AHGP Transcription Project

Marion County
The Early Settlement

Marion County, as originally laid out, is in about latitude 34 north, and longitude 3 west from Washington. A line commencing at a stake on the North Carolina line, about one and a half miles from McInnis' Bridge over Little Pee Dee River, running a southwest course to and across the Great Pee Dee River to Lynch's Creek (river), dividing it from Marlborough County, on the east side of the Great Pee Dee, and from Darlington County, on the west side of said river. From the point where said line intersects Lynch's River, said Lynch's River is the line down to its confluence with the Great Pee Dee on its west side; thence down the said Great Pee Dee to its confluence with Little Pee Dee; thence up the Little Pee Dee to its confluence with Lumber River; thence up Lumber River to its intersection with the North and South Carolina line; thence up the said North Carolina line to the beginning stake above McInnis' Bridge. Its boundaries may be thus described: on the north by Marlborough County; on the northwest by Darlington County; on the west and southwest by Lynch's River; on the southwest and south by Great Pee Dee; on the east by Little Pee Dee and Lumber River; on the north and northeast by North Carolina. Since the formation of Florence County, in 1888, Great Pee Dee forms its southern and southwestern boundary. It covers between nine and ten hundred square miles (estimated) now, or since the formation of Florence County. In length, from the northwest to southeast, it is about seventy miles, some of our people have to travel thirty-five or forty miles to reach the Court House. In breadth, from east and northeast to west and southwest, it is about thirty miles, on the line of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad; from that line southward it gradually narrows to a point at the confluence of the two Pee Dees. The line between Marion and Marlborough is estimated at eighteen to twenty miles long, and on the North Carolina side at thirty-one or thirty-two miles (estimated).

For political and county government purposes it is divided into fourteen (formerly eighteen) townships, as nearly equal in area as may be, having regard to creeks or swamps, public roads and other well-known marks or division lines. Their names are Marion, Reaves, Hillsboro, Carmichael, Manning, Harlleesville, Bethea, Moody, Kirby, Wahee, Rowell, Legette, Britton's Neck and Woodberry. Of these, Marion, Reaves, Harlleesville and Manning are the most populous, and have the greatest amount of taxable property within them. These townships were laid out under the State Constitution of 1868, and Acts of the General Assembly made in pursuance thereof, and are yet continued under the Constitution of 1895, and subsequent legislation. The taxable property of these several townships, including the two graded schools in Marion and Manning Townships, is hereto appended, as shown from the County Auditor and County Treasurer's books for the year 1899.

This part of the Province of South Carolina, Craven County, was not much settled until about 1735. When Queensborough Township was laid off wholly in Marion County, in 1731 and 1732, there was not a settlement within it; but below that township, and between the two rivers, Great and Little Pee Dee, according to well authenticated tradition, there were some settlements before that time. Mr. M. M. Lowrimore, of Woodberry Township, has furnished the writer with some interesting facts about the first settlement of that part of the county, Britton's Neck, below the old Britton's Neck Church of the present day (about which church more may be said hereinafter).

The writer is also indebted to Mrs. Margaret F. Johnson, widow of the late Hugh R. Johnson, near Nichols, South Carolina and who was the daughter of the late General William Woodberry, of Britton's Neck, for valuable and interesting information about the Woodberry family. From these two sources, viz: letter of Mr. M. M. Lowrimore and letter of Mrs. Margaret F. Johnson, the writer gleans the following:

"Sometime in the early part of 1700, there came from Ireland some people by the name of Michalls, 'not McAll,' and settled on a point of land now called the 'Tan-yard.' Their occupation in their native land was that of tanners. After coming to this country, finding game so numerous, they became great hunters, and to carry on their trade they erected a tan-yard just one mile above the mouth of Little Pee Dee River, on the bank of the Great Pee Dee. They killed game, then plentiful of all kinds and sorts, bought hides from others, tanned them and sold the leather to the early planters in that region and on the Waccamaw Neck. What became of the Michalls is unknown; the signs of the tan-yard erected by them were there for many years afterwards, and may be seen there even yet. The place is known now as the 'tan-yard.' The name of Michall is now extinct in the county."

