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Spartanburg, Wednesday, August 19, 1885

*Copy provided by Banny Kennedy & Son

The Olden Times.






I had published some time since in the Pickens Sentinel, S. C. a brief sketch entitled, "Miss Ann Kennedy, a heroine of the Revolution." in which there were a few errors. I now propose to write it and correct those errors and add a few additional items.


William Kennedy, Sr., father of Miss Ann, was born in Virginia, where his father had settled on his arrival, from Ireland.  On reaching majority he emigrated to South Carolina, where he married Mary Ann, a sister of Colonel Thomas Brandon of Union County, S.C. who was a revolutionary soldier, to be mentioned hereafter.


After the marriage of Wm. Kennedy he settled on Brown's Creek about three miles east of Union C.H, S.C. where he died at an advanced age. When the revolutionary war began, he espoused the cause of the colonies and joined the rebel army as a private soldier, and never would, during the war, accept office, although he was regarded as one of the leading men of his country during the war.  He was in all the principal battles and skirmishes fought in the northern part of South Carolina and in North Carolina.  He was wounded in the wrist and thigh at Stallion's in York County, S C and was in the battle of Ninety-Six, Cowpens, Black Stock, King's Mountain, and many others.  He was regarded as the best shot with a rifle of any man in that section of the country, and whenever the well known report of his rifle was heard it was generally remarked, "there is another tory less."  During the war, while on a visit to his family, the tories attempted to capture him.  He was at work in his shop when they approached and endeavored to surround him.  They got his hat, but he successfully made a precipitous flight to the nearest thicket amid a shower of bullets, that whistled around his head.  After the tories left he returned to view his pillaged house, and bid his family a hasty adieu and returned hatless to the army.  Wm. Kennedy, Sr., lived some years after the war &endash; was respected and honored by his countrymen with a seat in the Legislature, and equally respected as a member of the Presbyterian Church by being chosen Elder in said church.  On one occasion he was grossly insulted after the war by a Tory at Union C. H.  He put one of the smaller boys on his horse and said to him: 'Go home and tell Thomas B. my son, to come here quick.'  Thomas B. leaped on the horse bareback and coatless and rode to town to know his father's wish.  "Thomas" said the old man, "I want you to whip that rascal," pointing him out to Thomas at the same time.  No sooner said than Thomas entered on the job and finished it up in good style to the satisfaction of the old man, not however, without suffering in the flesh himself, for during the fight Thomas received a severe wound on the forehead which left a scar for life.


Wm. Kennedy was an industrious, intelligent and devoutly pious man.  His fellow citizens had unlimited confidence in him and trusted him in every capacity as long as he was able to serve them.  The Elder Sims of Union said: "He was the best man that ever lived in the county."


Thomas Brandon was of Irish descent and was born in Pennsylvania in 1741, and emigrated to Union County S.C. about the year 1754.  He married a Miss McCool and settled on Brown's creek three miles from where Union C.H. now stands, in the Vicinity of Wm. Kennedy, his brother-in-law, where he was residing during the revolutionary war.  Col. B. was over six feet in height very active and of great muscular strength.  When the revolutionary war commenced, he had a broad sword fashioned out of a saw mill blade, with which he could cleft the head of a bullock.  At the battle of Musgrove's Mill, Thomas Young, one of Col. Brandon's men, was in a hand to hand fight with a tory, who was about to prove too much for Young.  Col. Brandon discovered the critical condition of his friend, rushed to his aid, with his broad sword in hand, and with one fell swoop, he severed the Tory's head from his body.  During a skirmish on Enoree river, Col. B. came in contact with a tory by the name of John Houston from Chester Co., S. C. and aimed a blow at his head with his broad sword, but the sword glanced cutting out one of his eyes and leaving a deep wound in his face.  Houston fell bleeding profusely and was left on the battle field apparently dead.  After the contest was over and each party had retired, one of Col. B's men visited the battle ground and found Houston still alive weltering in his own blood.  He was cared for and recovered from his wound, and was known during the balance of his life as "one eyed John Houston."  In his old age he emigrated to Mississippi with his two sons, Thomas and Samuel, and finally died on Nox_____ in Winston County.  Col. Brandon bent his broad sword when he struck John Houston over the head and had to straighten it before he could use it again. 


