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|Suffix||Sr. the “Gamecock”|
|Birth||14 Aug 1734||Preddy’s Creek, Hanover County, Virginia [8, 9]|
|Census||1820||Sumter District, Page 119|
|HIST||A monument has been recently erected in General Sumter’s honor at Stateburg, South Carolina, the inscription on which is as follows: West Side - This stone marks the grave of one of South Carolina’s most distinguished citizens, THOMAS SUMTER. One of the founders of the Republic. Born in Virginia, Aug. 14, 1734. Died June 1, 1832. South Side- Erected by the General Assembly of S.C. 1907. East Side- He came to South Carolina about 1760 and was in the Indian Service on the Frontier for several years before settling as a planter in this vicinity. Commandant of 6th Regt., South Carolina Line, Continental Estab., 1776-1778. Brig. General South Carolina Militia, 1780-1782. Member of Continental Congress, 1783-1784. Member United States Congress, 1789-1793, 1797-1801. United States Senator, 1801-1810. North Side- Tanto Nomini Nullium Par Elogium. the “Gamecock” of the sandhills and midlands|
Sumter fought, lived, died in High Hills of Santee
Sumter fought, lived, died in High Hills of SanteeWhen Gen. Thomas Sumter moved to what would become Stateburg from the Santee, the neighborhood was then settled by planters, gentlemen, with large tracts of land and numbers of slaves. Most of them have passed away even in name from the land they loved so well, the only record of them now resides in the records of the Holy Cross Church.
Posted: Sunday, July 17, 2011 6:00 am | Updated: 5:34 pm, Fri Jul 15, 2011.
BY SAMMY WAY Item Archivist
The ensuing article merges two accounts of the life of Gen. Thomas Sumter. Information was gleaned from Anne King Gregorie's text and from an 1898 article printed in The Watchman and Southron newspaper in February of 1901. The author, whose name is not known, provides insight into the life of the man for whom our community is named. This article also provides the reader with information concerning the High Hills section of Sumter and the role this region has played in the history of Sumter County and South Carolina.
The author of Reflections hopes our readers will enjoy this interesting article first published in 1898 and the information it presents on this remarkable man about whom much has been written. As some of the language is archaic, the major portion of the text is reprinted with substantial editing for clarity at appropriate junctures. Due to its length, the article will be reprinted in two parts, concluding on July 24.
A valuable contribution to history - facts about the great soldier which give an insight to his character.
While South Carolina has furnished more great men to this country than any other state in the sisterhood of states, except old Virginia, and no other people have shown a higher appreciation of their great men in honoring them with offices of the highest trust and confidence than she has, it is equally true that no state has been more careless than she in recording the great deeds of her leading men. It is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, sins that the old State has been guilty of, for in it she has been untrue to herself in neglecting to let the world and future generations know of the self-sacrificing devotion of their Rutledges, Pinckneys, Calhouns, Sumters, Hamptons, Butlers and many other soldiers and statesmen unsurpassed for unselfish devotion to their country.
And, while South Carolina has shown the truthfulness of her nature several times in her history, by putting herself completely in the hands of one of her sons and obeying his commands more implicitly than the written law of the land, it is only necessary to name Rutledge, Calhoun and perhaps the greatest of all, old lion-like Hampton, to prove the truth of this statement.
THOMAS SUMTER OF STATEBURG: A PLANTER
When the Revolutionary War commenced in 1776, one of those to whom we turned when danger approaches was living near Stateburg, leading the quiet life of a planter, the life from which almost every one of the truly great men of this country would spring. This country gentleman was Thomas Sumter, then about 44 years of age. He came from the same sort of stock from which Hampton and R.M. Anderson came, and from what we know of him he was very much the same sort of man.
He always attended to his own business and never allowed any interference with it by anyone else, and he always wished to keep the peace, but when called to fight for a just cause, fought regardless of any consequences to any future reward or glory.
The people of today in Gen. Sumter's old home, including the descendants of his friends and neighbors, know more of the deeds of Richard Coeur de Lion in Palestine, than they do of Gen. Sumter's. The two most widely known facts about him (in 1898) was that his grave for many years was unmarked without a headstone (a situation that has since been corrected with the placement of a monument by the state on the 173rd anniversary of his birth) and that Fort Sumter was named after him (as are the city and county of Sumter).
