristics, (3) those derived from a place of residence, and (4) those derived from the person s occupation. The origin of the surname Sumpter falls into the fourth class. The first class comprises surnames derived from the given name of the father, a system called patronymics. Such names were formed by adding a prefix or suffix usually denoting son of. English names terminating in son (or the contraction s), ing and kin are of this type, as are also the numerous names prefixed with the Gaelic Mac, the Norman Fitz and the Irish O. Thus the sons of John took the name Johnson; the sons of William went by Williamson or Wilson; the sons of Richard went by Richardson or Richards; the sons of Reilly became O Reilly, etc. The second class of surnames were those descriptive of personal characteristics such as stature, coloring, emotional attributes, or sometimes the reverse of those characteristics. Thus surnames arose from some personal characteristic of their first bearer and may have been used originally as nicknames. Thus Peter the strong became Peter Strong, Roger of small stature became Roger Little or Roger Small, and black-haired William or blond Alfred became William Black or Alfred White. Names like Short and Longfellow denoted stature; Black, Gray, Brown and White obviously denoted coloring; Moody, Sharp and Bright referred to personal attributes. Other surnames reflected negative attributes, just as some nicknames do today. A few other examples of names of this type are Long, Short, Hardy, Wise, Goodman and Youngman. A third class of family names is that comprising local surnames, i.e., names derived from and originally designating the place of residence of the bearer. Such names were employed in France at an early date and were introduced into England by the Normans, many of whom were known by the titles of their estates. Richard lived on top of a hill and thus became Richard Hill. John lived in the west quarter of a village and became John West, etc. Beginning about the time of Edward the Confessor, a fourth class of surnames arose: names derived from a person s occupation. The earliest of these seem to have been official names, such as Bishop, Mayor, 2

13 Alderman, Reeve, Sheriff, Chamberlain, Chancellor, Chaplain, Deacon, Latimer (interpreter), Marshall, Sumner (summoner) and Parker (parkkeeper). Trade and craft names, although of the same general type, were a slightly later development. Such trade-oriented names are common in many languages; for example, Smith (English), Schmidt (German) and Herrera (Spanish) denoted a blacksmith, silversmith, or goldsmith. Other English occupation surnames were Carter, Shepherd, Miller, Baker, Barber, Weaver, Taylor, Carpenter and Mason, all fairly self-explanatory. These names were common because every village had one or more of each. Some early occupational names are no longer recognizable as occupations. Currier was a dresser of skins, Webster a weaver, Wainwright a wagonbuilder, and Baxter a baker. As mentioned previously, the origin of the surname Sumpter falls into this last class. It is believed the name Sumpter comes from the Old French word sommetier, which is derived from the Latin word sagma, which is a packsaddle. The word sumpter came to refer to an animal used to transport baggage, such as a sumpter horse, and by association, a driver of such animals. Today, most dictionaries define sumpter as a pack animal, such as a horse or mule. The word sumpter appears rarely in literature because the word was never commonly used, but quotations using the word can be found in old literature. In The Tragedy of King Lear, William Shakespeare has King Lear speaking in act 2, scene 4: Persuade me rather to be slave and sumpter. Thomas Bulfinch, in the Age of Fable, writes Then he noosed the string around the mouse s neck, and as he was about to draw it up, behold, he saw a bishop s retinue, with his sumpter-horses and his attendants. And the American poet, James Russell Lowell, wrote in Fireside Travels: Not caring, so that sumpter-horse, the back Be hung with gaudy trappings, in what course Yea, rags most beggarly, they clothe the soul. In 13 th century England the use of sumpter began to change from an occupation to a proper name. The name Sumpter, and its variant of Sumter, has been found in England ever since, and in America since the earliest colonial days. One of the first references to the name in England is a Colchester deed dated 5 October 1392 where one of the witnesses was John Sumpter the elder. The name also surfaces in a list conspiring to assassinate King Henry IV in 1404 (Henry IV was an unpopular British king who reigned from ). Among those implicated in the conspiracy were John Sumpter Sr. and John Sumpter Jr., presumably father and son. In the American colonies, an early encounter with the name is John Sumpter and Stephen Sumpter who were in Calvert County, Maryland in Today Sumpter is the 3608 th most common surname in the United States (based on the 1990 census). Its variant, Sumter, is the 12,941 st most common name. Our Earliest Sumpter Ancestor Regarding that portion of the Sumpter family which this work deals with, the first ancestor from which descent can be proven is Henry Sumpter of Virginia. It is estimated that Henry Sumpter was born about The names of his parents remain unknown to us, despite the effort of a number of researchers over a period of years. There were a number of Sumpter families in colonial Virginia, and there are a number of candidates which could be Henry s parents, but the information which would provide the definitive proof 3