Lyman C. Draper in his "King's Mountain and its Heroes" says that "On the retreat after the battle of King's Mountain Col. Brandon discovered that one of the tories who had been carrying two of the captured guns had dodged out of the ranks into a hollow sycamore tree by the road side, and that the Col. Dragged him from his hiding place and completely hacked him to pieces with his sword."


Judge O'Neal in his "Annals of Newberry" says:  "Capt. Philemon Waters captured a tory who was peculiarly obnoxious to Col. Brandon.  After the skirmish, when the prisoners were presented to Col. Brandon he, on seeing Waters's prisoner, drew his sword and was in the act of running upon him to slay him, when Waters threw himself between them and announced to his superior (Col. B.) that the prisoner was under his protection and should not be harmed."  The purpose of vengence was not abandoned, and Captain Waters was peremptorily ordered to stand out of the way.  "Africa," said the Colonel to his servant, "bring me my rifle."  No sooner said than done.  Waters with his rifle in his hand and an eye that never quailed, said to the Col., "now strike the prisoner &endash; the instant you do I will shoot you dead."  The blow was not struck, and the prisoner was saved."


Col. Brandon served under Sumter and Williams as Colonel and fought in the battle of Ninety-Six, Eutaw, Cowpens, Musgroves, Blackstocks, King's Mountain, Stallions, etc.


After the close of the war, the home of the Tory Fletchall, at Fair Forest Shoals, was confiscated and sold, when General Brandon became the purchaser to which place he moved and spent the remainder of his life.  He was one of the Justices of the Court, County Ordinary, General of the Militia and member of the Legislature.  He died on Fair Forest on the 5th of February 1802 and was buried with military honors two miles Northeast of Union Court House.  Africa, his faithful servant, who accompanied him through all the hardships, trials and privations of the Revolutionary War, was during the funeral procession, mounted on horseback, dressed in the General's military uniform, and accompanied his remains to it's final resting place amid the beating of drums and the firing of guns.


Col. Thomas Brandon had three sons and two daughters.  His sons were William, James and Thomas Jr.  William died single in Union, S. C., James emigrated to Florida, and Thomas Jr. married Cassandra Humphries, a sister of Amos Humphries, of Winston County, Miss. And died in Green County Ala.  He had in his possession the broad sword that his father wielded during the revolutionary war.


Miss Ann Kennedy, the oldest daughter of Wm. Kennedy, Sr., had nearly all the business of the farm to superintend during the absence of her father and older brothers while in the army.  She heard that the Tories were prowling around through the neighborhood, expected any day to be visited by them.  The oats being ripe she hired a young man of the vicinity to cut them &endash; she following as binder until all were cut, bound and stacked.  Sure enough, only a few days elapsed after cutting the oats, when a squad of Tories unceremoniously approached the house in search of her father and brothers.  They tore down the stack of oats and scattered them to their horses.  Not finding her father and brothers, they discovered two young men in the yard by the name of Watkins, whom they shot down and with their sabers hacked off their fingers and toes and mangled their bodies in a most shameful manner.  After the Tories left she hired some Quakers of the neighborhood to bury their mutilated remains.