General Sumter seems to people today like some hero of romance; just enough is known of him to make those people interested in the history of their state and country to want to know more.
It is well known that Thomas Sumter came to this state from Virginia, and it is thought that he first came here as early as circa 1758 as a soldier with the troops sent by Virginia to help South Carolina in the Indian war years before the Revolution.
He was later sent to this state on a mission to the Cherokee Indians by the Governor of Virginia in the company of two men named Lieutenant Henry Timberlake and McCormack, who served as an interpreter. They found a French emissary among the Indians working against the commissioners from Virginia. They kidnapped the Frenchman, carried him to Charleston and put him on board a vessel sailing to England. The vessel was lost and the meddling Frenchman was never heard of again.
SERVED UNDER BRADDOCK IN VIRGINIA
Before moving to South Carolina, Gen. Sumter had held a commission in the Virginia militia and had taken part in Braddock's raid among the Indians and his disastrous defeat. He first settled in South Carolina on a plantation on the Santee River, in what is now Clarendon County. While there he married a Mrs. Mary Jamison, widow of William Jamison probably in 1767.
The former Miss Cantey was the daughter of Captain Joseph Cantey, who resided on his plantation at Mount Hope. The Canteys were one of those well known families which have furnished to their state so many gentlemen in times of peace and many gallant soldiers in times of war.
In passing back and forth between South Carolina and Virginia, Gen. Sumter passed over the high hills of Santee, called by the early French settlers de Sante, on account of its healthfulness. De Sante was afterwards changed by its English occupants to Santee.
A few years before the Revolution, Sumter bought a plantation to use as a summer house to escape malaria on his low-country estate and moved to the high hills to live in a house known as "The Ruins," located on an opposite hill about a half mile from the Stateburg post office in a community known as "The Borough."
There was a tavern and a few stores in "The Borough" then, but the principal house stood, as it now stands, on the top of a hill and was owned then by Mr. Hooper, who, it is said, was a Tory, as a great many gentlemen were, and whose wisdom and foresight have often been highly commended in the last thirty years in the South by descendants of the "patriots" of 1776.
It is also said that Lord Cornwallis several times made his headquarters in this house, and there is a very large oak tree standing in the yard on which he hung an American spy.
BIRTHPLACE OF GEN. ANDERSON
The place was later owned by Dr. W.W. Anderson, Sr., and was the birthplace of his distinguished brother, "Fighting Dick" Anderson, a lieutenant general in the Confederate army.
When Gen. Sumter moved to what would become Stateburg from the Santee, the neighborhood was then settled by planters, gentlemen, with large tracts of land and numbers of slaves. Most of them have passed away even in name from the land they loved so well, the only record of them now resides in the records of the Holy Cross Church.
The war of 1776 must have been a rude shock to these gentlemen, separating them, as it did, from their friendly relations towards one another.
As soon as the conflict commenced, Gen. Sumter became involved and, I have been told, commanded a regiment which was stationed on the coast somewhere near Georgetown, when the battle of Fort Moultrie was fought. However, Sumter's hardest work came later in the war when the British came back to South Carolina in 1780.
Gen. Green and the author of his life find a great deal of fault with Gen. Sumter for insubordination, and lay the want of success in one or two expeditions to him. I do not believe that they have ever been publicly denied, but I have heard that they could be if Sumter's private letters at the time were published.
The same author also says that Gen. Sumter would forcibly take the slaves from the Tories and pay his men with them, and that his men then lost a great deal of time carrying their slaves to places of safety. There was a good deal of complaint by the Whigs for this conduct, as it caused the British to retaliate by seizing their slaves.
All of this may be true of Gen. Sumter, but there are some things to show what sort of work he did; evidence of his prowess is found in the nickname given him by those best able to know and appreciate his fighting qualities.
His soldiers called him "The Gamecock," (a title probably given to him by the Gillespie brothers) and no better evidence could be given of his courage than the love shown by his soldiers for him, for men engaged in the stern realities of war never give a man false or misleading titles; whatever they call their leader, he can be absolutely known to be.
THREE HISTORIC SWORDS
The other fact is that his grandson, Mr. Sebastian Sumter, had in his possession two swords taken by Gen. Sumter from two British officers whom he captured, Major Wemyss and Major Fraser. These swords are tongues of steel, telling in silence of Gen. Sumter's skill and courage and contradicting any little spiteful slings that the general never condescended to notice by a denial.
