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Silver Bluff Plantation

Page history last edited by Alane Roundtree 5 months ago





  • Area of Silverton Township, Barnwell Co., SC, present day Jackson, Aiken County, South Carolina. The bulk of Hammond's former Silver Bluff Plantation has been under the protective stewardship of the National Audubon Society since 1975. A conservation easement granted with the Lowcountry Land trust in 2018 ensures Audubon's Silver Bluff Sanctuary is protected forever.


  • When researching Hammond's plantations it's important to keep in mind that the area of Barnwell County, which encompassed the plantation lands, became Aiken County after its formation in 1871. Aiken County was formed from parts of Barnwell and Edgefield Counties. Aiken County was the only county founded in South Carolina during Reconstruction. Aiken County's founders were African American leaders and elected representatives.


  • Silver Bluff: The plantation lands called "Silver Bluff" were approximately 10,800 acres in Barnwell County, lying roughly 12 miles south of Augusta, Georgia, along the east bank of the Savannah River.


  • Hammond's Land: At the time of his death, James H. Hammond owned over 14,000 acres, approximately 22 square miles, which included his plantations of Silver Bluff, Cathwood, Cowden and Redcliffe located in two counties, Barnwell and Edgefield, in South Carolina. Today all of his former plantation lands lie within the jurisdiction of Aiken County. 



Date Constructed/ Founded

James Henry Hammond (1807-1864) acquired Silver Bluff Plantation in 1831 through his marriage to Catherine Elizabeth FitzSimons (1814-1896) of Charleston, SC.


Associated Slave Owners and Free Surnames

George Galphin (~1709-1780); “Galphin, Holmes & Co.”; Thomas Galphin (1763-1812); Charles Goodwin, Esq. (1757-1827) and Ephraim Ramsay (1766-1801); James Beggs (1780-1832) and Christian Breithaupt ("Beggs & Breithaupt" leased and managed the property for Charles Goodwin); Barna McKinne (1779-1833); Christopher Cashel FitzSimons (1762-1825); Catherine E. FitzSimons (1814-1890); and James Henry Hammond (1807-1864) 


Historical notes

James Henry Hammond arrived at Silver Bluff Plantation in 1831 and took possession of the property that his wife Catherine Fitzsimons inherited from her father Christopher Fitzsimons (of Charleston) after his death in 1825. As Hammond's wealth and position grew, so did his plantation lands. In 1855, he acquired Redcliffe Plantation in Edgefield County as the place of the new family estate while the lands and slave quarters that made all the new found opulence possible, were still eight miles to the south at Silver Bluff Plantation, Cathwood Plantation and Cowden Plantation in Barnwell County.


Associated Slave Workplaces

Cathwood Plantation (Barnwell Co., SC), Cowden Plantation (Barnwell Co., SC), Redcliffe Plantation (Edgefield Co., SC)


Associated Free Persons


Timeline of Slave Owners and Associated Free Names at Silver Bluff


NOTE: Names of some associated enslaved persons are included in this timeline


  • Scholars continue to debate whether Silver Bluff was the site of the Chiefdom of Cofitachequi encountered by Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto during his 1540 expedition. Consensus seems to now center on present-day Camden, South Carolina as the location of the ceremonial town. 


  • With the founding of Charleston (Charles Town) in Carolina in 1670, England entered into the commercial slave market in a manner that was to establish Charleston as the center of the slave trade for two centuries 


  • The area on the South Carolina side of the Savannah River between Horse Creek and Hollow Creek was known to the English as Savannah (Savanno) Town as early as 1685. See, Historic Marker, At Savannah River on SC 28, Beech Island, Aiken County, Marker ID: Mason 2-9; Savannah Town “…known to the English as early as 1685, this Indian town stood at a major northwestern entrance into S.C. on the trading routes to-the Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Lower Cherokees. Both town and river were named for the Savannah Indians who lived in the area.”  


  •  Original Land Grants at Silver Bluff Beginning in 1735 issued to O’Brian; Snowden; Neale; Newman; Gascoine; Guy; McMurdy and Campbell: 09 Oct 1735, the first Royal land grant at Silver Bluff was made to Kennedy O’Brian for 158 acres. He received a second Royal land grant in 1737 for 400 acres which laid in the angle of Town Creek (original name of Hollow Creek) and the Savannah River, forming what John Shaw Billings described as “the first definite landmark of Silver Bluff.” O’Brian died ~abt. 1742 at Charleston. “These first landowners at Silver Bluff were probably not settlers on their land, but rather speculators or stock raisers. Most of their land eventually passed to George Galphin, who came relatively late to Silver Bluff.” See, John S. Billings. Silver Bluff, De Soto and Galphin: A Narrative Compilation of Some Old Documents, (Redcliffe Plantation, 1955).


  • 1737, George Galphin (~1709-1780) immigrated from Ireland to Charleston. See, John S. Billings. Silver Bluff, De Soto and Galphin: A Narrative Compilation of Some Old Documents, (Redcliffe, December 1955); Isabel Vandervelde, Other Free People in Early Barnwell District, (Art Studio Press, Aiken, SC, 2001).


  • In 1741, Galphin joined the powerful Augusta-based trading firm of Brown, Rea and Company. Original partners included Daniel Clark, Jeremiah Knott, William Sludders and George Cussings. After 1741, the company was controlled by both Patrick Brown, who was licensed to trade with the Upper Creek towns, and John Rea, who, along with Galphin, was licensed to trade among the Lower Creeks. Together they organized a consortium of seven trading companies, thus gaining a monopoly of the trade. Thomas Bosomworth said in 1753 "the powerful Company at Augusta seems to look upon the whole trade of the Creek Nation as their undoubted Right." Henry Laurens, a merchant in Charleston, estimated that Brown, Rae, and Company “accounted for 75 percent of the trade to the Creeks and Chickasaws.” See, Jones, George Fenwick. “Portrait of an Irish Entrepreneur in Colonial Augusta: John Rae, 1708-1772.” The Georgia Historical Quarterly, vol. 83, no. 3, 1999, pp. 427–447. JSTOR and Michael P. Morris. George Galphin and the Transformation of the South Carolina-Georgia Backcountry, (Lexington Books, Lanham, Maryland, 2015). Some slaves and freedmen from Silver Bluff were identified with the surnames BROWN and REA (RHEA, RAY). 


  • First Galphin document at Silver Bluff dated 01 Sept 1752. Galphin entered an agreement with Robert McMurdy of Charleston, “who obligates himself in the sum or penalty of one thousand pounds,” to Galphin “to fulfill the conditions of an Indentured Deed of Sale,” dated the day before. This agreement likely involved the transfer of land at Silver Bluff, most likely the 400 acres granted to O’Brian in 1737, and after his death, regranted to McMurdy. (Billings, Silver Bluff, Redcliffe, 1955).


  •  10 Dec 1760, Galphin purchased the O’Brian grant of 158 acres at “Cundy’s” from Childermas Croft, O’Brian’s executor, for “158 provincial pounds,” Presumably Galphin purchased the adjoining O’Brian grant for 400 acres from Robert McMurdy at about the same time, which gave him extended frontage on the Savannah River at Silver Bluff. “Galphin was now ready to move upstream on Town Creek.” (Billings, 1955)


  •  Over a period of fifteen years, from 1760-1775, Galphin received ten royal land grants at Silver Bluff from the British Crown totaling 2888 acres. (Billings, 1955).


  • 07 July 1761, Galphin granted Town Lot No. 4 in Augusta, Georgia. Neighboring lots owned by Francis McCartan and Martin Campbell (Lot No. 3; 01 July 1760) and Gilbert Fyffe, Jr. (Lot No. 5; 1755. Original Claim Kennedy O’Brian 1739). See, Robertson, Thomas Heard. “The Colonial Plan of Augusta.” The Georgia Historical Quarterly, vol. 86, no. 4, 2002, pp. 511–543. JSTOR


  • In 1767, Galphin of South Carolina received a royal grant of 1,400 acres in present day Jefferson County, Georgia, and established an Indian trading post, cow pens and plantation called Old Town.The area now called Old Town Plantation is shown on maps dating to the early 18th century. It was called “Ogeechee Old Town” because of the ancient Creek Indian town that Carolina traders visited before Georgia was founded in 1733. Under the Galphin, Forsyth and Fitzsimons families the plantation grew to 5,000 acres. See, Georgia Historical Society, Historical Marker Program, Jefferson County, Georgia. 


  • 1768, Francis McCartan made a will at Silver Bluff, South Carolina dated 29 October 1768, proved 04 May 1769, making bequests to his sister Mary Campbell (wife of Martin Campbell); to Walter Coningham [sic], his cousin; to his nieces and nephews, namely Alexander Wylly of Colerain, Georgia, Helen Lawrence, Helen Fitch, and McCartan Campbell; to George Galphin and his son, Thomas; to Mrs. Margaret Germany; to John Rae; and to James Grierson. (Ancestry Message Board Post: 29 Jun 2004 “Francis McCartan - Creek Indian Trader.” Note: Some slaves and freedmen from Silver Bluff were identified with the surname CAMPBELL. 


  • Galphin built at least two brick houses in the area, both of which are mentioned in his will. The first, according to Billings, was “probably a relatively modest one-story dwelling,” which he called “The Old Brick House.” This house, which stood on 100 acres, was left to his son, George. The second dwelling was “a more elaborate and expensive two-story structure with double chimneys” which he called “My New Brick House.” Located on 400-acres near the Silver Bluff Landing, he left this house to his son Thomas. According to legend the bricks used to build the houses were shipped “all the way from England.” After visiting Galphin in 1770, Henry Laurens wrote thanking him for his “politeness & civilities” at his “hospitable castle.” The brick colonial house remained standing for nearly a century in various states of decay when soon after 1868, "the ruins were razed for the old brick. Nothing remained of the noble old structure into the 20th century but a ragged little pile of brick." (Billings, Redcliffe, 1955). Old locals in the Jackson, S.C. area still remember and refer to this area of Silver Bluff as “Brick House.”   


  • In 1773, George Galphin sets up Galphin, Holmes & Co., a partnership for his sons and nephew, to carry on his business. Galphin’s longtime London factors, Greenwood & Higginson, continue to supply the new-firm largely on credit underwritten by the elder Galphin. That same year Galphin writes to the London-based merchants, Clark & Milligan, requesting them to supply goods to his three sons, Thomas, George and John; his nephew David Holmes, and John Parkinson, under the firm of Galphin & Holmes; and that on the credit of George Galphin, the elder, they shipped the goods. 


  • In 1774, George Galphin quits the Indian trade. His sons, Thomas, George (II) and John along with nephew, David Holmes, continue to do business as Galphin, Holmes & Company.


  • In 1775, the Continental Congress moved to address the defensive needs of the new states and appropriated funds to finance “treaties and presents” for the Native Americans. Dividing the new states into three departments, they authorized three commissioners for the state of South Carolina. In October of 1775, the Council of Safety appointed George Galphin Commissioner of Indian Affairs for the Catawba tribe, deputizing him “to negotiate with the Indians on behalf of the United Colonies in order to preserve peace and friendship.” 


  • From 1775-1777, the naturalist William Bartram, visited Galphin at Silver Bluff and observed that Galphin “possessed the most extensive trade, connexions [sic] and influence, amongst the South and South-West Indian tribes.” Bartram declares Silver Bluff to be “a very celebrated place.” See, Thomas P. Slaughter, ed. William Bartram: Travels & Other Writings (New York: The Library of America, 1996), 259-261. 


  • 24 April 1777, Owen O’Daniel, of Granville County, sold to George Galphin, 6 slaves named Nero, Joe, Hannah, Sarah, Sam and Jamey, a Carpenter.  See, South Carolina Department of Archives and History, Bills of Sale, 1774-1862. Vol. 002Q; Pg. 127, Date of Transaction 1777/04/24; Series S213003. Thank-you Emily E. Vaughn for posting this information (“South Carolina Skilled Slaves”) and for all your dedicated research over the years @ emilyevaughn.com 


  • George Galphin died at Silver Bluff on 01 December 1780. His Last Will and Testament (04 April 1776) lists the names of 128 slaves but does not include the names of all their children. See, Will of George Galphin, Old Estate Book, 14-25, in the Probate Court, Abbeville County Courthouse, Abbeville, S.C. Also archived at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History in Columbia, S.C. His “Silver Bluff Ledgers” (account books, 1767-1772) are held by the Georgia Historical Society. See also, Billings, Silver Bluff, De Soto and Galphin, (Redcliffe, 1955) for transcription and analysis of George Galphin’s will and account books. 


  • George Galphin’s survivors and heirs at Silver Bluff included the following six major legatees; Thomas, Martha, George, John, Judith and Barbara:   


    • Rachel Dupre, a white woman, gave birth to two children by Galphin, a son named Thomas and a daughter named Martha, both with the surname Galphin.


    • Sappho, an enslaved Black woman, was the mother of Galphin’s daughters Rachel and Betsey, both were slaves at Galphin’s death. 


    • Rose, an enslaved Black woman, was the mother of Barbara, who was also a slave at Galphin’s death.  


    • Metawney, an Indian woman, gave birth to Judith, John, and George.


    • Nitchuckey, an Indian woman, was the mother of Rose, also a slave at the time of her father’s death. 


  • Names of Slaves as they appear in George Galphin’s Original Will:


Important Note: Galphin made three (3) codicils to his original will in which he revoked several bequests of slaves and reassigned beneficiaries. Please see the codicil sections below for the names of the slaves and the revised beneficiaries:


    • Thomas Galphin, the son of Rachel Dupre, was bequeathed Silver Bluff land, personal property, and the following named slaves plus their unnamed children: Peter’s son and his wife Nancy, their children and future issue; Cato and his wife Bess, their children and future issue; Sylfa, [a] negro man; Joe and Cornelia his wife and their children and future issue; Kelly’s Tom and his wife Lucy, their children and future issue; Michael, his wife Sarah, their children and future issue; Coffee, his wife Betty, their children and future issue; Dooham, his wife Jolia, their children and future issue; Goodfellow (a negro man); Sarah, I had of James Deveaux, her children and future issue; Little Frank (a mustee boy); Davey (a negro man); Pompey and his wife Sarah, her children and future issue. A negro man Abraham, which I had of Mr. Barnard, also Indian Prince, under the same restrictions with the rest of the slaves hereinbefore mentioned.


    • Martha Galphin, the daughter of Rachel Dupree, was bequeathed two lots in Augusta, land at Silver Bluff and the following named slaves plus their unnamed children: Dick, his wife Clarinda, their children and future issue; Billy, his wife Dina, their children and future issue; Dutch-Junny; Rockey, her children and future issue; Deborah and her future issue; Gwina Tom, his wife Juba, their children and future issue; French Peter, his wife Sylvia, their children and future issue; and Little Jacob.


    • Judith, the daughter of Metawney, was bequeathed the home in which she lived on at Silver Bluff, 300 acres of land, ½ interest in the saw mill on Town Creek and the following named slaves, plus their unnamed children: Warick, his wife Marcha, their children and future issue; Billy, Peter and Cela (mustees), her children and future issue; Kelly’s Abraham, his wife Elcey, their children and future issue; Cyrus, his wife Sue, their children and future issue; Joe, his wife Emma, their children and future issue; Old Cyrus, his wife Mariah, their children and future issue; Gabriel, his wife Minerva, their children and future issue; Jacob, his wife Cloe, their children and future issue; Charlotte, her children and future issue.


    • John, the son of Metawney, was bequeathed land and the following named slaves plus their unnamed children: Stepney, his wife Margaret, their children and future issue; Phina, her children and future issue; Mingo, his wife Moriah, her children and future issue; Ockera, his wife Cate, their children and future issue; Limerick; King; Nero; negro man Golo; Peter, a negro man; Oliver, his wife Cresha, their children and future issue; new negro Dick; Peter, I bought of Joseph Butler, his wife, their children and future issue; Sapha (a mulatto woman); her children and future issue, except her daughters Rachel and Betsy whom I have hereinbefore made free; new negro Jack; Bulley and Chevers, negro men; also Dola, a half-breed Indian woman, she to serve him seven years, then to be free and the said John on the say of her freedom to give her five cows and calves.


    • George, son of Metawney, was bequeathed land, the old brick house, ½ interest in the saw mill on Town Creek and the following named slaves plus their unnamed children: Coboy, his wife Sarah, their children and future issue; August, a mulatto man and his children, except Rose whose freedom I have herein given; Noel, her children and future issue; Kingston, his wife Dorkey, their children and future issue; Gray’s Mack, his wife Clarinda and any issue she may have by him; Sue, her children and future issue; Joe, his wife Hannah, their children and future issue; Long John, his wife Sarah, their children and future issue; Leander; Frank and Henry.


    • Rachel, the daughter of Sappho, received her freedom and the “use” of two negro slaves belonging to her son Thomas.


    • Betsy, the daughter of Sappho, was to be manumitted and receive a pair of slaves and land. A codicil in the Galphin will reveals that she died before her father, and he redirected her inheritance to others.


