The Children of William Lindsey (abt. 1733-abt. 1806): Dennis Lindsey (abt. 1755-1795) (2)

Woodruff, Thomas, Plat, 49, 127
December 1829 plat for Thomas Woodruff, for 863 acres, Spartanburg District, South Carolina, at site of contemporry Woodruff, South Carolina, South Carolina Plat Bk. 49, p. 127

Or, Subtitled: Plats and Churches with Shifting Names

From The Revolution to 1790: Land Records Situating  Dennis Lindsey and His Father

At the end of my previous posting, I told you that I’d then move on to discuss Dennis Lindsey’s life from the Revolution up to his death in 1795. As I began working on this posting, I saw, however, that the material I wanted to discuss here is so voluminous that I’ve now decided to cut my final postings about Dennis Lindsey’s life into several pieces. This next piece will focus on the period from the Revolution to 1790., and will show you how land records can be used to draw conclusions about where Dennis very likely lived up to the early 1790s, and about probable neighbors of his.

In my last posting, I looked at records found in the South Carolina Revolutionary audited account file of Dennis Lindsey (abt. 1755-1795).[1] As we saw, both Dennis’s Revolutionary file and his father’s prove that he was son of the William Lindsey (abt. 1733-abt. 1806) who claimed land north of the Enoree River in 1768 in what would later be Spartanburg County, South Carolina. As we also saw in that posting, a 15 May 1786 note in Dennis’s file shows him signing over part of his pay indent for service in Col. Benjamin Roebuck’s Spartan militia to Joseph Woodruff to pay for 250 acres of land.

But by 10 June of the same year, Burwell Thompson was signing a receipt (also in the file) showing that this note has passed into Thompson’s hands, along with a note Dennis Lindsey made to William Moore on the same day in May that he made his note to Joseph Woodruff as a payment for 250 acres. That note, too, went to Burwell Thompson, and it appears that these notes were being used as payments for a debt — one Dennis Lindsey owed to Thompson, it seems likely to me.

In an affidavit he made on 27 November 1832 in Franklin County, Tennessee, as he applied for a pension for Revolutionary service, Burwell Thompson says that he was born in Granville County, North Carolina, on 4 April 1759 and moved to Spartanburg County, South Carolina, in the winter of 1777. In 1780, he enlisted in Benjamin Roebuck’s militia unit.[2] Various sources report that Burwell Thompson married as his first wife Ann, daughter of Benjamin Wofford.[3] This is, I think, the Benjamin Wofford found on the 1790 federal census a few houses from William Lindsey, father of Dennis Lindsey. He was a Loyalist who was a captain in the same Spartan (Loyalist) Militia unit commanded by Zachariah Gibbs in which David Dinsmore, whose daughter Mary Jane married Dennis’ son Mark, served.[4] Benjamin was a brother of the William Wofford who surveyed William Lindsey’s tract on the north side of the Enoree on 11 July 1768.

Woodruff, Joseph, Plat 1785, 10Q, 485
March 1785 plat to Joseph Woodruff, Ninety-Six District (later Spartanburg County), South Carolina, South Carolina Plat Bk. 10Q, p. 485

I find no record showing that Joseph Woodruff sold 250 acres to Dennis Lindsey in Ninety-Six District (later Spartanburg County), South Carolina. The land for which Dennis Lindsey made partial payment to Woodruff via Dennis’s Revolutionary pay indent in May 1786 is a 250-acre tract that Woodruff had surveyed on 30 March 1785. The plat for the land by Andrew Thompson shows it lying on both sides of James/Jameys Creek — and mostly on the north side of the creek — with land of William Moore joining it on the southeast and land of William Reeves on the west.[5]

Joseph Woodruff was in Surry County, North Carolina, up to July 1784, when he sold to William Moore 100 acres on waters of McFee’s Creek adjoining a 300-acre survey for Joseph, with Aaron Moore and Nathaniel Woodruff witnessing the deed.[6] The noted South Carolina genealogical researcher Leonardo Andrea concluded that Joseph moved after this land sale to South Carolina.[7] Joseph’s father Nathaniel Woodruff had definitely left Surry County and gone to Ninety-Six District (later Spartanburg County) by 16 September 1787, when minutes of Jamey’s Creek church (later known as Bethel Baptist church, Woodruff’s church, and eventually First Baptist church of Woodruff) show him joining that church.[8]