His own sword, too, speaks volumes; no small man in any sense ever wielded it, none but a plain, strong man who meant business and to whom war meant fight in its strongest sense. It is long and heavy, with a keen point and edge, and to look at it any one can imagine its fierce strokes, and making redder the red coat of many a British soldier and helping to win for its owner the right to mind his own business without outside interference.
Stateburg, June 24, 1898
The author of Reflections used information obtained from The Item archives and selected readings from the text "Thomas Sumter" by Anne King Gregorie.
Reach Item archivist Sammy Way at (803) 774-1294.
Posted in Reflections on Sunday, July 17, 2011
Gen. Thomas Sumter lived 98 active, generous years
Gen. Thomas Sumter lived 98 active, generous years
Gen. Thomas Sumter's son was chased by some of Tarleton's troops near Wedgefield, but managed to outrun them, only to find later that some of the British soldiers had burned his family's home.
Posted: Sunday, July 24, 2011 6:00 am | Updated: 11:47 am, Fri Jul 22, 2011.
BY SAMMY WAY Item Archivist
Part two of the article on Gen. Thomas Sumter continues with his involvement in the American Revolution and his activities until his death in 1832 at the age of 98.
The information here is a merger of two accounts - Anne King Gregorie's text and an 1898 story by an unknown writer that was printed in The Watchman and Southron newspaper in 1901.
British burn Sumter's home
One day during the war, the general was at home on a visit to his family, and, expecting to be engaged in some domestic activities, he told his little son, Tom, then 8 or 10 years old, to get his horse and ride down the road to determine if any of the enemy were in the neighborhood; Sumter did not wish to be surprised and perhaps captured by them. Tom rode off toward where the hamlet of Wedgefield now stands. After going some miles, he was told that Col. Campbell, in command of some of Lt. Col. Tarleton's troopers, was a few miles farther down the road and rapidly advancing. Hurrying home, Tom told his father,who mounted his horse and left, his son accompanying him for a short distance.
Later in the day little Tom was sitting on his horse in front of the old tavern, talking to someone sitting in the piazza. Looking up the road, he saw coming toward him a body of cavalry in red coats. He dashed down the road and was pursued for a short distance by the soldiers, when he reached what was known as the Moss House, which still stands, he turned off to the right and rode off through the woods and over the hills, and safely reached his father's house. The soldiers stopped at Mr. Moss' house.
The old tavern mentioned above stood there until burned down by Potter's raiders, in April 1865.
When little Tom Sumter reached home, he found that Lt. Charles Campbell had been there with some of Tarleton's men and burned the house and destroyed everything that they could not carry off. His mother was crippled and confined to a large chair, and she had been picked up and carried off some distance from the house where she witnessed what many a Southern wife and mother witnessed eighty years afterwards with the same indomitable spirit, the destruction of her absent soldier husband's home and hearthstone in the vain effort to crush the spirit of those who could not be conquered on the battlefield.
Amid the ashes of her dearly cherished home she learned to love South Carolina all the more and thought her so much the more needful of her husband's best and bravest efforts. She simply moved to another place owned by Gen. Sumter which was afterwards named the Home House. She lived there until her death, and she and Gen. Sumter were buried there; their grandson lives there now. Even among Tarleton's men, as among Sherman's and Potter's, many were found with manly feelings of compassion toward women and children whose houses were being burned and their sustenance destroyed, and one of them seized a moment when unseen by his comrades and slipped a ham under Mrs. Sumter's chair, where it was hidden by her skirts.
There was a carpenter working in the yard for Gen. Sumter, whom the General had often tried to induce to join the army, but he never could. Some of the British soldiers that day used him very roughly and in the struggle with them he struck one of them and hurt him severely with his chisel; he managed to break away from them and escape. He immediately joined Gen. Sumter's command and made a faithful soldier to the end of the war, doubtless one of many such enemies to British rule in South Carolina. Young Thomas Sumter told this story to his children many years afterward.
Late in the Civil War, a young Confederate soldier happened to be at home on a furlough when Potter's army came through this section of country. Riding along one day by himself, he was chased from almost the same spot as young Sumter. Fleeing down the old Borough hill, pursued by a body of soldiers in blue, he also managed to escape.
Gen. Sumter left the army before peace was declared, yet after all of the serious fighting was over and when it was very plain that the cause for which he had fought would triumph. According to one writer, in the life of Gen. Green, Gen. Sumter left the army because he thought himself badly treated by Gen. Greene, but it is more natural to suppose from what we know of Gen. Sumter that he did not care to stay in the army when the reason for joining it was practically over, and for that reason he left it. On January 2, 1782 he was elected to serve in the state senate and asked Gen. Greene for permission to leave and prepare to attend the Assembly. History indicates that Sumter made no special record either as a statesman or as a politician. He seems to have been a man of plain and simple tastes, very blunt and direct in the expression of his opinions, but very kindhearted and generous.
SUMTER'S LIEN SYSTEM
When at Sumter's Mount, the general was surrounded by a good many poor people to whom he would advance provisions all of the year. At the end of the year, thinking it would seem unbusinesslike to give them things; Sumter would take his wagon and go around to collect pay from them in corn, peas, etc. At the beginning of the next year, his sympathies would be aroused, and he would immediately give them all out again; that was his way of giving liens.
He owned a great deal of land and settled a good many plantations. If there was a stream on any of his property, he always built a dam across it and had a pond and a mill. He evidently thought grist and flour mills very valuable property. Anyone who visits the places once owned by him can see the old mill dams still standing as ineffaceable monuments to his industry and faith in mills.
At the first meeting of the congregation of Holy Cross Episcopal Church following the Revolution, Gen. Sumter was elected one of the vestrymen, and for years afterwards served the church in that capacity. Some of the vestrymen had been Tories during the war, and stories emerged of the General's having made his soldiers take one of them from home and carry him as a prisoner to his camp. However, there is no evidence in the church records of hard feelings on account of past differences.
THE CHURCH BOOK TELLS NO TALES
Doubtless, the General had paid his men with some of his neighbors' slaves. It was a way matters were conducted at the time, but nothing was ever said of this in the church book. There was no church building there at that time, at a "meeting held at Stateburg July 23, 1788, the following motion was taken: The Rev. Mr. Tate was appointed minister for ten months, with a salary of one hundred pounds sterling, and recommended that he hold divine services on Sundays in Mr. Powell's long room until a more suitable place of worship could be found and a proper house for that purpose be erected," which was done a few years afterwards.
Gen. Sumter lived at "The Home House" until 1821, when his son, Col. Thos. Sumter, came home from Brazil where he had been the United States Consul for years. The old gentleman gave up the place to his son and moved to a high hill called Sumter's Mount, about fifteen miles from the Borough, and lived there by himself except for the servants he had with him, until his death on June 1, 1832 at 98 years.
ACTIVE TO THE DAY OF HIS DEATH
Sumter led an active life up to the day of his death and his horse was hitched, saddled and bridled at the door for him to take his accustomed ride to his fields after breakfast. On that fatal day one of his servants went in to see the cause of his not coming as usual, and found him in his large armchair apparently asleep. However, upon examination it was found that his brave spirit had gone to its last long rest. Only a few months before his death, he had ridden on horseback from Sumter's Mount to the Borough, a distance of fifteen miles, and back in one day.
The family has an engraving of him taken the year before his death in his 98th year. He left a name honored and loved by his neighbors, not because of his public services, but because of the kindness of his heart and the generosity and manliness of his disposition, which made him treat all whom he thought worthy of his respect with equal politeness. The poorest man in the country was just as welcome to his hand and a seat at this table as the President of the United States would have been.
A generous spirit is still a distinguishing trait of his family. No gold braid, glittering wealth or high-sounding titles raised the man in his estimation any more than poverty, rags, and obscurity lowered another. Loyalty would remain an essential part of his character to the end of his days. I have heard older people say that this was the principal cause of his great popularity, and it descended to his children and grandchildren.
He was a man of middle age when Napoleon Bonaparte was born, and lived for nine years after Napoleon was dead and buried. As a young man, he helped to drive away Indians from his doorsteps and from those of his neighbors. He lived to see the incipiency of that internecine struggle which eventually robbed his beloved state of the sacred right of sisterhood for which he had spent so many years of his life. Is not the record of such a life well worth writing?