    • Barbara, Galphin’s daughter by the then deceased slave Rose, was manumitted at her father’s death and inherited 300 acres of land known as ‘Red House’ at Silver Bluff and the following named slaves and their unnamed children: Little March; Kate (that was his wife), their children and future issue; Ponpon, Jemmey his wife, their children and future issue; Ned and his sister Dida (son and daughter of Dido, deceased) her children and future issue; Bidgo, Sib his wife, young Sib, her children and future issue; Catch (a boy), Sautee, Jemmey, Tom (I had of Mr. McGilvery) his wife Hannah, their children and future issue; Indian Peter, his wife Capuchey, their children and future issue; and Georgia Dublin.


    • Rosa, the daughter of Nitchuckey, was enslaved during Galphin’s life and only upon his death did she receive her freedom and a small inheritance.


  • CODICIL No. 1 to George Galphin’s Will amended the bequests of the following named slaves:


I revoke that part of my will wherein I bequeath to the said Judith the negroes Old Cyrus, his wife Martha, her children and future issue.


I revoke that part of my will wherein I bequeath to the within named Martha the negroes Ned, his wife Jemima, her children and future issue; French Jemmey, his wife Cossandra, her children and future issue.


o I bequeath the said Old Cyrus, his wife Martha, her children, the said Ned (called “Cut Nose”), his wife Jemima, her children and future issue, to my sister Martha (the wife of William Crossly) during her natural life and after her death  to be equally divided among her children share and share alike in lieu of any part of my estate she or they may lay claim to.


I leave the negro Simon to the within named Thomas, son of the within named Rachel Dupree.


And in case I shall sell any of the said lands or slaves hereinbefore bequeathed, my will is that the monies arising from such a sale shall be paid to such person or persons to whom I have herein, or in any said will, bequeathed such land, slave or slaves so sold.


 I revoke that part of my will wherein I leave a negro named Tom to the said Barbara as he belongs to the within named John, son of Metawney, by virtue of a bill of sale to him from Lauchlin McGilvery, Esq.


  • CODICIL No. 2 to George Galphin’s Will amended the bequests of the following named slaves:


I give Brin (the son of Hannah, a negro wench) and Sally, the daughter of Clarissa (a mulatto wench) their freedom, together with ten cows and calves to each of them and also two hundred acres of land to each of them of some of the lands not herein already divided.


I revoke that part of my will wherein I bequeathed the negro Little March to the said Barbara. I give and bequeath the said negro Little March to my sister [Martha] Crossly.


  • CODICIL No. 3 to George Galphin’s Will amended the bequests of the following named slaves:


I revoke that part of my will wherein I left to Betsy (the daughter of the said Sappha) who is since dead, one new negro man and woman to be bought for her, ten cows and calves, two mares and colts, one horse and that tract of land below the Cowpen on McBean. I leave the same to William Holmes in trust for his son Thomas and to his the said Thomas’s heirs and assigns forever.


o  I also revoke that part of my last will wherein I left to the said George the negro Moll, her children and future issue. I give and devise unto the said Barbara (the daughter of the said Rose, deceased) the said negro Moll, her daughter Judey and her child, her son Sam, Lucy, and the rest of her children and the future issue of the said Moll and her daughters, unto the said Barbara, her heirs and assigns forever. In lieu whereof I leave and bequeath unto the said George, young Sibb, her daughter and future issue (and Ketch, a boy) forever.


From the “Analysis of George Galphin’s Will” in Silver Bluff, Desoto and Galphin: A Narrative Compilation of Some Old Documents, By John S. Billings (Redcliffe, 1955):


“One hundred and twenty-eight adult slaves are mentioned by name in Galphin’s will, many of them with children, and plainly there were still more working as “hunters, house wenches, and Cowpen wenches.” These slaves were Indian, negro, mulatto and “mustee” (offspring of white and quadroon). They were mostly used in the care and herding of Galphin’s livestock and in the operation of his plantations and mills.”



  • In 1780, Charles Goodwin (1757-1827) a 23-year-old native of London, immigrated to Charleston, South Carolina. This was during the time of the British victory at Biggin Bridge (Moncks Corner) and the surrender of Charles Town in April-May 1780. Charles Goodwin was born on 15 Jun 1757 to Chamberlain Goodwin and Ann Goode in St. Leonard’s, Shoreditch, London, England. Baptized on 07 July 1757. Charles had at least six siblings:  Chamberlain (1753); Thomas (1755); Elizabeth (1756); Harriot (1761); Fanny (1762) and John (1764). "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," database, FamilySearch: 11 February 2018, His parents were married at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London; “Chamberlain Goodwin of St. Leonard’s, Shoreditch, in the County of Middlesex, Batchelor, & Ann Goodes of the Town of Huntingdon, Spinster, were married by Licence, in this Cathedral, on the 8th day of December 1750, by me, M. Wight.” Register of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, England, (Mitchell & Hughes, 1899), Volume 26, Pg. 164, Marriages. Google Books. 


  • 1782, Thomas Galphin (1763-1812), son of George Galphin and Rachel Dupre, married Sarah Smith (1764-1802), at Silver Bluff. She was the daughter of Stephen Smith and Martha Newman.  


  • In 1783, within three years of immigrating from England to the United States, Charles Goodwin became a naturalized citizen. He was admitted to the bar in Charleston, S.C. on 28 May 1784 and practiced “much in the county courts and was successful.” A man of considerable wealth, he purchased 800 acres near Biggin Creek, in Old Charles Town District in 1784, under the Confiscation Act of 1782. Later he continued to expand his plantation and land holdings to Barnwell and Edgefield Districts. See, N. Louise Bailey, Mary L. Morgan, Carolyn R. Taylor. Biographical directory of the South Carolina Senate, 1776-1985, Vol. 1, (University of South Carolina Press, 1986) Also, Daniel Marchant Culler, Justine Bond Culler, Mason Culler Wolfe. Orangeburgh District, 1768-1868: History and Records (Reprint Company, 1995).


  • 1788, Stephen Smith died and bequeathed slaves to his daughter, Sarah (Smith) Galphin. His widow, Martha (Newman) Smith is listed in the 1790 census as owning 32 slaves.


  • The Will of Stephen Smith was recorded in Barnwell District on 26 Aug 1789. The inventory and appraisement of the estate was certified on 09 Dec 1788 and included the names of the following 27 slaves: Ned; Venus & her child, Tom; Primus; Cudjo; Anthony, Filley; Sambo; Annable; Prince; David; Sabina; Abbe; Lucy & child, Abbe; Jacob; Betty; John; Chloe; Cesar; George; Will; Jenny; Cudego, an old fellow; Cumbo; Lydia & her child Israel. 


There are at least three names on the slave inventory which appear to be African: Cudego, Cudjo and Cumbo. The name Cudjo does appear on Hammond’s 1831 inventory, but that man was born about 13 years after Stephen Smith's Will was filed. The Chloe and Cesar listed are, I believe, a strong match for the slaves recorded as “Bull Cesar” (1776-1845) and Chloe (~1781-1839) on Hammond’s 1831 inventory (See, 4th family group, slaves #12 and #13). Based on Hammond’s age estimates, Cesar and Chloe would have been children at the time the Smith’s will was certified in 1788, (approximately 12 and 7 years of age). Bolstering the evidence that they are the same slaves named in Smith’s Will is the fact that Bull Cesar and Chloe were enumerated on the 1831 inventory in the same household with an enslaved man named Ben Smith (1811-1848) which is further evidence of a possible connection to the Smith family. Please Note: This information was compiled from a typewritten transcription of the Will and the original document has not been viewed for any potential transcription errors or misinterpretations.  Also, I do not believe this is a complete list of the slaves from his estate. Any slaves Sarah Smith would have brought to her marriage with Thomas Galphin (1782) or inherited during their marriage from her father (1788) could have partnered with slaves inherited by Thomas from his father, George Galphin's estate, to create families with both Smith and Galphin associations. It's unfortunate that George Galphin's will did not include the names of all the children of the slaves he bequeathed to his heirs. There are 128 slaves listed by name, but their children were not. 