In November of the same year, 1780, the battle of the Black Stocks occurred, when Wm. Kennedy, a cousin of Ann, was badly wounded.  He was conveyed to the house of Wm. Kennedy, Sr., to be taken care of.  It was not long after this event, that the tories again visited their house, but not finding Wm. Kennedy, Sr., or his sons at home they commenced searching through the house for plunder, when they found Wm. Kennedy, the cousin of Ann, in bed.  The tories held a consultation to decide whether or not they would kill the wounded soldier.  One of them remarked:  "Let him alone, he will die in a few days anyhow."  The tories were so exasperated at not finding the father and brothers of Ann at home, that they soon began plundering the house.  They cut a web of cloth out of the loom, ripped open the feather beds and scattered the feathers to the four winds and made saddle blankets of the clothe and bed ticks.  They robbed the ladies of their finger rings and other jewelry.  They had taken nearly all the bedclothes except a blanket which Ann's mother had folded up, placed in a chair and was sitting on it.  A tory seized hold of it and attempted to draw it from under the old lady.  She begged him not to take the last blanket she had for herself and children.  Ann could brook the insult no longer.  She seized the tory by the arm pushed him out of the door and gave him a kick as he went.  This so provoked him that he snatched a gun from the hand of one of his comrades and swore he would shoot her, but the captain interposed and prevented him from committing the rash act and advised him never to kill as brave a woman as she was.  The tory then ran into the house picked up a fire brand from the hearth, swore he would burn the house and attempted to set fire to a pile of flax in the corner of the house; again Ann interfered and threw him out of the house.  The captain then requested him not to burn the house as they had got everything that was worth taking; so the tory threw the fire brand at her with all vengeance, which struck her on the hand breaking the bones therof, which made her a cripple for life.  Fearing that other tories might not prove so lenient to her wounded cousin, should they make another visit to their house. She made a litter and with some of the family, placed him on it and carried him to the forest where she made him a bed in a fallen tree top where she dressed his wounds and waited upon him until he recovered, which was some three or four weeks.  Not long after this, the neighborhood was so annoyed by the tories, that a few resolute whig women assembled together and wrote a note to General Morgan, who was then stationed near the Pacolet Springs in Spartanbury. To send a company to Union to subdue the tories, but no one manifested a willingness to be the bearer of the note, until Miss Ann Kennedy stepped up and volunteered her services to carry it.  She concealed the note in her stocking- pinned a sunbonnet around her head &endash; mounted a pony &endash; rode about sixty miles &endash; delivered the note to General Morgan and returned home in safety.


When not in the regular army, the whigs had to keep themselves concealed in the woods to avoid being killed by the tories.  A British and tory party came into the settlement and commenced robbing the whig families.  A runner was sent to the hiding place of Wm. Kennedy, Jr., Christopher Brandon and Richard Brandon to meet other whigs at a certain place of rendezvous.  They mounted their horses and dashed off at half speed along the byeways until they came to Fair Forest Creek, where they were fired upon by a squad of tories in ambush, scattering the brains of Richard Brandon upon the clothes and in the face of Christopher Brandon, the ball grazing the cheek of Christopher Brandon also.  Brandon and his friend put spurs to their horses, when they were fired upon by the tories, and they fortunately made their escape without an injury, and soon arrived at the place of rendezvous, where they met Wm. Kennedy, Sr., and a dozen or more gallant whigs, all of whom set out in pursuit of the tories.  They soon overtook them while robbing a house.  The tories fled and scattered.  Wm. Kennedy, Sr., singled out Neal the leader and pursued him and when he got within a hundred and forty yards of him he fired and brought him to the ground.  They killed over half the tories and took no prisoners.


Lyman C. Draper in his "King's Mountain and its Heroes" says; "On the heights at Fair forest Shoals was an old stockade post or block house.  Many tragic incidents occurred there, and in its neighborhood.  A tory whose name has been forgotten, had with his own hands done much mischief in that region, and among other unpardonable sins, had killed one of Wm. Kennedy's dearest friends.  The latter learned that the culprit was within striking distance and he called his friends together, who went in search of him.  The two parties met some two or three miles from the block house, where a severe contest ensued.  The tories were routed and the leader, who was the prize Kennedy sought, fled.  Kennedy, Hughes, Sharp, McJunkin and others pursued.  The chase was one of life or death.  The tory approached the bank of Fair Forest at a point on a high bluff, where the stream at low water was twenty or thirty yards over and quite deep.  The fleeing Loyalist, hemmed around by his pursuers on the cliff, just where they aimed to drive him, hesitated not a moment, but spurred his horse and plunged over the bank and into the stream below, a fearful leap.  His pursuers followed, and at the opposite bank they made him their prisoner.  Their powder being wet by its contact with the water, they resolved to take their captive below to the block house and hang him.  When they arrived there, the officer in command would not permit him to be disposed of in that summary manner, but ordered him to be taken to Colonel Brandon's camp, a considerable distance away, to be tried by a court martial.  Kennedy was placed at the head of the guard, but the tory begged that Kennedy might not be permitted to go, as he apprehended he would take occasion to kill him on the way.  Evidently intending to make an effort to escape, he did not wish the presence of so skillful a shot as Kennedy.  His request, however, was not heeded.  He took an early occasion to dart off at full speed, but Kennedy's unerring rifle soon stopped his flight, and his remains were brought back to the foot of the hill near the block house, and there buried."