The life of an honest man, bravely striving against any odds for the betterment of the human race, is always an ennobling history and a much needed diversion for the country from the constant effort to be "progressive" and to "make money." Think what a man Sumter would have appeared to the entire world if he had chanced to go to New England instead of coming to South Carolina. May some take this brief and hasty sketch as a hint to do justice to Gen. Sumter's memory.
Stateburg, June 24, 1898
Reach Item archivist Sammy Way at (803) 774-1294.
Posted in Reflections on Sunday, July 24, 2011
Thomas Sumter estate could become tourist spot under council proposal
MATT WALSH / THE ITEM
Rett Summerville is working single-handedly to restore the Ruins, a historical house in Sumter, and fund its upkeep for the coming years.
BY BRISTOW MARCHANT email@example.com
A historic home dating from the 18th century could be opened to visits from the public if Sumter County Council approves a zoning change on Tuesday.
The Ruins, as the 200-year-old property is known, sits on land once owned by Sumter County's namesake in an residentially zoned area of Stateburg. Revolutionary War Gen. Thomas Sumter owned a plantation on the site dating back to 1784, according to documents filed with the Sumter Planning Department, and the current house was built about 1800 for Capt. John Mayrant, a sailor who served under John Paul Jones in the Continental Navy.
Rett Summerville, the Ruins' private owner, is seeking to rezone the property to agricultural conservation, a change that could allow him to host visitors to the historic site.
"I don't envision somebody being out there every week," Summerville said, "but maybe once a quarter, there could be an event there; we could have horseback riding, maybe host a wedding reception."
But any action on the change was postponed by county council after neighbors spoke out against the idea at a public hearing Jan. 14. They told council members they feared a commercial venture would change the character of their neighborhood and could create traffic problems outside their homes.
"You'd have to access it through a dirt road," said Bill Strickland, a property owner who presented council with a petition against the rezoning signed by 31 of his neighbors. "This is a residential area where children are playing. Nobody would want that kind of traffic going through."
The Ruins sits on a 7.9-acre Barnwell Drive site Summerville is hoping to re-zone along with another undeveloped 7-acre site on Millhouse Road, part of a larger land trust of several hundred acres.
Since the last council meeting, Summerville met with the other residents in the neighborhood to reassure them about his plans. Nothing new will be constructed on the property, Summerville said, and he has no plans to develop the wooded tract on Millhouse Road that borders many of the residents' homes.
A review by the Sumter Planning Commission concluded rezoning would not affect traffic patterns on Barnwell Drive, and the limited number of visitors envisioned by Summerville could be easily accommodated by the house's private driveway without affecting the rest of the neighborhood.
"I had a birthday party with 160 people, and you wouldn't know they were there," he said.
Strickland and others have also reviewed the easement on the land trust, which limits how the property can be used, and he said he's convinced the home won't be turned into a major commercial attraction. Strickland now says he won't oppose the motion if it comes back up for a vote.
"Part of what we got before was inaccurate. They're not going to build a banquet hall out there," he said. "I plan to be at the (council) meeting to let them know why I'd support it."
Summerville said his main reason in opening up the house is to ensure the historic property has a future beyond its current owners.
"I want it to keep going after I'm gone," he said. "I don't plan to do any big things with it; I just want to keep up the house."
Sumter County Council will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the county administration building, 13 E. Canal St.
Reach Bristow Marchant at (803) 774-1272.
Posted in Local news, News on Saturday, January 25, 2014
The Ruins focus of Monday’s Genealogical Society meeting
The former home of such luminaries as Gen. Thomas Sumter and John Mayrant Jr. will be the topic of Monday’s meeting of the Sumter County Genealogical Society. The Ruins, now owned and occupied by Col. and Mrs. Rett Summerville, is located at Stateburg among the moss-draped trees in the High Hills of Santee.
Most likely built in 1780, The Ruins is considered by some to be one of the most interesting old houses to be found in the area. The house has served as a personal residence for most of its history, but has also served as a female academy of higher learning, the Hawthorndean Seminary for Young Ladies.
The Ruins is an intact, almost unaltered antebellum plantation home with Greek Revival details reminiscent of a time of elegant plantation home design.
Among the home’s owners, besides Sumter and Mayrant, who served on the Bonhomme Richard under John Paul Jones, were Robert and Marion Deveaux. It was the Deveaux who brought the famous Marion China to The Ruins. It has also been home to the less than outstanding owner Rev. Converse, second husband of Mrs. Deveaux.