  • 1791, Charles Goodwin and Ephraim Ramsay, “on behalf of their wives and the children of General Andrew Williamson,” filed a petition in Ninety-Six District requesting “the Amercements on the estate of the late General be removed so they may pay his debts.” Gen. Andrew Williamson (c. 1730–1786) one of three brigadier generals of the Continental Army during the American Revolution, married Eliza (aka “Betty”) Tyler, the daughter of John Tyler of the prominent Essex County, Virginia family. Betty’s sister, Mary Anne (aka “Molly”) Tyler, married Leroy Hammond (1728-1790) of South Carolina, a lieutenant-colonel in the Revolution. Andrew and Betty (Tyler) Williamson had four children, Eliza, 2nd (aka “Betty”) (b. 1756-1825); Mary Anne 2nd, and two sons. Eliza Williamson the 2nd, married Major Charles Goodwin on 17 April 1788; they had four children; Chamberlain Leroy (b.1792); Eliza Hannah (b.1799 at Matlock, S.C.); Annie, and Charles. Chamberlain became a physician. Mary Anne Williamson the 2nd married first a Mr. John Walker of Charleston; after his death, she married next, Judge Ephraim Ramsay, by whom she had the following children: Pollie, David and Richard. Richard Ramsay married (1816) Barbara Rankin Wood (~1750-1830), who was the daughter of Mary Holmes and Joseph Wood; the granddaughter of Barbara Galphin and William Holmes; and the great-granddaughter of George Galphin and his mulatto slave Rose. See, “Historical and Genealogical Notes.” The William and Mary Quarterly, vol. 21, no. 4, 1913, pp. 292–294. JSTOR. Pg. 293, "Hammond and Williamson."


  • October 1791, Greenwood & Higginson, of London, for many years the factors of George Galphin (“the firm shipped him Indian Trade goods by the boatload and sold his furs in the London trade market”) and then later, Galphin, Holmes & Co., filed three lawsuits against the executors of Galphin’s estate, and the firm Galphin, Holmes & Co. in the U.S. District Court in Charleston, seeking to recoup total debts exceeding 13,500£. Thomas Galphin ultimately settles all three lawsuits for “less than 50 cents on the dollar” getting the debt legally discharged for ~ 6,000£.


  • In 1792, Charlestonians, Christopher Fitzsimons and William Stephens, the "Owners of the Brigantine William," filed petitions (bills of complaint) requesting, "in prospect of the prohibition against importing Negroes into this State ceasing on 1 January 1793, they "fitted out" their vessel "at a very great and heavy Expence" [sic] and loaded it with tobacco and rum "in order to proceed to the Windward Coast of Africa for a Cargo of Slaves." They further assert that they "will be materially injured if the Bill now before your Honorable House for further prohibiting the Importation of Negroes should pass into a Law, without any Exceptions." Noting that they "had every reason to suppose they would be permitted to bring them [African slaves] into this State after the first day of January next," the petitioners pray "that, if any Law should pass for further prohibiting the Importation of Slaves into this State, an Exception may be made as to the said Cargo of the said Brigantine William on her present voyage." Fitzsimons submits that his half of the slave cargo is "for his own use and Employment and not for Sale." See, “Race and Slavery Petitions Project” online, Petition Nos. 11379206 and 11379207; Repository: SCDAH, Columbia; Records of the General Assembly; Doc. No. 1792 #187; Page: frames 850-53; Microfilm: Reel #1, frames 850-53. Note: The FitzSimons and Stephens petition was in response to legislation which ultimately led to the Slave Trade Act of 1794; a law passed by the United States Congress that limited American involvement in the international slave trade. This was the first of several anti-slavery trade-acts of Congress. The outlawing of importation of slaves to the United States was enacted in 1807. The domestic trade and owning of slaves would not become illegal in the entire U.S. until the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1865.


  • 1796, Charles Goodwin acquired a plantation in StThomas and StDenis Parish. See, The Annals and Parish Register of St. Thomas and St. Denis Parish, in South Carolina, from 1680 to 1884.  


  • 29 April 1796, Thomas Galphin, the son of the late George Galphin, “released the whole Silver Bluff property” ~12,000+ acres to Major Charles L. Goodwin, Esq. See, Henry William De Saussure. Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Court of Chancery of the State of South Carolina: From the Revolution to December 1813, Vol. 3-4, (R.H. Small Publisher, 1854) and Billings, Silver Bluff, De Soto and Galphin, (Redcliffe,1955).


  • 04 Oct 1796, Goodwin formed a business partnership in 3,000 acres of the Silver Bluff property with his brother-in-law, Ephraim Ramsay (1766-1801). It was an ambitious, yet ill-fated transaction, described as an “unfortunate speculation” by John A. Chapman in A History of Edgefield County from the Earliest Settlements to 1897, “as the debt they made in buying it, was too heavy for them to carry.” Goodwin ultimately had to borrow funds to cover his financial obligations. 


  • Ephraim Ramsay, a planter from Edgefield District, served in the South Carolina General Assembly from 1792 to 1797. In 1799 the S.C. state legislature elected Ramsay an associate judge of the Court of General Sessions and Common Pleas. See, J. S. R. Faunt, Walter B. Edgar, N. Louise Bailey, and others, eds. Biographical Directory of the South Carolina House of Representatives, Columbia, S.C., 1974–92, 5 vols. description ends, 4:465 


  • Charles Goodwin did not operate his Silver Bluff property directly but “assigned it” or leased it to James Beggs (1780-1832) and Christian Breithaupt ("Beggs & Breithaupt") who then managed the property for Goodwin & Ramsay. Proof of their management of Silver Bluff as a company is certified in two 1818 rent certificates, belonging to “Silver Bluff Concerns,” identifying Beggs & Breithaupt as “assignees” and witnessed by, “Charles L. Goodwin”. James Beggs married Anna Walker Goodwin (1785-1859) the daughter of Charles Goodwin. “Beggs killed himself drinking,” From the manuscript of Dr. John H. Logan,Historical Collections of the Joseph Habersham Chapter, Daughters American Revolution, Vol III., 1910, transcribed for Georgia Genealogy Trails by Dena W. 


  • Thomas Galphin, the son of George Galphin, entered into a contract agreement with Charles Goodwin (aka “Goodwyn”) to lease "fifteen negro slaves" from Silver Bluff. 


  • 01 Feb 1799, Charles Goodwin, “attorney and agent for the heirs of George Galphin,” wrote the Jeffersonian Georgia Gov. James Jackson (1757-1806), in reply to a letter from him, dated Silver Bluff, February 1, 1799: "Whenever the State of Georgia is disposed to do justice to the claim of the late George Galphin against the Ceded Lands, on the behalf of whose children I went to England, I shall then feel myself at liberty to give every information that you could require and that it were in my power to give—Till that Period Arrives it is my Duty to be silent." It had come to Gov. Jackson's attention as early as January 24, 1799, through William Sims, of Columbia County, Ga., who made affidavit under date of February 6, 1799, "that on the first day of February, 1799, Mr. Charles Goodwin told him, the deponent, when the said Goodwin was in England last, he saw a great many papers deposited in the Tower belonging to the State of Georgia, and that those papers were carried from this State to the Bahama Islands, from thence to Scotland and from Scotland to London, which he, the said Goodwin, declared to be in the Tower . . ." The interest in the records, and discovery of them in the Tower of London, seems to have come about from the "Galphin Claims." See, Mary Givens Bryan. “Georgia Colonial Wills,” The American Archivist, 1963, pp. 51-54.


  • In 1799, Christopher Cashel FitzSimons (1762-1825) purchased a 500-acre tract of land in Augusta, Georgia known as “Goodale.” FitzSimons, an Irish-born Charleston merchant, transformed an inheritance into an American slave-owning empire by establishing enterprises heavily-invested in the trafficking and bondage of African and Domestic slaves. His commercial ventures included a wharf at East Bay and Meeting Streets; the ownership and outfitting of ships; a rum-distillery; warehouses; cotton-factoring; quarrying; plantation management and land speculation.  


  • 1800 U.S. Census, Christopher FitzSimons, Charleston, South Carolina, owned 25 slaves in Charleston 


  • By 1800, General Wade Hampton I (1752-1835), Christopher FitzSimons (1772-1825) and Oswald Eve II (1754-1829) were all investing in the future of Augusta and the newly developing State of Georgia. They bought land in and around Augusta and settled their children there while maintaining their Charleston presence. FitzSimons purchased the Goodale property with the prospect of establishing his brother-in-law, Oswald Eve II, as an active partner in the plantation venture. Eve’s wife, Aphra Ann (Pritchard) Eve (1766-1821), was the sister of FitzSimons’ wife, Catherine (Pritchard) FitzSimons (1772-1841). The sisters were the daughters of Captain Paul Pritchard (1744-1791), a wealthy shipwright, who established Pritchard’s Shipyard on Hobcaw Creek in Charleston (1778-1831) and Ann (Ball) Pritchard.  


  • 1800-1805, Shortly after purchasing the Goodale property, FitzSimons commenced building a three-story brick house which would later become known as the Goodale Inn. FitzSimons invested heavily in the plantation enterprise. He shipped supplies, including “six-casks of juniper for making gin, to Goodale through a Savannah agent and up the Savannah River by pole boat to be unloaded directly at the plantation. He also sent an agent to New Orleans to smuggle 70 fine mules to Goodale for Eve to farm with.” However, the partnership with Eve dissolved within five-years due to FitzSimons’ growing distrust of his brother-in-law’s ability to handle his finances. In Oct 1804, FitzSimons wrote to friend, William Kennedy of Augusta, stating he was unable trust Eve, and asked Kennedy to clothe “the 13 Negroes at Goodale” belonging to him, but not the ones belonging to Eve. He no longer wanted any of his funds to go to Eve. FitzSimons kept Goodale going as a plantation following Eve's departure and visited frequently from Charleston to supervise his investment. 


