This Independence Day, while I know we all like to thank those who came before us that fought for our freedom—and those that continue to fight for this honor today. I’d like to make special note of my family members I’ve spent this year discovering that offered their services in the Revolution as a special salute to all they accomplished for our independence 235 years ago. So here is a small glimpse into their stories as a small thank you and tribute to their sacrifices.
• Captain Jesse Baker of Sumter, SC
My 5th great-grandfather served as a captain under General William Moultrie, alongside Captain Francis Marion, and fought at Stono Ferry, Seige of Savannah, and Seige of Charleston.
• Johannes Quattlebaum of Dutch Fork, SC
My 6th great-grandfather settled what is now known as Dutch Fork with three of his brothers. He fought under General Francis Marion. His son John and grandson Paul—my 4th great uncle—developed and manufactured the Quattlebaum Rife, one of the first percussion rifles, at their factory in Batesburg, SC. The entire factory was eventually contracted by the CSA to manufacture their rifles for the Civil War.
• Reverend Nathaniel Walker of Barnwell, SC
My 6th great-grandfather was a registered surveyor turned preacher that started several churches along the road from Charleston to Barnwell eventually settling at Healing Springs Baptist Church in Blackville, SC that still stands today. Four of his 9 children all fought in the war including Captain Nathaniel Walker, Jr; Lieut. George Walker, Captain William Walker, and John Walker who are all on record under Captain Andrew Pickens in Anson County, North Carolina.
• Pvt. John Boyce, Sr. of Newberry, SC
My 5th great-grandfather and son of my very first confirmed Boyces to be in America, is shown to arrive here in the 1760s as a twenty-something and by 10 years later he was fighting in the Revolutionary War. He fought under his brother Alexander who was named a Captain, but was killed at the Siege of Savannah while holding the front line. John’s other brother, William, served as a Major in the war as well and “was a terror to the enemy and served his country through the entire war of the Revolution with a price upon his head offered by the British government.” John lived and returned to Newberry near where all my Boyces have lived since the Revolution—Sumter County, SC—but not without one last small battle that has been well documented.
John Boyce was a prominent Whig and fought in the Battle of Kings Mountain, Cowpens, and Eutaw and he was well known to a main Tory and outlaw known as Bloody Bill Cunningham. As the war ended and John returned home, he was just seated to his dinner table when he was startled by approaching horses. He sprang to the door to see Bloody Bill Cunningham and his counterpart, a dreaded outlaw named McCombs. He knew they intended to kill him so he through his hat in the face of their horses causing them to open left and right and he darted through the middle into the thick brush of the woods but not without loosing three fingers to Bloody Bill’s sword. Once John reached the woods, he watched as they retreated. He then ran inside, bandaged his now missing three fingers and mounted his horse to head to his old commander’s home, Captain Casey. Before sunset that evening, Casey, John Boyce, and a body of 15 men were in pursuit of Cunningham. They captured part of his group including McCombs, but not Cunningham, and as writtten, “were conveyed to a place where the Old Charlestown road crossed the main road to Ninety-Six, where speedy justice was administered to them with a thick rope under a stooping hickory. They were buried in a common grave at the foot of the tree.”
Of interesting note, John Boyce was the father of the Charleston merchant millionaire Kerr Boyce (Boyce’s Wharf) and the grandfather of the famous Dr. James Petigru Boyce, founder of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.