I have not found any records showing Dennis Lindsey owning land in Ninety-Six/Spartanburg County until he received a grant there for 248 acres in November 1792, which I’ll discuss in my next posting. As I noted in my previous posting, it appears Dennis had married before 1773, when a Mark Lindsey I believe was his son was born.[9] If Dennis was not a landholder prior to 1792, then I’d conclude that it’s likely he was farming with his father (or perhaps a father-in-law — but I have no information about the name of any wife Dennis may have married by 1773), who had a grant for 200 acres on a branch of Tyger River in November 1774. I believe that William Lindsey was living on this land from around 1773 up to the end of his life; as the posting I just linked indicates, the land passed to a William Lindsey with wife Rachel Earnest who was, I’m fairly certain, a son of the elder William.

I also think it’s very likely Dennis was living on this land along with his father from 1773 forward, until Dennis was granted 248 acres in November 1792. I also think that the land held by William was in the vicinity of present-day Woodruff, South Carolina, and that the small branch of the Tyger mentioned in the November 1774 grant to William was Jamey’s Creek. If Dennis had married by around 1773, then his wife would likely have come from a neighboring family. Unfortunately, both the grant and plat for the 200 acres William Lindsey acquired in November 1774 state that the land was vacant on all sides, so these documents fail to provide clues about possible neighbors of William in 1774. An interesting plat for James Wofford for 160 acres on Jamey’s (Jeamey’s in the original) Creek on 23 August 1786 shows Wofford claiming land adjoining William Lindsey, William Moore, William Reeves, Joseph Woodruff, and Wofford himself.[10]

This plat postdates 1773-4, of course, when William Lindsey settled on his 200 acres on Jamey’s Creek. We know that William Moore and Joseph Woodruff arrived in the Spartanburg County area only in 1784-5, so they would not have been neighbors of William Lindsey prior to that time. But the plat demonstrates that they had land right in the vicinity of William Lindsey and that the same William Reeves and William Moore who had land abutting Joseph Woodruff’s 250 acres in the March 1785 survey of that land discussed above were neighbors of William Lindsey — so that his land was in the vicinity of the land Joseph Woodruff claimed in 1785, and that would go a long way towards explaining why Dennis Lindsey sought to buy the 250 acres from Joseph Woodruff.

We also know from land records of the Ulster Scots immigrant David Dinsmore that he was granted land on Jamey’s Creek in May 1768, and that by January 1773, this land was in the vicinity of land owned by John McCrory, John Raynard, Jacob Earnest, John White, and William Dunlap. David sold this land by December 1774, when he bought another 250 acres on Jamey’s Creek from John and Hannah Kissler (or Keighler and Kighler, as the surname also appears in various records). John Kissler was in this region by 5 December 1769, when a land grant to Richard Chesney shows that the 150 acres granted to Chesney on Jamey’s Creek bordered John Keighler on the south.

The mention of Jacob Earnest as a neighbor of David Dinsmore on Jamey’s Creek in 1773 is interesting, since one of William Lindsey’s (abt. 1733-abt. 1806) sons married Rachel, a daughter of Henry Earnest, who had transferred to him on 13 September 1784 a survey for 200 acres on Ferguson’s Creek that had originally been surveyed by James Wofford for David Templeton on 23 December 1772.[11]

A survey done for Henry Earnest by Andrew Thompson on 13 January 1785 shows Earnest claiming a tract on Ferguson’s Creek that joined land of James Wofford and David Bruton.[12] A few months after this, on 26 May 1785, a plat for Richard Chesney for 123 acres on Jamey’s Creek shows Chesney’s land bordering Jacob Earnest, Henry’s father.[13] As noted above, the land David Dinsmore bought from John Kissler in December 1774 bordered Chesney, who appears to have been a member of a Chesney family that came, as David Dinsmore likely did, too, from around Ballymena in County Antrim, Ireland, and which had Loyalist leanings during the Revolution, as David Dinsmore did.