14 has yet to be found. Further, because so many courthouses were burned in Virginia during the Civil War, finding a will or some other record which might prove Henry s parentage may never be found. That does not mean there has been any shortage of theories regarding the ancestry of Henry Sumpter, just none proven. A commonly repeated theory is that Henry was the son of Richard and Jean Sumpter, who lived at Manakintowne in the Virginia colony in the 1740's. Today the community is called Manakin and is located about fifteen miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Another theory which has arisen in the last few years is that Henry s father could be the English brick maker named George Sumpter who was from the St. Bride s church on Fleet Street in London. On 22 June 1721, at the age of 19, this George Sumpter signed with agent James Gerald to serve a five year indenture in Virginia. This information comes from the book Emigrants from England to America, , by Jack and Marian Kaminkow. St. Bride s Church is still located on Fleet Street in the heart of London, England. The present church building is the eighth church to be located on this site, and Christians have been worshiping on the site for the last 1500 years. The church was lost in the Great Fire of London in 1666 and was rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren, the builder of St. Paul s Cathedral. He designed the unique steeple which became the inspiration for the traditional bride s tiered wedding cake of today. On 29 December 1940, during World War II, St. Bride s burned down after one of the Nazi fire bomb raids on London. Only the steeple and outer walls remained. Following the war, the church was rebuilt to Wren s original design. As a result of the reconstruction, Roman Crypts were discovered to have existed underneath the church. In the basement of the church one can see the pavement on which the Romans walked about 180 A.D. Unfortunately, there is no additional information concerning the George Sumpter who should have arrived in Virginia in This has led to speculation that perhaps he died before his scheduled departure for Virginia, or died during the voyage or shortly after arriving in the Virginia colony. The contention that this George Sumpter could be the father of Henry Sumpter would be incredibly flimsy were it not for the information provided by a descendant of Henry Sumpter named Alexander Sumpter Jr. who died in Alexander referred to his Gr. Gr. [Grand] Father Sumpter in a hand-written notebook he kept by stating George Sumpter was an Englishman who was a tailor by trade. Alexander further claimed that this George Sumpter fought in the Revolutionary War and that before the Revolution brother of Sumpters was sent to America as carpenters by the English Government to perform a Fine piece of Mechanical work. Several years ago, seven Sumpter researchers met in Memphis to study the records each of them had collected over a number of years and to try to determine the relationships of the early Virginia Sumpter individuals. The group decided that a George Sumpter who married an Elizabeth Gross, a John Sumpter who married an Anna Blades, and possibly an Edmund Sumpter who married someone named Anne were probably in some way all related to Henry Sumpter. These four men appeared in the same area of Virginia at about the same time and they often appeared in various court records together. But that was about all that the group could determine with any certainty. Two letters from descendants of Edmund and Anne Sumpter stated that Edmund was a brother of General Thomas Sumter and these two descendants believed they should share in the General s estate. However, the General s known brothers, William and John Sumter, moved to North Carolina and are the only ones mentioned in books about the General s life (General Thomas Sumter by Anne Gregorie and The Gamecock by Robert D. Bass). Could the George Sumpter who supposedly came to Virginia in 1721 be the father of Henry Sumpter? Could 4

