I have been researching my family for over 20 years and have accumulated over 8,000 names from Abrams to Zimmerman.
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I have been researching my family for over 20 years and have accumulated over 8,000 names from Abrams to Zimmerman.
Check the list to see if your surname is listed. If you find your surname I may have more information about your ancestors.
Huguenots are French Calvinists. The origins of the term “Huguenot” is uncertain, but historians believe it comes from the Swiss-German word Eidgenossen, meaning “confederates,” in reference to the Genevan rebellion against the Duke of Savoy in the sixteenth century. The French Reformed church was formally founded in 1559 with the underground meeting of the first national synod in Paris. In the 1560s the Huguenot church reached a peak in terms of the number of congregations and followers (nearly two million) and political and economic influence.
However, the Wars of Religion (1562–1598) put an end to this phenomenal growth and permanently weakened the Huguenot church. It was during this tumultuous period of French history that Huguenot privateer and explorer Jean Ribaut led a small group to Parris Island, South Carolina, where they founded the short-lived settlement of Charlesfort (1562–1563). The Edict of Nantes (1598) restored peace to the kingdom and guaranteed the Huguenots religious and civil rights while reaffirming the preeminence of Catholicism.
Throughout the seventeenth century, the Huguenot church went through a period of decline and became increasingly peripheral to France’s economic, political, and religious life. This marginalization accelerated in the 1670s and 1680s, when Louis XIV (1643–1715) made religious reunification one of his priorities. At first Huguenots were locally challenged in court about the legitimacy of their churches and banned from certain guilds. Daytime funerals and psalm singing outside the church were outlawed. Violence soon followed legal harassment when, starting in Poitou in 1681, provincial governors were authorized to use military force to obtain conversions.
These campaigns, called dragonnades, ravaged major Protestant provinces and Huguenots converted by the thousands. Believing that the Huguenot church had become an empty shell, Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes in October 1685, thereby outlawing Calvinism in France. The Huguenots, who by then numbered nearly 800,000, faced a painful choice. They could remain in France and convert to Catholicism (or resist royal policy at the risk of being imprisoned, sent to a convent [women], or the galleys); or flee the kingdom. The majority, about 600,000, chose to recant their faith in the hope of practicing their Calvinism in secret, and a significant number, between 160,000 and 200,000, fled France. A small minority, less than 10,000, refused to recant or leave and were imprisoned, executed, or committed to life sentence in the galleys or to the convents.
The Huguenot migration to South Carolina is part of a larger diaspora, traditionally known as le Refuge, which stretches from the late 1670s to the early 1710s. An overwhelming majority of Huguenot refugees opted to settle in France’s Protestant neighboring countries, where French Reformed churches had been founded by Huguenot and Walloon (Belgian Calvinist) refugees in the late 1500s. About 60,000 Huguenots emigrated to the Netherlands, 50,000 to England (5,000 of whom eventually moved to Ireland), 40,000 settled in the German States, principally in the Rhineland and Prussia, and about 25,000 relocated in the Swiss Cantons. While the decision to flee was conditioned by a multiplicity of factors, such as age, education, financial resources, and the availability of familial networks, the choice of a destination was often dictated by geographic proximity, and in some cases, influenced by promotional literature.
A small number of Huguenots chose to settle overseas. About 2,500 relocated in British North America; New York (800), Virginia (700), South Carolina (500), and New England (300), and a few, about 300, in Dutch South Africa. In the eighteenth century additional groups of Huguenots and Swiss Calvinists settled in South Carolina where they founded the Purrysburg (1732) and Hillsborough (1764) townships, the latter sometimes referred to as New Bordeaux.
The Lords Proprietors originally intended to draw Huguenots to South Carolina to develop silk, wine, and olive oil production, while peopling their colony without weakening the mother country. Between 1679 and 1686 the proprietors had six French promotional pamphlets published in cities, such as London, The Hague, and Geneva, where large numbers of refugees congregated. These tracts presented an Edenic portrait of South Carolina in emphasizing its fertile soil, bountiful rivers, healthy climate, and balanced political system. Huguenots were attracted to Carolina primarily by the promise of cheap land, commercial opportunities, and religious freedom.
