Whig Militia Commanders' Enemies Lists of 1783
On 17 March 1783, about a year after the passage of the Estate Confiscation Act (No. 1153), the South Carolina Fifth General Assembly passed Ordinance No. 1189 entitled Disposing Of The Estates Of Certain Persons, Subjects And Adherents Of The British Government; And For Other Purposes Therein Mentioned.
According to this ordinance, the real and personal property of former citizens who had chosen to join the British were vested in the Commissioners of Forfeited Estates. It was a comprehensive act, but had no lists of names. The commanding officers of the State's militia regiments ware instructed, when asked by the commissioners, to make lists of those men who had joined the British. Men so identified had six months from the end of the legislative session to return to the State for trial. Ten (10) militia commanders made returns, resulting in a total of 689 names. These returns constitute the largest listing of Loyalists/Tories ever promulgated by the Whig Government of South Carolina.
No one really knows why Ordinance No. 1189 was passed. However, some historians have speculated that the passage of this ordinance resulted from the lowcountry planters' effort to appease the backcountry for the leniency then being shown to British merchants and to fellow lowcountry families, relatives, friends, and associates. The practical impact of this ordinance is unknown to me. To the best of my knowledge, no additional estates were confiscated as a result of being named on the militia commanders returns. However, these 1783 returns provide almost three times as many names of South Carolina Loyalists than the Confiscation Act (1782) lists.
The lists returned by the individual militia commanders are stored at the South Carolina State Archives in Columbia, under the title "Miscellaneous Papers on Forfeited Estates" at File Number S126170, Box 4. I reviewed these records in January 2002. Unfortunately, many of the original returns are now missing, including the return by Colonel Thomas Brandon of the Upper or Spartanburg Militia District. Even so, a number of years ago, the Archives personnel prepared a consolidated and alphabetized record of all the returns under the title "List of Enemies to the State - 1783." I obtained a copy of this master list and prepared a Microsoft Access database of all the Loyalists' names and associated militia commanders.
A total of 689 names were provided in the returns, that were received from the ten (10) militia commanders as follows: