Stewart Settlement, Edgefield County, South Carolina

Just below Dannett Abney’s, on Saluda River, was the Stewart settlement, notorious in local annals for devoted attachment to the Royal cause during the Revolution, and for their warm personal friendship for Ned Turner and Bill Cunningham. Their homestead was at or near the mouth of Tosty Creek, a small stream emptying into the Saluda, and called Tosty, or Tosta, by the natives. This settlement began as early as 1760, or about that time. Mr. John Stuart, of New Windsor, on the Savannah River (whether connected with the Stewarts above named I do not know), was an officer of the Crown, wholly devoted to the Royal interest, and to him, for some years previous to the beginning of the war, had been committed the management of Indian affairs in upper Carolina. Under these circumstances he felt bound to exert his influence to attach the Indians to the Royal interest. Very early in the contest he retired to West Florida, and from that province employed his brother Henry, a Mr. Cameron, and some others, to penetrate into the Cherokee country. A plan was settled by him in concert with the King’s Governors, and other Royal servants, to land a. British army in West Florida, to proceed with it to the Western frontiers, and from there, in concert with the Tories and Indians, to fall on the friends of the Revolution at the same time the attack should be made on the sea coast. Moses Kirkland was employed to proceed to Boston to concert with Gen. Gage, who then commanded there, the necessary means for accomplishing this design. The plan failed by the capture of Kirkland and the ship which was conveying him to Boston. The affair had made such progress, however, that the Cherokees began their massacres two days after the British fleet made the attack on Sullivan s Island. Of that war with the Cherokees, and of the part Edgefield people bore in it, something more will be said after a while.

I introduced Mr. John Stuart here, under the impression that he might possibly be connected with the Stewarts of Tosty Creek, as they, too, were devoted friends to the Royal cause. In my boyhood I knew Alexander Stewart well. His home was at the old family homestead near the Saluda, where the family first settled. I have frequently heard it said that he kept and cherished fondly, as a precious memento of olden times, a British officer’s old red coat, and epaulettes, which had been worn by an ancestor, or kinsman, in the Revolutionary war. I never saw these things, but I have no doubt of the truth of the facts stated.

Source: Chapman, John Abney; History of Edgefield County from the earliest settlement to 1897; Newberry, S.C.: E. H. Aull, 1897.

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