Wm. Kennedy Sr., raised eleven children, viz.:


1. Rev. John Brandon, was a revolutionary soldier.  He married Rebecca, daughter of Dr. Ross of Laurens county, S C. where he died leaving posterity.


2. William, Jr. was a Revolutionary soldier and died soon after the close of the war.


3. James was a Revolutionary soldier.  He married Mary Snowden, and died in Charleston, S.C. leaving posterity.


4. Ann, the "Heroine of the Revolution," married Thomas Hamilton, a Revolutionary soldier, after the close of the war.  They were both members of the Presbyterian church and both died near Pendleton, S.C.  She on the 24th day of March 1836, and he on the 2nd day of May 1853.  She was in her 76th year and he in his 94th year.


5. Elizabeth married Samuel Clowney, a native of Ireland.  He first settled on the Catawba river, in N.C. and finally located in Union county S.C. where he died in 1824.  He was a resolute whig of the Revolution and joined Col. Thomas at Cedar Springs in Spartanburg.  He and a negro captured a squad of eight tories on Kelsey's creek near the Cedar Springs in Spartanburg and drove them before them across Fair Forest bridge to the camp of General Morgan who inquired of Clowney, how he happened to capture so many tories.  He replied: "Please your honor, I surrounded them."  He fought through the war, but never received a wound.  He was a kind hearted benevolent man, much beloved by all who knew him.  He was a member of the Presbyterian church and engaged in family worship ever night.  One night after the conclusion of a lengthy prayer the family all resumed their seats except his wife who still remained in her attitude of prayer.  He walked up and called out to her, "Betsy Clowney!  Betsy Clowney! Get up, you have prayed long enough."  She had dropped off to sleep.  She raised up and replied: "Ah!  Sam Clowney, you are too tedious in your prayer."  Wm. K. Clowney, his son was a member of Congress from Union S.C.  While a student at college he would frequently write home for more money.  One day they received a letter from him, and Rebecca his sister, read it.  After she got through, her father made the following inquiry:  "Well Rebecca, what does William say?' she replied..   "He wants more money."  "Ah,' replied her father, "Wm. Clowney will never scratch a rich man's head."


6. Mary Kennedy married Wm. Hamilton, a brother of Thomas and died on Bullock's Creek, York County S.C. leaving posterity.


7. Thomas Brandon Kennedy married Elizabeth Potter, and died in Green County, Ala. 98 years of age.  He raised ten children, viz: Mrs. Jane Means of Union, S.C.; Mrs. Mary A. Walker, of Green County Ala.; Dr. Wm. Kennedy, of Enterprise, Miss.; John P. Kennedy of Winston Co. Miss; Miss Elizabeth Price, of Green County, Ala.; Mrs. Ellen Steele, of Green County, Ala. And Mrs. Rebecca McLean, of Kemper County, Miss.


8. Letitia Kennedy married her cousin, George Brandon and died in Union County, S.C., leaving posterity.


9. Ellen Kennedy married John Brandon, a son of Christopher, and died in Union County, S.C. leaving posterity.


10. Jesse Kennedy married Mary, daughter of Col. Jo Hughes, on Broad River Union County, S.C. and died in Pickens County, Ala., leaving posterity.


11. Benjamin Kennedy married Lucy Gilbert, and was Sheriff of Union County, S.C. where he died, leaving posterity.


Issue of Mrs. Ann and Thomas Hamilton:


Mary Ann married John Dufrees.


Jane died single.


Wm. K. married Jane McCann.


Elizabeth married Crosby Miller.


Letitia married William Boggs.


David K. married Jane Walker.


Eleanor married Thomas g. Boggs.


Rebecca married Chs. Miller.


Ann married Josiah Gaillard.


Thomas W. died single.


Cynthia married Geo. Miller.


For further information relative to the Kennedy family, the reader is referred to Dr. George Howe's History of the Presbyterian Church of S.C. published in Columbia, S.C. by Duffie & Chapman


Wm. T. Lewis, Louisville, Miss, 1885

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