Roebuck's List of Loyalists Spartanburg Region 1783
Benjamin Roebuck’s list of Loyalists in Spartanburg County, South Carolina, May-June 1783, from Robert W. Barnwell, Jr., “Reports on Loyalist Exiles from South Carolina, 1783,” Proceedings of South Carolina Historical Association (1937), p. 43.

Another of David Dinsmore’s neighbors on Jamey’s Creek was, we know from various records, Richard McClurkin, who arrived in South Carolina from Ballymena, County Antrim, Ireland, late in 1772 and who claimed land on Jamey’s Creek early in 1772 — several years after David Dinsmore arrived there. Like David, Richard McClurkin enlisted in Zachariah Gibbs’ Loyalist militia unit and by May-June 1783 appears as deceased on a list compiled by Benjamin Roebuck of Loyalists in Spartanburg County both living and dead whose land had been confiscated by the state.[14]

McClurkin, Jane, 1784 Plat, Jamey's Creek, Bk. 7Q 236
July 1784 plat to Jane McClurkin, 100 acres, Jemmey’s Creek, Ninety-Six District/Spartanburg County, South Carolina, South Carolina Plat Bk. 7Q, p. 236

On 13 July 1784, Richard’s widow Jane McClurkin (who is said by McClurkin researchers to have been née Dunwoody), had a plat for 100 acres on Jamey’s (Jemmey in the original) creek, with the plat showing the land adjoining David Dinsmore.[15] David had apparently already left South Carolina for Nova Scotia in December 1782 and by April 1786, was claiming land there as a Loyalist, with his land claim papers stating that his 250 acres on Jamey’s Creek may or may not have remained in the hands of his wife and children, who were in the care of local Rebels, and that his house and buildings on his farm had been burned.

As I noted previously, I’m pointing you to families settled along Jamey’s Creek and between that creek and Ferguson’s Creek by the 1770s since I think Dennis Lindsey was living in this vicinity in that period, probably on the land his father had gotten on Jamey’s Creek in November 1774. If Dennis married by 1773, he likely married a daughter of a neighboring family. It’s unlikely this daughter would have belonged to one of the Woodruff men who came to this region by 1784-5, or to William Moore, who married Hannah, daughter of Moses Woodruff, a first cousin of Nathaniel Woodruff, father of Joseph Woodruff, both discussed previously.

We can piece together from land records a picture that shows us, however, that once the Woodruffs and William Moore moved down to Spartanburg County, South Carolina, from Surry County, North Carolina, they settled close to William (and also almost certainly Dennis) Lindsey, and as I have noted in a previous posting, on both the 1790 and 1800 federal censuses, William Lindsey is living close to Woodruff men (John in 1790, John and Samuel in 1800, both sons of Joseph) and to William Moore. This makes Dennis Lindsey’s attempt to buy 250 acres from Joseph Woodruff in May 1786 all the more interesting.

Woodruff, Joseph Plat, 1793, 31Q, 128
February 1793 plat to Joseph Woodruff for 113 acres, Ninety-Six District/Spartanburg County, South Carolina, South Carolina Plat Bk. 31Q, p. 128

A detailed 28 February 1793 plat for a survey of 113 acres done on 16 October 1792 for Joseph Woodruff provides illuminating information about precisely where he settled when he arrived in 1784-5 in the region that became Spartanburg County.[16] The plat shows Joseph Woodruff’s land (and, obviously, his home) right next to Woodruff’s Church with Wofford’s road going through it. What’s labeled as Woodruff’s church is obviously Jamey’s Creek church, later Bethel and eventually First Baptist church of Woodruff, South Carolina — a church that Joseph and his father helped found when they arrived in South Carolina. Wofford’s road is what was more frequently called the Augusta road, a road going from this part of South Carolina west to Augusta, Georgia. The plat also shows the land surveyed for Joseph Woodruff being bordered by his own land to the west and Reeves to the south. This shows us that the place in which Joseph was living in 1792, which became known as Woodruff, South Carolina, was right next to the 250 acres that Dennis Lindsey sought to buy from Joseph Woodruff in May 1786 — and also close to where Dennis’ father William was living from around 1773.