Except for the arrival of a small group in 1680, the majority of Huguenots settled in the colony between 1684 and 1688, while a handful of refugees came from other colonies, in British North America and the British Caribbean, in the early 1700s. Most refugees were merchants and artisans from France’s western provinces, such as Aunis, Saintonge, Poitou, Normandy, and Brittany; and coastal cities, such as La Rochelle, Dieppe, and Le Havre. While a few of them settled in Goose Creek and in the parish of St. John’s Berkeley, the Huguenots who came during the proprietary period founded three communities in the lowcountry before 1690. The most important was that of Charleston, where a congregation was founded in 1680 and a church was built in 1687. Huguenots also settled up the Cooper River in Orange Quarter. The third settlement, French Santee, was located south of the Santee River in present-day Georgetown County.
Beyond individual and local resistance, the Huguenot experience in South Carolina was characterized by a rapid and complete integration into Anglo-American society. In 1706 both the Orange Quarter and Santee churches became Anglican parishes under the respective names of St. Denis and St. James Santee, while Charleston Huguenots gradually drifted toward St. Philip’s. By the 1730s and 1740s most second-generation Huguenots had virtually abandoned the use of the French language and many, especially among the most affluent, had intermarried with families of British origin.
In 1885 the Charleston-based Huguenot Society of South Carolina was founded to preserve the state’s Huguenot memory through the publication of its journal, Transactions; the erection of markers wherever Huguenots settled in the state; and the sponsoring of commemorative events. With the Charleston Huguenot Church (1845), the Middleburg Plantation (1697), and the Hanover House (ca. 1716), South Carolina possesses a remarkable Huguenot architectural heritage and with historical figures such as Francis Marion, Gabriel Manigault, and Henry and John Laurens, a true Huguenot pantheon.
Sir John Yeamans was born in Bristol, England, in 1611, a younger son of John Yeamans, a brewer. A Royalist soldier, Yeamans rose to the rank of colonel during the English Civil War (1642–51). In 1650 he joined other Royalists in immigrating to Barbados, where he became a large landowner, judge, and member of council. Yeamans’s first wife, a daughter of a Mr. Limp, apparently died in Barbados in the late 1650s.
Yeamans once held some land in Barbados in partnership with Benjamin Berringer. Before Berringer died under suspicious circumstances in January 1661, his wife Margaret Forster Berringer transferred her affections to Yeamans. The Barbadian Assembly was among those who thought that Yeamans had hired someone to murder Berringer. Yeamans married the new widow ten weeks later.
Eight English noblemen acquired Carolina as a proprietary colony in 1663. Soon thereafter Yeamans’s eldest son, William, negotiated with the new proprietors to establish a Barbadian settlement there. The proprietors named John Yeamans governor of the projected settlement and arranged his elevation to the lesser aristocracy as a baronet. Sir John led the Barbadians to Cape Fear in 1665 but did not stay there long. The settlement was abandoned in 1667. When Anthony Ashley Cooper, who later became the first earl of Shaftesbury, convinced the other proprietors to send settlers from England in 1669, Yeamans was given the choice of becoming governor or naming another to lead the new settlement. Although he initially joined the settlers, he changed his mind and named for that task an aged Bermudan, William Sayle, who died a year later.
The proprietors’ Fundamental Constitutions for their colony established a hereditary aristocracy of landgraves and cassiques and provided that the senior resident landgrave should become governor in the event of a vacancy. They named Yeamans as the third landgrave of Carolina in April 1671. When Yeamans belatedly came to South Carolina in the summer of that year, he claimed the office of governor. Interim governor Joseph West and the Grand Council initially rejected his claim, but they accepted Yeamans as governor when a proprietary commission arrived in April 1672.
The Grand Council had earlier opposed Yeamans’s appointment with the argument that he had abandoned both the Cape Fear and South Carolina settlements to pursue his own interests. They noted that he departed the latter after a storm near Bermuda left it in “bleeding condition”—a result of the fact that the struggling colony was still dependent on imported provisions. In the slightly more than two years that he was governor, Yeamans sold food at inflated prices for his own profit. At the time he died, proprietary orders removing him from office were on their way across the Atlantic.
Yeamans died between August 3, when he was present at a meeting of the Grand Council, and August 14, 1674, when that body elected Joseph West as his temporary replacement. In addition to his second wife, Margaret, who returned to Barbados and remarried.
