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South Carolina

In 1750, many settlers from Pennsylvania, Virginia and North Carolina moved from the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia down the Great Wagon Road to the foothills of northwestern South Carolina. Abraham Pennington and his sons, including Jacob, were among these travelers. They used the Great Wagon Road (sometimes called the Great Valley Road) to travel south from Winchester, Virginia, through North Carolina and into Newberry County, South Carolina, a distance of about 450 miles. Beginning first as a buffalo trail and Indian path, the Great Wagon Road ran north and south through the Shenandoah Valley, extending from New York to the Carolinas. This road is still traveled today and is called The Valley Pike - U.S. Rt. 11. Indians from Georgia to Canada used this well watered path as a migratory route and hunting ground.

The Penningtons settled in northwest South Carolina on a tributary of the Enoree River called Indian Creek in Newberry County. Today, if you visit the Sumter National Forest in South Carolina, you would be very close to where the Penningtons settled.

Newberry County was not founded until 1795, 45 years after the Penningtons arrived there. Prior to 1795, the Indian Creek area was part of Berkeley County. Even though some of the original records indicate "Berkeley County" on them, I will refer to it here as "Newberry County" for ease and clarity in locating the area on maps.

The "Up-County" farmers, unlike the "Low-Country" planters (up-country referring to the mountainous western part of the state and low-country referring to the eastern coastal area), generally did their own work without the help of slaves. The Penningtons, though, did own some slaves in South Carolina because, in his Last Will and Testament, Jacob refers to "one Negro Girl named Bella" and "a Negroe fellow named Simon". The settlers cleared their land of trees and used the wood to build their cabins. They also made their own tables, chairs, beds and even dishes and spoons out of wood. Frontier people saved animal fat and made it into candles and used fat and fireplace ashes to make soap. The women sewed the family's clothes out of deerskin or homemade cloth, expect for perhaps one set of Sunday clothes bought in Charleston.

Many of the frontier families had nightmares about corn because they ate it - even drank it - so often in the form of cornbread, succotash (corn and beans mixed together), corn stews, and corn beer. Nearly every backwoodsman also hunted. If he was lucky and a good shot, his family might have venison or a rabbit or squirrel stew for dinner.

The early 1750’s were times of tension on the South Carolina frontier. In May of 1751, a man named Issac Cloud was murdered in his sleep and his wife, Mary, left for dead, by the Savanna Indians. In the summer of 1753, Stephen Holston had an incident with the Cherokee Indians: About 40 Cherokees were returning from a conference in Charleston when they came to the Holston house and demanded provisions and lodging for the night, which were given. In the middle of the night, the Indians surrounded the house and began shooting at the house. They broke into the house, and into Holston’s wife’s bedchamber . . . to save her life, she jumped out of a window, with her young infant in her arms, and ran through the woods three miles to a neighbor’s house where she stayed the night. In the morning, she returned to her house and found much of her household goods stolen.

Indian attacks continued with such frequency that the settlers soon presented a petition to the Governor asking for a troop of rangers to protect them. Referring to the murder of settlers on Buffalo Creek by Indians in November of 1754, the Petition began "The Humble petitioners could not banish from their minds the cruel and Inhuman treatment of their fellow subjects then lately perpetrated on Buffalo Creek by their Common Enemy, the Bloody fact of those Barbarians was still fresh in their memory . . ." It went on to describe the Indians as the "savage enemy", "savage wretches", the "heathen enemy", and mentioning that they "might be compared to a Wolf - slyly stealing after his prey". The petition was dated February 4, 1755, and included the signatures of Jacob, Isaac and Abraham Pennington. The petition was approved and a troop of 50 rangers was sent to protect the settlers.

On July 21, 1755, Abraham(2) made his Last Will and Testament and it was proved when he died on May 29, 1756.


In the name of God Amen I Abraham Pennington of Berkley County in the Province of South Carolina being feabel and weak of Body but of sound mind and memory thanks to almighty God therefore and calling to mind the mortality of my Body and knowing it is appointed for all meant once to Dye do therefore make and ordain this my Last Will and Testament in manner and form following that is to say first and principally I Recommend my Soul into the hands of Almighty god who gave it me and my body I Recommend to the Earth from whence it was taken to be buried in a Christian like and decent manner by my Executor here After named and touching such worldly Estate where with it hath Pleased God to bless me with in this world I give Demise and Bequeath in manner and form following Imprimis after all my Lawful and Just Debts and funeral Charges are paid Which I do owe either in law or equity item I give and bequeath to my eldest son Isaac Pennington my feather bed and furniture and one shilling sterling money for his birth right. Item my son Jacob hath already received his portion. Item my son Abraham hath already received his portion. Item my son John hat already received his portion. Item my daughter Abigail hath already received her portion. Item I give and bequeath unto the boy Thomas Largent which I brought up one gray mair branded on the near thigh with A and one gray mair colt of two years old past with a white spot on the knee branded with T on the near thigh and one bay yearling mair colt branded on the near thigh T and also one young horse colt which came of the gray mair. Item I give and bequeath unto my beloved wife Catherine all of the other part of remainder of my movable estate and I do nominate constitute and appoint my son Isaac Pennington to be my whole and sole executor and do utterly revoke disallow and disannul all and every other and former wills testaments legacies and bequests and executed by me at any time heretofore made willed or bequeathed and do ratify and confirm this and no other to be my Last Will and Testament and in testimony have hereunto set my hand and seal this twenty first day of July in the year of our Lord Jesus Christ on thousand seven hundred and fifty and five.