  • On 02 May 1801, Ephraim Ramsay penned a letter from Charleston, S.C. to President Thomas Jefferson, recommending “Major Charles Goodwyn, of Silver Bluff in Barnwell District” for an appointment to Marshall of the District. President Jefferson endorsed the nomination on 15 May 1801. See, National Archives, Founders Online: Correspondence and Other Writings of Six Major Shapers of the United States, “To Thomas Jefferson from Ephraim Ramsay, 02 May  1801,”   https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/01-34-02-0011


  • 08 Nov 1801, Ephraim Ramsay, brother-in-law and business partner of Charles Goodwin, dies at Silver Bluff.


  • 1802, Mortgaged Human Property: On 27 April 1802, the 48 mortgaged negro slaves were carried to the City of Charleston by the direction of William Greenwood to be sold to pay the two bonds retained.  For the complainant it was contended that by agreement entered into between William Greenwood, said agent for Greenwood and Higginson, and the Silver Bluff concern, the mortgage of the 48 negroes was to be considered as a collateral security and could not be sold until the primary fund was exhausted. The court ordered the injunction dissolved and an appeal was made and argued, whereupon the court delivered the following judgment: 


"We are of opinion that the decree of the Circuit Court in this case was correct in dissolving the injunction as to the State Bank and Mr. Poinsett. The Bank made a loan and took various securities for the repayment thereof. Among others are assignments of certain judgments against Galphin's estate and mortgages of negroes and a house and lot in Charleston. Since all the circumstances have been disclosed by the answer and documents it would be extraordinary and unjust that the multiplication of securities which was intended as an inducement to the loan by the Bank should be converted into a source of delay in the recovery of the debt and should be used to involve the bank in a litigation respecting the Galphin property in which it has no concern or interest. It appears obvious that the mortgages were taken as an additional security and it was intended that the Bank should be at liberty to resort to any of the securities to enforce payment. It is therefore ordered and adjudged that the decree of the Circuit Court be affirmed and that the State Bank and Joel R. Poinsett, son and heir of Elisha Poinsett, be left at liberty to pursue their claims and enforce their remedy. But as the bank and J.R. Poinsett will have no right to retain any part of the securities assigned to them after payment of the sums due to them, it is further ordered and adjudged that upon the payment of the whole sums due to the Bank and Mr. Poinsett by Charles Goodwin, the representative of Ephraim Ramsay and Dr. David Ramsay, the Bank and J.R. Poinsett, instanter, and by a contemporaneous act, re-assign to them all the securities which had been placed in their hands for the purpose of securing the debts due them.” [Signed] W James; Henry W. DeSaussure; Theodore Gaillard; Thomas Waties; Bacon and Goodwin for appellants; Simkins for respondents.


  • On 01 Jan 1803, a public auction was to be held in Augusta, Georgia for the purpose of selling, “all those valuable lands on both sides of the Savannah River, and lying in Richmond County, Georgia, and Edgefield and Barnwell Districts in South Carolina, consisting of 12,600 acres of land, known as Silver-Bluff.” See, The Augusta Chronicle and Gazette, (Augusta, Georgia, 01 January 1803)


  • January 1805, the U.S. Supreme Court, Milligan v. Milledge; To recover from the defendants, as legatees and devisees of George Galphin, deceased, a debt due by him to the complainant's intestate. The bill charged that Clark & Milligan, merchants in London; supplied George Galphin with goods requested by him, in the years 1770, 1773 & 1776 to supply his sons, Thomas, George and John, his nephew David Holmes, and John Parkinson, under the firm of Galphin & Holmes, with goods; that on the credit of George. Galphin, Sr. they shipped goods to the said company; and on 31 December 1780, George Galphin, the elder, owed, 1,120£ (himself); 1,296£ for Galphin, Holmes & Co. and 3,959£ for the Pensacola firm. That George Galphin, the elder, died testate in 1782, and left real and personal estate sufficient to pay all his just debts. That all the executors declined the trust excepting the three sons; that the co-partnership of Galphin, Holmes & Co. was dissolved on the day of, without any funds for the payment of their debts; That John Milledge, and Martha his wife, who is the daughter of George Galphin, the elder, and a principal legatee and devisee under his will, have received, and are possessed of, lands, negroes, and assets of the estate of her father, which came to them by descent, devise, or distribution, and liable to the claim of the complainant.


  • 1807, Christopher FitzSimons purchased Colonel William Rhett’s house in Charleston. The historic home, which still stands at 54 Hasell Street, is one of the oldest homes in the oldest city in South Carolina. It was built as the main house for Rhett’s 28-acre “Point Plantation” between 1712 and 1720. Rhett purchased the land from Jonathan Amory in 1711, which at the time, was located outside the walled-city limits, about 2 blocks north of Maj. Daniels’ Creek where the City Market is now situated.  Rhett called his new estate “Rhettsbury”. On Edward Crisp’s map of 1711, which shows the walled-city, Rhett had a dock on the Cooper River between Craven’s Bastion (the present site of the U.S. Customs House on East Bay Street) and the half-moon battery (the present site of the Old Exchange Building) and he had a house nearby in the walled-city.  It was shortly after the Crisp Map was published that Rhett built his house at what is presently 54 Hasell Street. Later, Christopher FitzSimon’s Wharf was also located at the present site of the U.S. Custom House on East Bay and Meeting Streets. After Col. Rhett’s death in 1728, the house remained in the Rhett family until FitzSimons purchased it in 1807. The Georgian-style home is located in the historic Ansonborough neighborhood and sits on nearly a half-acre between Meeting and East Bay streets. It features one of the largest private gardens on the lower peninsula and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The house sold in May 2018 for $3.25 million dollars to a company formed by Cheryl Skoog Tague, a former banker whose Bronxville, N.Y. based Core River Inc. designs, builds, landscapes and furnishes residential properties in places such as Aspen and London. The previous owner was a partnership formed by the Druryfamily in 1977. See, John McDermott, “One of Charleston’s oldest historic homes has been sold for $3.25 Million,” The Post and Carrier, 23 May 2018; Historic Charleston Foundation, archive record for Col. William Rhett House, 54 Hasell Street, https://charleston.pastperfectonline.com 


  • 1809, Christopher FitzSimons, Georgia Property Tax Digest Book, Lampkin’s District, Richmond, Georgia


  • 1809, Christopher FitzSimons (1762-1825) purchased “Old Town Plantation” near Louisville, Georgia. The original royal land grant at Old Town was given to George Galphin in 1767. Louisville served as the state capitol of Georgia from 1796 to 1807, having taken the honor from Savannah as the colony’s capitol. The emergence of Louisville as the capitol city may have been directly linked to the illicit slave trade.  From its inception, organizers envisioned Louisville as a trade center. In the last years of the 18th century Georgia officials enacted laws restricting Savannah's involvement in the Atlantic slave trade, and in 1798 the state legislature banned the direct importation of Africans outright. The Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves of 1807 (2 Stat. 426, enacted March 2, 1807) took effect in 1808 and stated that no new slaves were permitted to be imported into the United States. The bans resulted in strategic shifts in trading locations and spawned the growth of the illegal slave trade that persisted for many decades. The commission appointed to choose the location of Louisville, directed that it be built within 20 miles of George Galphin’s trading post called "Galphin’s Old Town" or "Galphinton" located in present day Jefferson County. The site selected was approximately 45 miles SW of Augusta near a market at the juncture of three roads leading to Augusta, Savannah, and Georgetown, known as the Savannah and Georgetown Trails. The commissioners purchased 1,000 acres on the south side of Rocky Comfort Creek near the Ogeechee River to take advantage of the river transportation with hopes of expanding its navigational potential. The deep waterways of coastal Georgia and Louisville’s location near the river offered smugglers good harbor to move their goods inland for sale. Louisville’s Old Slave Market, (aka “Old Market House”) was used for sheriff’s sales, the auction of slaves, and as a community market house. The Library of Congress historic building survey of the site states the structure was erected ~1758, but “recent research” (uncited) suggests it may have been built circa the city’s founding in the 1790s. Posts by sites like “Explore Georgia,” are now offering a revised narrative regarding the history of the structure as it relates to the auction of slaves: “The old Market House building is not without controversy. Widely believed for generations to have functioned as a slave market before the emancipation, the  Old Market House - commonly known as the "Old Slave Market" - has long stood as a symbol of the institution of slavery. Recent research, however, casts doubt on this understanding and suggests that the Old Market House may have a much more benign history as an ordinary commercial market.” “Recent research” aside, newspaper ads announcing the sale of “Negroes at the Market House in the town of Louisville”, belie these attempts to revise the authentic history of this place. (See, “Sheriff’s Sale,” Augusta Chronicle (Georgia) 12 July 1823, pg. 2). The Georgia Catalog, Historic American Buildings Survey: A Guide to the Architecture of the State, by John Linley, (University of Georgia Press, 1982), Pg. 303 offers the following description of the structure: Louisville, Jefferson County, (82), Slave Market GA-14-2 “...Building antedates the city of Louisville and was erected at the juncture of Georgetown and Savannah trails, where there was an Indian trading post. It was originally called the Market House, but slaves were sold here; it also became the official place for sheriff’s sales and was for a number of years used as a community market house…”