Sir John Yeamans’s will 1671
The will of Sir John Yeamans has been reproduced in the South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine, Volume XI, Edited by Mabel Louise Webber and published by Walker, Evans and Cogswell Company of Charleston South Carolina in 1910.I have taken the liberty to update the language somewhat. This will can be found on page 2-7 of the Registrar’s Records, book for the years 1675-1696 in the Office of the Historical Commission, Columbus, South Carolina. It reads:
December 13th 1675
A true copy of the last will and testament of Sir John Yeamans Knight and Baronet late of Carolina deceased proved and approved of by Sir William Yeamans Baronet son and heir to the said deceased and sole executor in the said will nominated (by the name of William Yeamans Esquire) as by the attestation of Sir Jonathan Attkins Governor of Barbados where unto he has set his hand and caused his Majesties great seal appointed for said Barbados and other of the Caribbean Islands to be affixed together with said Sir William Yeamans his letter of attorney to Colonel Joseph West and Lieutenant Colonel John Godfree or either of them attested with his hand and seal brought before proved and approved of by Colonel Joseph West Governor of this north part of the province of Carolina the 14th of September 1675.
In the name of God Amen. I Sir John Yeamans Baronet being ready to imbarque myself to the province of Carolina and well considering the uncertainty of human condition by extraordinary hazards yet accompany such undertakings do therefore the settling of my worldly concernment declare this my last will and testament in manner following, hereby revoking all former wills whatsoever.
First:I will that all the debts I duly owe be paid justly and with all diligence and paid by my executor here after named.
Item:In the first place as is my affection I give and bequeath unto my wife the Lady Margaret Yeamans in full recompense of her dower thirty thousand pounds of “Muscavados” sugar annually from the day of my death during her natural life and also during that term aforesaid I give and bequeath to her the entire use of the house where in I now dwell, together with all the lands belonging thereunto containing about forty five acres, bounding upon the lands of Henry Mills Esquire, Thomas Merricke Esquire and the lands of that Lieutenant Colonel Berrenger died seized together also with all the houses and edifices thereon being provided always that my said wife shall make habitation thereon, and not lease it out and to be the place … her abode when so ever she please, so that she continue …
Item:I do bequeath also during my dear wife’s natural life these Negroes following (vide) old Hannah and her children Jupiter, little Tony and Joane also I give and bequeath unto her eight milk cows which have been accustomed to be milked about the house and all the hogs, turkeys, ducks and fowls that at present in any part of my possessions and my will is that the particular of stock in this last clause expressed shall be in her absolute power and disposal from the date of these presents, and also all the furniture of my said dwelling house and house hold stuff whatsoever.All my plate jewels, rings, money, linen bedding and all utensils in my said dwelling house being or thereunto belonging, and also my coach and the four horses and harnesses and also the choice of any one of my horses fit for riding for her use to be and remain to her and her heirs forever in recompense of the care and education of her children and in full consideration of her dower.
Item:I give and bequeath unto my said wife all the Negroes young and old that Lt. Colonel Berringer died possessed of and that came to her afterwards by right of Administration and to me by intermarriage with her together also with all the increase.
Item:My will is also that ye custody of all my children unmarried and under the age of twenty one years and till they shall attain it shall be in the care of my dear wife and that she educate them in such manner as shall seem fit to her judgment and they prove capable of and not withstanding the provision I have already made and the charge thereof may be less felt by my dear wife my will is that the executor hereafter named provide at his own charge one decent suit of apparel for each of my children yearly, the same to be delivered to my said wife for their use.
Item:I give and bequeath unto my daughter Willoughby one hundred and twenty thousand pounds of “Muscavados” sugar to be paid by my executor within ten years after her marriage or when she arrives at the age of twenty one years, which … first happen.
Item:I give and bequeath unto my son Ro… two hundred thousand pounds of good “Muscavadoes” sugar to … by my executor when he shall arrive to the age of twenty one years.
Item:I give and bequeath to my daughter Anne one hundred and twenty thousand pounds of good “Muscavados” sugar to be paid by my executor within two years after her marriage or when she comes to the age of twenty one years which of them shall first happen.