For comparison, have a look at this later plat (at the head of the posting) dated 29 December 1829, for Joseph Woodruff’s son Thomas.[17] Note that this plat once again shows Bethel church, labeling it by that name, and also shows us “T. Woodruff’s” house. Joseph had died in 1817, and Thomas was now living where his father had been living in the 1790s.

The plat to Thomas also shows us that that became Woodruff, South Carolina, was at the intersection of roads to Augusta to the west and to Buncombe, North Carolina, to the north and east. And it shows that Thomas Woodruff lived right at the mouth of Jamey’s Creek, which runs from Woodruff to the Tyger River. All of this information is very valuable in helping us pinpoint where William Lindsey and his family, including his son Dennis, seem to have lived from about 1773 forward.

[1] South Carolina Account Audited (File No. 4591) of Claims Growing Out of The American Revolution (indent 114).

[2] Revolutionary pension application of Burwell Thompson, S3801.

[3] See e.g. Bobby Gilmer Moss, The Patriots at Kings Mountain (Blacksburg, SC: Scotia-Hibernia, 1990), p. 245.

[4] See Murtie June Clark, Loyalists in the Southern Campaign of the Revolutionary War, vol. 1 (Baltimore: Geneal. Publ. Co., 1981), p. 278.

[5] South Carolina Plat Bk. 10Q, p. 485.

[6] Surry County, North Carolina, Deed Bk. C, p. 280.

[7] Leonardo Andrea, Andrea Collection, Woodruff files, #8; the original files are at the South Caroliniana Library in Columbia, South Carolina, and have been microfilmed by the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

[8] According to Edna Westmoreland,”Synopsis of the Early History of Woodruff,” the 16 September 1787 minutes showing Nathaniel Woodruff joining the church are the earliest record found for the church, which suggests it was initially formed on this date. This article, along with a list of founding members, was formerly on the website of the city of Woodruff, South Carolina, but seems no longer to be online. According to Leah Townsend, South Carolina Baptists (Florence, SC: Florence Printing Co., 1935), the church was the “largest and probably the most influential Baptist church of the back country in the quarter century following the Revolution” (p. 244). Townsend says that the church was known as Jamey’s Creek church until 1798, when the Bethel association began to call it Bethel. Neighbors of the church often called it Shackelford’s meeting house, or Richard Shackelford’s church (pp. 244-5). See also “Bethel Baptist Church, Spartanburg County, SC,” at the Spartanburg County page of the Genealogy Trails site, with notes by Jil Woodruff Pulley.

[9] See the posting I have just linked for some of my reasons for proposing that Mark is a son of Dennis; I’ll say more about this matter when I post about Mark Lindsey. I am assuming that if Mark was Dennis’ son, he was a legitimate son. If he had been born out of wedlock, he’d have his mother’s surname.

[10] South Carolina Plats Bk. 25, p. 312.

[11] Ibid., Bk. 5, p. 189.

[12] Ibid., Bk. 1, p. 114.

[13] Ibid., Bk. 7, p. 411.

[14] See Robert W. Barnwell, Jr., “Reports on Loyalist Exiles from South Carolina, 1783,” Proceedings of South Carolina Historical Association (1937), p. 43. Barnwell states that papers recently discovered (1937) in an office of the Historical Commission of South Carolina included reports to the Commissioners of Confiscated Estates by colonels of the South Carolina militias in accord with an ordinance passed in 1783, which declared confiscated the property of all former inhabitants of the state who had departed with the British or had died or been killed in service. The reports submitted ranged from 5 May to 10 June 1783.

[15] South Carolina Plat Bk. 7Q, p. 236.

[16] Ibid., Bk. 31Q, p. 128.

[17] Ibid., Bk. 49, p. 127.

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