The Summervilles purchased the home in 1985. After extensive travel with the US Air Force, they have made The Ruins their permanent residence. They have undertaken the task of restoring this historical home to its former glory to be preserved for future generations to come.
The presentation by the couple will include the story of their work to restore the home as well as its exciting history.
The public is invited to attend the meeting of the Sumter County Genealogical Society at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Swan Lake Presbyterian Church on the corner of Haynsworth Street and Bland Avenue. There is no charge for admission.
Posted in Pano on Sunday, May 18, 2008
Early Residents shaped Sumter in all areas
Posted: Sunday, November 23, 2014 6:00 am
BY SAMMY WAY WAYSAMMY@YAHOO.COM
Reflections continues to highlight the achievements and contributions of Sumter citizens who helped make our community successful and productive. The group highlighted in this issue comprises individuals selected at random and are not the only candidates worthy of mention. Reflections will continue to prepare additional biographical sketches of those who have worked to improve the economic and cultural life of the Sumter community and feature them in future articles. Information used in preparing this presentation was obtained from The Sumter Item archives and the writings of Cassie Nicholes.
Neil O'Donnell (1859-1937) was born in Ardora Parrish, County of Donegal, Ireland, and came to America where he settled in Pennsylvania. He came to Sumter and took employment with William Bogin, later taking over this successful mercantile business. O'Donnell and Company was incorporated in 1906, and O'Donnell became active in a number of civic and commercial concerns. He was a principal benefactor of Tuomey Hospital, serving as president of its Board of Trustees, president of the First National Bank (later South Carolina National 1930), and board member of the City Schools for 43 years, served one term on city council and served on numerous boards of several local industries and business concerns.
Dr. Samuel H. Edmunds (1870-1935) was born at Millgrove Plantation, Richland County, and moved in 1877 to Sumter, where he spent the bulk of his life. He attended Davidson College, graduating in 1890, and was later selected as assistant principal of the Sumter graded school, serving two years in that position. He became the headmaster of the Presbyterian High School in Rock Hill for two years prior to accepting the superintendence of the Sumter City Schools, where he remained for almost 40 years. He pursued postgraduate work at Columbia University, the University of Chicago, Presbyterian, Wofford and the University of South Carolina. He was a member of numerous civic and fraternal organizations. He was instrumental in founding the local YMCA; it was noted that "his interest was not limited or restricted to the schools but any and every movement for the good of Sumter received his active support."
Dr. Julius Mood (1854-1936) "He was the oldest physician of Sumter in years and length of active service in his profession; besides being an outstanding citizen, he was honored and beloved by the entire community to which he gave a lifetime of devoted service." He served on the City Schools Board for more than four decades and possessed acute literary abilities. He was a charter member of the Fortnightly Literary Club organized in 1916; he was a charter member and president of the Sumter Rotary Club in addition to serving in numerous other civic, social and fraternal organizations. He established and conducted a private hospital for nearly 20 years prior to its merging with the Sumter Hospital (now Tuomey Regional Medical Center).
James D. Blanding was born in Columbia in 1821 and studied at the Academy there. Following graduation from South Carolina College in 1841, he read law with his uncle, William DeSaussure. Blanding moved to Sumter in 1843 to practice law, only to have his career interrupted by the Mexican War in 1848. He became one of Sumter's leading lawyers and practiced the profession for 35 years. He also served in the Legislature on the Education and Judiciary Committees and as mayor of Sumter. Before the signing of the Ordinance of Succession he raised the first company of volunteers in the Sumter District. He was a devoted church member and participated in a number of civic and fraternal activities. His home once stood on the current site of Memorial Park.
Mary McLeod Bethune (1875-1955) was born on July 10, 1875, near Raccoon Road, which at one time served as the main highway between Camden and Georgetown. She was the 15th of 17 children and received the majority of her early education in Mayesville under the tutelage of Emma Wilson. Her obsession with education led her to become a schoolteacher and eventually found Bethune-Cookman College in Florida. She later became friend and confidant of Eleanor Roosevelt, leading to her appointment to several advisory boards. Bethune became a member of the "Black Cabinet," where she advised President Roosevelt on the status of African-Americans in America. She became a member of the National Youth Administration and helped draft the United Nations Charter, an act she considered to be her highest national honor. Mary McLeod Bethune died on May 18, 1955, near her school, a place that had remained dearest to her heart.