Item:I give and bequeath unto my two sons George and Edward each of them one hundred and fifty thousand pounds of good “Mucavadoes” sugar to be paid to each of them when they or each of them shall arrive to the age of twenty one years by my executor.
Item:I give and bequeath to my wife’s daughter Margaret forever 17 thousand pounds of “Muscavadoes” sugar within three years to be paid by my executor after her marriage or she attains to the age of twenty one years which shall first happen.
Item:I give and bequeath unto my wife’s son John forty thousand pounds of sugar within three years next after he shall attain to the age of twenty one years.
Item:I give and Bequeath unto my daughter Mrs. Frances Hackett the present wife of Robert Hackett Esquire within four years after my decease twenty thousand pounds of sugar to buy her a ring by my executor.
Item:I give to my wife’s daughter
Mrs. Ma… Maycoke five thousand pounds of sugar to buy her a ring to be paid by my executor.
Item:I give to my wife’s son “Symon” the choice of my horses for his own use, and to be delivered by my executor.
Item:I give to my nephew Samuel Woorey twenty thousand pounds of sugar to be paid by my executor within three years after my decease in further lieu of his time spent with me.
Item:my further will is that if my wife dies before my children or any of the arrive to their age or time of marriage as aforesaid, that then my executor to pay yearly every year five thousand pounds of “Muscavados” sugar for each of them maintenance and education to whomsoever my said wife shall appoint to have the custody of them, or for want of such appointment to whomsoever shall have them in custody to educate them and maintain them until they arrive respectively to their age or days of marriage.
Item:I make my son William esquire my whole and sole executor for the payment of my debts and legacies herein mentioned and for the due and punctual proof of all other matters that to the duty of an executor belongs and do bequeath unto said son all my estates real and personal disposed of in the my will with all reversions and remainders to him and to his heirs for ever upon express condition that he does punctually perform all the bequests and orders in this will expressed and to this my last will and testament I have put my hand and seal this twentieth day of May in the year f our Lord one thousand six hundred seventy one.
Test. John Yeamans(seal)
Item:I do further will that my dear wife have my vessel “Ketch” called by the name of the Hopewell now in voyage to Virginia and expected hither to enjoy for her and heirs for ever.
Item:I give and bequeath unto my said dear wife two parcels of land containing twenty acres and ten acres in each one I bought of Phelps bounding on Mrs. Sandiford, and on Thomas Jones the other bought of James Masters and Henry Jones bounding on Mrs. Gay, my brother Foster and on Robert Clifton, to her and her heirs forever.To this addition also of my last will annexed to the other sheet I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 20th day of May 1671.
Sealed and delivered these two sheets John Yeamans(seal)
Containing my will in the presence of
By his Excellency
Mr. William Browne this day personally appeared before me and made oath on the holy Evangelists that he did see Sir John Yeamans Baronet sign, seal and publish this will as his last will and testament and that he was at the doing thereof of sound and disposing memory to the best of this deponents knowledge given under my hand the first day of December 1674
A true copy attested the
15th day of June 1675
p Edwyn Steede Deputy Secretary
By his Excellency
These are to certify all whom these presents shall concern that upon the fifteenth day of June in the year of our Lord God one thousand six hundred seventy five, and the seven and twentieth year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord Charles the Second by the grace of God of England, Scotland, France and Ireland King defender of the faith and “cet” , personally appeared before me John “Prysse” aged twenty five years or thereabouts, Clerk to Edwyn Steede Esquire Deputy Secretary of the aforesaid Island and made oath on the Holy Evangelists, that the annexed pages copies of the last will and testament of Sir John Yeamans Baronet and the letter testamentary thereon both attested under the hand of the said Edwyn Steede were by him said John Prysse examined and compared with the records now remaining in the said secretaries office, and that they are true copies of the said records in testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused His Majesties great seal appointed presents affixed the day and year above written.
To all whom these presents shall come or may concern.
