Robert Stephenson,South Carolina Militia

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    Tommy Stephenson

    My ancestor was Robert Stephenson born ca. 1757,probably what is now York County,South Carolina. He died in 1797 in York County,South Carolina. His father was John Stephenson b. 1725? and died 1773 in York Co,SC. His mother is only known as Jane or Jean. John Stephenson is believed to have come down the Old Wagon Road from Virginia or Pennsylvania to South Carolina during the 1750’s. They may have been the John Stephenson and Jane who sold land to William Ramsey in Old Augusta County,VA,now Rockbridge County,VA. in 1753.
    John and Jane Stephenson settled on Bullocks Creek in what is now York County,South Carolina. In 1762, John Stephenson sought to have is land surveyed and in 1764 received his grant of land that by that time was called Stephenson Branch of Bullock Creek.

    John and Jane Stephenson had these children:
    John Stephenson b. abt 1750
    Mary Stephenson b. 1752 married Daniel McClaren
    Agnes Stephenson b. 1755
    Robert Stephenson b. 1757 married Jane Barron
    Margaret Stephenson b. 24 Dec. 1760 married David Dickey

    Robert Stephenson b. 1757 served in the Revolution under Capt. Jacob Barnett and and Col. Hill. and was at Huck’s Defeat. In addition he served under Lt. Humphrey Barnett at Fort Cranby on the Congaree River during 1781 and was under Capt James Thomson and Col. Bratton,but was detailed under Col. Wade Hampton at Goose Creek Bridge and Quarter House on 15 July 1781.
    Robert Stephenson married Jane Barron in York Co,SC in 1784 and among their children was my Samuel Stephenson b. 1796 in York Co,SC.
    Margaret Stephenson above married David Dickey. His Revolutionary war record is here:
    Mary Stephenson married Daniel McClaren who was born in Scotland in 1749. On 31 August 1781, Daniel McClaren joined the Spartanburg 2nd Regiment as a horseman and as a supenumerary junior officer under Capt. John Thomas. He was in the Battle of Cowpens during the Revolution. After Col. Roebuck became commander of the unit Daniel was promoted to captain. Before the war was over he was a major. He was granted a thousand acres of land by the South Carolina legislature which also included the Cowpens battlefield.


    Hello tstevo,

    Welcome to RevWarTalk. Thank you for sharing this part of your family history, it is absolutely incredible. Also impressive is the amount of research that must have gone in to finding all of it. Is it something you have done or has the research evolved with the family over the generations?

    Reading through it got me thinking about the events that Robert, David, and Daniel saw. You might have come across it already though I read this information about Daniel:

    Does the family have any momentos or letters from your ancestors? That would be quite exciting

    Thanks again for sharing the story,

    Tommy Stephenson


    Thanks for responding to my message. I have been extremely lucky in my search for my ancestors. My family told me about my George Alexander Stephenson 1822-1893 buried in the Antioch Cemetery in Lamar County,TX. I wrote the Antioch Cemetery Association and I was told to look on the 1850 Census of Giles County,Tennessee.
    1850 US Census for District 9, Giles, TN
    Samuel Stephenson, 53, 1797, SC
    Mary Stephenson, 53, 1797, SC
    Mary Stephenson, daughter, 18, AL
    John Stephenson, son, 16, AL
    Silvester B Stephenson, son, 13, AL
    My George Alexander Stephenson,age 26,born Alabama was living in the home of Carson P. Reed.
    I didn’t know where to look for my ancestors in SC until I came in contact with the late Elmer Oris Parker who had a Samuel Stephenson b.1797 on his chart who Mr. Parker knew went to Giles County,TN with his Barron ancestors before 1820. Mr. Elmer Oris Parker was Assistant Director of the National Archives in Washington D.C. and a professional genealogist. One of his Parkers married into my Stephenson family. All the information on the Stephensons in York Co,SC is his research. Yes, I have seen that information about Daniel McClaren. Dan, there was a short family history about my Stephensons living in Madison Co,Alabama and Limestone Co,Al, but that was all. Those Alabama counties are just below Giles Co,TN. Mr. Parker’s greatest achievement was finding General Robert E. Lee’s application for citizenship following the Civil War that had been stuffed in a box at the Archives and forgotten. In 1975,as a result of Mr. Parker’s discovery,Congress restored Robert E Lee’s citizenship.
    Whether it was the result of his service or some other reason,Robert Stephenson died in 1797. Yes, Robert,David Dickey and Daniel McClaren saw a lot of fighting in York County,SC, between Whigs and Loyalist. The Americans had been losing battle after battle in SC until the victory at Huck’s Defeat in York County re-energized the Americans and the victory at Cowpens marked the defeat of the British in South Carolina.
    I said Daniel McClaren received a thousand acres of land,but Mr. Parker wrote that Daniel McClaren received 5000 acres which included the battlefield on which Daniel fought. At one time the name of Daniel McClaren appeared on line at the Cowpens National Park about his ownership of Cowpens. He was awarded the land by the state of South Carolina in 1803.