15 Henry Sumpter, George Sumpter (married to Elizabeth Gross) and John Sumpter (married to Anna Blades) be brothers? Did the immigrant George Sumpter marry Elizabeth Gross or did a son of the same name? Was Richard Sumpter (married to Jean) a son of the immigrant or a brother? Were the immigrant George Sumpter and William (father of General Sumter) brothers? Unfortunately, more questions exist than answers. Others are more confident in sticking their necks out regarding this issue. In the book Early Blue Ridge Mountain Settlers by Billie Redding Lewis, she makes the statement that the father of the Henry and Franklin County Sumpters is thought to have been Richard Sumter who was in King William Parish of Goochland County, Va. He is said to have been the father of Edmund, John, Henry and George who are all related to the famous Revolutionary War general, Thomas Sumpter, landowner in what is now Franklin County, Virginia. Unfortunately, using the phrase is said to have been does not necessarily make it so. Otherwise, the author appears to have done some good research. Before continuing with the account of the proven ancestor, Henry Sumpter, and his descendants, let s take the time to look at the most famous Sumpter/Sumter of all, General Thomas Sumter. General Thomas Sumter Easily the most famous person with the name Sumpter or Sumter was Thomas Sumter, who was a brigadier general in the American Revolution, a member of the South Carolina house and senate, a congressman and U.S. senator. He will forever be known as the Gamecock General of the American Revolution because of his strong resolve and aggressive fighting style. Thomas Sumter was born 14 July 1734 (other sources say 14 August 1734) in Lousia County, Virginia. His parents were William and Elizabeth Sumter according to some sources, but little is known of his ancestry or early life. When he was old enough, Thomas worked with his father in their gristmill. When his father died, his mother sent him to work as a plow boy. It is said that Thomas Sumter was a rather wild young man, prone to gambling, cockfights and horse races. When the Indians started causing problems in Virginia, Sumter joined the militia. Because he had also worked as a surveyor and met Indians all the time, Sumter had learned to speak Cherokee, which turned out to be a handy skill to have when later fighting the Indians. He rose to the rank of sergeant in the Virginia Militia during the Cherokee War of Following an end to those hostilities, Sumter and Lieutenant Henry Timberlake escorted three Cherokee chiefs to London to meet King George III, with Sumter acting as an interpreter for the three chiefs. The group returned by way of Charles Town (today, Charleston, South Carolina), landing on 28 October 1762, and Sumter traveled with the chiefs back through South Carolina. While in South Carolina, Sumter really liked the area in what was then the Carolina frontier, especially the area near Eutaw Creek. He saw a place near Nelson s Ferry that he thought would be a good site for a store. Returning briefly to Virginia, he was arrested for an old debt, but escaped from Stanton Prison and traveled back to South Carolina where he bought some land and slaves near Eutaw Springs. He also opened a store and earned enough respect from the community that he was made a justice of the peace in

16 In 1767, Thomas Sumter married the widow Mary Jameson, eleven years his senior, and they lived on her plantation. On 30 August 1768, their only child, Thomas Sumter Jr., was born. As Sumter became more prosperous, he built a larger store, a sawmill, and a gristmill on Jack s Creek, which is in present day Clarendon County. He accumulated more and more land and became a Provincial Congressman. With the onset of the Revolutionary War, Sumter was encouraged to form a company of local militia, to which he was elected captain, and later, lieutenant colonel. Sumter and his regiment were in Charleston on 20 September 1776 as part of a defensive force when the city was attacked by the British. For the next four years things did not go well for the American rebel forces. As for Sumter, he does not seem to have distinguished himself during this period. Though the American forces did enjoy a few victories, by 1780 the British controlled most of Georgia and South Carolina. In South Carolina, the rebel cause hit an all time low in May 1780 with the surrender of Charleston to the British forces. About three weeks after the surrender of Charleston, the British General Henry Clinton wrote home to the British ministry: I may venture to assert that there are few men in South Carolina who are not either our prisoners or in arms with us. But among those few was Thomas Sumter. After hiding for a while in the swamps of the Santee area of South Carolina, Sumter and 350 rebel troops retreated towards North Carolina, with the British Cavalry under Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton in hot pursuit. Sumter s flight took him through Stateburg in what would later become Sumter County, where Thomas Sumter had a summer cottage. Tarleton sent Captain Charles Campbell to capture Sumter. Sumter escaped but his house was