[Ibid, page 7]
By his Excellency … know ye … that 1st Dec. 1674, before me the last will and testament of Sir John Yeamans Baronet deceased was proved … and therefore Sir William Yeamans Baronet, son and heir to said deceased and sole executor is admitted to take custody and administer all estate of said deceased 2nd Dec. 1674
A copy attested by
Edwyn Steede Deputy Secretary
15 June 1675
[Ibid, page 8] I Sir William Yeamans Baronet heir and sole executor of the last will and testament of Sir John Yeamans Baronet deceased, appoint well beloved friends Colonel Joseph West and Lieutenant Colonel John Godfrey my lawful attorneys in the Province of Carolina 16 June 1675
[witnesses] Will Yeamans
Carolina by the Governor
The aforesaid William Mayers this day made oath before me that he saw said Sir William Yeamans sign etc. the above power of attorney.At Charles Town, 8th Sept. 1675
This will shows the relationship of Margaret (Foster) Berringer to Sir John Yeamans that being his wife.It also gives the names of children living at this time but does not indicate which of them may have been Margaret and his children.It does delineate her children by Benjamin Berringer.
South Carolinians used their natural, human and political resources to gain economic prosperity, due to trading with the people of Barbados and the practice of mercantilism.
For example, South Carolina had a large population of deer that were hunted for their skins and meat. South Carolina also had a large number of pines which could be harvested for timber. The colony’s best natural resource, however, was its fertile land and mild climate combined with a long growing season.
The port at Charleston and its waterways were easy to navigate and made it easy to ship goods inland to various markets. The geographic conditions in the Lowcountry made it a perfect place to plant rice.
In the beginning, the traders got along well with the Native Americans due to a thriving trade market which benefitted both sides. The traders exchanged beads, trinkets, guns and alcohol for furs and deerskins from the Native Americans. When settlers started forcing Native Americans into slavery, however, the trade exchange ended.
Since many early settlers in Carolina came from Barbados with their slaves, a thriving trade network was easy to establish due to previous ties to that country. South Carolina sold: cattle, Native Americans as slaves, and pine trees for their pitch and tar (naval stores), which was used to make ships watertight. South Carolina produced more naval stores for the British Empire than any other colony, which brought in around $6.4 million in 1710. (That sum roughly equates to $220,380,519 in 2015.)
Slaves, from Barbados and Africa, brought their knowledge of growing rice and cattle herding. Dr. Henry Woodward is credited with bringing rice to South Carolina. The geographic conditions, of the Lowcountry, were perfect for growing rice. As a result, rice soon became the major cash crop of South Carolina. It became known as “Carolina Gold.”
In 1720, about six million pounds of rice were being exported; ten years later it was around seventeen million pounds and then—during later years—it was thirty million pounds being exported. The swamps of Carolina were considered the “Gold Mines” of South Carolina due to rice. Production went as high as sixty-six million pounds before the Revolutionary War. Rice was a staple crop and led to increasing prosperity for South Carolina.
The other crop which became highly successful in Carolina was indigo. Eliza Lucas Pinckney was born in Antigua and moved with her family to Charleston. She planted indigo because she wanted her family plantation to be successful. The British government offered a subsidy to anyone who could grow it. She experimented with the different strands of the plant and created a very successful indigo plant. Due to her success, and sharing the information with others, the export rate for indigo in 1745-1746 went from only 5,000 pounds to over 130,000 pounds of exported indigo two years later.
Political factors also contributed to the success of South Carolina. England, through the economic system of mercantilism, controlled trade so that England could export more goods than it imported. By controlling the trade, England was able to make large sums of money and become more wealthy and powerful. South Carolina was both a source of raw materials and also a market for British manufactured goods. This allowed England to become less dependent on foreign trade with countries such as China and improved the balance of trade in favor of England.
By English law, rice and Indigo were to be sold only to England and this gave South Carolina a huge market for their goods produced. However, the British government did not enforce this law, thereby opening the marketplace for rice. South Carolina benefited greatly from having a secure market in England and a wider market in the world which increased the economic profit in South Carolina.
When you begin a conversation about the roots of South Carolina in the late 1600s, you will find references to the island of Barbados and the huge influence it brought to Coastal South Carolina’s early history. Almost 350 years later, this past November, a number of Lowcountry residents are collaborating with officials in Barbados to remember the cultural ties that continue to connect South Carolina and Barbados. The Barbados and Carolina Legacy Foundation traveled to Barbados last November in order to celebrate our shared past.
