| Jasper County, South
I have used resources on the Jasper County web site and the state web site to construct this page. There is a historical society.
This area of the state was the home of the Yemassee and Coosaw Indians until colonial times. In 1732 Swiss-German immigrants led by Jean Pierre Purry established a settlement called Purrysburgh on the Savannah River, but the town did not survive. Other settlers built extensive rice plantations, some of which now form the Savannah River National Wildlife Refuge.
Jasper County was created in 1912 from parts of Beaufort and Hampton Counties. It was named for Sergeant William Jasper (ca.1750-1779), who served under Francis Marion in the first defense of Charleston against the British. During that defense of Charleston in the Revolutionary War, Sergeant William Jasper responded to a British cannon ball smashing the South Carolina flag to the ground. He leapt over the palmetto log wall of the fort, secured the flag and then safely returned to his post to fight gallantly with his company. This simple, brave action brought notoriety to Sergeant William Jasper, and Jasper County is named in his honor.
The following is taken from Simms' (1844, entire book on line under references on the revolutionary war site) Description of The Battle of Fort Sullivan in the Defense of Charleston:
"With the formation of new regiments, under the resolves of the Council of Safety, Francis Marion, newly promoted to a Major, was ordered with his Regiment, under command of Col. Wm. Moultrie, to take post at Fort Sullivan, on the island of that name, which stands at the entrance of Charleston harbor, and within point blank shot of the channel. Fort Sullivan, better known as Fort Moultrie, was yet to be built, it was only an outline upon the sand. Palmetto rafts lay around it, waiting to be moulded into form. The structure was a simple wall, behind which young beginners might train guns to do mischief to a veteran enemy in front, the vaunted British Navy. Its form was square, with a bastion at each angle, sufficiently large, when finished, to cover a thousand men. It was built of logs, laid one upon another in parallel rows, at a distance of sixteen feet, bound together at frequent intervals with timber, dovetailed and bolted into the logs. The spaces between were filled up with sand. The merlons were walled entirely by palmetto logs, notched into one another at the angles, well bolted together and strengthened with pieces of massive timber. Such was the plan of the work; but, with all the diligence of the officers, and all the industry of the men, it remained unfinished at the perilous moment when a powerful British fleet appeared before its walls. The defense was confided to Col. Moultrie. The force under his command was four hundred and thirty-five men, rank and file, comprising four hundred and thirteen of the Second Regiment of Infantry, and twenty-two of the Fourth Regiment of Artillery. The whole number of cannon mounted on the fortress was thirty-one, of these, nine were French twenty-sixes; six English eighteens; nine twelve and seven nine pounders. The unfinished condition of the fort, really presented little more than a front towards the sea, literally a facade.
On the 20th of June, 1776, a day ever memorable in the annals of South Carolina, the nine British ships of war commanded by Sir Peter Parker, drew up abreast of the fort, dropped anchor, with springs upon their cables, and commenced a terrible bombardment. The fire of the enemy was promptly answered, and with such efficiency of aim as to be long remembered by the survivors. Having but five thousand pounds of powder, with which to maintain a conflict that raged for eleven hours, with unabated violence, it became necessary, not only that the discharge from the fort should be timed, but that every shot should find its target. In order to do this the guns were trained by the field-officers in person; hence, perhaps, the terrible fatality of their fire. The Bristol, a 50 gun ship, commanded by Commodore Sir Peter Parker, lost 44 men killed and thirty wounded. Sir Peter himself lost an arm. The Experiment, another 50 gun ship, had 57 killed and 30 wounded.
To these two vessels in particular, the attention of the fort was directed. The words, passed along the line by officers and men, were -- "Look to the Commodore -- look to the fifty gun ships." The smaller vessels suffered comparatively little. Their loss of men was small. The injury to the vessels themselves was greater, and one of them, the Acteon, ran aground, and was subsequently burnt, but not before it's guns were directed at the enemy. The Carolinians lost but twelve men killed and twice that number wounded. One of the former was the brave Macdonald. When borne from the embrasure where he received his mortal wound, he cried out to those around him -- "Do not give up -- you are fighting for liberty and country." The want of powder was severely felt. But for this, judging from the effects of the fire from the fort, the British Commodore himself would have been killed, or his fleet would have been destroyed. So slow, at one time, were the discharges -- so great the interval of time between them, -- that the British were of opinion that the place was abandoned. But a new supply of powder was obtained by Marion, who, with a small party, leaving the fort, proceeded to the armed schooner Defense, lying in Stop Gap Creek, and seized upon her powder, by which the fire was kept up until a supply of five hundred weight was received from the city.
This new powder supply caused a renewal of the conflict in all its fury. The garrison fought with a coolness which would have done honor to veterans. The day was very warm, and the men partially stripped in response. Moultrie states that when the action begun, some of the men took off their coats and threw them upon the top of the merlons. He saw a shot take one of them and throw it into a small tree behind the platform. It was noticed by our men, and they cried out, "look at the coat!" A little incident that speaks volumes for their coolness. Moultrie himself and several of his officers smoked their pipes during the action, only removing them when it became necessary to issue orders. In the hottest fire of the battle the flag of the fort was shot away, and fell without the fort. Sergeant William Jasper, one of Marion's men, instantly sprang after it upon the beach, between the ramparts and the enemy, and binding it to a sponge staff, restored it to its place, and succeeded in regaining his own safety. The coolness, the cavalier indifference, displayed by the Carolinians throughout the combat, is not its least remarkable feature. There is something chivalric in such deportment, which speaks for larger courage than belongs to ordinary valor. Mere bull-dog resolution and endurance is here lifted, by a generous ardor of soul, into something higher than a mere passive virtue. The elasticity of spirit which it shows might be trained to any performance within the compass of human endowment."