Mr. Lowrimore says: "About 1710, there came over a goodly number from Great Britain, and thereby they were called the Brittons or Brittains." This would imply that the whole colony, whatever might be their individual names, were called the "Brittons" or "Brittains." The time of this settlement antedates the settlement made twenty-five years afterward, as spoken of by Bishop Gregg in his book, p. 69. There possibly may have been two emigrations in those early times to that part of the county (Craven). Mr. Lowrimore says: "They commenced settling at the lower mouth of Jordan's Lake. Their occupations were planting corn, peas, potatoes, rye, oats, wheat and flax, raised hogs, sheep, goats and cattle; lived high on fish and honey, and wore otter-skin coats." If Mr. Lowrimore is correct, and the writer sees no reason to discredit him, this applies to the colony of 1710, called "Brittons" or "Brittains."

Mr. Lowrimore further says: "About 1734, a number of Lowrimores with their wives came over from Ireland. Their trade was blacksmith and house carpentering. My great-grandfather was the blacksmith. Some of them went off to the rice countries and got rich, and lost it all by bad management. My grandfather, W. James Lowrimore, was a blacksmith, which trade my father, Robert Lowrimore, learned." The writer regrets that he has not been able to see Mr. Lowrimore, and learn more of the Lowrimore family whom they married, how many children they raised, and their names, and what their successes in life were, and what has become of them. The writer has met with the present M. M. Lowrimore in times past, but not lately. He is advancing in life, perhaps seventy years old, an excellent man, in fact, no ordinary man, considering his want of opportunities and his environments. He and his immediate family are the only ones by the name known now to be in the county. In his very interesting letter to the writer, he says nothing about his family, except as above quoted, and nothing at all about his own immediate family, or whether he has any children or otherwise. There are several of the name in Horry County, who the writer supposes to be lineally or collaterally related to him. M. M. Lowrimore is a patriot and true man; if he has any family of his own, he is too modest to say anything about them. He is a remarkable antiquarian, and it is natural with him, not acquired, as his early educational opportunities were quite limited.

Mr. Lowrimore continues: "Later on came a Capps, a farmer; next a family of Augustines, bee-tree hunters and hunters generally. This is on a lonely island between Jordan's Lake and the Great Pee Dee. Also an adjacent island was settled by a family of Hunters, a hunter by name and by trade. These islands go by the names of Augustine and Hunter's Islands.

In 1734, came in a family of Kibber (or Kibler), occupation as others. All this on the Great Pee Dee. On Little Pee Dee, a man from England settled near its waters, by the name of Parker. Next a family of Colemans and a man by the name of Jerry Touchberry; the Brittons at Hickory Hill. Next on the Little Pee Dee River, a family of the Woodberrys, who raised hogs and cattle for market, made indigo, met the trading vessels and changed off indigo pound for pound of Negro weighed naked (so much for the Woodberrys)

Next the Okes did likewise also. About 1760, the Munnerlyns (Irish), farmers and stock raisers, planted indigo, rice, oats, wheat and tobacco, raised orchards, beat cider." Mr. Lowrimore proceeds: "Next was a number of Williams, I know not where from. They lived chiefly by raising stock and driving it to market.

Near the Great Pee Dee, a family of Rays, near the place that you know that is called Ray's Causeway, on the road leading from Britton's Neck to the Ark Church. Also, the old Jenkins lived in there, too. There is where old Mrs. Jenkins drank the toast to the British officer, when she told him she had three sons in the war, and she wished that she had three thousand.

Another settlement which I forgot to note was old James Crockett, an old Englishman, came and settled on Little Pee Dee, near what is known as Pawley's Camps, the place where old Tory Pawley hid when old General Marion was ransacking this part of the country for the Tories. But the said Crockett obtained a warrant, and in 1734, he took up and had granted to him a tract of land. I have had the old plat and grant in my hand many times. This then was called Craven County. I have not gone above the road leading to Britton's Neck Church. The Graves that lived on the road, you can get knowledge of them and the old Davises and Mapp Claff."

