Part 1 – Chesney’s Family Connections and Migration to South Carolina

I was born in the town of Dunclug near Ballyrnena in the County of Antrim Ireland the 16th or the 12th of September 1756 on Sunday; as appears by a register in my father's Bible. My father Robert Chesney or McChesney was only son to Alexander Chesney of Dunclug aforesaid, and of Jane Fulton his wife; his sisters were 1st) Ann married to William Purdy of Glenravil who was brother to my mother consequently my uncle before this marriage; they are now with their family settled in South Carolina.  2nd) Martha Chesney married to Matthew Gillespey who went to Carolina and died there shortly after their arrival about the year 1768; her husband is married again and lives near Enoree River, South Carolina. 3rd) Sarah Chesney who married James Archibald, a pensioner, and lives in County Antrim.

My grandfather Chesney had several brothers, I recollect to have seen some of their sons, who came from County Tyrone, and near the Bann River.

My grandmother Fulton or Chesney had many sisters and only one brother named (I believe) George, her sister Jenny was married to David Wilson of Dunclug County Antrim, Margaret was married to John Syrnonton near Lough-neagh; Sarah had been married to John Cook who died in Pennsylvania. She removed to Pacolet River, South Carolina where she died a few years ago and where her children are married and settled, Also Martha who had been married to Niesbet in the Waxhaws in South Carolina. They are both dead but they have left children who live there. My Grandmother had several other sisters.

My mother's name was Elizabeth Purdy youngest daughter of William Purdy and Martha his wife of Ballyreagh near Clough County Antrim.  My father and mother were married about two years before I was born. My grandmother Purdy's name was Martha Peden daughter of Thomas Peden and (I believe) of Jane Grier his wife of County Longford.  She was born the same year in which the conditions and capitulations of Limerick were made. She lived to about the year 1780 and died with her son William Purdy in Glenravil County Antrim.

My Grandfather and Grandmother Purdy had twelve children, of which my mother was the youngest. I knew William who lived in Glenravil and went with his family to South Carolina; Robert who died in Killymorris near Clough; Jennie who married Alexander Wylie and lived in my Grandfather's farm in Ballyreagh; Jane had been married to John McCleland, she died in a few years and left only one daughter Martha who since married John Barclay; Thomas and John went to Pennsylvania and live near Carlile if alive. Margaret, who married Pouge or Pogue, lives near them.  I suppose the other children had died young for I do not recollect to have heard their names.

My father's farm in Dunclug being too small for his family he removed to Kirkinreallough or Kirkmareally to one something larger, and having lived there about five years went to South Carolina in the Snow called the James and Mary of and from Lame; John Workman master, James Bold mate, Wilson second mate.

My father's family consisted of my father, mother, Alexander (myself), Ann, Martha, Jane, William, Robert, John, and Peggy about 8 months old who died of the small pox on the passage; in all eight children, my father and mother making ten, went on board & sailed from Lame the 25th. August 1772 and arrived safe in the Harbor of Charleston, South Carolina after a passage of seven weeks and three days which was I suppose about the 16 October 1772.

The small Pox having been very severe in the Vessel during the passage, when the Surgeon came on board and reported to the Governor the state of the passengers we were obliged to ride Quarantine first three weeks and then a second three weeks and 8 days; making seven weeks and one day; nearly as long as we were on the passage.

There is no disorder the Americans are so much afraid of as the Small Pox, and with good reason as few of them have had it; We had a large house during the Quarantine allowed for the sick on Sullivan's Isle, which was kept for the purpose of an hospital; one Robinson has a salary from government for living there, We went back and forth between the Ship and hospital which made a change, and beguiled the time a little; When the crew and passengers were recovered, we landed at Prichard's shipyard on Town Creek, a few miles above Charles Town from whence the passengers proceeded to country as soon as they could respectively find Wagons destined for that part of the country where they meant to settle.  My father and family agreed with John Miller of Turkey Creek to leave his family &c at John Winns old Place (now Winnsborough) on Jackson's Creek with his wagon for which we paid one penny per pound weight. When we came near Jackson's Creek, I went before and acquainted, our relations (by marriage) Mr. John now Colonel Phillips who with Mrs. Phillips, his wife, met them at Winn's old place, and brought them to their House. We got 100 Acres of land surveyed there, built a cabin and cleared some of the land; when my father received a letter from his Aunt Sarah Widow Cook (mentioned before as a sister to my grand­mother) who resided Pacolet River about 60 miles higher up in the country, inviting them to settle there, on which I proceeded on foot in a right direction for that place, there being no direct road, but I was to enquire for John Quinn blacksmith on Sandy River, about 20 miles off which was nearly the first house I called at; from thence to Ned Neils on Broad River, but crossed the river some­what lower down on account of a Canoe being there, thence to Eliza Wells' on Pacolet where I crossed being then within 5 miles of my Aunt Cooke's; she had two sons Hugh, and John, and daughter Nancy who lived with her unmarried. Thomas and Sarah were both settled with their families in the neighborhood; Sarah was married to Charles Brandon; the whole family were remarkably civil to me, and the greater part of the settlers near them being their relations gave them weight; they soon found me a vacant track of 400 Acres which having got surveyed for my father I returned; and removed the family to Pacolet where we settled so on the north side near Grindal Shoals, about 12 miles from where it empties itself into Broad River, 50 miles below where the Indian line crosses that river, and 15 miles below the place where the Iron works are now built; 60 miles north-east of Ninety-six and 250 miles nearly north of Charles Town; to which place I went in 1774 to hurry the patent of my father's lands through the offices.

My cousins Cooke came back with me to assist in moving the family, bringing with them two horses which being put into a pasture of Col Phillips' on Jackson's Creek strayed away and were not found for 3 months after.

Our family lived at my Aunt Cooke's in the first instance whilst a Cabin was building by me and some land cleared which I did in part without any assistance; before planting time in 1773, when the family was established in the new residence and began the usual farming occupations increasing stock and clearing additional land without any particular occurrence save the birth of my brother Thomas and sister Eliza, until 1775 when resolutions were presented for signatures at the Meeting House by the Congress Party and I opposed them.

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