Following Allan’s death twenty-two years ago, I became immersed in researching the various branches of my family tree. As I tried to trace the lineage of Mary Fannie Williams Pounds, my maternal grandmother, I stumbled upon information which took me back to the days of our founding fathers and my ggg grandfather, Moses Taggart. At first, I didn’t even know where my great grandmother, Eliza Louise Taggart, was buried but finally found her grave in Wharton City Cemetery in Wharton, Wharton County, Texas. As I began researching my Taggart ties from there, much to my surprise, I learned that her grandfather (my ggg grandfather) was the first Mayor of the Village of Abbeville in Abbeville County, South Carolina. The Village was incorporated in 1832 and, having served Abbeville as the longtime Judge of the Ordinary (similar to Judge of Probate Court), Moses Taggart became the first Mayor. Reading about the perils they endured gives me chills. (The building in the old photo above is the Long Canes Church and School in Abbeville District, South Carolina.)
As early as 1750, settlers began to homestead around an area soon known as the Long Canes. This part of Abbeville, South Carolina has a rich and lengthy history. The area was named for Long Cane Creek that runs through Abbeville County and flows into the Savannah River. The early settlers were drawn to the bamboo-like cane, often ten feet in height and a sign of fertile bottomland. The community was not centered around a town square but consisted of independent homesteads, connected only by area churches and gristmills. Settlers who had fled from Indian massacres in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, and thereby had relocated to the Long Canes, by 1759 found they were once again involved in similar hostilities.
On February 1, 1760, a group of settlers, trying to relocate to Augusta, Georgia, was attacked by some 100 Cherokee Indians in what is now known as The Long Cane Massacre. According to varying reports at the time, between 22 and 50 persons were slain and 14 were taken into captivity, including several children. Survivors, mauled by tomahawks and left for dead and others half-scalped, yet alive, were later rescued in the vicinity. A newspaper article printed in the South Carolina Gazette, Issue No. 1334, March 1-8, 1760, related a desperate search by the widow of a man killed in the massacre for her six year old daughter, who was not found among the dead.
Around the end of 1763, a group of Creek Indians broke in and killed 14 people, counted among the congregation of The Long Canes, in one house located on the Savannah River.
After the Cherokee and the Creek massacres, the locals were worried about further Indian attacks and took refuge in such fortified places as they were able to reach, forts prepared for just such emergencies. Inside the safety of these installations, the school also served as a meeting place, where the inhabitants could assemble to worship.
Irish Presbyterians of Scottish descent came to America in 1764; they brought with them their pastor and other church officials and continued to participate in church services, even on the ship. Ancestors who survived the arduous voyage from Ireland to Charles Town (Charleston), South Carolina, were faced with the decision of where to settle. Many of this group traveled northeast to Salem, New York, while a significant number chose to travel some 200 miles northwest by foot with ox-carts over dirt trails to reach the Long Canes area of Abbeville County. There they organized their church body circa 1771.
Two historical Presbyterian churches and a cemetery bear the name of this settlement. Upper Long Cane Presbyterian Church (UP), located two miles north of the city of Abbeville, was one of the first churches of any denomination organized in the upper part of what was called Abbeville District, according to some accounts in 1763 and according to others in 1784. Lower Long Cane Associated Reformed Presbyterian Church (ARP), is located on the road that runs from Abbeville to Troy, South Carolina. The dates of organization have never been confirmed and may have been anywhere from 1756 to 1771 to 1779; however, the establishment of the congregation most likely predates that at Upper Long Cane. The site of Fort Boone became known as the Lower Long Cane ARP Church. Long Cane Cemetery was originally called the Leslie Burying Ground (after the Leslie family), with the first burial occurring in 1760. The cemetery had no direct connection to Upper Long Cane Church, located in close proximity, although those establishing the burial grounds may well have been members of the church.
Noteworthy migration from Long Cane to westward states such as Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, and Texas began in earnest circa 1820 and continued for many years.