The old gentleman, Mr. M. M. Lowrimore, closes above quoted letter in these words, verbatim et literatim:

"Mr. Sellers, I take great pleasure in replying to you it was a Great strain on the mind, I did as best I could under the present circumstance please write to me if it is any profit to you or not, excuse mistakes and blunders, as I am no Grammareon. In those old days the rattlesnakes were numerous I give you a receipt for the cure of Rattlesnake bite take one handful of parsley leaves one of Hoar hound leaves, beat up and squice (or) squix through one pint of new milk, add a lump of allum as big as a hulled hickory nut, give at draught" (he doesn't say how much) "When this you remember an old friend."
M. M. Lowrimore.
"address Smiths Mills, S. C."

The writer cannot adequately express his appreciation of the above quoted letter, coming from the man it did. Now as to the different settlers mentioned in Mr. Lowrimore's letter.
The Michalls, of "tan-yard" notoriety, have long since disappeared. It is not improbable that the name Michall, as given by Mr. Lowrimore, is the same as Mikell (a family), noticed by Bishop Gregg, pages 89 and 90, and notes, as coming to the Upper Pee Dee in 1756, two brothers, John and William. The difference is in the spelling, but idem sonans. One of these was killed during the Revolutionary War by a Tory; the other survived that struggle. John, the elder brother, settled on the west side of the river, a few miles above Long Bluff. Gregg says he became a Major in the Revolutionary War, and was a man of decided character. It is not stated by Gregg where the Mikells came from, and it may be when the Michalls broke up from the "tan-yard," that they moved up the river on the west side in 1756, as stated by Bishop Gregg. At any rate, the suggestion is made for what it is worth. There are no Michalls in Britton's Neck now, nor has there been within the memory of the writer.
As to the Lowrimores, the writer has already said all he knows about them.
Now as to the colony of English spoken of by Lowrimore as coming into Britton's Neck about the year 1710, and coming from England, "thereby" called "Brittons" or "Brittains." They were different from the Brittons by name, as settling down there about 1735 or 1736, by Bishop Gregg (page 69), who says: "About the time John Godbold came to Pee Dee, two important settlements were made in that region. One of these was in Britton's Neck, twenty miles below Mar's Bluff and forty miles above Georgetown." "It was composed of the families of Britton, Graves, Fladger, Davis, Tyler, Giles and others. They came directly from England as one colony." Further notice of this colony will be taken by the writer hereinafter. As to the "Brittons" mentioned by Mr. Lowrimore, of 1710, and those mentioned by Bishop Gregg, of 1735, are they the same, or were there two emigrations by the name of Britton? Both may be correct, or one of them is in error, and if so, which one? Neither Bishop Gregg nor Mr. Lowrimore were cotemporaries with the Brittons, and, therefore, both depended on information derived from tradition. Bishop Gregg was a man of scholarly ability; Mr Lowrimore was to the "manor born," a lineal descendant of some of the "Lowrimores with their wives," who came there in 1734 from Ireland, and M. M. Lowrimore got his information in the traditions of his family, handed down from the great-grandfather to the grandfather, and from him to the father, Robert Lowrimore, and from the father, Robert, to the son, M. M. Lowrimore. Bishop Gregg obtained his information (traditional) from the late Hugh Godbold, of Marion District.

Mr. Lowrimore says, in 1734, a family by the name of "Kibler or Kibber" came in and settled there; that name is also extinct in Marion County. He says all the foregoing settlements were made on the Great Pee Dee. He says: "On Little Pee Dee, a man from England settled near its waters by the name of Parker. Next a family of Coleman, and a man by the name of Jerry Touchberry; the Brittons at Hickory Hill." Parker is a name that has been long and favorably known in Marion County; the Parker family reside on the west side of the Great Pee Dee, in what is now Florence County, formerly in Marion. There is also a family of Parkers in Marlborough County, quite respectable. The family in both counties have extensive connections, and are here to stay. In the absence of other information, it is probable that the family in both counties sprang from the one who settled about 1734 in Britton's Neck. The name of Touchberry is not in Marion County now. The name of Britton is also extinct in this county, and has been for years, though they have connections here not bearing the name. Time and circumstantial conditions effect wonderful changes, at least, in 165 years and often leave no trace or remembrance of families or conditions. All terrestrial things are transitory and passing into the shades of oblivion.