burned. Sumter, angered by his loss, began to rally back-county residents and raised a partisan force. He became an important rallying point at a time when the rebel cause was thought lost. He was elected commander-in-chief of the South Carolina militia and appointed Brigadier General on 15 June For 18 months he alone was the South Carolina government, since Governor Rutledge had moved the capitol of the colony to the safety of North Carolina, which was not yet controlled by the British. After collecting a small force of refugees in North Carolina, Sumter returned to South Carolina to carry on a guerilla warfare against the British. Leading Indians, frontiersmen, and settlers, he became known for his hit and run war, striking the British and then seeming to melt away. The men who fought for Sumter were loyal to their leader, if for no other reason because he always made sure they were well fed. Sometimes he had to borrow food for them from Tory or Loyalist plantations. Sumter did not see this as stealing, and it came to be known as Sumter s Law. Sumter began to lead his small forces in a number of raids against British supply lines throughout South Carolina. He led an unsuccessful assault on a loyalist stronghold at Rocky Mount on the Catawba River, but this was followed by a victory over loyalist forces at nearby Hanging Rock in Lancaster County. After Sumter captured two supply convoys, Tarleton was again sent in pursuit. On 18 August 1780, Tarleton s dragoons attacked Sumter s camp at Fishing Creek on the Wateree River. Sumter s force was routed and he was forced to flee. Sumter soon reformed a guerilla force and began harassing the British in Chester County. His camp at Fish Dam Ford on the Broad River was attacked by the British early in the morning of 9 November But Sumter was alert this time and his men were waiting. The British troops were repulsed with only light losses to Sumter s force. News of the success at Fish Dam Ford brought a number of new recruits to Sumter who soon had an army of over a thousand men. He moved west with this force in the direction of the British fort at a place called Ninety Six. Tarleton was again in pursuit and they met at the battle of Blackstock s Ford 6

17 on the Tyger River in southwestern Union County, a battle which was a major victory for Sumter. However, he was seriously wounded in the back and chest and put out of action for the next two months. Sumter returned to the field in February 1781 and fought a series of small skirmishes in the central portion of South Carolina. His attacks on the British Fort Granby and a fortified post at Thomson s Plantation on the Congaree River were unsuccessful. However, on 23 February 1781, he defeated the British at Manigault s Ferry and captured a supply train. The month ended with Sumter s failed assault on Fort Watson on the Santee River. During the summer of 1781, Sumter s force continued to harass the British around the approaches to Charleston. He guarded his command closely and refused to cooperate fully with the Continental Army. Many of his followers left Sumter after he led a disastrous frontal assault on highly prepared British positions at Quinby Bridge over the Cooper River north of Charleston. Following this defeat, he disbanded his force. But by this time, Great Britain s Southern strategy had begun to collapse. Clinton never had enough troops and supplies to crush the American rebel armies. Some much-needed British forces were tied down by French threats to the West Indies and to the British garrisons in the northern colonies. Moreover, Parliament was unwilling to make an unlimited commitment of men and supplies to the reconquest of its colonies. Equally important, the British and Loyalist troops in the South were unable to hold captured territory in the face of repeated rebel guerrilla attacks like those from Sumter and other guerilla raiding forces led by Francis Marion and Andrew Pickens. Following a costly battle at Guilford Courthouse, North Carolina on 15 March 1781, Cornwallis moved his army northward to Virginia. By the fall of 1781, the British had been forced back to their coastal enclaves at Charleston and Savannah. The British military strategy finally collapsed in Virginia. At Yorktown, near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, they began building a fortified base from which to launch a new campaign against American rebel forces in Virginia. But with the assistance of French forces who joined in the struggle, the Americans attacked the British at Yorktown. Following a 20-day siege, Cornwallis was forced to surrender his entire army in what became the final major action of the American Revolution. After the war was over, Thomas Sumter resigned his commission as brigadier general and returned home to restore his plantation. The British had not burned his house near Eutaw Springs, but everything was in ruin. He soon moved to central South