Thursday, July 30, 2009

Malcom's Mystery, Part I

Presented here are two legends surrounding the coming to America of Malcom Clark and Samuel and Mary Clark Reed. In the next post I will provide more pieces to this puzzle.

Version I

In 1939, D. Graham Copeland (a descendant of Samuel and Mary’s daughter Rebecca who married Henry Hartzog) wrote a genealogy book for his daughters and their husbands. He typed it on onionskin paper with carbon paper only after extracting pledges from them that they indeed would read it. This book is titled Many Years After: A Bit Of History and Some Recollections of Bamberg. It was not published. Only a few onionskin copies were made. A copy is at the South Caroliniana Library here in Columbia, SC, and it is available to read on microfilm.

Copeland’s source for the Reed section of his book was primarily Lillie Cooper from Denmark, SC. Lillie’s mother was Alice Ann Reed, daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth Boylston Reed. According to Lillie, Alice grew up at her grandmother Mary Clark Reed’s knee. Mary related stories of her early life to her granddaughter Alice, who passed them down to her children. (When Copeland visited Lillie Cooper for this book, she showed him a vest of Samuel's and a cap of Mary's. Sad to say, Lillie's home burned in the 1950s.)

Lillie’s story is that Malcom married his wife Mary in Ireland about 1750. After several children were born and Mary died, Malcom and a son Hugh came to South Carolina before the Revolutionary War. They obtained land, cleared a farm, and established a trading post all while Malcom worked as a surveyor. He sorely missed his daughter Mary who had remained in Ireland. Mary had married Samuel Reed, and Malcom convinced them to come to South Carolina “with their children of whom there were several.”

As their arrival date approached, Malcom traveled to Charlestown to catch a vessel going to “George Town” so he could meet his daughter’s ship. Malcom perished on the small ship during a storm at sea. Samuel and Mary, certainly saddened to learn of Malcom’s death, decided to continue their journey to see Hugh. According to Copeland, the journey took them almost a year due to the countryside being torn by revolution and “no small amount of civil strife.” They arrived in Orangeburgh District to learn that Hugh was dead and the trading post demolished. It was speculated that he had been murdered by Tories disguised as Indians.

All Samuel and Mary wanted to do was return to Ireland, but obtaining passage was impossible in the post-war chaos. They remained in Barnwell County and raised nine children.

Copeland stated that although he had no conclusive proof, he believed that Londonderry, Ireland, was the former home of Samuel and Mary.

(D. Graham Copeland, Many Years After, 1940, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina.)


Version II:
In Healing Springs: A History of the Springs and Surrounding Area (published in 2004 by Sandlapper Publishing Co., Inc., Orangeburg SC), author Raymond P. Boylston (a descendant of Samuel and Mary’s youngest daughter Mary who married Austin Boylston), writes that Malcom Clark came to America in 1750 as a surveyor for King George III and settled near Bamberg. Once he was established here (no date given), he sent for his wife, two sons, and two daughters.

According to this version, Malcom went to the coast to meet the ship bringing his family, but a storm prevented the ship from docking. Malcom perished in sight of his family when his boat capsized as he attempted to row out to the ship. Malcom’s friends brought the family back to his home where he had provided well for them.

This book goes on to say that Malcom’s son Hugh was killed by Tories during the Revolutionary War. Mary married Samuel Reed “a prominent farmer near Healing Springs, about 1782,” and they had built their home by 1790.

(Raymond P. Boylston, Healing Springs: A History of the Springs and Surrounding Area, 2004, Sandlapper Publishing Co., Inc., Orangeburg SC)

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