Noah Graham Osteen (1843-1936) "One of the pioneers in the history of Sumter's Press was born on Jan. 25, 1843. He entered the newspaper business in 1855 at the age of 12 when he took a job with The Sumter Watchman. When he finished his five-year apprenticeship, he was given the task of publishing a Conway paper his company owned. He entered the military when the paper ceased publication and Sherman's army was approaching Columbia; following the conflict, he returned home to Sumter with his new wife. He later purchased half interest in The Sumter News (which became The True Southron)." In 1881 He purchased from Darr his interest in the True Southron and purchased at the same time The Sumter Watchman, later consolidating the two papers into the Watchman and Southron. In 1894 he began publishing a daily paper, The Sumter Item, and the Watchman and Southron became a semi-weekly newspaper and continued until 1933. He remained active in the newspaper business until he died as a result of an accident in 1936.
Thomas Sumter (1734-1832) Sumter County's namesake was born in Hanover County, Virginia, Aug. 14, 1734, and came to South Carolina in 1762, married Mary (Cantey) Jameson in 1767, became a planter and engaged in the mercantile business. He served in the Provincial Congress in 1776 and was made a lieutenant colonel in the 6th S.C. Regulars. He was appointed brigadier general of the South Carolina militia Oct. 6, 1780, and was in command of all militia in South Carolina during the Revolution. He was elected to serve as a member of the Continental Congress, 1783-1784, and the House of Representatives from 1789-1793 and 1797-1801. Sumter served as a United States Senator from Dec. 18, 1801 to Dec. 19, 1810. Sumter lived in Stateburg, which he helped found in 1793, until he died at age 98 on June 1, 1832.
John K. Crosswell was a native of Lee County north of Bishopville reared near what is now Lee State Park. He was the son of John R. and Susan Wright Crosswell; however, little is known about him prior to his coming to Sumter to work for a relative. He started Crosswell and Company in Sumter in 1901 which became the "largest wholesale business in eastern South Carolina." The business was initially located on the southwest corner of Main and Liberty streets; later he had three buildings constructed on South Sumter Street. He and his brother gained control of the Coca-Cola rights on syrup, which was sold to bottlers in many cities. His business interests continued to grow until his death in 1929. One of the conditions of his will was the establishment of an orphanage to be constructed for the children of Sumter. This organization continues to exist in the city, and due to Crosswell's planning, the facility continues to fulfill its mission.
John Blount Miller (1782-1851) Anne King Gregorie describes John B. Miller as "One of the most useful and influential citizens of Sumter." Born in Charleston on Oct. 16, 1782, he moved to Sumter in December of 1805, the same year he was admitted to the Bar. Records indicate that he was probably the first lawyer to reside in the Sumter community and became its initial Notary Public. He was later admitted as Commissioner and Registrar of the First Court of Equity in the Sumter District. He helped organize the Sumterville Library Society, became a noted orator, veteran of the War of 1812, writer and strong advocate of public education. Evidence of this was his conveying one acre of land for "the improvement of the children of said village and its vicinity," leading to the eventual building of three separate schools. He was an advocate of building a branch of the High Hills Baptist Church in Sumterville, which later became First Baptist. "He would devise a system of filing and labeling important papers relevant to the countless number of legal cases he handled." In addition to his numerous accomplishments he still found time to publish two books.
Reach Item Archivist Sammy Way at firstname.lastname@example.org or (803) 774-1294.
Celebrate Christmas at The Ruins
2nd annual open house set for Stateburg mansion
The Ruins, a historic Stateburg mansion dating from around 1784, will be open to the public for a tour on Saturday, Dec. 5. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Homes in 1970.
SUMTER ITEM FILE PHOTO
Posted Wednesday, November 18, 2015 6:00 am
BY IVY MOORE
The 2014 Christmas Open House at The Ruins was so overwhelmingly successful, the historic home's owner-occupants have decided to make it an annual affair. Col. Rett and Mrs. (Pat) Summerville have long said they consider themselves custodians rather than owners of the historic Stateburg home they purchased in 1985, and they're happy to open its doors to the public at Christmas.
