A little out from Saluda, and a mile or two below “Scotland,” and on the old Ninety-Six Road, we find that land was granted to William Abney, February 14th, 1772, sixteen years after the Culbreaths came. William Abney settled and lived upon the land thus granted until his death. Some of his descendants, at least some of the Abneys, lived upon the place in the old house as long as it was a homestead, not a great many years since. William Abney was the ancestor of John R. Abney, a lawyer now living in New York City, and of Ben Abney, elected to the State Legislature from Richland County.
His home is in Columbia. He also is a lawyer. Near William Abney settled Samuel Abney, a brother, I think, to whom land was granted February 19th, 1772. Michael Abney was in the same neighborhood. Land was granted to him October 3rd, 1771. Lower down Saluda, just below Higgins’ Ferry and lying on the river, land was granted to Dannett Abney, June 14th, 1768. From him descended O. L. Schumpert, Esq., sometime member of the Legislature, afterwards Solicitor of the Circuit in which he resides. His home is at Newberry. Dannett Abney met with a tragic fate during the Revolutionary war. He was butchered in his wife’s arms by Cunningham and his men in that celebrated raid of 1781, the sole object of which seemed murderous revenge. To Nathaniel Abney on the river, lying just above and adjoining Dannett’s, on both sides of the road leading to the ferry, lands were granted October 5th, 1763, and September 20th, 1766.
These Abneys all came from Virginia to this State. The family is Norman-English, Norman- French. The name was originally D’Aubigne, and was changed to the present form four or five hundred years ago, about the middle of the fifteenth century.
Isabella Madison, the wife of Nathaniel Abney, was a great and wise woman, ruling her household of children and servants with a firm but gentle hand, wisely and well. Twelve children were the fruit of this union. Their youngest son, Azariah Abney, lived and died on the original homestead, and it is still in the family, owned in 1891 by Joel Abney, a grandson of Azariah. Dr. M. W. Abney, of Edgefield, was descended from this pair through his mother, Martha Wills, who was a granddaughter of Nathaniel Abney. Isabella Abney Boykin, daughter of Dr. M. W. Abney, died in 1 889, was as queenly and wise as her great ancestress.
Nathaniel Abney was captain of a militia company under Major Andrew Williamson at Ninety-Six, November 15th, 1775, but what part he took after the war was fairly begun, and after the Declaration of Independence, does not appear. But he was on the side of Independence.
These Abneys all obtained grants of land before the Revolutionary war; but there were several others, not yet mentioned, to whom lands were granted after the war. John Abney, February 5th, 1798; Paul Abney, February 5th, 1798; Samuel Abney, January 7th, 1811. As large as this family was at the beginning of the century, and for some years afterwards, there are but few persons who now bear the name in Edgefield County. I should have mentioned just above, that the Rev. Mark Abney, so well-known at Edgefield and in the county; the good, the pious Christian and useful Baptist preacher, was also a descendant, a grandson, of Nathaniel Abney and Isabella Madison.
Source: Chapman, John Abney; History of Edgefield County from the earliest settlement to 1897; Newberry, S.C.: E. H. Aull, 1897.