    Wow, the information from Mr. Parker is quite a valuable addition to genealogical research. In looking online to learn a little more about him I came across your post on CivilWarTalk, a great forum site:

    I also never knew that Lee applied for citizenship after the Civil War, interesting.

    The southern states became quite the focus of the American Revolution later in the war, and was quite the theatre. I came across this informative link that shares details of the Daniel McClaren land. Fascinating that a battlefield would end up for a time in private hands. Though I imaging at the time it was mostly just considered land (and not a place of major historic significance).

    Thanks for sharing. Have you had a chance to visit any of the battlefields or historic sites?


    Tommy Stephenson

    Thanks for finding that reference to Daniel McClaren. I tried to find it the other day and wanted to post it,so people wouldn’t think I was telling something that wasn’t true.
    Dan, no I have never been to any of the battlefields or historic sites. This is Mr. Parker’s biography of Daniel McClaren:

    Daniel McClaren was born on 17 May 1749, apparently the son of Daniel McClaren. The McClarens immigrated to Virginia from Kilmadock Parish, Perthshire, Scotland. He removed to what is now York County,South Carolina and about 1769 married Mary,eldest daughter of John and Jean Stephenson, who had settled before 1762 on Stephenson Branch of Bullocks Creek. About 1772 Daniel bought Captain William Byers’ 275 acre plantation on Buck Horn Fork of Bullock’s Creek,three miles north of the present town of Sharon. In 1775 he was one of a large number who protested to King George III, of Great Britain the new boundary line between North and South Carolina which placed their lands in the latter State. He and Mary lived there until 1778 when he sold it to the widow Jane Meek,who in 1794 willed it to her sons Major Adam and Captain James Meek.,both sons -in- law of Captain Byers. Daniel immediately bought a 60 acre island in Broad River,but soon moved to what is now Cherokee then Spartanburg County.
    By this time the Revolutionary War was going badly for the British in the North and in their effort to subdue the American colonies,the scene of war was shifted to the South. On 3 Aug 1780, Daniel joined the Spartan Regiment of Horsemen, under Colonial John Thomas, Jr.,as a supernumary junior officer .The skill and valor he displayed at the battle of Cowpens, 17 Jan 1781, earned for him a lieutenancy which he held until July of that year. Colonel Benjamin Roebuck succeeded to the command of the regiment and McClaren was promoted to Captain. Before the war ended he had attained the rank of major.
    With the coming of peace McClaren began the acquisition of more than 5,000 acres of land, including a grant from the State in 1803 of the Cowpens Battleground. He paid the surveyor’s fee in gunpowder. Now a man of affairs he was not long in becoming entangled in various legal difficulties. One John Web filed a complaint against him and his son Robert, charging them with having made an assault upon him at Spartanburg Court House and Daniel countered that Bell “Did beat, wound, ill- treat, and imprison them for a long time without any reasonable cause and against the laws and customs of the State.” The case was called in March 1805, but Bell failed to appear and prosecute his suit and the charges were dropped.
    In 1807 Major McClaren was indicted on a charge of having attempted to bribe,”one John Wood, a witness for the State to give evidence against one Abraham Champion against whom a bill of indictment was faced for negro stealing.” Daniel was convicted and sentenced to begin a term of six months imprisonment and to pay a fine of $300, but Governor John Drayton reduced the fine to $100 and pardoned him in 1809.
    Son John McClaren had financial difficulties and was sued for debt by Thomas Allison, a merchant. The merchandise, which John bought on credit, consisted principally of whiskey,wine, rum, shot, gunpowder, bridles, pipes, shirting, lace, tape, buttons, stockings, sleeve buttons, molasses, sugar, salt and pepper. A fifa was levied on 200 acres of his land on Broad River.