  • In 1810, Christopher FitzSimons learned a rare natural resource called Buhrstone lay beneath the soil on his “Old Town Plantation.” “Buhrstone (or whetstone) is a unique mineral used for grinding white (wheat) flour, not to be confused with the more common granite millstone used for grinding corn meal and whole wheat.” See, Robert Scott Davis, “As Good as the French: The Rise and Decline of Georgia’s Buhrstone Industry” Georgia Historical Quarterly (1993). On 08 June 1810, FitzSimons sent a sample of his “Georgia Buhr” stone to Oliver Evans in Philadelphia to compare it with the industry standard-bearer “True French” Buhrs. Evans, an American inventor, credited with being the father of mass production, designed the first fully-automated industrial process for the milling industry. (It’s likely that FitzSimons became acquainted with Evans during one of the family’s annual excursions to Philadelphia.) Evans must have been impressed because he sent northern workers to Georgia by January 1811 to acquire more stones. Evan’s workmen were quoted as saying the Georgia Buhrs were “as good, or better” than the French stones. FitzSimons believed that if the channeling and canal work being considered to make the Ogeechee River open for transportation were approved by the Georgia legislature, the Georgia Buhr would be a viable product. He planned to send a set of stones to England to test the market. While little more is known about FitzSimons’ and Evans’ work with Georgia Buhrs, more than one thousand buhrstones were reported to have been taken from Georgia quarries for sale in Georgia, Alabama, the Carolinas and Virginia. There can be little doubt that slave labor was used in the quarrying of this stone at the Old Town Plantation.  


  • 1810 U.S. Federal Census: Charles Goodwin owned 40 slaves in Edgefield County, S.C.; 


  • On 08 January 1814, Christopher FitzSimons’ wife, Catherine (Pritchard) FitzSimons, gives birth to a daughter, Catherine Elizabeth FitzSimons, in Charleston. That same year, FitzSimons expanded his agricultural kingdom by purchasing two-thousand acres of “rich swamp land” adjacent to the Savannah River in South Carolina. 


  • December 1816, Joel Roberts Poinsett (1779-1851), son and heir of Dr. Elisha Poinsett (1723-1804) filed suit in the Edgefield Court of Equity against “Charles Goodwin and others” showing that William Higginson of the firm, Greenwood & Higginson, merchants of London, obtained a judgement in the Federal Court for the District of South Carolina & Georgia against the executors of the late George Galphin for a large debt due by their testator to the foresaid firm. The judgement created a lien upon the real estate of the said George Galphin. Elisha Poinsett had advanced an unspecified sum of money to Charles Goodwin to pay off Higginson on the court judgements of 1799 against the Galphin estate. Thomas Galphin settled his debts to Goodwin by turning over 12,000+ acres of Silver Bluff, but Goodwin never settled with Dr. Poinsett. Joel Poinsett was in South America from 1810-1815, and as his father’s heir, did not get around to putting in his claim against Goodwin until 1816 when he was a member of the South Carolina Legislature. Joel Poinsett prayed the court “to decree a sale of the Silver Bluff lands under the said judgement to satisfy the debt of the said Elisha Poinsett, deceased.” The Edgefield Court granted the petition.  


  • In 1817, Christopher FitzSimons presents the Goodale house, 730 acres of land, and 75 slaves to his daughter Ann FitzSimons (1794-1833) as a wedding gift. Ann married Wade Hampton II (1791-1858) on 06 March 1817 at the FitzSimons family home on Hasell Street, in what was described as, “One of the most elaborate weddings Charlestonians had ever witnessed. “Ann’s wedding dress, of white lace, was embroidered with pearls, and her attendants wore gowns of rich, white silk. After the wedding service, an elegant supper was served by six-waiters wearing white gloves, and the many-tiered wedding cake, decorated with small swans and rabbits of spun sugar, was displayed on a stand of plate glass.” (Bleser, Secret and Sacred, 1988). Notice of the marriage was recorded in the register of St. Philip’s Church.The Hamptons did not live at Goodale, but instead leased the property, making a small fortune. The couple moved to Columbia where they resided at their plantation house known as Millwood. Hampton sold the Goodale property in 1835. Goodale was originally established by Thomas Goodale in 1740. Goodale sold the property to Francis McCarten and Martin Campbell in 1754. Martin Campbell left Goodale to his son, McCarten Campbell. After his death in 1793, McCarten’s wife, Sarah inherited the property. She later married Dr. George Jones of Savannah. Dr. and Mrs. Jones sold Goodale to FitzSimons in 1799. The house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on 29 Oct 1976 and remained standing near the Sand Bar Ferry Road until 2016 when it was demolished. See, National Register of Historic Places, Inventory and Nomination Form for the “FitzSimons-Hampton-Harris House,” aka the “Goodale Inn”. 


  • On 04 May 1818, Charles Goodwin, lacking the cash to pay his debt to the Poinsett estate, let ~7,000 acres of his Silver Bluff property go at public sale. The sale was conducted by Whitfield Brooks, court commissioner at Edgefield Court House. The purchaser was Barna McKinne, (1779-1833), grandson-in-law of George Galphin, who acquired the property for the sum of $35,000. McKinne had married Anne Galphin (1792-1876) in 1810. She was the daughter of Thomas Galphin and Sarah Smith and the granddaughter of George Galphin and Rachel Dupre. McKinne was executor of Thomas Galphin's estate and “handled the lost estate of Silver Bluff for several years.” Barna was the brother of John McKinne who invested in early transportation ventures in S.C and Georgia. John McKinne was a partner in a private bank, called “The Bridge Bank,” (aka the Bridge Company of Augusta) with Henry Schultz; the men were also co-investors of a toll-bridge that spanned the Savannah River from the S.C. bank to Augusta; he was an incorporator of the Georgia Steamboat Company; co-founded the town of Hamburg, S.C. and brought in the first railroad. “Sept 2d 1813: Henry Shultz, in-person, went with 80 negroes to the Swamp below Augusta and commenced cutting Timber for said Bridge all of which was Cypress except the floor.”21 June 1814; Henry Shultz & John McKinne paid to Edward Rowel and Walter Leigh the said sum of $8500 in full for said Ferry Landing in South Carolina.” 09 Nov 1814: “The Legislature of Georgia granted upon the application by John McKinne & Henry Shultz a Charter for said Bridge with power to collect the same Rates of Toll they had been authorized to collect by the Legislature of South Carolina. See, Billings, Silver Bluff, (Redcliffe, 1955); Charles Colcock Jones and Salem Dutcher. Memorial History of Augusta, Georgia: From Its Settlement in 1735 to the Close of the Eighteenth Century, (D. Mason, 1890). 


  • In 1818, Dr. John “Milledge” Galphin (1794-1857), son of Thomas Galphin and Sarah Smith; grandson of George Galphin and Rachel Dupre; brother of Anne Galphin McKinne; built the house known as “Old Yard” on 400 acres in Beech Island. The property was later purchased in 1855 by James Henry Hammond of Silver Bluff. This is where Hammond later built his estate called ‘Redcliffe’.  


  • On 08 and 09 of February 1819, Christopher FitzSimons purchased 21 slaves in three group lots from the estate sale of John Ball, Sr., Esq. (deceased) in Charleston District. Fourteen of those slaves were listed on the first slave inventory created by James Henry Hammond on 08 Dec 1831. (I remain forever grateful and indebted to Professor Toni Carrier who made this discovery with the University of Southern Florida Africana Heritage Project in April 2006 and shared it with me.)  


  • 1820 U.S Census, Charles Goodwin owned 11 slaves in Edgefield County, S.C.