You may be asking yourself, how did Barbados influence the early history of South Carolina? If you read any books or articles written about this topic, you will find conversations concerning these connections. The Charleston single house, for example, is often described as being a local interpretation of a Barbadian ancestor. The drinking culture of early Charleston has been described as an extension of the influence of the Barbados rum industry. Several of the early governors and major landowners of colonial Carolina came here from Barbados. Some of South Carolina’s earliest laws for the governing of African slaves were based on legal precedents established in Barbados.
The local language we call Gullah, created by the enslaved Africans who lived along the coast of South Carolina, is remarkably similar to the Afro-Barbadian dialect known as Bajan. Barbados is the easternmost island of the Caribbean or West Indian Islands. It contains approximately 166 square miles of land, or just over 106,000 acres. That makes the island of Barbados approximately one-tenth the size of Charleston County, or twice the size of John’s Island. That may be difficult to visualize, so here’s another way to think about it: the pear-shaped island of Barbados is approximately 21 miles long and 14 miles across at its widest point.
European settlement of Barbados began in the 1490s, when Spanish and Portuguese explorers first visited the island. There they found a population of native Amerindians, but did not attempt to create a permanent settlement. Throughout the sixteenth century, Spanish colonists dominated the land of Central America and the islands of the Caribbean Sea, while Portuguese colonists established a vast sugar empire in Brazil in South America.
At the beginning of the seventeenth century, England was poised to launch its first permanent colonies in the New World. The settlement at Jamestown, Virginia, was established in 1607, followed by a permanent settlement in Bermuda in 1609. In 1623 English settlers claimed part of the island of St. Christopher (St. Kitts), in the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles, just a bit north of Barbados. French settlers claimed the other half of St. Kitts in 1625, leading to years of conflict, so the English kept searching for Caribbean islands to call their own. Also in 1625, English explorers landed at Barbados, found it completely deserted, and claimed the island for their king.
Two years later, in 1627, a small band of about fifty white men and perhaps ten African slaves established the first permanent English settlement on Barbados. Over the next several decades, the island served as the base for other English settlements in the Caribbean, including Nevis in 1628, Antigua in 1632, and then a number of other small islands. As England’s first solid foothold in the West Indies, Barbados quickly became a major destination for adventuring merchants and investors, as well as white indentured servants and exiled criminals. By the early 1640s, when the colony was not quite twenty years old, Barbados was home to approximately 30,000 people, mostly men, making it the most densely populated English-speaking settlement outside of London.
In this crowded society, scores of urban merchants traded with neighboring ports while hundreds of middling landowners cultivated relatively small tracts of lands. They grew tobacco, cotton, indigo, and ginger for export, and raised cattle and provision crops to feed themselves. Indentured white servants, mostly poor Irish, did the bulk of the labor, but Barbados in the early 1640s was also home to nearly 1,000 enslaved Africans, whom the English had purchased through Dutch merchants. English colonists first embraced slavery in Virginia in 1619, but it was not yet the dominant form of labor in their New World settlements. In Virginia in 1650, for example, the population demographics were nearly identical to that of 1640s Barbados: approximately 30,000 whites and nearly 1,000 enslaved Africans.
During its first twenty years of English occupation, Barbados was not a financial success. Tobacco prices declined as the quantity and quality of the Virginia product surpassed Caribbean exports. French and Spanish indigo dominated European markets, and so the English dye faced stiff competition. In response to these conditions, settlers began to stream away from Barbados in search of new opportunities in places like Virginia and New England.
As Barbados struggled to find its place in the world in the early 1640s, a few planters began experimenting with the cultivation of sugar cane. The Portuguese in Brazil had already turned sugar cane production into an extremely profitable business, using Dutch merchants to market sugar and sugar by-products to European customers who couldn’t get enough of the sweet stuff. Trying to emulate their neighbors, English planters in Barbados started growing the cane and experimenting with the laborious process of converting it into sugar products. At first the results were not promising. The quantity was too small to be profitable, and the quality of their sugar was inferior to that produced by the Portuguese. Within a few years of experimentation, however, and with the important help of Dutch merchants and Sephardic Jews who bridged the gap between Portuguese, Dutch, and English trade networks, Barbadian planters soon perfected their sugar production techniques.