Mr. Lowrimore says: "Next on Little Pee Dee River, a family of the Woodberrys (came), who raised hogs and cattle for market, made indigo, met the trading vessels and changed off indigo pound for pound of Negro weighed naked." The writer received a letter from Mrs. Hugh R. Johnson, who was a daughter of the late General Wm. Woodberry, of Britton's Neck, in which she says: "The Woodberrys (two brothers), Richard and Jonah, came from Socastee, I can't give the date; they settled in Britton's Neck, where they found several brothers by the name of Britton, who were large land and slave owners. Richard Woodberry, my grandfather, married Miss Lizzie Balloon, on Black River. They brought up two sons and three daughters; one of the sons was my father, the well-known General Wm. Woodberry. General Woodberry was born January 10th, 1788, and died January 31st, 1851. I have heard my father say that about 1815, the Brittons sold out and moved to Sumter County, except Dr. Tom Britton, who had married Margaret, one of the General's sisters; she died childless. Fannie, another one of the sisters, married Sam Wilson; she also died without children. The other sister married the Rev. Jeremiah Norman, of North Carolina; Mrs. John Woodberry and Mrs. James Jenkins, and Samuel Norman, of Horry, were their children. Richard Woodberry, the General's only brother, married Miss Desda Davis; their children were John and Washington, Mrs. Benjamin Gause and Mrs. John Gause. General Woodberry's first wife was Miss Hannah Davis; they had four children, all dying quite young. His second wife was Miss Sarah Johnson, of Horry; they brought up four sons and four daughters, all of whom except one daughter married and reared families, but I expect you know as much about them as I do."

Mr. Lowrimore says: "Next the Okes did likewise all" that is, as I construe it, they did like the Woodberrys, "raised hogs and cattle for market, made indigo, met the trading vessels and changed off indigo pound for pound of negro weighed naked." As to this name, "Okes," there is no record of such name in the county anywhere, as the writer has ever seen. The name may be included in the word "others," mentioned by Bishop Gregg, where he mentions the settlement in Britton's Neck of 1735, and gives the names of several of those early settlers there and concludes with the words "and others." The name has entirely disappeared, if it ever existed. Mr. Lowrimore says: "About 1760, the Munnerlyns (Irish), fanners and stock raisers, planted indigo, rice, oats, wheat and tobacco, raised orchards, beat cider." They settled in Britton's Neck; there are none there now by that name. It is very probable that the Munnerlyn family, the Rev. Thomas M. Munnerlyn, who lived up near Ariel Church for many years, and raised a family there, and died there some twenty years ago, was a descendant of the Munnerlyn spoken of by Mr. Lowrimore. The Rev. Thomas M. Munnerlyn had a son, Thomas W. Munnerlyn, who became an itinerant Methodist preacher, and who died in 1898 and was buried at Smithville, South Carolina. (Minutes of the Conference, 1899, held at Orangeburg, South Carolina), a son named George, who emigrated West some years ago, and a daughter, who married the late R. Z. Harllee; he and wife are both dead. The Munnerlyn family were quite respectable in their day; none bearing the name now in the county, that the writer is aware of. A branch of the old Munnerlyn family is in Georgetown. B. A. Munnerlyn, of Georgetown, is a first class business man and stands high with all who have business with him. Mr. Lowrimore mentions the Williams as being early settlers in Britton's Neck, on the Great Pee Dee; that they raised stock and drove it to market. There are several Williams down in that region or portion of the county now, but the writer has no personal acquaintance with them. They have the reputation of being a peaceable and quiet people, unostentatious, and unpretending in their manners and habits.

Source: A History of Marion County, South Carolina, by W. W. Sellers, Esq., Columbia, South Carolina, 1902.


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