    Meanwhile, Daniel had sold his lands, including McClary’s island in Broad River which he had held for 30 years, and he had moved to Bedford County,Tennessee in 1808. Much of his property was sold to Wilson Nesbit who built on it Nesbit Iron Foundry, one of the first such establishments in the Up Country. Nesbit gave in payment a promissory note, but defaulted on it and McClaren brought suite. Nesbitt failed to appear in Court, being at the time in Washington attending the first session of the Fifteenth Congress, of which he was a member, and the Court awarded the plaintiff a judgment in the amount of
    $3,924. The sheriff attached 7, 500 acres on Sarratt’s Creek, on which Nesbitt had built his iron furnace. Nesbitt then paid the Sheriff in U. S. copper cents, but McClaren refused to accept them on ground that they were not legal tender, fighting it all the way to the Constitutional Court at Columbia where he won a favorable decision. Nesbit subsequently went bankrupt.
    McClaren’s eldest daughter Mary married John Rickman, a native of Baden in Germany, who had come with his parents to Rhode Island about 1770, fought and was wounded at Bunker Hill, moved to Virginia,and about 1800 to Spartanburg County. Rickman obtained more than 1000 acres in grants from the State, but eventually sold them and moved to Hickman County, Tennessee.
    In the Blackwell- Joyce Cemetery near Chapel Hill in Marshall County(created from Bedford in 1836) is a tombstone on which was carved “Sacred to the Memory of DANIEL McCLAREN Born on the 17th of May 1749 and Departed this Life—.” To insure that his grave would be marked old Daniel may have prepared this stone, hoping that after his death the date would be added and it placed at his grave. It is doubtful, however, that it marks his burial place, for he apparently died in Hickman County, Tennessee in 1844, at the age of 95.
    Daniel and Mary had a number of children–John, Mary, Daniel, Robert– but no complete list of them had been uncovered.
    The use of both forms”Daniel McClaren” and “Daniel McClary,” in single deeds and other legal instruments prove that they refer to one and the same person. All documents were signed invariably “Daniel McClaren,”” and the use of “Daniel McClary” was by persons other than himself, thus showing that he was generally called and known by the name “McClary.” It seems that the latter was the Scottish pronunciation.
    Article written and researched for this edition by Elmer O. Parker, 5012 Circle Drive, Columbia,S.C. 29046.
    It is thought that Nancy McClaren who married John Atkinson of Marshall County and Elizabeth McClaren who married John. C. Lewis of Marshall County were daughters of Daniel McClaren.


    tstevo, thank you for sharing that biography, it is a great read. From reading, it seems Daniel McClaren lead quite a busy and interesting life. Even after the war, it seems he was frequently caught up in a lot relating to his land and activities.

    Some great information.


    Tommy Stephenson

    John Stephenson died in York County,S.C. in 1773. A widow with children,a woman on the frontier needed a husband, and Jane Stephenson married Alexander Fleming in late 1773. By Alexander Fleming,Jane had Robert,born in 1774,then James,and Maratha. Alexander Fleming had brothers Elijah,Robert,and William who served in the Revolution
    Alexander Fleming was captured by the British during the American Revolution and died in the British jail at Camden,South Carolina of smallpox some time before 1781. In this prison was Andrew Jackson,a future President of the United States and his brother Robert Jackson. Andrew Jackson’s mother Elizabeth Jackson went to prison and asked the commander to release her sons so she could treat them for smallpox. Her sons were released,but Robert Jackson died on the way home. Jane and Alexander Fleming’s eldest son was Robert Fleming. He went to Abbeville,South Carolina, and worked as a blacksmith until he attained the age of 21. Robert sold the land that he inherited from his father in York County,S.C. and went to Franklin County,GA where his his relatives lived.
    This information from the late Elmer O. Parker

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