Carolina, near present-day Stateburg, a town Sumter founded. In 1785 it was thought that the capital of South Carolina should be moved from Charleston, on the coast, to a more central location in the state. Since Stateburg was near the center of the state, Thomas Sumter tried to have it selected as the site for the new capital, but the nearby site of Columbia was chosen instead. Thomas Sumter was elected to the South Carolina state Senate which met in Johnsonborough in After his move to Stateburg, he was elected to the state Assembly which met in Charleston in 1785 and served until Sumter was elected to represent South Carolina at the First Congress which met in New York in 1789 and to the Second Congress but suffered his only defeat in the election of He remained out of politics for the next three years but in 1796 he was elected as a member of Congress to meet in the new capitol in Washington D.C. Sumter was the only congressional member from South Carolina who voted for Jefferson instead of Burr when the election for President was thrown into Congress. In December 1801 the General Assembly of South Carolina elected Congressman Sumter over John Rutledge to fill Charles Pinkney s unexpired term as a Senator when the latter was sent to Spain. At the expiration of the term he was elected Senator and re-elected in But Sumter, then 76 years old, had grown weary 7

18 of public service and because of complications in his vast private enterprises, resigned as a Senator and retired to his home at Stateburg. His wife Mary died at the age of 94 on 24 October Sumter continued to live at his home in Stateburg alone, until his son retired from diplomatic service and came to live there with him. He died 1 June 1832 at his home in Stateburg at the age of 98. Thomas Sumter was the last surviving General of the American Revolution. Almost half of Thomas Sumter s 98 years were spent in the picturesque area near Stateburg, and the county and the nearby city of Sumter, where he is buried, bear his name. Sumter was a man of varied interests, ranging from experiments with tobacco and cotton to testing the growing of silk worms. He also became well known for raising fine racing horses. At one time he held land grants for more than 150,000 acres of land. The Sumter National Forest in South Carolina was the scene of many of his greatest military triumphs and was named in his honor in Fort Sumter, in Charleston Harbor, was named in his honor and had the distinction of being the site of the first shots fired in the Civil War on 12 April After 34 hours of fighting, the Union surrendered the fort to the Confederates. From 1863 to 1865, the Confederates at Fort Sumter withstood a 22 month siege by Union forces, and during this time most of the fort was reduced to brick rubble. Fort Sumter became a national monument in For more reading material on General Thomas Sumter, try Partisans and Redcoats: The Southern Conflict That Turned the Tide of the American Revolution by Walter B. Edgar; Gamecock: The Life and Campaigns of General Thomas Sumter by Robert Bass; The Fighting Gamecock by Idella Bodie; and Thomas Sumter by Anne King Gregorie. What the connection between General Thomas Sumter and the other Sumpter family members, including Henry Sumpter, is not known, though there was almost certainly a family relationship. Alexander Sumpter Jr. wrote in his notebook: General Sumpter that fought in the Revolution was a relative... He figured with Marion in the Rev. War. We may never know exactly how he was related to the Sumpter family who eventually came to Oregon. First Generation - Henry Sumpter Returning to the topic of our earliest known Sumpter ancestor, Henry Sumpter, it is known that he was born about 1740, probably in Virginia. It has been written that Henry was a tailor and that he was relatively wellto-do, although there is also evidence to the contrary as will be reported below. It is believed that he married someone named Agnes Dillon, although the name has also been found written as Dillion. It is likely that Dillon is correct. Agnes was born about 1747, the daughter of William Dillon. The marriage between Henry Sumpter and Agnes Dillon probably occurred about 1764, although the original marriage record, if it still exists, has not been found. It has been repeated many times by other researchers that this marriage took place in Henry County, Virginia, but that is impossible since they didn t live there at the time of their marriage and Henry County didn t exist until The first record we can find for Henry Sumpter is from the Cumberland County, Virginia land records. In 8