  • 02 July 1822, Denmark Vesey was executed for his role in organizing "the rising" a major slave revolt planned for the City of Charleston in June 1822. "Gullah Jack" Pritchard, purchased by Paul Pritchard in 1821, was tried and hung as a co-conspirator ten days later on 12 July 1822. Paul Pritchard was the father of Catherine Pritchard FitzSimons and the father-in-law of Christopher FitzSimons.


  • In 1822, Christopher FitzSimons purchased 8,000 additional acres at Silver Bluff from Barna McKinne, bringing his total land acquisition on the plantation to 10,000 acres. 


  • In 1825, Christopher FitzSimons died at his Silverton house, at Silver Bluff, South Carolina. He left an estate estimated at $700,000 to be divided between his widow and their four surviving children. The relative value of his estate in 2017 dollars is ~ $18,000,000. FitzSimons bequeathed his 10,800 Silver Bluff property and an enslaved community of over one hundred men, women and children to his eleven-year-old daughter, Catherine Elizabeth FitzSimons (1814-1896). He was buried at Cottage Cemetery in Augusta, Georgia 


  • In 1826, Barna McKinne and Christian Breithaupt are sued by heirs of Thomas Galphin for money due them from the sale of Silver Bluff.


  • In June 1831, seventeen-year-old Charleston heiress, Catherine Elizabeth FitzSimons (1814-1890), the daughter of Christopher FitzSimons, married James Henry Hammond (1807-1864) in Columbia, South Carolina. 


  • On 08 December 1831, Hammond arrived at Silver Bluff with his wife, Catherine. to "take possession of the place" and an enslaved community of 147 men women and children.  


  • James Henry Hammond (1807-1964) was a planter, politician and slave owner from 1831 until his death in 1864. He, and generations of the Hammond family, were enriched by the people he enslaved, many of whom continued to work for the family after emancipation. His slaves inhabited, arduously labored on, maintained and improved his plantation properties and residences at Silver Bluff in Barnwell District (1831-1864); his Columbia townhouse in Richland District (1839-1846); his Green Valley plantation in Fairfield District (1839-1840); Cathwood in Barnwell District (Part of Silver Bluff); Cowden in Barnwell District (1848-1864); and his Redcliffe estate in Edgefield District (1855-1864). 


  • Hammond served as a United States Representative from 1835 to 1836, the 60th Governor of South Carolina from 1842 to 1844, and the last United States Senator from South Carolina prior to the Civil War from 1857 to 1860. An outspoken proponent of slavery during his lifetime, Hammond was instrumental in shaping and promoting the racist policies, thoughts and ideologies that ultimately propelled our country into the American Civil War over the preservation of slavery. He was an advocate of “a felon’s death” for abolitionists and adhered relentlessly to the dogma that “the African must be a slave, or there is an end to all things, and soon.” 


  • Hammond’s legacy lives on in the white supremacist pathologies that continue to spawn hatred, division and violence across this country, including the massacre of nine African American church members attending bible study at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC on 17 June 2015.


  • It wasn’t until the murders of those nine innocents that the state of South Carolina finally conceded to remove the confederate flag from the State House in Columbia after decades of protest that such a symbol of division and hate had no place flying above the peoples’ house. It was removed 10 July 2015.

  • My research and documentation of the Silver Bluff Community is an ongoing effort to counteract an American legacy of destruction against Black lives, wrought by people like Hammond, his predecessors, his contemporaries, and their modern-day apologists and torchbearers, by sharing and advancing the truth about our history through the lives and experiences of those who lived through it and those who continue to be affected by it.


  • Knowledge empowers. "Know who you are before they have to tell you." ~ Old African Wolof Proverb 


  • "The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history." ~ George Orwell



Associated Enslaved Persons


For extensive research regarding the individuals and families who were enslaved by James Henry Hammond at his Silver Bluff, Cathwood, Cowden and Redcliffe Plantations from 1831-1865 please contact Alane Roundtree at elmoreroundtree@aol.com  




Research Leads and Plantation Records


The complete collection of The Papers of James Henry Hammond from the South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, through the year 1865 is available on the microfilm series, Records of Antebellum Southern Plantations from the Revolution Through the Civil War, Series A, Selections from the South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Part I: The Papers of James Henry Hammond, 1795-1865, Reels 1 - 15.


The James Henry Hammond Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. In 1998, the collection represented fifty containers, containing twenty-seven portfolios and sixteen bound volumes. letter books, diaries, journals, and printed speeches, approximately 8,000 items in all. One container of printed material was not filmed. See "Handbook of Manuscripts in the Library of Congress," Washington Government Printing Office, 1918, pgs 159-160. 


Drew Gilpin Faust. James Henry Hammond and the Old South: A Design for Mastery (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1982).


Carol K. Bleser. Secret and Sacred: The Diaries of James Henry Hammond: A Southern Slaveholder (Oxford University Press, 1988).


Carol K. Bleser. The Hammonds of Redcliffe. (Oxford University Press, 1981).




Miscellaneous Information


  • Descendants of the Silver Bluff Slave Community are engaged in study groups involving genetic DNA analysis to help us further our knowledge of the history of those who were enslaved at Silver Bluff Plantation. Please consider joining us at Family Tree DNA, Ancestry, and GEDmatch. For more information please contact Alane Roundtree at elmoreroundtree@aol.com




  • Silver Bluff Plantation originally submitted by Alane Roundtree (Thanks!)


Users Researching This Workplace


Alane Roundtree has been researching the family histories and genealogies of the Silver Bluff Slave Community of South Carolina and their descendants since 1997. This includes the individuals and families enslaved at Silver Bluff, Cathwood, Cowden and Redcliffe Plantations.


In 1998 she transcribed the slave birth and death registers recorded by James Henry Hammond and compiled them into the document, "Slave Births and Deaths Recorded at Silver Bluff, Cathwood, Cowden and Redcliffe Plantations in South Carolina, 1831-1864." From that data and other resources she created the first comprehensive family group reports and biographies of the individuals enslaved on Hammond's plantations.


In 1998-1999 and 2001, she corresponded with Dr. Drew Gilpin Faust, then the Annenberg Professor of History, at the University of Pennsylvania, regarding Dr. Faust’s seminal study of James Henry Hammond as a southern slave holder, entitled James Henry Hammond and the Old South: A Design for Mastery, (LSU Press, 1982) and the pivotal role Dr. Faust’s work played in helping her discover the family’s connection to the Silver Bluff Slave Community. I remain forever grateful for Dr. Faust’s gracious outreach and her congratulatory words of encouragement regarding my ongoing research.


In 1999 her research was referenced in The Augusta Chronicle by staff writer, Margaret N. O'Shea, in her metro news feature articles, "Families Discover Roots" and "Letters Explain Slavery Views" (The Augusta Chronicle, 03 October 1999, Augusta, Georgia.)


She has authored several case studies and reports regarding individuals and families enslaved on the plantations of James Henry Hammond (1807-1864) including; "A Case Study of Wesley 'Sam Jones' Johnson," "A Biographical Directory of Possible Slaves Enumerated in the 1860 Slave Population Schedule at Redcliffe, Edgefield County, South Carolina and Their Immediate Family Members," "Resources for the Research of African Americans Enslaved at Silver Bluff, Cathwood, Cowden and Redcliffe Plantations," "There is Rest for the Weary: A Record of the Final Resting Place of Some Former Silver Bluff Slaves, Cohlvin Cemetery, Silver Bluff Plantation Sanctuary, Jackson, South Carolina," and "The Hammond Township Districts Directory." Several of these studies were donated to Redcliffe Plantation State Historic Site, the Silver Bluff Plantation Audubon Sanctuary and the Old Edgefield District Genealogical Society from 2001-2007.


In 2001 she created the now defunct AOL Hometown webpage, "List of Surnames of Persons Enslaved at Silver Bluff, Cathwood, Cowden and Redcliffe Plantations, South Carolina, 1831-1865," which comprised the inaugural list of 62 slave surnames compiled from her research.


In 2001 she transcribed from microfilm the account book of the Richmond,Virginia slave trading firm of Henry Nicholas Templeman and his partner William H. Goodwin, "Templeman & Goodwin Account Book, 1849-1851." The account book contains the names of 100 slaves; the names of their purchasers and their purchase price. Twenty-five slaves were recorded with surnames. Several slave women were recorded with unnamed children. Permission to post her transcription on AfriGeneas was denied by the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. (Templeman & Goodwin Account Book, The Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Microfilm Number M-3508, one reel.) A letter writing campaign then ensued encouraging UNC to digitize the record book to make it more accessible to researchers online.  In 1852, the Templeman residence was on the northeast corner of Broad and 11th Streets in Richmond, Virginia where the slave trading firm of Templeman and Goodwin was also located. H.N. Templeman was in business at least as early as 1843 when he purchased a slave named Alonzo in Virginia and sold him in a Charleston slave market to Governor James Henry Hammond. In 1841, it is believed that William H. Goodwin held kidnapped freedman Solomon Northrup (12 Years a Slave, 1853) in his slave pen at Broad and Union Streets in Richmond, Virginia. This area which comprised the central slave trading market in Richmond is known as Shockoe Bottom. James Henry Hammond of Silver Bluff frequented the slave markets in Charleston and Columbia, South Carolina and Augusta, Georgia, purchasing slaves from such prolific Virginia slave traders as the Davis Bros. and Templeman and Goodwin.


