Biographical Sketch of Thomas Brandon (1741-1802)

by Phil Norfleet

The Scotch-Irish Brandon family, originally from Pennsylvania, settled in the Brown's Creek region of SC in the mid-1750's.   The family consisted of at least seven siblings and their parents; unfortunately, I have not been able to ascertain the names of the parents.  However, the seven siblings consisted of four brothers (Thomas, William, John and Richard) and three sisters (Katherine, Letitia and Mary Ann).

I have been able to find only a small amount of information, all from secondary sources, concerning the three brothers and three sisters of Thomas Brandon:

1)  William Brandon was born 23 May 1746 in Pennsylvania;  he served in the Revolution as a wagon master and horseman. He married Jane Dodds in 1785 and removed to Smith County, Tennessee, where he died on 10 March 1818.

2)  John Brandon was a messenger and express rider during the Revolution.  He married and had three sons: Christopher, John, Jr. and George.  John Sr.'s son, Christopher Brandon (1764-1846), acquired John Mayfield's 300 acre tract of land on Browns Creek from his uncle, General Thomas Brandon (see below).

3)  Richard Brandon was born c. 1752; during the Revolution, he served as a sergeant and quartermaster in the regiment commanded by his brother, Thomas Brandon.  Richard was killed in August 1781.

4)  Katherine Brandon married Whig Revolutionary War hero, Major Thomas Young.

5)  Letitia Brandon married Thomas McCreary.

6)  Mary Ann Brandon married the noted Whig Revolutionary War soldier, William Kennedy.

General Thomas Brandon was born in 1741 in the Colony of Pennsylvania; his parents names are unknown.  Thomas was an officer in the Whig Militia, during the Revolution, serving under the well-known partisan general, Thomas Sumter; Brandon rose to the rank of brigadier general before the War ended.   During the Revolution, General Sumter, acting under his infamous "Sumter's Law," awarded the plantation of Thomas Fletchall on Fairforest Creek to Brandon as payment for his military service.  However, "Sumter's Law" was never recognized by the SC State Government; therefore, after the Revolution, Brandon had to acquire  Fletchall's plantation at public auction.  The staff at the SC State Archives told me that when Thomas Fletchall's estate came up for auction, Brandon bought it for a very nominal sum as no one else in the District dared to bid against him.  Besides Fletchall's plantation, Brandon acquired other land in SC after the War, much of which had also been confiscated from Loyalists.

The estate of John Mayfield the Tory was not confiscated - the Whigs probably thought that, since he already had been killed by Whigs, his widow and children had suffered enough.  Accordingly, on 1 March 1785, Thomas Brandon had to purchase (for £50) John Mayfield's 300-acre tract on Brown's Creek from John's son, William Mayfield, the "heir-at-law."  Subsequently, Thomas Brandon sold this land to his nephew, Christopher Brandon (1764-1846), by indenture dated 15 December 1786.

Fletchall's main plantation was located right at the point where SC 49 crosses Fair Forest Creek.  Brandon moved into Fletchall's plantation house (located on the site of the old Nicholson House today) and reigned as the local "Squire of the Shire" for the rest of his life, dying on 5 February 1802.  He basically assumed the social and economic position once held by Fletchall.  Such are the fortunes of war!  


Lyman Draper's Sketch of Thomas Brandon

Lyman Draper (1815-1891) included a short sketch of Thomas in his well-known book entitled Kings Mountain and Its Heroes (first published in 1881) , at page 469:

Thomas Brandon, of Irish descent, was born in Pennsylvania  in 1741 - his parents, with a colony of Irish Presby≠terians, emigrated from that Province to what is now Union County. South Carolina, at the period of 1754-1755, and had for several years to fort against the turbulent Cherokees.  Serving in the early part of the Revolution, he rose, in 1780, to the command of a regiment, acting much under Sumter. Retiring from that service, with Colonel Williams, he shared in the affair at Musgrove's Mill, then at King's Mountain, Blackstock's, and Cowpens - in the latter killing three of Tarleton's dragoons with his sword. After the war, he was a Justice of the Court, County Ordinary, General! of the militia, and frequently a member of one or the other branch of the Legislature. He was a good soldier, but, like Cleveland, a bitter enemy of Tories, who received little mercy at his hands. He died at his resi≠dence on Fair Forest, February fifth, 1802, in the sixty-first year of his age.


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