19 the old county deeds (Book 4, page 264) is a record dated 23 January 1768 in which William Ferris of Cumberland County sold land to Henry Sumpter of the same county for 39 current money of Virginia. The transaction was for 133 acres of land in Cumberland County bounded by Carter Henry Harrison, John Lynch, Simon Rowland, Absolum Ferris and Daniel Russell. Witnesses to the deed were Joseph Palmore, John Creasey, William Dillon, Susannah Dillon and Agness Ferris. The William and Susannah Dillon who were witnesses to the land deal were likely the parents of Agnes. In the same county land records (Book 5, page 8) we find a record dated 28 October 1771 in which Henry Sumpter and Agge, his wife, of the Parish of Southam and County of Cumberland sold the same parcel of land to Samuel Ligon for 45. The deed mentions that this land is on the branches of Snow quarter Creek, which gives us an idea where Henry Sumpter lived. Snowquarter Creek is a small creek about one mile south-southeast of tiny Lakeside Village, Virginia, about five miles west of Cartersville and about 40 miles west of Richmond, Virginia. The land still lies within Cumberland County of that state. Oddly enough, on 23 October 1775, (Book 5, page 383), Elijah Ligon of nearby Hanover County, Virginia sold the same land back to Henry Sumpter for 50. According to the deed record, Henry and his young family were still living on the land. This might be an indication that the Ligon family was somehow related to Henry Sumpter. On 3 May 1776 (Book 5, page 478), just two months before the colonies would declare their independence from Great Britain, Henry Sumpter and wife Agness sold their 133 acres of land in Cumberland County, Virginia to George Carrington Jr. for consideration of the several debts which the said Henry hereafter mentioned and likewise for the further consideration of the sum of five shillings to him the said Henry in hand paid by the said George Carrington junior. The deed specified that the land was to be resold by June 1 st of the same year, with the proceeds to go to the debt owed by Henry Sumpter to Charles Woodson and Company, with any balance going to pay a debt owed by Henry Sumpter to Robert Pleasants. Any money left over from the land sale would then go to Henry Sumpter. It was obvious that Henry Sumpter had gotten himself into considerable debt and had to sell his land to satisfy his creditors. Henry and his family left Cumberland County following the sale of their 133 acres for repayment of their debts. They soon moved to Henry County, Virginia, since Henry Sumpter s name starts showing up in the Henry County records in 1777, when he was listed as the appraiser of a stray horse found by a man named John Barker. Some of the other records in which he appears include: Sumter, Henry Henry County, Virginia 1 September 1780 Receives land grant from Virginia of 278 acres on the waters of Smiths River. His land patent adjoined the land of men named Woodson and Randolph. The land grant was signed by the Governor of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson. Virginia Patent Book E, p Sumpter, Henry Henry County, Virginia 1 March 1781 Receives land grant for 1494 acres on Rock Run and Ramseys creek. This land grant was also signed by Thomas Jefferson. Virginia Patent Book D, p Sumpter, Henry Henry County, Virginia 28 September 1781 Buys 50 acres on both sides of the Smith River from Charles and Ann Foster for 150. Henry County Deed Book 2, Page

20 Sumpter, Henry Henry County, Virginia 30 March 1783 Buys land with William Wilmoth from David Hailey. Land sold was for divers(e) causes & considerations. Land was described as parcel of land lying on the Arvine River... whereon I now live. Henry County Deed Book 2, Page 374. Sumpter, Henry Henry County, Virginia 6 February 1788 Sells 100 acres to Absolum Adams for one shilling & six pence. Land sold was on Rock run Creek, crosses Davis branch, joins James Barker. Land sold was described as begining on Henry Sumpter north line. Henry County Deed Book 3, Page 384. Sumpter, Henry Henry County, Virginia 22 January 1790 Sells 300 acres on Rock Run Creek to Isham Cradock for 20. Land was on rock run creek. Land was the Plantation whereon the said Isham Cradock now lives.... Land was further described as joining Absolum Adams line. Henry County Deed Book 4, Page 81. Sumpter, Henry Henry County, Virginia 9 April 1790 Sells 100 acres to Thomas Bolling for 25. Land was on rock run creek of Smiths River. Henry County Deed Book 4, Page 85. Sumpter, Henry Henry County, Virginia 18 November 1793 Receives a grant from Virginia commonwealth for 507 acres on both sides of Smith River. This grant references 50 acres part therof bought by Henry Sumpter from Mark Foster. Virginia Patent Book 29, p Sumpter, Henry Henry County, Virginia 18 February 1794 Sells another 100 acres to Thomas Bolling on Rock Run Creek fork paths for 30. The deed describes one of the two paths as the Bakers and Goings Wagon Road. The other path is described as the Cox Path to Bool Mtn Road. The land sold included the house that John Lawless now lives in and the school house. Henry County Deed Book 5, Page 105. Sumpter, Henry Henry County, Virginia 1 November 1796 Sells an estimated 1000 acres to