In Feb 2004 she was consulted on the historical significance of a privately held family bible dating from 1841 with entries for slave births, deaths and marriages, and was asked to transcribe the records. She concluded that the bible had been in the possession of members of both the Davies and Hammond families, specifically Thomas Jones Davies, (1830-1902) the son of Thomas W. Davies, and Marcus Claudius Marcellus Hammond (1814-1876) who was the  younger brother of James Henry Hammond and the brother-in-law of Thomas Jones Davies.  A copy of her transcription of the records, "The Hammond-Davies Family Bible: A Record of Slave Births, Deaths and Marriages, 1830-1865" was donated to the Old Edgefield District Genealogical Society. Additional lists she compiled from the records include, "List of Place Names, Residences & Slaveholders Which Appear in the Hammond-Davies Bible Records, 1830-1865," "Names of Slaves at Malvern Plantation, Beech Island, South Carolina," "Names of Slaves at 'Barnwell' Plantation in Bolivar County, Mississippi," "Surnames of Slaves That Appear in the Hammond-Davies Bible Records," among others. The bible was later sold at public auction at Swann Galleries in New York City on 25 Feb 2010 as part of their Printed and Manuscript African Americana Department collection. The bible is cataloged as the "Thomas Jones Davies Bible Records (1830-1865)" and is archived at the South Caroliniana Library on the campus of the University of South Carolina in Columbia.


In 2005 her research of the Silver Bluff Slave Cemetery (Cohlvin Cemetery) was used to help secure an SCDAH in-kind service grant for the Audubon Center at the Silver Bluff Plantation Sanctuary in Jackson, South Carolina. The grant was used to conduct a non-invasive survey of the ancient slave burial ground by New South Associates forensic archaeologist, Dr. Hugh Matternes.


In Feb 2009 she was contacted by David Kamp, editor and writer for Vanity Fair, to consult and conduct research for the VH-1 production, "50 Cent: The Origin of Me," a documentary of rapper Curtis Jackson's family history in Edgefield County, South Carolina.


In Feb 2009, she compiled "Notes on the Watts Family," including the ancestors and descendants of Henry Watts (~1855-1935) and his wife, Henrietta Crawford Watts (~1864-1943) from her research 1998-2009.


In Feb 2009, she compiled "Notes on the Reverend George Bryant" (~1891-1979) from her research 1985-2009.


In Feb 2010 her 2004 transcription of the "The Hammond-Davies Bible: A Record of Slave Births, Deaths and Marriages, 1830-1865," was published online as the first featured collection on A Friend of Friends, an inspirational website created by researcher, Luckie Daniels, which was dedicated to the restoration and preservation of slave documents, manuscripts and artifacts.


In Feb 2010, she compiled the "List of Some Churches Mentioned in the Federal Testimony and Depositions of Witnesses to the Ellenton Assassinations of 1876," including an alphabetical list of the churches; an index to the testimonies mentioning the churches; descriptions of the locations of the churches, if known, in 1876; present day locations of the churches; and known pastors, preachers, clergymen and families associated with the early Black congregations.


In Mar 2010 she corresponded with Dr. Stephen Deyle, Associate Professor of History at the University of Houston and an expert on the domestic slave trade, regarding her research of the traders associated with slaves sold to James Henry Hammond of Silver Bluff Plantation, South Carolina. In 2013, Dr. Deyle served as a historical consultant for the Academy Award winning film, "12 Years a Slave".


In Mar 2011, she compiled "Notes on the Ellenton Assassinations Depositions and Testimonies." from her research on The Ellenton Massacre of 1876, (1998-2011).


In Mar 2012, she was invited by Natonne Elaine Kemp, the editor of Homeplace, the official newsletter of the Old Edgefield District African American Genealogical Society (OEDAAGS) to submit her article, "The Hammond Township Districts Directory, Aiken County, 1876," The article discussed the author's discovery of the Reconstruction era ad hoc voter registration roll in the Papers of James Henry Hammond in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress. The township directory or census was created as part of the "Straight Out Plan" during the Campaign of 1876, as a means to identify, intimidate and disenfranchise Black voters in that precinct. "Dead Lists" were also created from the information gathered in the directory. The author donated a copy of the directory to the Beech Island Historical Society in 1998. 


In July 2013 she was contacted by researcher, Sarah Goldberg, regarding information for a Google Arts & Culture online exhibit called The Prince of Emancipation discussing the life of the Hon. Prince Rivers (1824-1887). The exhibit was produced for Associate Professor of History, Matthew Pinsker’s the House Divided Project at Dickinson College, which provides resources for teachers on the history of the Civil War and Reconstruction.


In 2014, she wrote and compiled, "A Collection of Notes and Reflections on the Slave Dwellings at Silver Bluff, Cowden & Redcliffe," inspired by her ongoing research of the family histories and genealogies of The Silver Bluff Slave Community and Their Descendants, 1998-2014. A copy was shared with Joseph McGill, Founder of The Slave Dwelling Project, Ladson, South Carolina.


In 2016 she was invited by authors Edna Gail Bush and Natonne Elaine Kemp to write the introduction for their book, There is Something About Edgefield: Shining a Light on the Black Community Through History, Genealogy and Genetic DNA, (Rocky Pond Press Inc., Takoma Park, MD, 2017). The book was recognized by the South Carolina African American Heritage Commission with their "Preserving Our Places in History" 2017 Project Award and was a 2018 American Book Fest "Best Book Awards Finalist" in the category of United States History. The book also earned a preview by Mr. Harlan Greene in The Journal of Southern History. 


In August 2017 she was contacted by Dr. Linda Cherry to exchange information on the remarkable life and history of Cherry's 2nd great grandfather, Senator Lawrence Cain, of Edgefield County, SC. Extensive research by the Cherry family culminated in the book, Virtue of Cain, written by Cain's great-great grandson, Kevin Cherry, Sr. and published by Rocky Pond Press, Inc., Takoma Park, MD, in 2019. She was part of the team which provided copyediting services for the final draft of the book.


In April 2019 she corresponded with Dr. Maurie McInnis, Executive Vice President and Provost, Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities, The University of Texas at Austin regarding her work, “Mapping the Slave Trade in Richmond and New Orleans,” (Buildings & Landscapes: Journal of the Vernacular Architecture Forum, Vol. 20, No. 2 (Fall 2013); Slaves Waiting for Sale: Abolitionist Art and the American Slave Trade (University of Chicago Press, 2011), and her exhibit “To Be Sold: Virginia and the American Slave Trade” at the Library of Virginia. She is grateful to Dr. McInnis for sharing her time and knowledge.


In April 2019 to Feb 2020, she corresponded with Dr. Michael Tadman, Honorary Senior Fellow at the University of Liverpool and the author of Speculators And Slaves: Masters, Traders, And Slaves In The Old South (University of Wisconsin Press, 1989). Dr. Tadman graciously shared his expert insights and information regarding the domestic slave trade, as well as his microfilm records of the Henry Nicholas Templeman Account Book, Richmond, VA, 1846-1859, from the manuscript collection of the New York Public Library. (This account book is a different record from the Templeman & Goodwin Account Book, 1849-1851, held by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). She is forever grateful for his professional insights, feedback, and academic counsel regarding her case study of Wesley “Sam Jones” Johnson, Several Small Boys Without Their Mothers (April 2010).


In April 2020 she corresponded with Dr. Philip M. Herrington, Assistant Professor Department of History, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA regarding his thesis, “The Forgotten Plantation Architecture of Burke County, Georgia” (University of Georgia, 2003) which helped provide evidence that connected enslaved ancestors from the Bush Hill Plantation in Barnwell District, South Carolina to the Shewmake and Sapp families of Alexander, Burke County, Georgia. Thank you, Dr. Herrington.


From 1998-2021 Alane's research has produced a genealogical and family history database which includes over 300 surnames with direct, ancestral, or kinship ties to the Silver Bluff Slave Community of South Carolina. Her work recovering and reconstructing the family histories and stories of this remarkable enslaved community and their descendants continues. Please contact her at elmoreroundtree@aol.com



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