Defense of Charleston, 28 June 1776. The British attacked on the morning of 28 June 1776, and bombarded Fort Sullivan (the palmetto log construct described above) from a fleet of war vessels, aided by a landing force of several thousand men under Sir Henry Clinton. The landing party was promptly repulsed by the guns of the battery at the north end of the island. The British fleet, however, began a heavy ten hour bombardment. The Americans returned fire causing great damage, while the shots of the British bounced off or sank almost harmlessly into the soft spongy, but strong enough!, palmetto logs. As at Bunker Hill, the patriots had a meager powder supply, but used it to good advantage, firing with the cool precision of trained soldiers, and did terrible damage to the British ships. The flagship of Admiral Parker was made a wreck, he himself was wounded, and only one of the other nine vessels was immediately able to put to sea after the battle. No more disastrous defeat of a British armament is reported in history (take that Admiral Reuyter!). During the hottest part of the bombardment, the flagstaff on Fort Sullivan was cut down and the flag fell outside the walls of the fort. Sergeant William Jasper (after whom Jasper County was later named) leaped down, secured the flag, attached it to a sponge staff, and replaced it on the ramparts. He was later offered a lieutenant's commission in recognition of his inspiring act, but he modestly refused it." (end of Simms' text)
Sergeant Jasper was killed 16 Sept 1779 in the failed French and Patriot attack on British held Savannah.
The county seat is Ridgeland, once known as Gopher Hill, in the geographic center of the county. Two other towns in the county, Coosawhatchie (koos-ah-hatchie) and Pocotaligo (poke-ah-tal-ah-go), served at different times as the seat of government for Beaufort District. During the Civil War the Confederate army defeated federal troops at the battle of Honey Hill in November 1864. Jasper County was home to Thomas Heyward, Jr. (1746-1809), a signer of the Declaration of Independence lived and died in what is now Jasper County, and Henry Martyn Robert (1837-1923), author of Robert's Rules of Order. Compiled by South Carolina State Library 1996.
Jasper County is a part of the South Carolina Lowcountry, renowned worldwide for its unique history and natural assets. Neighbor to both old-world ports Savannah and Charleston, and the thriving resort, Hilton Head Island on the Beaufort County coast, Jasper County has retained the simple, original flavor of the lowcountry.
Through the years, Jasper County has become known as a sportsman paradise. Its 662 square miles are dotted with a number of hunting clubs and plantation grounds housing large populations of wildlife. From ducks to alligators to marsh hens, the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge is the home of an amazing variety of wild species. And, Jasper Countys long border on the Savannah River, its fresh water lakes and salt water rivers all make perfect hunting, fishing and recreational areas.
Both Ridgeland and Hardeeville are located on the vital north-south transportation artery of Interstate 95.
Traditionally the economy of Jasper County has been based on agriculture, the production of forest products, row crops, vegetables and livestock and is still a way of life for many residents. The Countys fertile soil, mild climate and abundant groundwater also offer potential for alternative agricultural enterprises such as kiwi fruit and catfish production. Changing times have brought tourism and other industries to the forefront. There is a readily available labor force in the Jasper county area.
On Sunday, April 22 (2001), an historical marker will be unveiled at the corner of Highways 13 and 29, in the town of Grahamville, Jasper County, SC. At 12:30, there will be a dutch luncheon at the Palms Restaurant on Hwy. 17, in downtown Ridgeland. The unveiling of the historical marker will be at 2:30. A familiar landmark should be the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church just across the road from the marker's location. This is very special to me as my family homestead is nearby. You can read about Grahamville and Jasper County on my web site: DAVIS of South Carolina
Patricia Davis Runey
Grahamville Historical Marker
Marker # 2716
Front of Marker
This summer village, established about 1800 by the rice planters of St. Luke's Parish, was a thriving settlement in what was Beaufort District until the creation of Jasper County in 1912. Named for Capt. John Graham (1784-1833) , its prominent residents included members of the Bull, Fripp, Glover, Hasell, Hazzard, Heyward, Jenkins, Screven, and Seabrook families, among others.
Back of Marker
The village boasted several stores, three churches, a post office, a tavern, and the Grahamville Academy.When the Charleston & Savannah RR was constructed in 1860, villagers objected to locating a station here so one was built 1 mi. W and Ridgeland grew around it. Grahamville was burned by Union troops in 1864, and the Holy Trinity Church is all that survives of the old village.
|There is a Jasper County Historical Society:
Jasper County Historical Society
P.O. Box 2111
|July 28, 2001 issue of the Jasper County Historical Society newsletter:
Cemetery Survey Book Delayed
Wofford Malphrus reports that lightning strike knocked out his computer and that a lot of work has to be redone. He said that, fortunately, the actual survey was also on his daughter's computer and there were back-up disks. He says that we're still hoping for an early Fall release of the book.
Please make submissions for this page, and the entire site.
If you are confused by some of the early 19th century script, here is an image of the written double "s" (SS).
There were documented Gypsies in this area in the early 19th century. I have found one probable record of Gypsies in the area.
Please Email any additions, errors, or corrections to the county coordinator.
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