Abraham Pennington’s mark (X)

Signed sealed published and pronounced by the said Abraham Pennington to be his Last Will and Testament in the presence of us: Able Anderson, Gabriel Anderson, Abraham Anderson.

In 1759, at the beginning of the Cherokee War, the settlers built several small forts in the fork between the Broad River and Saluda River to protect themselves from Indian attacks. There were five on the Enoree River, two of them built by the Penningtons.

Wagon roads were a necessity for the early settlers because they had to haul their supplies the many miles from the settlements of Charleston and others along the Atlantic coast. Commissioners were appointed to lay out and oversee the building of these roads. One of these roads went from Indian Island Ford to Hendrick’s Mill on the Enoree River and Jacob Pennington was one of the commissioners appointed to oversee its construction. This road later became known as the Ninety Six Road.

On December 7, 1762, Jacob made his Last Will and Testament. He must have gotten very ill and figured he was going to die. He recovered, though, and lived to have three more children.


In the name of God Amen. I Jacob Pennington of Berkley County and province of South Carolina being in bodily health and of perfect Mind and Memory, thanks be to Almighty God therefore: Calling to mind the mortality of my body and that it is appointed unto all men once to die; do make and ordain this my Last Will and Testament in manner and form following (that is to say) principally and first of all I recommend my soul into the hands of Almighty God who gave it and my body to the earth to be decently interred at the discretion of my executors, nothing doubting but at the general resurrection I shall receive the same by the mighty power of God, and as touching such worldly estate wherewith it has pleased God to bless me, I order and dispose of in manner and form following, after payment of my funeral charges, and all other my just debts, imprimis I gave and bequeath unto my loving wife Mary, one negroe Girl named Bella, one bay gelding now called Horse, one Woman’s saddle and bridle, with all and singular her wearing apparel, one feather bed and furniture thereunto belonging and the plantation whereon I now dwell during her widowhood, also a negroe fellow named Simon, two work horses, plow and tackling during the said term, also four cows and calves at her choice out of my stock. Secondly I order as much money to be paid out of my estate unto my daughter Mary Noble as will defray the charge of procuring two hundred acres of vacant land. Thirdly I give and bequeath unto my daughter Abigail Cafey one cow and calf. Fourthly I order forty pounds current money to be paid out of my estate unto my daughter Sarah Bright. Fifthly I order that the plantation whereon I formerly dwelt containing four hundred and fifty acres situate at the mouth of Indian Creek be equally divided between my two daughters Elizabeth and Delilah Pennington. Sixthly, I give and bequeath unto my daughter Elizabeth one sorrel mare which I bought of John Gilder with her increase since said purchase, with two cows and calves. Seventhly I give and bequeath unto my daughter Delilah a bay mare with a star branded on the near should D and on the thigh F with her increase also two cows and calves. Eighthly I order that if it should please God that my wife be safely delivered of the child wherewith she now goeth and that it should live either until her second marriage or death, then the plantation whereon I now live be sold and one half of the money thence arising to paid unto the said child if of age or to otherwise be put out to interest for its use until of age. N.B. Said plantation is in two surveys one of 200 and the other of 50 acres. Ninthly I order and appoint that all and singular other my estate be equally divided between my loving wife, her children and my daughter, Charity, and if any of them decease minors, the survivors be co-heirs. Tenthly and lastly, I order and appoint my loving wife and my son-in-law James Bright executors of this my Last Will and Testament, utterly revoking all former wills by me made. In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this seventh day of December in the Year of our Lord 1762.

Signed sealed and published by Jacob Pennington to be his Last Will and Testament in presence of us: Abraham Pennington, Reuben Flannagan and Issachar Willcocks.

(Signed) Jacob Pennington

In 1765, Jacob Pennington and his family welcomed into their family the first son, whom they named Jacob, after his father. This is the Jacob, by the way, who will grow up to be the first settler in Lawrence County, Tennessee. In 1774, when Jacob was only nine years old, his father, Jacob died. Since, Jacob, the son, was so young when his father died, there is no need to use Jacob(1) and Jacob(2). Any "Jacob’s" discussed hereafter will refer to Jacob, the son, who settled in Lawrence County, Tennessee.

The next year, 1775, the Revolutionary War began and on July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed.

In 1780, Jacob married a girl named Mary Tuttle. Records show that she was an Indian, probably of the Cherokee tribe as the Cherokees lived nearby in western South Carolina. Mary’s father was referred to as "Old Chief Tuttle" and her mother was called Pokerhunters. Other Pennington men are said to have married Indian women in this area during this same time period. Jacob and Mary would eventually have eight children.

Children of Jacob and Mary Pennington

1.   Moses Pennington born 1780

2.   Abraham Pennington born 1780

3.   William Pennington born 1788

4.  Isaac Pennington born 1792

5.  *David Pennington born 1796

6.  John Pennington born ?

7.   Elizabeth Pennington born 1805

8.  Mary Pennington born 1810

In 1783, the Revolutionary War ended and in 1789, George Washington became the first President of the United States.

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