his neighbor George Hairston for 100. The land is described as on rock run creek waters branches of Smiths River. The deed states this land was part of the 1494 acres patented on 1 March The deed mentions three tracts of land previously sold from the original parcel. Henry County Deed Book 5, Page 286. Based upon the vague land descriptions common to the old metes and bounds land measurement system, we can only guess about where Henry Sumpter s land was in Henry County, Virginia. But the references to Smith River and Rock Run Creek provide enough information to tell us the area where he settled was just southwest of present-day Stanleytown, Virginia, about six miles northwest of Martinsville, Virginia. The stream called Rock Run is still called that today and empties into the Smith River near Stanleytown. 10

21 In addition to the land records, the name Henry Sumpter also is present on tax rolls for the year 1790 in Henry County, Virginia. These tax rolls are commonly used as substitutes for the first census taken in 1790 for Virginia, which has been lost. Henry Sumpter s name also appears a number of times in the court records for Henry County, Virginia, beginning in His name is usually listed as a witness or as a security in court actions involving others. One record, dated 26 May 1785, mentions that Kate a negro woman belonging to Henry Sumpter was exempted from paying county levies. This clearly indicates that Henry Sumpter was a slave owner. Henry Sumpter s name does not appear in the land records of Henry County, Virginia after In probably either 1797 or 1798, Henry Sumpter and his family left Henry County, Virginia. A land record on file in Henry County, Virginia dated 26 November 1798 confirms this, referring to 100 acres on Rock Run Creek which joins Henry Sumpter, now George Hairston. Henry Sumpter and his family moved to what was then Hawkins County, Tennessee, near the town of Tazewell. Their new home was located about 200 miles due west as the crow flies of their old home in Virginia. Henry Sumpter s name begins to show up in the records of Claiborne County, Tennessee by 1801, the year that county formed from Grainger and Hawkins counties. Tradition has it that the first white man to see the present site of Tazewell, Tennessee was the famous frontiersman Daniel Boone. Given that he likely would have had to pass through the Tazewell area on his way to the Cumberland Gap area of Kentucky, the tradition is probably correct. As with nearly all the settlers who came to the wilderness of eastern Tennessee and Kentucky during the late 1700's and early 1800's, there were many problems with the Indians. In Goodspeed s History of Claiborne County, published in 1886, the troubles of the early settlers are mentioned: During the Indian troubles these pioneers suffered much from savage depredations, and several forts were built at various points along the valley. The People s History of Claiborne County Tennessee, , published by the Claiborne County Historical Society, states: Settlements were also made at an early date on Sycamore creek, and a station known as Fort Butler was built about three miles west of Tazewell. By whom it was built is not known but James or Elijah Chissum, who had formerly lived in Hawkins County, and Isaac Lane were among the first to locate in that vicinity.... Among those who located near the road leading from Fort Butler to Mulberry Gap were the Estes, Gibbons, Sims, Condrys, Henry Griffin, George and Henry Sumpter, John Baker and Daniel Flemming. In the Short History of Claiborne County, published in 1894, more information is supplied about the Indian problems in the Tazewell area. The author mentions Fort Butler on Ball Creek and a station was also made on Station Creek, for which the creek has ever taken its name. He goes on to say that The above mentioned settlements were the first in this country. It will be remembered that people had to live in close settlements and build forts for protection against the Indians. They were often shot down if caught outside their forts. One instance I will relate. In the Station Creek settlement there lived a family by the name of Robinson. One morning soon their horses had strayed away from the fort. One young man of the family (James Robinson) went in search of the horses. He was going through a large cane brake, near where the city of Arthur now stands. At a large spring he was shot by the Indians. He ran nearly a half mile and fell and expired in a few minutes. He was buried at the place he died and his grave is, to this day, marked, it being more than one hundred and twenty years ago. The spring has ever since been called Butcher Spring. The account also mentions an account concerning Fort Butler, near where Henry Sumpter and his family lived: The settlement at Fort Butler was once attacked by a large squad of Indians. The whites succeeded 11

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