By the end of the 1640s, Barbados was on the verge of an upsurge of sugar production. Planters had mastered both the cultivation of the cane and the techniques of processing it into sugar, molasses, and rum. Rum became a Barbados fixture in mid 1600’s and in 1703 Mount Gay Distillery was launched and is today the oldest continuously functioning rum distillery in the world. During the height of the sugar boom in the 18th century, Barbados rum was considered the finest rum in the world. George Washington insisted that Barbados rum be served at his inauguration. This was technically illegal as the Continental Congress had banned British imports, including rum from Britain’s Caribbean colonies. Washington didn’t feel New England rum was of sufficient quality for a presidential inauguration. He got his barrel of Barbados rum.
The last action in this expansion was to increase production dramatically, a step that would require a larger labor force. In sixteenth-century Brazil, Portuguese planters created an empire of sugar cane by importing large numbers of enslaved Africans. Around the year 1650, Barbadian planters decided to follow a similar path. Within a decade, the island had been radically transformed. Wealthy planters bought out their less-affluent neighbors to create a smaller number of farms, or plantations, cultivating larger tracts of land.
Simultaneously, they purchased large numbers of Africans through Dutch merchants, effectively displacing thousands of poor white laborers. By 1660, the population of Barbados stood at approximately 26,000 whites, a decline of a several thousand people since the early 1640s. Conversely, the number of enslaved people of African descent increased from less than 1,000 people around 1640 to approximately 27,000 in 1660.
The transformation of the Barbadian economy in the mid-1600s was a turning point in that island’s history, but it also had important ramifications for the rest of the Caribbean and mainland North America as well.
By investing a large amount of capital into large-scale agricultural ventures that focused on a single crop, combined with an emphasis on the use of forced African labor, Barbadian planters were creating a new mode of capitalism in the English-speaking world. The business of exploitative factory farming, as we might call it, produced incredible profits for a relatively small number of investors, while condemning a disproportionately large number of people to a life of labor and poverty. The Spanish and Portuguese had already embarked down this economic road in South America, of course, but for the English nation this was a bold new step that would have long and painful repercussions.
The rapid economic success of Barbados between the late 1640s and the early 1660s, what we might call the Great Sugar Rush, also created a series of immediate challenges for the small island. The great potential for profits drove planters to clear more land to grow more sugar cane and import ever more Africans to do the work. As a result of these changes, Barbadians found it increasingly difficult to sustain their own population. There were far more mouths to feed, but fewer acres of land dedicated to cattle grazing and the cultivation of provisions like wheat and peas. As forests were cleared to create new cane fields, the island grew increasingly desperate for essential wood products like lumber for houses, shingles for roofs, staves for barrels, and firewood to boil the cane juice into sugar and rum. To maintain the fabulously profitable economic dynamo it had recently created, Barbados desperately needed to expand.
The Barbadian model of sugar production enticed English adventurers to carry the business to the other English possessions in the Caribbean, including Antigua. In 1655 England captured the much larger island of Jamaica from the Spanish, a feat that promised much needed relief for the strained Barbadian resources. The Jamaican soil proved to be less fertile than that of Barbados, however, and the island’s extensive mountains provided ample shelter to African slaves seeking to escape a life of bondage. In the late 1600s the Jamaican economy developed a sort of auxiliary of the Barbadian sugar model, but the collective resources of the larger island were not sufficient to solve the smaller island’s lingering challenges.
What Barbados merchants and planters of the early 1660s ideally wanted was a cheap, limitless supply of timber for wood products and land for cattle grazing and planting provision crops. Such needs could only be found on the mainland, perhaps, and England’s long, turbulent era of Civil War, Commonwealth, and Protectorate, 1642–1659, precluded the creation of any new mainland colonies in North America. With the restoration of the English monarchy under Charles II in 1660, however, the leading figures of Barbados saw an opportunity to press the new king for assistance in expanding their respective fortunes. Conversations commenced between Barbadians and their allies in the new English government about potential investments and profit schemes. In the spring of 1663, these private negotiations bore fruit in the Royal charter granted by Charles II to a group of eight investors, styled Lords Proprietors, for the vast and verdant new colony called Carolina.
Our historical connection between Barbados and Carolina is far deeper than a handful of influential colonists, or an architectural form, or a style of cuisine, or a dialect. The people of Barbados were the soul of late-seventeenth-century as their DNA became a part Coastal South Carolina from the moment this colony was conceived.