This year's open house will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5.
The idea for the open house originated last fall, when the couple learned from the Historic Columbia Foundation and Kensington Mansion staff that Kensington was in dire need of repairs, so would not be open for its traditional Christmas tours. That situation, unfortunately, remains true this year, Pat Summerville noted, but the couple are happy to open their Stateburg mansion, a large home they've been restoring for several years.
The home has two stories and a finished basement, four large bedrooms, seven bathrooms and 14 fireplaces. Several outbuildings still stand, and many of the large, Spanish moss-garlanded trees in the circular drive and around the grounds date to the 18th century.
Summerville said even those who attended last year's open house will find something new, as repairs and renovations on The Ruins have progressed in the past 12 months.
"We have been replacing the window panes and put a small museum in a 12-by-24-foot building that was donated, and Rett has added electricity and heating and cooling to it," she said. "We also have added a 'weigh horse' that was used to weigh cotton. It resembles a teeter-totter with a weight on one end."
The museum holds items found on the grounds and donated items that would have been in the home at various times; and work continues on the outside of the house.
While the tour will be very similar to last year's, the Summervilles have added several new features, although docent-guided tours of the home built in 1784 by Revolutionary War hero John Mayrant on land belonging to Gen. Thomas Sumter are the main attraction. The docents will provide historic background on The Ruins, the people who have lived there and the furnishings, much of which is original to the home, having been found and recovered by the Summervilles over the years.
Native plant expert Mike Creel will conduct garden walks at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Pat Summerville said Creel is very well known "in plant circles, and his wife is a docent, Dena Creel," who with Janice Bowman, Pat Itter, Peggy Culler-Hair, Carl DuBose, Bobbie Osborn, Ellen Hayhurst, Betsy Edgerton and Amber Miller will conduct tours of the grounds and interior. They will also decorate The Ruins again this year, using natural plant materials as the residents did in the 19th century and adding some modern materials.
There will be storyboards on the grounds for self-guided tours to help visitors visualize what the property looked like in the past, and hayrides will be available for visitors to tour different parts of the 400-acre estate.
Light refreshments will be served, including what were called "shrubs" - fruits or vegetables preserved in vinegar and mixed with water - and sometimes, alcohol - as a refreshing drink, "sort of like what we used to call a 'phosphate,'" Summerville said.
Also on the grounds will be local artist Dennis Snell, who will set up his easel and paint from old pictures in the home.
The Summervilles' friend, author David Gottfred, will launch his new book on Kensington Mansion during the open house.
"When he visited here a few years ago," Summerville said, "we took him to Kensington, and he asked if there was a book about it that he could buy. When they told him there wasn't one, he decided to write one himself."
She added that Gottfred did years of research to produce the history. He will be available to talk about the book and autograph copies.
In addition, the Palmetto A's, a Model A Ford club, will have their vehicles on display.
"The Ruins' history is so long, that almost any time period can be effectively represented," Summerville said. "One of the first things Rett found on the property was remnants of an old Model A. We think it belonged to one of the Barnwell kids."
To get to The Ruins, take US Highway 76/378 toward Columbia, turn right on S.C. 261, take the third road (DeVeaux) to the right, and follow it until it meets Barnwell Drive. Turn left, and The Ruins will be on your right.
Tour of The Ruins
10 a.m.-4p.m., Saturday, Dec. 5
1257 Barnwell Drive, Stateburg
Admission: Free, donations for repair / renovation projects accepted [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10]
|MILI||Came to SC with Virginia militia. (Charles Edward Fienning played him in the 200th anniversary of Sumter, South Carolina- in 2000) |
|Died||1 Jun 1832||South Mount, Stateburg, South Carolina |
|Buried||Thomas Sumter Memorial Park, Sumter County, South Carolina |
|Person ID||I6185||Singleton and Related Families|
|Last Modified||18 Nov 2015|
|Father||William SUMPTER “SUMTER”, b. 1692, Histon, Cambridgeshire, England , d. 1752, Albermarle, VA|
|Mother||Elizabeth IVESON, b. 1695|
|Married||18 Jun 1728||Hanover, Virginia|
|Family ID||F10533||Group Sheet|
|Family||Mary “Polly” CANTEY, b. 1723, d. 1817|
|Family ID||F2260||Group Sheet|