There are very few details known about Nairne’s early life. He arrived in South Carolina from Scotland sometime before 1695. In that same year Nairne married Elizabeth E. Quintyne, a widow. The marriage brought Nairne four stepchildren and produced a son named Thomas, born in 1698.
Nairne obtained land grants on St. Helena Island from the Lords Proprietors, eventually amassing some 3,600 acres. By the early 1700s Nairne led Indian raids against Spanish Florida both to weaken the Spanish and to obtain slaves from among their Indian allies. In 1707 he entered the Commons House of Assembly as a representative of Colleton County where he headed a group politically opposed to Governor Nathaniel Johnson.
As a legislator, Nairne was part of the assembly that drafted new laws to change the Indian trade, specifically reducing the governor’s role and his income derived from it.
In 1707 the Commons House created the Board of Indian Commissioners to regulate the trade. The act created the office of Indian agent, who was to spend at least ten months of the year among tribes to supervise traders and resolve problems.
Nairne was Carolina’s first official Indian agent, Nairne traveled across the Southeast and conducted missions to southern tribes such as the Tallapoosas and Chickasaws. He also worked to keep unlicensed traders from participating in the Indian trade, which caused him considerable trouble after he arrested the governor’s son-in-law, Thomas Broughton, on charges that he was enslaving friendly Indians and stealing deerskins.
Nairne’s opposition to Governor Johnson led to Nairne’s arrest in June 1708 on charges of treason. Nairne claimed that Governor Johnson had falsely accused him to be rid of a political opponent and to allow the governor to regain his ascendancy over the Indian trade. Nairne was released in November 1708 but lost his office as Indian agent. He sailed for England to defend his actions before the Lords Proprietors, who exonerated him. Upon his return to South Carolina, Nairne was reelected to the Commons House of Assembly in 1711.
In December 1712 Nairne again became South Carolina’s Indian agent. His second tenure coincided with rising unrest among neighboring Indian nations, especially the Yamassees, who had been abused by Indian traders and feared the expansion of white settlement into Indian territory.
In early 1715 there were rumors in Charleston that the Yamassees would attack to resolve their trade problems. Nairne met two Charleston officials at the Yamassee town of Pocotaligo to negotiate with the tribe. On Good Friday, April 15, hostilities erupted as the Yamassees attacked white settlements along South Carolina’s southern frontier, beginning the Yamassee War. Nairne was captured and tortured to death by burning wood splinters into his skin for several days.
Here is a copy of John Flemming’ will dated July 2, 1798 living in Chester County, SC.
The Brentwood Restaurant & Wine Bistro
This lovely Victorian home was built in 1910 for Clarence (1886-1943) and Essie Bessent McCorsley (1887-1974).Here they raised four lovely children. After Clarence passed away on March 29, 1943, with their children grown and married, Essie began renting rooms to fishermen who were visiting the Little River area for $1.00 per night, for 50 cents extra she would prepare a substantial breakfast. The building was moved to its current location sometime between 1960 and 1970.
After Essie died August 15, 1974 the home was empty for several years until the Victorian home was purchased and restored it to its natural splendor. The Stublick brothers from the Brentwood area of Long Island, NY ourchased the home and gave it the name Brentwood Restaurant and crafted a menu to please every taste, taking their menu to a higher level.
After 13 years the Stublick brothers were ready to retire, so they began searching for a new owner. After an extensive search they found Eric and Kim Masson from Saratoga Springs, New York to take over their successful restaurant. Eric and Kim had started two successful restaurants in New York, and they decided to make the move down south to Little River, South Carolina with their two children, Jolee and Rémy.
Chef Eric Masson, a French native and a holder of three degrees from the prestigious Ferrandi Culinary School in Paris. Chef Eric will brought in a French twist to the expertly prepared cuisine the previous owners started.
Chef Eric’s approach is creative yet simple with an emphasis on fresh and local quality products and dishes, which are not only delicious but also good for you.
You may also want to check out their Ghost Dinner & Tour schedule. There have been times in the past when a dark shadow has been seen moving about in the upstairs area and there have been several who have witnessed a figure in an upstairs window.